Incorporating hair accessories into your wardrobe happens to be one of the best ways to define one’s personal style. Sometimes a fabulous hair accessory can make or break the outfit. Adding something as small as a hair band to a simple outfit consisting of pants with a plain collar-shirt (maybe to a job interview) exudes a confident demeanor as well as expresses your individuality. You don’t have to be an accessory maniac but don’t hold yourself back from experimenting with your hair and finding out what works for you. Good accessories are handy in a wardrobe. A scarf or a hair band may keep your hair from flying all over the place before you reach your 9 a.m. lecture. A hair clip can push those bangs off your face. A brightly colored flower can bring out your eyes. A nice hat can either provide shade from the sun or keep you warm on a chilly night. A cute little barrette gives out a flirty vibe for a night out in town!

Sometimes the finishing touch to an outfit that needs just a little bit of tweaking usually requires a hair accessory to complete the look. Trying new things is always tricky, but the key thing to remember is that accessories can be mixed-and-matched. This enables you to wear the same outfit twice but look completely different by simply switching up the accessories! So next time before leaving the house, take a quick look at your appearance in the mirror. What seems to be missing? Be daring. Surprise yourself. Who knows, that Marimekko-inspired print on the scarf tied around your pony-tail may lead the women on the subway to strike up a conversation with you by complimenting your style. Accessories come in many weird shapes and sizes and tend to compliment short or long hair, be it wavy or spikey! Online shopping sites are fabulous sources were one can search for snazzy little hair trinkets, because long gone are the days of mall-shopping and Claire’s!

Read the res of the post on our new blog here.

This is a guest article written by Sana Salam on the rationale behind using blogs as a promotion medium for your products. Sometimes its not enough to just list your products on an online store, promoting them is as important. You have to get the word out to others so that they can be directed to your stores. Without getting the word out, there will be no traffic. We’ll continue this series with tips on how to effectively use Twitter and other social networks for promoting your stores. 

Read the full article here

Every girl dreams of owning the perfect wardrobe. Each item they purchase only brings them closer to achieving their goal. However, money doesn’t grow on trees and designer pieces cost an arm and a leg. So where does one look? I love bright things and a good bargain. My favorite place to look for exciting new additions to my walk-in closet is a vintage store. One of the best things about shopping for thrifted or vintage items is that there is a guarantee that the girl sitting next to you in calculus won’t be wearing the same thing as you.

There is also your own personal touch when it comes to layering your pretty goods. You can mix and match different pieces and create your own mini wardrobe-remix. Vintage stores can be a nightmare for some people. You walk inside and don’t know where to begin. There are rows and rows of clothing on racks and shoes on the floor and scarves drapes everywhere! You begin with a list. Keep in mind what exactly do you need and ask a salesperson for help in directing you towards your sizes. Thanks to our super-connected lives, it’s easier to find great products and deals online.

Stay determined and you’ll have the perfect wardrobe with just the right kind of sassy accessories to spice up your daily outfits! I’ve compiled a list of my favourite vintage must-haves with some links/resources to several fashion blogs written by beautiful and successful women who love shopping vintage. (Credits are at the end of the post)

1- The denim skirt.

From KARLA’S CLOSETYou can dress it up or down and wear it with long sweater or a cropped cardigan.

Read the rest of the article here to check out the complete list of the 52 beautiful vintage items.

Hi all,

We’ve switched our domain to Come and join us on our journey together!


SoapyBlessings has a buy 2 and get 1 free offer on her store items. She has some really well crafted items that every soap lover should try to get their hands on. Here’s some of her pricing advice to new sellers in the market:

Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty of Soapy Finances

On the days that I make soap, I admit that I get very excited in anticipation of the day. Because I work full time at a secular job, I don’t devote my time entirely to soaping, but have to set aside a time in the week for it. The time I set aside is a real treat for me and I look forward to that day that I have set aside immensely.

So, at this point at least, making soap is not my method of making ends meet, not even close. It IS a desire of mine to make that a goal, however. With that thought in mind, I chose to review what my costs are to make my soap, and how much I am making as profit on my soap…or am I making a profit?

As with most new little start up businesses, and this is a business for me, they don’t always make money initially. In the first few years of opening my little soap business, I showed a loss because of buying equipment and getting enough supply to make it viable. Then, it was drawing customers to my soaps and building a customer base. It all takes time. Now, I am at a point where I am breaking even (whoo hooo!) I am learning to make the most of my soaping methods. Still, I would certainly like to do much better than “break even”.

It was time for me to review how much it is costing me to make my soap. Am I charging enough for this amazing stuff? Am I counting in all my cost factors? So, I began to break it all down…the results were just a bit eye-opening for me. I already know basically how much soap I will make this year based on customer purchases and trends from the previous year, so base my cost per estimated bars I will make.

