tgif FEATURE and GIVEAWAY :: MustardSeed by.carollai

since the idea of a TGIF feature and giveaway popped up into my mind late last night, the first feature and giveaway will be from my very own etsy shop. :)

Q. Who are you?
A. long answer short, i'm carol. 30. born in taipei. grown in new york. Christian. studied graphic design and psychology in undergrad at Umich (go blue!!!). worked a few years as a graphic designer and creative coordinator for an ad agency. trained for and ran the san diego rock 'n' roll marathon with the leukemia and lymphoma society's TNT in summer '04. went to grad school at NYU in fall '04 and studied art therapy. married in june '07 and thankful for the unconditional love and support my hubby gives.

Q. When did you open up shop and how did you come up with your shop name?
A. i created an account with etsy on 01.01.09 (one of my new year's resolutions was to open up a shop!) and listed my first item on 01.22.09. my shop name is MustardSeed by.carollai because Jesus says, "i tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘move from here to there’ and it will move. nothing will be impossible for you." matthew 17:20. faith is huge in my life. God has grown my faith greatly through the experiences and struggles in my life and through it all, His faith has given me hope and strength.

an additional meaning behind the shop name mustard seed is found in matthew 13:31-32. the parable of the mustard seed. "the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches."

Q. What do you create and sell?
A. i create delicate and unique earrings and necklaces... and hopefully in the future, will branch out to prints/cards, sewn objects, knitted goods, and other handmade creations as my mind and fingers take me.

Q. What is your favorite item in your shop?
A. it's hard to say a favorite because i really do try to love each item in my shop. i figure if i don't love it, then why am i selling it? one of my loves is this pair of earrings. sweet grace earrings. they're uber feminine, simple and sweet. it is also the first item with the curl accent i hand-created.

Q. Do you have any advice for newbie Etsy sellers?
A. since i'm still a newbie and learning so much myself, i don't have too much advice. however, i've found it helpful to inform all my family and friends of my new shop and asked them to pass along the info to their family and friends. hopefully as each person passes the info along, more and more people will become interested in my designs.

Q. Lastly, what is your giveaway this fine TGIF!
(one giveaway winner will be selected at random the following Wednesday at 11.59pm EST. to enter, please comment below with one or more marketing suggestions for MustardSeed by.carollai. 'follow' me on blogger and you'll receive an automatic second entry. :) please remember to leave an email address because if you are the lucky winner, you will want to be contacted!)

A. i absolutely adore these earrings and think the winner will enjoy as well! that's why i chose to give away my musing moon earrings.


oceansidecreations said...

Beautiful earrings. I've found it helpful to be active on the promotion threads. Gotten a few sales that way. Beadinbabe31@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for sharing! Always nice to get to know people.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, we just connected on the promotions Forums. I use Twitter & Facebook to promote my shop and also just started a blog... great idea about doing a giveaway I might do one too! trendycards@comcast.net

Jessica said...

Hey, I really like this Q&A info. What about "emailing" friends with your pick of the week/or spotlight of the week? It can be something new or highlighted in your collection.

Jess (jesster@gmail.com)

Erin, maker of chimes said...

Include business cards with random bills that you mail out... never know who might up for some shopping/website browsing while at work :)


Digital Misfit said...

Beautiful earrings.
My suggestion is to make tags your friend. Name the stones in your tags, as well as color.
I will use the lovely Musing Moon earrings as an example:
tags: jewelry, earrings, dangle, sterling silver, crystal, Swarovski, rose quartz, amethyst, purple, pink, semiprecious, cluster, French hook,

People may be searching by any of those terms to buy or to use in a treasury. The jewelry market on Etsy is MASSIVE, so you need to do everything you can to get your pieces seen by interested shoppers.


blueberryjunkie said...

Beautiful earrings...and very nice blog.

Annie Yu said...

gorgeous earrings! fun blog! i just started one too :D

Calvin Lai said...

My earth-shattering advice is to focus most of your attention on the product. In the end, it's all about crafting pieces that people will want to wear or give as gifts. Marketing and packaging are secondary. Of course, you know this already, so don't give me the give-away gift! :P

Veronica said...

hey you have some great designs! have you tried advertising on FB? i've seen ads for handcrafted jewelery, and more than once, i've followed the link to the site because the photo was alluring. since your pieces are more reasonably priced, they might sell more to the younger FB audience. you know my email! :)

2- Sweet Boutique said...

