Category: Seller Tips

Shop Spotlight: Leetie Lovendale, Handmade Vintage Earrings

Vintage lovers and color fanatics, meet Heather DeSimone—owner of Leetie Lovendale, the store where retro meets modern-age and the art of color is brought to a new level.

leetie lovendale

Created from the remains of a Rhode Island plastics company, Leetie Lovendale products creatively take advantage of the strange odds and ends that otherwise would’ve been thrown away and wasted. Colorful and unique, these pieces of jewelry now shine off the ears of their lucky owners and reflect the amount of love and care dedicated to production.

Heather carefully hand-makes each piece from her studio at home while caring for her two young sons. A passion for craft and color can easily be seen in her impeccable products. Her creations are one-of-a-kind and irresistibly smile-inducing!

brown earrings

What got you started? Where did you begin?

Leetie Lovendale was born of leftovers, really. I have co-owned a bead and jewelry supply company since 1993 with my mother, Jan Parker. In 2004, we purchased the contents of a manufacturer’s warehouse which supplied Avon, Coro & Trifari, among other jewelry designers in the 60’s, 70’s & 80’s, with jewelry components made of lucite. We sold loads of vintage beads over the past 8 years, but we still had all of these other funky plastic parts such as macaroni shaped hoops, holeless beads and balls and other shapes. I began to experiment with a torch-like device which sets these parts together and finishes them off. Working with industrial dyes, etc. and a line of fresh and fun jewelry, Leetie Lovendale was born.

earrings

What do you hope people will receive from your products?

I hope to make people smile. This jewelry is not to be taken too seriously. With its bold colors and retro and familiar shapes, it usually brings smiles to peoples’ faces. I like that.

What inspires you?

I’m currently in love with the mid-century modern aesthetic. I love the bold shapes and the industrial and space-age influence found everywhere from the prints in the clothing to the clocks on the wall and in the decor.

flower earrings

What do you always try to keep in mind while you create your products?

Wearability. It’s easy to go crazy connecting various shapes and parts together the way I do. But I always want to be sure that when a fan picks up an earring or sees a piece online that they realize it’s light-weight and comfortable even thought it might make a bold statement.

Where do you hope your business will go?

Ideally, I would love to see Leetie Lovendale on the shelves at Lilly Pulitzer, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. I’d love some more wholesale accounts, however I am really happy with the boutiques that carry my goods now and enjoy selling retail online as well as at various markets. I’m looking for other sales reps to sell retail at Open Markets around the world. Hit me up if you love to smile and sell colorful things!

earrings

What advice do you have for those just beginning to sell online?

Work smarter and not harder. If don’t have money but you have time, invest your time. Believe in your brand even if you don’t have others that do. And partner with people who know what you do not, whether that’s site design, marketing, photography, or pricing.

Do you sell offline too? Where else can we find your stuff?

Yes, I sell to several boutiques throughout the US as well as at Open Markets in Maine & Boston. Sowa Open Market is one of my favorites and I’m there almost every Sunday from May through October. It’s in the funky and trendy South End of Boston.

trunk show

What is the most fulfilling aspect of your business?

I get to be surrounded by color and my kids. My studio is right off of my house, so I can be home with them when I need to be. That’s worth a lot to a mom of two busy boys.

What’s your favorite thing about CraftLaunch?

I love that I only have to update one channel. Since it streams from my Etsy shop, I can keep that fresh and up to date, but my website will mimic the changes I made there in minutes. My time is so scarce lately so this is a huge value as a growing business. I also love that I didn’t have to invest $1000’s of dollars to start up an e-commerce site. With my other business, I have done that and I still am not able to do the maintenance myself. With CraftLaunch I didn’t have to invest up front, just monthly which is easy on my budget, AND I can be in charge of maintenance.

What’s something we should have asked but didn’t?

Do I love what I do? Yes, I really do. I am lucky.

Leetie Lovendale: http://leetielovendale.com/

Texas Style Council: Let’s Get Together

texas style council

The Hyatt hotel in downtown Austin recently held a conference, Texas Style Council, where bloggers, online sellers, and crafters alike gathered to learn about how to be successful in the online marketing and crafting world. The fourth-annual event featured an array of inspirational speakers and held over 400 attendees. With a focus on blogging, business, and general education, Texas Style Council offered attendees an experience that could not be matched.

I was lucky enough to attend this conference where I learned about social media, marketing, and blogging. The event featured speakers from great shopping websites, blogs, and businesses, including Ruche, Yelp, and Lulu’s.com. Aside from these great speakers, the attendees were nothing short of awesome. Fellow bloggers and business starters were friendly and excited. The event only confirmed my great amount of faith in the online crafting world. I took away more than I could have hoped for, and I’d like to share three of these take-aways with you.

