Thursday, November 15, 2012

from blank pages... #12 Linky Party!

from blank pages... linky party

My planned one week break from this linky party (while I was gone at Sewing Summit) turned into a one month break. Whoops. Well, I'm here to say it's BACK!! :)

For me it's be a bit of an adventurous last month. I had a great time at Sewing Summit, had a couple different boughts of being sick with one thing or another - but don't worry, besides this cold I'm doing MUCH better than I have for the previous 2 months. Wahoo! :) Neil hit a deer with his car and totaled it (not looking forward to buying a new car in no-mans-land). And anyway, my blank pages have taken a bit of an interesting turn in the last week or so.

from blank pages... Linky party is up on the blog again. Come share your beginnings, your re-starts, whatever it is your going to, planning on, or hoping to work on. It's all about celebrating the ideas and beginnings of projects, which for me is sometime

For a few different reasons, WE decided - yes my hubby is very excited and supportive of this decision, which is also has included a bit of prodding from him to come to this - that I should take my hobby a little more seriously! I am in the process of developing a Business Plan. It sounds so serious. lol. But it's good. He helped me realize that I need to figure out more than just all the different tasks or projects that I can cross off my list, but to figure out WHY I want to do this = motivation. As well as WHERE I want to go = goals. I have a few, or maybe a lot, of different dreams when it comes to my "hobbies", and this has been good reflection to help me solidify them and figure out how to actually achieve them. Getting on the cover, or even in the Quiltmaker's 100 Blocks Vol. 6 magazine I feel was a bit of a lucky coincidence. No idea how that happened, but there is one dream come true. To make my other dreams a reality, it's going to take a bit more work though I'm afraid. Ok, not afraid, but I need to be better organized, have a plan, and have a goal. I even got out my old planner and ordered some refill pages for a few months to help me get started. See? I'm serious about this! lol.

So here is my beginning... and I have no idea what I'm doing. lol. But I do have a couple questions for you on a few different topics, if you are willing to give a little feedback:

  • Etsy Shop
I've had an Etsy shop for a while now. It's been up and down, and has definitely followed the trend of how much I put into it is what I get out of it = almost nothing in the last year. ;)  I struggle with what to make. I do buy from others, but since I like to make, I feel like everyone else like's to make too. If I make pouches, will others buy them? or just make their own? I think there are a million shops that sell pouches. Anyway, my question is, is there something you've seen on my blog, or in my shop before that you think would be a good selling item(s)?

  • Sponsors
I've read lots of articles on blogs about getting sponsors, and how you need 25,000 hits a month, and this many followers, and crazy outrageous numbers. Which I'm sure all help. But then I see blogs that I know assume aren't to those markers, but they have sponsors, so I know those stats aren't always the case.

As a reader, what do you think about sponsors on blogs? are they annoying? at what point to they get there? do you love them? how to do you feel about them? Personally I stop reading blogs when they become all about sponsors, so I don't want to get to that point at all. But I'm curious as to what other people think about blogs that just start getting sponsors.

As a sponsor, what do you look at when you choose to sponsor a blog? what makes you say yes to one blog and no to another? Do you prefer to pay money? or by product? Do you ever approach blogs? or do you always wait until someone approaches you?

My main idea with sponsors is for The One Stop Giveaway Shop (ok, I know this is usually a topic that I never see on blogs, but I don't mind talking about those forbidden topics. perhaps someone will be offended? idk. whatever) :) I love that blog, it's fun, and I always get excited when people fill out the form and want to use it as a resource, which is becoming more and more common! :) But it's also something I do on my complete free time (which the quantity of is becoming less, and I need to be a bit more choosy about what I'm spending my time doing = now I have a decision to make.) I would love to spend more time on that blog, do more to market it, get more people using it, which would help everyone that posts giveaways on there. As well as spend more time finding and posting giveaways. The one solution that I can think of that would solve my dilemma would be to get sponsors! I'm not thinking a lot, just 5 or 6, perhaps one free sponsor spot that is won through a giveaway every month (since it is a giveaway blog!). I don't want to ask a lot either, just enough to cover where I'm at with the blog. Anyway, if you know someone that would be interested in sponsoring the blog, would you pass along their info, or send them my way? That would be awesome. Or if you just have advice in how to get in contact with sponsors. That would be great too!! I would love to see that blog grow and think it could be really great!