Here is how I broke it down:
I added up the cost of the supplies I use most often in my soap per batch, such as oils, sodium hydroxide; the basic stuff.
I added up the cost of the “extra” supplies that I most often use per batch, accessory stuff like, calendula blossoms, rose petals, fragrance or essential oils, oxides, micas and other fun little additions to the basic soap formula.
I added my basic cost of packaging each bar of soap.
I averaged the yearly cost of supplies that I use regularly, such as soap molds, wax paper, bowls, scales etc and broke it down per bar.
I added basic prep and production time per bar of soap (like paying myself wages for making them)…about 1/2 the amount per hour that I make on my “usual” secular job.
I added Paypal fees, listing fees, fees when the soap is sold, and average per year craft showing fees per bar of soap.

I did not add cost of electricity, sewer, water, phone, internet access, although I should if I were to be more accurate.

The end result?

At my current charges per bar of soap, I only make about $1.62 per average size (4 to 4.5 oz) bar! That is paying myself wages. So, this little extra money would be the stuff I would put in the my savings for my next vacation?

At that rate, it will be years before I get a vacation!

Could I cut more corners and make more $$$? Absolutely! It would take some additional sacrifices of freshness of the oils I purchase and quality of my product to do it though. If I bought more bulk product, it would certainly be much less expensive. The down side is that I don’t make enough product right now to ensure freshness of my oils if I bought bulk, so resort to making smaller batches at this time. There are a lot of other small ways I could cut costs and I am still in the process of streamlining and revamping some of the things I do.

Doing this was a great reality check for me even though I already kind of knew it based on keeping decent records that I wasn’t making the thousands that I always envision.

BUT…It won’t keep me from continuing to make soap. This is wayy too much fun!

An additional thought:

Selling products effectively is not only about listing them online – it also about how you reach out to prospective buyers. Reaching out to online communities who love handmade stuff, networking with the cottage soap-making industry for being a part of their supply chain, forming affiliations with complementary products (like bathroom towels), promoting your store on Twitter, Facebook and other social sites, supplying limited quotas per month to retail outlets (via partnerships).

Soon enough the money will start coming in, and it will become more than just a passion and hobby.

Best of luck to SoapyBlessings and all other store owners on Silkfair!

byhand-logo-largeByHand is an ideal resource for those who buy,  sell and support handmade.  We were so impressed with the efforts of its founders that we thought our users might want to know more.   Silkfair interviewed Rebecca Dillon for an introduction to the site.  The interview was both personally insightful and informative.  The handmade revolution continues, read on.

Tell us about the story of and how it came to fruition. was conceived and created by my husband, Adam. Frustrated with handmade venues that seemed to advertise only to sellers and not to buyers as well as social networking sites that seemed steeped in nothing but seller spam, he wanted to create an environment where artists could showcase their work and at the same time really get seen. We feel ByHand reflects an answer to these issues. Front page blog posts are carefully monitored for content and we also actively advertise to buyers as the bulk of advertising.

Who are the folks behind the scenes at and what are their backgrounds?

M. Adam Kendall is the creator, designer and programmer for ByHand. He currently works full time as a programmer for an independent company in Arlington, VA. However, his background growing up was very different from this and another reason that ByHand was created. Adam actually came from a lower income family with three other brothers and a sister. His dad lost his job at one point so he is very familiar with what it is like to struggle through a hardship. He also, unfortunately, remembers what government cheese and powdered milk taste like. Adam’s mom was a seamstress who worked at her craft to pull in extra money to help support the family. It’s because of her that Adam gained an appreciation for arts and crafts and the reason he knows how to sew. He also learned woodworking from his dad and metalworking from his grandfather. You can read Adam’s whole story on ByHand under Our Story.,com_content/Itemid,272/id,1342/view,article/

Myself, Rebecca D. Dillon, I’m from a pretty average American family. I grew up as part of the struggling middle class in the 80s with a mother who was always trying to give my brother and I whatever we wanted and therefore living a bit beyond our means. My mom was always doing arts and crafts with me and taught me how to bake. I attended college locally at Roanoke College where I studied a bit of everything including photography, screen printing, graphic design, pottery, 3-D design, drawing, painting, art history, poetry and even writing. It took me seven years, but I eventually managed a BA in fine arts. I do a lot of the basic customer support for ByHand members, the advertising and marketing. I also work up the artist features and interviews.

Together, husband and wife make a pretty good team.

Why handmade? Why do you think supporting handmade is important?

Handmade is the backbone of America. Pretty much everyone who immigrated to America came here to work for themselves doing whatever it was they knew how to do. Handmade is [also a piece of] women’s history, [including] baking, cooking, sewing, and crafting – all those things women did before they were allowed to do anything else.  Before we could work and actually make a living at it and before we could vote, it was a woman’s skill at these things that helped us through the wars and clothed a lot of families through the ’50s. So, handmade is really important. It’s part of America’s culture. We should be supporting artists here at home and abroad who work for themselves, not a factory that mass produces items at the expense of their workers.

Additionally, the artists who produce handmade typically care about what they are making. They are going to be more stringent about the quality of their products than someone who is working on a line everyday for
someone else.

How many members do you have on

We are right at a month old since publicly launching and we currently have 2, 071 registered users.

