First of all I’d like to thank Lynne for allowing me to plaster my ramblings on this blog, cos let’s face it, that’s what I do. I ramble on Twitter on Facebook and of course on the blog and send it out into the ether hoping somebody will read my often chocolate-tainted (sugar high!!) "wisdom", oh and more importantly, praise my creations, leave a comment and tell me, yes, it was worth spending my time on this quilt that almost broke my back when basting it and that cost me a fortune in the making.
So please come and find me on my blog and read some more ramblings or critique my quilts and I’ll love you forever. http://quiltedbliss.blogspot.com/ If that isn’t enough incentive then maybe a GIVEAWAY is? I am currently hosting a giveaway on the blog to celebrate my new ODD OWL collection which I have just added to my Etsy shop. http://www.etsy.com/shop/QuiltedBlissByNadine
A collection of personalized plush baby taggy toys. I had the idea for those after one of my friends who is a new mum told me her daughter always turns clothes inside out to play with the tags. So I had a whole lot of fun making these Odd Owls and added them to Etsy in an attempt to sell cheaper items that might sell better on Etsy than expensive quilts.
And that brings me to my biggest rant of the day: ETSY.
I have joined Etsy on 15 May in an attempt to find good new homes for my quilts and other items. … that, and (let’s be honest here!) to help with my horrendously out of hand fabric addiction and space issues. Our flat is simply too small to host all these lovely quilts and we only have one bed, one couch and no armchair and it hurts me deeply to see the lovely quilts wait patiently to find a new adoptive family (all friends and family already have quilts so giving them as gifts is not an option anymore, not that many anyway). So I took the plunge and listed a whole lot of them on Etsy.
Most of my quilts are entirely hand sewn (I didn’t own a sewing machine until Christmas, yes it was my Xmas present from the other half :) and all of my quilts are reversible, why make one when you can make two, ha?.
This is a hand sewn reversible quilt:
This one is called Amy's Bridges on the top and Fassett Bridges on the back, also hand sewn:
I make a lot of reversible Quilt-as-you-go-Quilts and it took me a while to figure out how to do that properly on the sewing machine. But I managed it in the end. (The quilt at the top is my first successful machine made reversible QAYG quilt.)
This is a hand sewn reversible QAYG quilt:
So you can imagine the quilts are of course not the cheapest items, because I can’t get myself to give them away for nothing. Especially when I have spent several months making them and I paid A LOT for the materials, because those are just so much more expensive in the UK compared to the US.
Naïve as I was, I thought Etsy would be the solution to all my problems, but as it happens in life I am still waiting to sell my first quilt, and it can be very frustrating and disappointing and maybe even demotivating to keep waiting for that validating first sale. I know, I shouldn’t care so much about what other people think, if they like my quilts and if they see their value as I do, because it is what I do and I enjoy it tremendously. But when you wait almost 2 months and still no quilt sold you start to question it.
So Etsy is not that miracle online market where you can sell all your lovely creations and make some money, not unless you're very lucky. As I mentioned earlier it is much more expensive for us Brits to make quilts and I don’t think we could afford to sell our quilts for £35 or £50 like some American sellers do unless we the cost of fabric and the time and effort it took to make something.
90% of buyers on Etsy are Americans, most of my friends and family, even the ones who are crafters and into art, had never even heard of Etsy. In fact, the only people who actually knew what I was talking about when I mentioned my Etsy shop were Americans, so maybe it just isn’t quite as know in the UK and EU. But the problem is, most Americans will shy away from making larger purchases from abroad because of shipping costs and customs charges and if they also get quilts cheaper from US sellers why would they buy from the UK?
So I also try to sell smaller and cheaper items, such as placemats, pencil rolls and fabric baskets:
But Etsy is saturated with fellow artists and crafters and the general public, the customers we need to find to sell our wares, might shop elsewhere, possibly on ebay? If somebody wants to buy a quilt they might not know that they will find loads on Etsy. They might google ‘quilts’ to find something they can buy online, so for Etsy sellers it is crucial that they work on their SEO, Search Engine Optimisation. If google can’t find you, you depend on internal Etsy business and that is fairly thin. So Etsy sellers need to work hard on their marketing: these days I spend more time trying to market my Etsy shop on Pinterest, Stumbleupon, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and the blog of course than I spend on making things.
So let me do just that, shameless self-promotion: Please come find me on the blog and enter my GIVEAWAY for an Odd Owl with a letter of your choice. You can find the instructions here: http://quiltedbliss.blogspot.com/2011/06/giveaway-win-odd-owl.html
And please come and mingle, that’s what all these social networks are about, sharing ideas, having a rant together and also helping each other out. You can do that on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Quilted-Bliss-by-Nadine/204707436234824 and on twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/nadinesaupeart and if you want to see more you can also find me on Flickr and Pinterest if you check my profiles.
My latest (machine sewn) baby quilts on Etsy, I made 2 of those to sell as twin quilts with free personalization in case somebody needs quilts for twins:
Now I am coming to the end and I feel the urge to share a nasty secret with you, and I think if you actually stuck to this and read the whole rant you deserve a nasty secret.
So here it is: … I started quilting because of Winona Ryder (*blushes and ducks in shame*). Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really like Winona Ryder, but I fell in love with the quilts shown in her film ‘An American Quilt’ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0113347/ and I thought, I NEED TO TRY THIS. So that’s what got me into quilting. There, the skeleton if out of the closet. I had never even seen a quilt before that. So unfortunately, unlike some of you (I presume), I didn’t have a grandmother or mother ... who taught me to sew when I was little.
Actually, I’d love to know what got you into quilting. How did you start?
Sorry for the ramblings everyone, but I did warn you, didn’t I?
Lots of Love,