Ok, and secretly I would love to get sponsors for this blog too!!!! I am constantly in this pull of "should I post this as a tutorial? or sell it as a pattern?" One of my favorite things is sharing what I know and teaching others!! I would love to make more video tutorials, post more projects, etc. But it goes back to TIME, as well as other personal reasons that, as much as I'd love to give everything away for free, that doesn't feed the babies, sort of stuff.

  • Patterns
What about patterns makes you buy them? Do you have to see lots of examples of it first? or only buy from people who are already super successful and well known?  What is that final lure that lets you say, "ok. I'll pay for that pattern." Anyway, I'm just wondering. I get a LOT of downloads for my free patterns on Craftsy, but selling patterns on there is a different story. Maybe I just give all my best patterns away for free, and try to sell my lousy ones. lol. Just asking for any feedback. Might as well ask, right?! :)

Ok, I think that's all the questions I have. Thanks for any advice or feedback you might have! I am entering new territory here and figure I could use all the help I can get... and perhaps avoid a little more live-and-learn experiences. ;) But then that's what this from blank pages... linky is all about! Sharing new ideas and sometimes getting back feedback as to how to make sure it turns out it's best! :)

from blank pages... linky party

Here's a few things when linking up:

  1. PLEASE make sure to link back to this post in your blog post! Let others know where you're sharing your projects so they can come share theirs as well! :) Or Grab a button!
  2. Make sure you are talking about some kind of beginnings in your post. If I can't figure out how it ties into this theme, I'll have to delete your link. no offense.
  3. stop by others posts and leave some comment love! :) 

Linky will be open until Saturday night! :)



  1. Etsy : I'm with you ! I going to close my Etsy shop eventually because I'd rather make a quilt for someone who ordered it than just make a quilt and wait until it sells.

    Sponsors : I stopped reading a few blogs because they were all about giveaways and sponsors too. I feel like they got lost. We can't "hear" them anymore through these posts.
    One I like is Maureen Craknell Handame - there is a good balance between sponsors/giveaway and personnal/sewing post, which I love.

    Patterns : I don't buy quilting patterns. I usually try to figure it out on my own, even if it means it won't work. I don't know, there's something about following a pattern to make a quilt that I don't like. But you know, I'm sure A LOT of people like to just follow instructions, and that's ok too. I guess I like this step of the quilt making process (figuring out the measurments).

    And I totally agree about the giveaway blog. You're putting your time and effort into a blog that is for everyone else so you should definitely try to get something out of it :)

    I've never understood what sponsors where about. Nobody talks about them, about how it works and all. I would love to know more about that (even if I don't think I'm at that point yet).

    Well.. that is long enough !
    Have a good day :)

  2. Etsy: I've been on there since Fall 2010, and I've had some really good times, but lately it has been really bad! (I sold like 4 quilts in May and not a single one since.) I mostly sell quilts - that is what I want to spend my time on so that is what I have always wanted in my shop. At times I've tried other "easier", quicker items, things that don't cost as much to make and therefore don't cost as much to sell, but I did worse with them.
    I've only made one quilt pattern so far, and a few embroidery patterns, and those are by far my most successful Etsy items (and nice because you can also list them on Craftsy).
    I've had ONE custom quilt order through Etsy, others have just come through my blog/FB or family/friends.

    Sponsors: As a reader I never click them, and rarely look at them. I am a "sponsor" on one blog, and I don't think I get many visitors from it.
    I don't like when blog posts get bogged down with advertising sponsors.

    Patterns: I'm starting to write my own for selling, and I do still buy them. I've hashed this out with friends - it's hard to be completley original in the quilting world, but maybe your measurements or techniques are somewhat unique. Also not everybody can look at a quilt and figure out how to make it, so they will buy a pattern.
    The thing I like about patterns is that my quilting is still for ME that way. I make something I will love to have around or gift, and don't worry about selling the actual item. But in the end I have a product that I can sell for years and years.

    My only goal in starting up a business is to make money to support my hobby. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't.