How do you choose your artisan item of the day and your featured artisans?

I personally choose the artisan item of the day at this time. I select from two different pools. One is members who are active on ByHand. The other is just random members listed in our Artisan Directory. I basically go through and look for items that I feel are good products and have good pictures from these two pools. I try to include items from every category and every price range.

The Featured Artisan is pretty straight forward. Anyone who makes handmade items can apply by visiting the pinned topic on applying in our Links and Opportunities forum. Basically I just ask you have a decent number of items in your shop and good photographs. You then only need to submit a photograph of yourself – because we want to make this personal – along with several paragraphs about who you are and about your craft.

Let’s say that I am an artisan and I am brand new to What is the best way to navigate the site and use it to its fullest?

To use all of the features on ByHand you need to be a member. So signing up is number one. Registration is simple and free. You can then find everything you need by visiting the main tabs at the top of every page.

Community includes the forums and clubhouses – both places that offer a way to share ideas with others and get any help you might need. You’ll also find Site Help there which gives you a basic run down of all ByHand’s features and how to use them.

Shopping is primarily for buyers, but many artisans love this section as well. This is where you go to get to our Handmade Search, member created Spotlights, to enter our handmade contests, find members in the Artisan
Directory, and most importantly Wishlists. Wishlists are perfect for buyers as they allow members to add an item to their their list on ByHand from any of eight handmade venues without ever leaving the site they’re on. Wishlisting is as simple as one click from your toolbar and that’s it. ByHand users can then go to their Wishlists and create individual lists from their items as well as email their list to friends and family. The lists are a great tool for artists because every list that gets sent links back to the list on ByHand. This brings more buyers to ByHand and gives all of our artists a better chance of getting additional exposure. Of course it’s even better if they’re on someone’s list!

Our Story is where you can read the background behind ByHand, find buttons for your website and our invite feature.

My Stuff is the big deal though if you are an artist. This is where you can find and fill out your profile, create Spotlights of your work to be seen in Window Shopping throughout the site, write blog entries for the community blog, and manage your Wishlists!

ByHand also provides a run down of all the features available at the top of the homepage under Benefits for co-op artisans.

What does one have to do to become a member? Do you only restrict users to handmade artisans?

To become a member on ByHand all you have to do is register. It’s as easy as that.

There are no restrictions on joining ByHand. Everyone is welcome. You can be an artist, a venue, a reseller, or just buyer. We welcome everyone to become a member and celebrate handmade. The only restriction we have set forth is that only handmade artisans can list their shops in the Artisan Directory.

With the current downturn in retail spending and the economy in a recession, what have you noticed in trends for handmade products and online selling sites? Is handmade suffering or thriving?

Online sales for handmade seem to be up. I’m not sure if this is because more people are turning to the internet to supplement their income in poor economy or if it’s because it’s easier to find and buy handmade with all of the options that are rapidly becoming available. I know that for me locally my soap sales dropped 50% the last quarter of 2008. However, my online sales for soap made up for that 50% that I didn’t make.

That being said, I think it’s easier to sell handmade items that are $20 and under. I also believe that more luxury oriented items, such as fine art, are currently suffering in this economy with sales that way down overall. So, in my opinion I think it all balances out. If you try to appeal to all price ranges in your market you can succeed at selling online even in this economy. It does take a lot of work, though.

Tell us your favorite part about managing and being a part of

Definitely getting to meet new artists and finding so many wonderful handmade items I never knew existed! My own personal wishlist just keeps growing!

What is a typical day for Rebecca Dillon and

Well, I  sleep in too late, stay up WAY too late, and neglect my soap business. I don’t do things in any particular order really. I am constantly doing a little bit of everything. I’m catching up on email, writing up an artist interview, changing the featured artisan, looking for new places to advertise, networking, writing out interview proposals for online venues and shopping based blogs, searching out new ways to market ByHand, participating in the forums, helping out with any problems members may have, writing content for the front page, monitoring front page blog articles – basically whatever is needed during any point in time. I am currently devoting 8 – 10 hours a day to ByHand. Adam, on the other hand, is constantly programming behind scenes from the time he gets off work ’til the wee hours into the next morning. Sometimes he provides support or fixes a bug during his lunch, as well.

What inspires you as an artisan and as a handmade supporter?

As an artist, just the fact that I’m able to do something creative. I think it’s in my genes. As a supporter, knowing that I’m able to give back and that I’m helping out someone else who is just like me, is able
to do what they love to do.

Describe some of the unique features such as the window shopping feature and the clubhouses.

Window Shopping is a fun way to browse. Basically, Window Shopping is set up like a Spotlight with nine items but with all of the items being random as they are chosen by the computer from all of the member created
Spotlights. You are shown a set of items. Want to see more? You just click ANOTHER and you’re given a whole new set of items. Click ANOTHER again and you get another new se, and on and on. We also have an improvised version of Window Shopping at the top of every page on ByHand. There’s not a button to click to change the items, but they change every time a user changes the page or refreshes his /her browser. Additionally, anyone can add the Window Shopping code to their own website or blog in the same way they can Spotlights and then they have their own little Window Shopping feature.

