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Archive for the ‘Tips’ Category

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

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 www.plunderhere.com 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). http://shareme.com/images/large/13144-jdatagrid_spreadsheet_edition.gif

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 www.pricegrabber.com . Or you might want to check out the category of hand made products being offered on other websites, such as www.silkfair.com 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 https://www.gocharity.com .

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.

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:

Regards,

John

Jewelry Expert

http://www.xyz.com

http://www.blog.xyz.com

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 oDesk.com or Elance.com, 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 silkfair.com

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 http://www.silkfair.com 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.

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 picnik.com

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


This is the official blog of Silkfair.com - we're a rapidly growing platform where crafters, vintage and retro fans, and eco-conscious buyers come together to trade... just like the Silk Road, but online!

We love our community because of how close-knit and respectful it is of each other - and this blog is our way of highlighting them and their successes as a way of sharing in the joy. Join us!

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