Etsy guest post: Using Newsletters to Grow your Business

seattle sunset with word "grow"

I was recently invited to contribute a guest post on the Etsy blog about using newsletters to grow your Etsy business. Boy, was I amazed at the number of comments that post got! 150+ and still counting. It’s quite a thrill as a writer to see that your post has resonated with people, as well as a testament to the amazing community Etsy has built up over the years. It’s really quite impressive!

As part of my research for the post, I came across a shop called Ellen Dee Designs run out of Austin by a lovely woman named Lani, who does a great job with all of their branding (including newsletters!) I was happy to feature her newsletter as an inspiring example in the post.

Since building Craftmonkey almost two years ago, I’ve been lucky to meet and work with so many talented people making a living doing what they love. The older I get, the more the old tropes of life being short etc. etc. resonate with me. I’m grateful to be working with a company and people I respect (honestly how cute are these guys?) and living in part of the world that I love. In a couple months, I’ll be speaking at a big crafty event here in Seattle, so look for a post with details about that coming up soon.

Happy almost-summer to everyone! I hope it’s filled with people, places and things that make you very happy.

Need help with your newsletters?

My friend and colleague Amy Ellis was recently interviewed for a new podcast called Creative Little Beasts. The podcast is the latest project from Danielle Maveal (a.k.a @daniellexo), the former seller education lead for Etsy. Amy’s podcast episode is called “Email Marketing for Misfits“, and it’s a great way to learn more about email marketing for what Danielle calls “creative small business owners”.

As a follow-up to the podcast,  Amy is going to be reviewing one lucky person’s newsletter, which is super cool because she’s an expert at email marketing! If you’d like a chance to have your newsletter reviewed for free, drop a link to it on Creative Little Beasts’ Facebook page.

Amy and I are currently at the School House Craft conference in Seattle, where we are meeting crafters, handing out MailChimp stuff, talking about Craftmonkey and learning from lots of awesome, crafty presenters. Tomorrow Amy is presenting and leading a workshop on “Getting Crafty with Email Marketing”, which should totally rock. She’s very kindly made the slides available here, so if you’d like to check it out you can do so! We’ll also be giving away an original painting from Seattle artist Matthew Porter (shown below – monkey with a robot!) during the presentation.

If you’re in Seattle, you can still buy tickets to the conference at the door so feel free to come on by. Hope to see you there!

Seattle speed-networking event to connect crafters and buyers

Woman wearing monkey hatLast night I attended a preparatory meeting for what I think is a very innovative way for crafters to connect with local stores who might want to sell their products. Handmade Happy Hour, the brainchild of School House Crafter Andrea Porter and imakecutestuff‘s Marlo Miyashiro, offers crafters the chance to sit down with twenty local vendors to give their pitch and show their wares.

Modeled after the “speed-dating” concept, each presentation will last just two minutes. When their time is up, a bell rings and they move on to the next potential buyer. If all goes well, the crafters will have made some new wholesale customers, and the buyers will be exposed to some great local artists and makers they might not meet otherwise.

Last night’s session was for event organizers to provide tips on presentation and pitches, sort out logistics, and provide a chance for the vendors who will be attending May 29th’s Happy Hour event to ask questions. I was there repping my homemonkeys at MailChimp, a sponsor of the event. After the session, I had the chance to speak with some of the vendors and was impressed both with the products they made and how they approached running their businesses. Some folks were just starting out and had questions about crafting the perfect pitch, or using email marketing and Craftmonkey to help boost sales, while others have been in business for many years. Interested in applying to be a vendor? They are taking vendor applications until May 10th in categories like Children’s Gifts, Edible Goods, and Toys.

One thing was for certain: crafters love a monkey. It was fun to see folks trying on their monkey hats (that’s jewelry-maker Allexa Allamano from FoamyWader giving the famous Freddie wink) and digging the new MailChimp t-shirts (note to self: get a t-shirt cannon!) I met designer Isabelle Grizzard Robertson from Piano Nobile, who kindly offered to give me a tour of her and her husband’s Ballard studio (yes please!) and Kelly Jones, who works in industrial metals. Like I said, quite a variety of talented folks in attendance; here’s a complete list of artists who will be attending the Happy Hour.

Thanks to the Handmade Happy Hour organizers for putting this together and best of luck to all participating sellers. Love to see DIYers shaking up the way to do business!

Craftmonkey: Connects crafters with the folks who love them

A blue sock monkey

With the continued success of handmade marketplace Etsy and the rapid growth of crafter-friendly Pinterest, crafting has really taken off from both a buyer and a seller perspective. Crafting has gotten so popular that many people are running their own “crafty businesses”, earning an income from doing what they love either part-time or full-time and making the world a more beautiful place filled with all manner of handmade objects. I’ve been an on-again-off-again crafter for years and especially now that I have two kids, I try to buy handmade whenever I can. I’ve also served as a resource for crafters looking to get started with building and running a business, since these are some of my very favorite small business owners.

I’m therefore really happy to announce Craftmonkey, Social Glu’s inaugural foray into the app building business. Craftmonkey is a free web application that allows Etsy sellers to connect their shops with their MailChimp accounts to send out simple, beautiful email newsletters. The coolest feature is the ability to drag-and-drop text and photos from Etsy shops right into a Craftmonkey templates. It makes sending out and tracking newsletters super easy and even kind of fun.

Our long-time friend Adam Darowski was nice enough to shoot a little screencast for us that shows Craftmonkey in action. It’s worth viewing just to listen to the velvety sounds of Adam’s screencaster voice. I think it’s because he has a big beard that keeps his throat warmed up :)

If you’re a crafter or have crafty friends, please check out Craftmonkey! And let us know what you think – you’ll find us on Twitter as @hiCraftmonkey, in the Etsy app store and at craftmonkeyapp.com.