Clubhouses are like groups or teams, but since we wanted to create a more personal site, I got to name them Clubhouses since clubhouses are, well, where friends play! Any member can create a Clubhouse on any topic. It can be venue specific, artisan specific, location specific, or just because! Clubhouses can be set to allow anyone to join or moderate. Additionally, every Clubhouse has its own forum where members can discuss anything they like.

How do you foresee the growth of Where do you think it will be in five years?

I don’t think either of has really thought that far ahead. I’d love for ByHand to continue growing as it has in its first month. That would just be fantastic. After all, our goal is to help artists and if we continue to grow and members continue to come back to use ByHand we have to be doing something right. It’d be great to be at a place in five years, though, where we’re able to put ads for ByHand in major print publications and our buyers are outnumbering our sellers!

Any other comments or features of which new users should be made aware?

There are always new features. Adam is constantly programming member suggestions for features or improving on existing ones. Just this past week he added a new venue to the spotlight, wishlist, and handmade
search features that’s dedicated to handmade edibles.

He also made it possible for members to blog on ByHand then automatically be able to import their blog entry right to their blogger/blogspot or wordpress blog. Additionally, members can now upload a banner for their ByHand blogs and he’s also working on a way to allow users to customize their blog sidebar as well.

I’d also like to point to out that a new directory was just added for Supplies and Services – this is for commercial suppliers, services, venues, etc. It’s not free like the Artisan Directory. It does cost $5 month for a listing, however, all funds from this directory go back into advertising for ByHand. We are and will remain non-profit for as long as it’s possibly feasible. We had been paying for many of our ads out of pocket, but we are hoping this new directory will help to reduce that burden. Additionally, we also offer advertising for anyone through Project Wonderful ads. These ads can be found throughout all of ByHand except the forums. All funds from PW ads go back into advertising through PW.

Currently we are not recouping any expenses despite several upgrades – a new server, increased bandwidth, and buyer targeted advertising – on our end as that is our gift to the community. We hope to get it back someday
in karma.

1. Clean the floors. It will be a good idea to start from the interior. Scrub the floor using a mop cleansed with detergent and anti-bacterial (perhaps even a little bit of vinegar), to bring out the sleek and shine look on your vinyl floors. You can apply a sealer to enhance the shine on your floor for this spring.

2. Clean those corners of the home that don’t get their due cleaning attention – walls, cabinets, racks, tables. Brush off the dust from them and then use a sponge drenched in liquid detergent in a bucket of water to complete the cleaning. Dry it up using a dry cloth.

3. Clean ceiling and light fixtures: Use an all-purpose cleaner with a sponge and a dry cloth for the final finishing. However, brush off any dust beforehand. A great tip to help you really clean it up will be that when you are brushing off the dust, start at the top and then gradually work your way down.

4. Clean up the doormats and carpets: To get rid of the greasy stains, use talcum powder or baking soda and leave it on for a minimum of 7 hours, after which you can vacuum it. For cleaning up stains, always use a white cloth.

5.   Once the cleaning is done, organize your cupboards, drawers, desks, shelves – take out everything which is unnecessary. Old clothes, shoes, appliances – everything which you know you won’t use in the future can go. Use labeled baskets and boxes to organize the rest of the stuff in an orderly manner.

6. Organize a garage sale: Of course once you are done with the exhaustive cleaning of the inside, there will be a pile of apparently useless stuff. What you can do is organize a garage sale and make money out of what you don’t need anymore. A good idea will be to have a multi-family yard sale, with like items grouped together. The setting could be in a U shape as this would give your customers ample room to walk and choose. A good idea would be to cut prices and offer great incentives, such as buy one get one free, or a drop in prices to boost up the sales.

7.   If you have certain things that you’re not sure of how to dispose off, like old jewelry or collectibles, you can sell them on online stores or auction sites.

You can get the help of your family members – divide the chores amongst each other. For a prim and proper household, start the stringent enforcement of a few “laws” you’d like your family to follow. For example, Dirty shoes to be taken off at the door step so that the floor is not made messy. Or putting the keys in the box placed at the corner of the room and nowhere else. A regular cleaning schedule would also help you a lot in maintaining the fresh look of your house this spring!

Deciding the right price for your product is indeed important. You cannot afford to overcharge your customer and yet you cannot undervalue your own efforts either. There’s a very thin line there. So what do you need to do to fix the right price for your product? Here are a few tips:

1. First of all, calculate the price of the raw materials that you have purchased. It would be an excellent idea to make a database of a spread sheet for this. Also, add in any overhead charges you wish to take in to account, such as taxes, bills maintenance costs. You can use to get your hands on some cheap raw materials.

2. Now you need to estimate your hourly rate – this comes from the opportunity cost of your time. To calculate this, consider the following questions. If you were working, how much would you be making? How many things do you have to sacrifice to take that time out – what non-monetary price do you have to pay. Once you have the hourly value, multiply it by the approximate amount of time it took you to make that product (including the initial brainstorming or idea generation time).