  1. Pitch– It’s very common for people to overlook the importance of their pitch. This includes social media, branding, and most importantly, email. When sending an email to a potential client or collaborator, it’s important to establish a relationship while keeping the email clear and concise. This will help both of you understand whether or not the opportunity fits, as well as ease the idea of future partnerships. Just as important, a concise email will drastically enhance your chances of collaboration. Don’t beat around the bush—use the first few sentences of your email to tell your recipient what you want. It’s simply considerate of time. Emailing is often the first step to getting what you want, so take the time to write a good one!
  2. Resources– There are a lot of ways to earn money on social media sites that many are unaware of. For example, there are affiliate services such as Reward Style where whenever a person clicks on a product that you’ve blogged about, you get a percentage. It’s also important to remember that you may have something that someone else wants and vice versa. Cross promotion with guest contributors can be very helpful, as well as promotional trades which can done through sites like Pinterest. Along with that, discount codes and giveaways can also be effective. A little trick: notifying people about different promotions at different times through specific media outlets will encourage people to find you on all of your sites!
  3. Connect– Austin is a great place for companies to grow.  We may not always be able to host a get-together in the Hyatt, but that’s no excuse for cooping ourselves up in our own little studios, shops and home offices. For all of you bloggers, business owners, and crafters out there: growing an online business doesn’t mean it all has to be online. We can meet, relate, and just talk. Let’s get together over coffee and help each other succeed on the great, big Internet!

-Monica

SEO for Etsy sellers: Tips for optimizing your CraftLaunch Site

We’ve been getting a lot of questions from CraftLaunch users and Etsy sellers about search engine optimization, or SEO. Maximizing SEO is really important for website owners and Etsy sellers looking for new customers, but all the information floating around about tags, keywords and formulas can make things a little confusing.

Many users ask us, “Why am I not on the first page of Google search results for the phrase ‘vintage items’?” or “Why is my CraftLaunch site not on the first page of Google search results for keyword {fill in the blank}?” The simple answer is that quality SEO takes time, research and continuous review and tweaking. It takes awhile for Google to search every corner of the Web for links to and updates on your website. That’s why you should start optimizing your CraftLaunch site immediately if you haven’t already – you need to catch up to the competition!

As for the long answer to that question, here are some tips and resources that can help all Etsy sellers improve their SEO.

Resource: Starter guides

Both Google and a company called SEOmoz have some great resources on getting started and understanding SEO. These guides are a must read for anyone serious about getting started with their SEO strategy.

Google: SEO Starter Guide:
http://www.google.com/webmasters/docs/search-engine-optimization-starter-guide.pdf

SEOmoz: The Beginner’s Guide to SEO
http://www.seomoz.org/beginners-guide-to-seo

Resource: CraftLaunch Tutorial

We recently added a new feature for CraftLaunch users that allows customization of the title, description and keyword META tags on most pages. Be sure to read the tutorial and additional resource links to understand more on how to write effective tags.

http://help.craftlaunch.com/kb/getting-started/setting-up-meta-tags-for-your-websites-seo

Tip: Beware of Scammers

Have you had anyone randomly email you and say they have a “special relationship” with Google and can use their “proprietary software” to get you ranked #1 for the keywords of your choice? We are here to reassure you this is untrue – in fact, Google changes its search algorithms frequently to prevent companies from gaming the system and has penalized many prominent Fortune 500 companies for using underhanded tactics.

The following post from Google has some great tips on avoiding SEO scammers and important questions to ask a potential SEO firm.

http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/answer.py?answer=35291

Tip: Focus on the Long Tail:

If you use generic keywords like “stationery,” it can be extremely difficult to achieve a high search ranking because there’s so much competition. Companies like American Stationery and Crane spend piles of money and man hours to rank on the first page of search results. Unless you’re independently wealthy, we suggest you focus on long-tail keywords – i.e. “personalized handmade letterpress stationery.” You are more likely to rank highly for specific, less common terms, and they attract focused consumers who want exactly what you’re selling.

The Long Tail of Keyword Research:
http://www.wordtracker.com/academy/long-tail-keyword-research

Illustrating the Long Tail:
http://www.seomoz.org/blog/illustrating-the-long-tail

We hope this post, along with the linked resources, will help all Etsy sellers and CraftLaunch users increase their SEO performance. Contact us through our support area if you have any questions regarding SEO and your CraftLaunch website – we will do our best to help you. Thanks and happy selling!