Hi, thanks for commenting over at my blog give-away! :)

Okay I think my best advice to offer is to wear your jewelry, and don't be afraid to hand out business cards. I have gotten more customers by carrying my handbags, then anything...and I always just make sure to hand them a card, and talk with them. I've also done fairs...lots of them. If you can find good local craft fairs..that is a good place to start. It really helps get the word out about your business.

I hope you have a continued success with your business!

Oh, you can contact me via Etsy:


J. Leigh Designz said...

Normally I suggest photos, but hers are great!!! I think she's doing a fine job...so my advise is just keep it up!

I also have a great giveaway going on right now!!! Make sure to check it out :)

J. Leigh Designz said...

I don't see your follow button?!?

Wendy said...

hi carol! thanks for your comment - that's so neat that you know luke, anita, and bridget! your earrings are so cute. as for a marketing idea, hm, i'd say relist regularly on etsy!

The Giveaway Diva said...

yay great giveaway!! I would suggest taking really nice photos! especially action ones!! people love to see them in action and what it would look like on a person! also do lots of giveaways on different blogs!!

Don't forget to enter my giveaways on my blog! i have two!! =)

The Giveaway Diva said...

opps forgot to add my email! nicolemarielum @gmail.com

Shana said...

Great earrings! Hope I win!
What I do for marketing:
facebook, ravelry (since I offer patterns for knitting), wearing some of my work and keeping business cards nearby, and blogging. Probably nothing too new or innovative there, but it works for me! Good luck! And thanks for the awesome giveaway!

MillieDog Designs said...

Beautiful earrings!

I find that I get a lot of traffic on my site from Twitter!

AnniKae said...

Great GiveAway!
Your blog is fun. As far as advise, I think you're doing great. I know that photo quality is extremely important when selling online. Get the very best possible shot of everything you list.
Happy Day!

knotaway said...

I leave business cards as often as I can... restaurants that offer free lunch drawings when business cards, all my emails have my blog and etsy shop in my signature. So far it hasn't paid off, but who knows...
The earrings are gorgeous BTW.

oh! said...

realistic suggestions:
word of mouth can still spark something. if a friend sees something great on you or in a picture of you, they'll probably ask about it, get it for themselves, and the cycle continues. ok well, that's everyone's hope...

have friends use your link as a signature at the end of their emails, or facebook status, or tag the address when they tag a photo of it, but all without spamming.
i just went to a friend's wedding and took a ton of pictures. if i tagged every picture of the bride with the site where her dress [or the groom's suit, or any item] came from, the likelihood of someone checking out the site is pretty good...

have pictures of your friends wearing/modeling/trying on the jewelry. maybe have them come over & have fun, then have them post pictures on their own sites/blogs with links. another friend had pictures up of his own wedding and put the photographer's link under the respective photos, of course i checked it out...

a little more unrealistic:
these are a stretch but maybe if you get someone psuedo-famous to wear your jewelry, your name may catch on. look what happened with michelle obama and the designers who were one moment no-names, to having increased demand for their clothes. though i couldn't tell you their names, haha. but the people who do care, know.

i used to work for a christian t-shirt company and the president got to meet steven curtis chapman & gave him a shirt at a concert. i posed with the katinas while we wore the shirts. the likelihood of getting your product to someone with a name may be slim though. but maybe get someone in fashion or merchandising, maybe it can be featured in a magazine, or some website. or a talkshow. send your stuff to ellen, oprah, tyra, martha, whoever. but the person who opens the mail may just end up with it. or be in the audience of one of the morning shows like at rockefeller plaza haha.

and depending who you want your target to be, you can hit web forums. or schools/college campuses?

or you can feature clips on youtube, maybe you don't want to give away secrets, but some people have gotten a lot of press on youtube with cool/funny stuff. but you'd have to think of something really creative to promote a video for jewelry.

you don't have to enter me in the contest, i just want to help you out. unless i win & do the picture suggestion, but u can just have a bunch of us visit & do that. when i can go out of my textbook/metrocard/food budget, i'd love to buy a pair of my own and support you & your beautiful work! best of luck, girl! :)