3. If you make things in batches, then add up all the costs and then divide them by the total number of products made during that period. Add your desired profit margin to it and viola you have your ballpark figure.

4. Is your product unique or one that is available freely. If you think that your product has an element of exclusivity to it, then you might want to charge it higher than what is the average price. The customer would still be attracted to it.

5. On the other hand, if your product is not that exclusive, you must not charge it more than the market price. You’ll have to reduce costs to still be able to earn some profit. If you’re selling handmade items, then the non-exclusivity will be become a non-issue. You can compare prices on . Or you might want to check out the category of hand made products being offered on other websites, such as where there is an entire section on handmade items you can use to compare prices.

6. If you are donating money to a charity fund or such social cause from the price of your product, make sure you highlight that as well. Such offers always help attract customers. For example, you can market it up on .

Fabric painting is fun and creative. If you like painting then you’ll enjoy making cool patterns or designs on your t-shirts or dresses. You can make your own t-shirts, decorate cushions and pillow cases. Make funky and cool jackets and bags.

Here is the guide to help you do fabric painting. Let’s first cover what you need before you start.

What You Need to Start your Fabric Painting Project:

  • Fabric Paints
  • Fabric Brushes
  • Sponge/stencils
  • Plastic sheet to prevent paint to prevent paint seeking into other side of surface
  • Masking Tape
  • Water and water container
  • Palette to mix colors

Step One: Clean and dry your fabric

Before you start working on your fabric, make sure its clean. Its always a good idea to wash your fabric, dry it and then iron it to remove wrinkles. Make sure to tape the fabric on smooth straight surface so it won’t ruin your designing pattern.

Step Two: Choose the appropriate Paints

Nowadays there are several options available in the market for fabric painting. There are fabric painting tubes, fabric painting pens, pain pots and brushes. You can check this out for more information on paints. This will give you clear idea. Make sure the paint you choose suits the fabric. Liquid paints work best on silks… whereas mat pearl paint from tubes stand out on black.

Step Three: Select the Painting Method

Just like there are number of paints available, there are several painting methods. Some so simple that even kids can do it and some require expertise. It’s just like regular painting, there is water coloring, charcoal, oil painting. Similarly you can give several kind of painting effects on your shirt or fabric.

Step Four: Choose the Designing Pattern

That’s the most fun part in fabric painting, choosing the design you like. You can do free hand (without any design laid out in front of you) if you’re good in arts and crafts. Or you can carefully trace the design through transfer pen.

Step Five: Apply the design

Once the design pattern is chosen, paints are ready to be applied, apply the design on the fabric then. Go slowly while painting your piece; apply one color at a time. Always start with lighter colors. Mae long strokes for a free hand look. If you are painting a flower, start the petals from inside out with the lightest shade of color that you want. Keep adding colors as you go.

Step Six: Once Finished Wait for it to Dry

Once your artwork is finished, allow it to dry. It’s a good idea to let it dry for a few hours so the colors will be thoroughly set. You also have to iron it from the backside for making the colors permanent. Before using the fabric for wearing, using or gifting, make sure it’s washed, clean and dry.

Bonus Tip: Fabric that is 100 percent cotton is the best for fabric painting. Make sure that it’s tightly woven and do iron the fabric well before starting or else it will be a havoc on your design.

Seth has the magical art of saying deep deep things in the fewest of words. He said in one of his interviews once “ book is short because I couldn’t have made it shorter..” (rephrasing). He has some nice things to say here:

Holiday shopping guide:

The decisions you make with your hard-earned money this year will have more impact than ever before. So put your money where your mouth is.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

1. Buy handmade items from people you like.

2. Don’t buy gift cards. It’s lazy and sort of dumb.

3. Don’t buy from big brands or big stores that don’t care about you, or that act in ways you don’t applaud. There are very smart alternatives in almost every category.

4. When in doubt, buy digital items. Even better, give a donation and make many people happy.

5. Realize that when you’re going to buy from Amazon, buying from a lens with a red ribbon on top will earn significant money for charity with no effort on your part.

Hugs are an underrated substitute.”

Your online presence matters as much as your offline presence, especially if its more than just keeping in touch with friends. All over the world, people have recognized the true potential of internet for their business and are marketing their business globally. Online marketing has revolutionized over the recent years, businesses are thriving online and getting bigger and better and not just any specific type of business, be it an antique business or latest gadgets, you’ll find thousands of buyers and sellers. It’s really easy to make money by sitting at home if you have a strong online presence. Here are the twenty best possible tips to help you not only pave your way on internet but also guides you how to set yourself up nicely in cyber world:

1. Blog

Start a blog, it will help you connect to the potential buyers and sellers. Suppose you have a handicraft business, you would want people to know why they should buy your craft. You can convince them by uploading pictures of various handicrafts made by you. Write your story about how you got the idea and how it will make their home or office look pretty. Interacting with the potential buyers will it make it easier to understand what your client’s really want. Blogging is a great way to build community, establish your reputation and position yourself as authentic sellers or buyers.