  3. Etsy: Etsy is one of those marketplaces where you have to be pretty tenacious to get noticed and get big sales. I agree that it's a "put in as much (or more) as you get out" type of situation, but I feel that it can be a nice compliment to all the other creative things you might have going on.

    Sponsors: Having sponsors can be a bit of a balancing act to ensure that you are providing good and meaningful exposure for them, but not forcing it down the throats of your readers (the whole reason you write the blog). Choosing to bring them into the fold is a completely personal choice and there is no magic number to hit to begin pursuing this, however there are metrics that can help you to determine fair pricing that do have a lot to do with page hits and so on. I think above all you should ask yourself why do you want to work with sponsors? Is it to partner with someone you enjoy working with on creative projects? Is it to make a little extra money to fund your blogging? Is it to forge a connection with a business that can provide benefits for your readers? There are many reasons you may want to bring in sponsors, but make sure that the arrangement you set up meets your needs and goals.

    Patterns: I do buy patterns, even as a pattern designer myself. I find that I often purchase patterns for things that I find my expertise doesn't lie in (like bag making and paper piecing). If something really strikes me as unique and clever, even if I can figure out how to make it on my own, I will often purchase the pattern regardless to support the designer. Fresh ideas and unique techniques are always the "hooks" that get me to purchase patterns. :)

    I hope I didn't go on too long! Keep us updated with where you decide to go. :)

  4. I'm certainly no expert, but here is what I think. If you choose to get sponsors, ask. It doesn't hurt. But choose one you believe in, one you love . Like your favorite online quilt shop.

    I think pattern making is an excellent way to make money. I haven't ever tried, but think about it. once you make it, it done! to sell over and over again! And personally, Although I may be able to figure out how to make a project, It may take time that I don't have to put in to it, or I may just be lazy. For that, I am willing to spend $5 - $15.

    People like free. So give a free tutorial from time to time. People remember your willingness to share. Example: I saw a quilt recently I wanted to make by a blogger. I just wanted a little info about it so I could try to figure it out. there was nothing. Just endless pleas to join her class to learn how to make it. Well, I dont live in Portland, Oregon(or where ever it was) so that is not an option. I also noticed that this blog also didn't give any free tutorials or anything. Now, I don't either, but I'm not a well known blog trying to sell anything. You gotta give a little! Look at Leah Day. She gives a WEALTH of information. She now has an online shop, a few books, a Craftsy class, and a loyal following.She also has some info on her blog about starting online business.

    Also, quilt alongs seem to drum up a lot of traffic.

    Like I said, I'm no expert, just a consumer. And this is how I feel as a consumer.

    One last thing. Don't make your blog all about sponsors. That is a big turn off. People like you for you:)

    Good luck!

  5. Etsy: I don't buy sewn items from Etsy because I can't get over the idea that I could make it myself for less money (even if realistically I don't have the time or desire or supplies to do so.) I think you have to make an effort to market outside of your blog audience to people who don't sew. It is hard to find items on Etsy (try searching for "quilt" and see how many items show up) so you really do have to put a lot of effort into marketing -- nothing is going to happen if you just throw items up there to sell or just post about them on your blog.

    Sponsors: I skip 100% of giveaway/sponsor posts. They annoy me. (Even worse, blog hop posts -- those are likely to make me unsubscribe.) I would rather spend my own money on fabric and read interesting blog posts than have a tiny chance to win fabric that I'm not that into and read a post about a store I already know about.

    Patterns: When I do buy a pattern it has nothing to do with who the author is (that's something I don't even look at.) There are two things I care about: multiple and large sizes (I will never buy a pattern that doesn't have instructions for bed sized quilts and am unlikely to buy a pattern for a single block unless it is very, very unique) and a design that grabs me that I can't easily figure out on my own. I don't care how many pictures/examples/blog posts there are or who designed it. If there's a single photo and I love that design, that's enough.

    A note about Craftsy patterns: I avoid that site. The information available about each pattern varies so much (some don't even mention the finished size let alone the required fabric amounts -- these are both things that I need to know before buying a pattern) and the quality of patterns is so inconsistent that it isn't worth my time. Patternspot has the same issues. If you decide to sell more electronic patterns I would look into setting up your own shop.


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