2. Twitter

Twitter is just like blogging, only on the micro level. Since its short and to the point, people read and follow more so twitter away about what you have to offer. Don’t just drone on about what you do, connect and share how you do it. People who owe small business should be thankful to the Twitter creator because it’s a great tool for marketing without costing thousands of dollars.

3. Facebook

Set yourself an account on Facebook, create a snappy profile. Post photos, videos of your creations, products or whatever you’re selling. Create a group, invite people to join, interact, answer their queries, make friends and earn their trust by showing that you’re not just here to market, you’re here to give value and build trust and Facebook is a great social network to connect and increase your credibility.

4. LinkedIn

Linkedln is another great networking tool to connect, only on the moreprofessional level. If you’re into retro craft, you can check out other retro craft businesses on LinkedIn. Join groups to improvise and establish credibility.

5. Ask a friend

If your friend liked the nice piece of handicraft you made, she can certainly spread the word to her neighbors, colleagues, family. And what is the best way to spread the word in no time? That’s right, its the internet. Ask your friends to join facebook groups and ask them to ask their friends to join the group. Build a network through this, everyone is connected to everyone in some way, utilize this connection for your benefits.

6. Self Googling

Self googling is the best way to track what people say about you and how many results come up when you search your name. You can analyze if the results are accurate and people are in line with your brand – if you find something negative, take it as free consulting and work on it. You can also start working on the positive aspects of your brand, pushing it to the forefront.

7. Google Alerts

Google Alerts is a service that allows you to follow certain keywords and names. It is a free service that small business owners can avail to their use and see what has been said about their services or products. Or you can use it to follow keywords of your interest.

8. Claim Your Name

A website of your name or of your business name makes a lot of difference. If you have a jewelry business and you have online groups marketing your jewelry business and yet no website then its like selling stuff without a shop.

9. Create a ‘Branded’ E-Signature

Brand your e-signature. For example:



Jewelry Expert

10. Be Socially More Active

Just joining social network won’t help much. Participate, initiate conversations online, and join in the discussion. Be more active and livelier. Engage people in deep discussions and conversations. Its good to be open so people will find it easier to relate and talk to you. Put a friendly human face to your business. Always reply to queries, always be polite. It literally pays to be socially more active.

11. Online Career Portfolio

You know you’re good. How would you let other people know how good you are? By creating an attractive online career portfolio. Showcase your crafts, customer’s comments and what you have to sell.

12. Join, take part and create Forums

The best way to be socially active online is to join forums. You can also create forums on different topics such as ‘how its like to work from home’ or ‘how home business can be beneficial to you’ and invite others to participate. You’ll be surprised by the response you’ll get if you lead the discussion in the right way.

13. Hire a Freelancer

If you think that you may be good in business but words fail you. Hire a freelancer online on or, you can hire a freelancer for copywriting, resource for legalities, payment systems, managing staff, managing to do lists so that it will be less of a headache for you.

14. Create Hype

Increase your sales by creating hype. Give away free gifts, discounts and vouchers, give surprise wins and lure people into buying by showcasing the best things about your product.

15. Give Value

No matter how good you are at social marketing, no matter how much sale you extracted. If you’re not selling the value you promise, you’ll be ruining the trust of your customers and without trust of customers, online shopping cannot survive.You need to add value in the product you’re selling, give value and receive the trust of the customers. With trust, build loyalty.

16. Share

Share your ideas; it will develop the relationship with other people. Promote relatively new people and their business. Haven’t you heard about good karma? Do good and good will come back to you.

17. E-mail (but dont spam!)

You have a branded email signature, very good, now email. E-mail marketing is a effective tool to promote your small business but make sure that you’re not spamming. Email to friends and ask them to spread the word. Join groups and email on those groups (make sure your email is relevant).

18. Attract the Right People

You’re socially active and very popular online, however it wouldn’t matter much if you’re not active among the right kind of people. You’re bound to get more response from people in a group called ‘art lovers’ for your arts and crafts business rather than from Book lovers group. Target the right audience for the growth of your business.

19. Seek, avail, create Opportunities

Internet is cyber world of opportunities. Opportunities won’t just knock your door or your inbox to be precise, you need to seek them. See no opportunity? Well, create them for yourself. Go out and meet prospects. Network on social sites. Create initiatives.

20. Sell on

If your blog is read by the right kind of people, it matters. It matters to interact with right kind of people. You can do all this on which is an ideal portal if you have home based small business. Increase you sales by registering on this portal. Silk Fair is really a good opportunity for many people and several are already availing this website to their benefit.

There are people who love to shop for hours and there are those who would consider it a waste of time. Shopaholics love wide variety, non-shopaholics rather go and purchase instead of browsing around. Online shopping is the combination of both; convenience and wide variety, just a click away. So why aren’t many people that enthusiastic about online shopping? Simple answer is due to lack of trust factor, though the situation is slowly changing with more and more people willing to do shopping online.

If I have a feeling that the grocery store near my home is not selling quality stuff, I would rather purchase my groceries from another store even if it’s farther away from my home. That’s what you call trust based shopping, trusting someone to give you good value for your money. Merchants who are particular about developing trust-based relationship with their customers instead of just selling their products are far more successful. They enjoy the comforts of what you call‘customer loyalty’. It’s the same thing when it comes to online shopping, all about developing trust for successful customer based relationship.

When online shopping was first introduced, people were reluctant about giving their private confidential information such as credit card numbers for the fear of its exploitation or fraud. Lack of internet experience and uncertainty about quality of products did also play their parts. E-commerce sites such as EBay, Amazonactually are the pioneers who not only overcame these obstacles but also set a trend of online shopping. They made sure not to disclose the customer’s information, respected their privacy and showed efficiency and quality. Many new online shopping portals are focusing on gaining trust of their shoppers first and introducing innovative ideas to compel the shoppers to come again and again to them like the site This site is making online shopping an experience of its own by focusing on earning the trust of their customers and allowing buyers and sellers to get comfortable with each other.

How do you earn the trust of shoppers in online world? Plenty of things count but basic factors are:

Product images: In order to overcome the hesitations of buyers,you need to be able to make them feel immediately comfortable by showing them images of the product from different angles. Having pictures of the product that shows best features and basic summary makes things easy for customers to choose.

Extensive catalogs: Availability of different varieties and choices is important to allow people to browse through your stores until the find something that they like.Having the ability to look at multiple items gives them the feeling of window-shopping or walking through an actual physical store.

Display your products on sites that are user-friendly: Websites with terrific presentation and ease of use give the right impression to the prospective shows summary of preview that makes online shopping experience more convenient. It’s a site with stylish theme and very easy to use interface that gives maximum functionalities to its users. RSS feeds on stores, listings, blogs and forums, availability of bookmarking tool. Complete control over html and CSS and customized templates capability for sellers. For shoppers, they have the facility to shop by brand, technique and even by colors.

Competitive Prices: The basic trust factor depends on money. If the customers are willing to spend money then they want quality. Nobody would buy 20 dollars worth of jewelry for 100 dollars. Buyers should be able to trust that you are valuing the items properly and they are not being ripped off. Online marketing is already getting very competitive and hundreds of promotions are happening everyday on cyber world. Giving back value is what really counts.

List on a site that values security: No matter how attractive or how user friendly site is, if it is not secure then it’s of no use. knows this rule very well. It’s a certified Mcafee Hackersafe, provide secure SSL encryption best in protection, and gives multi-layered encryption protection of financial data. It’s a shopping portal where security is foremost for both the shoppers and sellers.

Interactive Approach: A friendly salesperson makes a huge difference in earning the loyalty of customers. If I went to a store not knowing what I really want to buy or if that will suit me, salesperson’s guidance would definitely be great for me. In online shopping, it’s very easy to be confused over ‘is that what I really want’ or ‘will that earring suit me?’. It is healthy for both customers and clients to come in contact with each other because then you would know what your customers want and they would be given assurance that the product they’re buying is worth their money and of good quality.

Social media aspects – conversation marketing: Building relationships with prospects is easier today because of social networks like Twitter and Facebook. The barrier between prospects and sellers has literally been broken down so now they can interact with each other on more human level. In order to build the trust of your users, you should share resources, write thought-provoking blog posts, assist them, join their social networks and be someone they can relate to. Social media plays an important role in bringing trust-based shopping into existence.

Reaching out to customers is a true interactive approach. Answering their questions satisfyingly makes them happy. In online shopping, social networking tools such as facebook, twitter, blogs are great way to interact. has its own blog where customers can read, share their queries and look out for the new upcoming sales and promotions. This site also maintains customer/seller feedback history for convenience as well.

So interactive approach, security, reasonable prices, easy-to-load pages, wide variety, attractive design and user friendly aspects are the classic features that make online shopping a trust based shopping experience.

Amongst the hundreds of  gemstones – there are some that are associated with months of the year, known as birthstones. Birthstones are considered to bring about opulence, fortune and good health. There are two categories of birthstones – modern and traditional. The traditional ones include birthstones of Jewish, Arabic, Hindu, Roman and Talismanic origins. Now around 5 months have different gemstones as the birth stones, than the original ones. 

There are 12 different gemstones for each month, as you can see in the chart on the right.

We talked about earlier on how to give thoughtful gifts. Birthstone jewelery is a perfect gift to give out for special occasions. Since the stones can be cut off in different sizes an elegant touch can be given to them. All the more vibrancy is added to this jewelery item by the color of the stones. Birthstones are eye-catching and trendy as well. Check out the following birthstone jewelery pieces offered by Simply4u some of the Silkfair Community members.

Amethyst is the stone for February. This gemstone bracelet is eye-catching, impressive and utterly beautiful. The different shades that come about in the big cuts of the gemstones give this bracelet all the more vibrancy.

Another example of birthstone madness shows how intricate cuts and designs can liven up this birthstone jewelery. The necklace is modeled along the lines of an intriguing contrast and the abstract grape motif casting makes it all the more appealing.

So in short, birthstone jewelery will not only liven up your jewelery collection but as a gift it would be a perfect item, for you can personalize it according to the month’s stone and with the myriad designs present out there, really make an impression on the receiver.

Presentation counts! Especially if you’re using your website, blog or online store for promoting your business. It boost your business if you can upload great pictures of your products and for that, you need to take great pictures.

Photography is an art, it’s about creating beauty and enhancing the strong point and (unlike what people think) its really not that difficult to take pictures that instantly grabs the reader’s attention. Here are few simple tips to make your photos look superb.


Get to know your Camera:

It’s very common to see that people don’t even know how to handle cameras without wobbling them. Shaky hands mean blurry pictures. Handle your camera gently, be steady when you take picture, take time and focus. Use tripods for stability. Know your camera, especially shutter speed and aperture. Explore options in your camera and be familiar with it because more options can lead to generating innovative ideas for you. A lot of digital cameras these days offer special lighting and color adjustments. If you don’t have a good camera, save up some money to buy one – its an investment in your business. 

Be your own Picture Director:


Don’t rush when taking your pictures. Try different perspectives, add some props, re-arrange little things to make big differences. Take multiple photos, get closer, father away. One picture amongst many is bound to be a gem for you because photography is a game of odds. The more photos you take, the better are the chances to get a good one.

Great Light Makes Great Pictures:

Great object with improper lighting results in bad photos. Mediocre object with great lighting has a higher chance of getting a beautiful picture. Use long shadows to emphasize the subject of your photo. Early daylight or evening shadows add a lure in picture so make sure that lighting is proper when taking the picture.

Use Proper Background:

Plain background is heavily favored among the best photographers because cluttered background distracts the focus while the plain background accentuates the product. Stark background emphasizes the beauty of the object and makes the object the center of the focus. It’s not a must to use a plain background but if you want people to see how pretty your product is then don’t distract the attention by adding clutter. Appropriate background enhances the value of your picture.

Fill the Picture with the Subject:

If people are searching for the object of interest in your picture then this means its not a good picture. Subject of your picture (i.e. your product) should instantly grab the attention. Fill your picture with the subject, focus on it, and make it look sharp. Lock the focus on it.

Use Tools to Make Your Pictures Beautiful:

Make Photoshop your best friend. Its very easy to use Photoshop once you get the hang of it and there are several tutorials available on internet. Microsoft Image Editor is another useful tool. You can change the colors according to your liking; delete things you don’t like, use attractive graphics and make the photo look pretty by just tweaking things here and there. For simpler photo editing, you can also try some great online photo editing tools like

So next time you’re click your camera away, keep these tips in mind and get the results that you want.

The trend of accumulating vintage items is increasing day by day, because of their rarity, style and not to forget durability. The most popular vintage item of course is clothing. You can find something just as trendy as that new designer dress, yet unique enough to awe everyone. However, since your vintage items have been passed on through the ages, you need to take a few steps to preserve them, be it vintage comforters or clothes:

Cleaning vintage items:

Whenever using any vintage item, clean it first. For linens, pillow cases and clothing, you should treat any dirty spots with a spot cleaner, such as a mixture of salt and white vinegar. To be extra careful with your item, wash it in hot water. Do check how old the cloth is. If it’s comparatively newer, then wash it in hot water at a gentle speed for the washer. On the other hand, if you are not too sure about your fabric, consult a dry cleaner. Keep in mind that vintage items are usually delicate. Check on a part of your fabric before washing it entirely. Also, do not wring it, but squeeze your fabric gently.

While dealing with vintage jewelery, make sure your cleaning detergent does not contain alcohol, acid or ammonia. Never use the cleaner directly on to the jewelery. First and foremost inspect it for any loose stones and gently dust off the dust with a tooth brush. Apply the cleaner on to a cloth and then rub it on the jewelery for cleaning it up completely.

Storing Vintage Items:

Keeping in view the long life your items have had and from the era they might belong to, you have to be very particular about their storage. For fabrics, make sure they are clean. To avoid wrinkling of your fabric, roll it instead of folding. Ideally, while storing fabrics the temperature should be in between 65-70 degrees with a humidity level of say, 82%. Do not store your fabric in completely enclosed places, or in wooden closets. Store them in acid-free boxes and put up a muslin cloth between the fabric and the wood to avoid any damages that might occur. Avoid the use of chemical mothballs, as it can react and damage the color of your cloth. Use lavender balls instead.

While dealing with vintage jewelery or any other metal product, be even more careful. Make sure not too much moisture is present and the pieces do not rub against each other. Avoid using metal or wooden containers as the chemicals emitting from them can damage your jewels. Use soft pouches with cloth draped around each jewel to prevent it from scratching. Also make sure that your jewelry is dry and clean before storing it.

Let your vintage accessories get some fresh air. If locked away for too long, it can lose its previous color and freshness.

If you use your items properly, you can increase their life by manifolds!

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Mom Spark

Mom Spark
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