My husband, John, bought his first pair of fake eyelashes this week. Yes, really.
Okay, I admit that opening sentence begs for an explanation. As I mentioned in my previous post, I sold my crocheted hats, gloves and scarves at the local Beaverdale Holiday Boutique last weekend. Among my more interesting customers was a little girl who stood about four feet tall who stood in front of the mannequin heads sitting on my display tables.
“Sister, Mother, Aunt,” she recited, pointing to each head. “Mom, why is the mother missing one of her eyelashes?”
Sure enough, my observant little sprite had noticed what I had not—that one of my mannequins had a naked eye. So, John (who does all of our grocery shopping) added eyelash glue to his list of eggs, bread and milk. He came home with a one dollar Elf packet that included one tube of a thick, sticky substance that I think is mostly wax, and a pair of fake eyelashes. If you ever watched Sandra Bullock struggle to become a beauty pageant contestant in the 2000 film, Miss Congeniality, you can imagine me struggling similarly to glue eyelashes to my mannequin’s eyelids. I have come to the realization that those things stick to anything but their recommended target. Eventually Gypsy Rose (below) got her act together.
Another interesting customer was a little boy who latched onto one of the hot pink hand mirrors sitting on my display tables. He held the mirror up Romper Room-style (yeah, I know I’m dating myself here), turned his back to me, and began talking to my mannequin heads. At least, I think he was. My husband swears he was being greeted. Or maybe both. In any event, I thought I had time-warped back to the early 1960s.
The next thing I knew, the little boy walked to the booth next door where his sister was begging Dad for a seven-dollar necklace. “Dad,” he said. “I found what I want.” Of course it was the mirror. In the end, after he was informed by his father that the mirror was not for sale, he settled for a stretchy beaded bracelet. But on his way out of the room, he picked up the hand mirror once more, and turned his bracelet-clad wrist this way and that so the Mirror could admire his purchase. I have never been so entertained. Apparently, the same was true for the little boy.
The third interesting customer was an elderly lady using a walker to propel herself from booth to booth. She was not funny or entertaining, but instead made an interesting remark that turned on the proverbial light bulb inside my head. “Your hats and scarves with those big flowers on them,” she said, “remind me of the Roaring Twenties.” I had never really thought about it, but I sew over-sized flowers on almost everything inside JN Originals. “Flapper girl,” I thought, “that’s my style!” And I started using that tag for listings in my shop. If you don’t believe me, look at these other Etsy items that feature a similar look.
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This November marks six years since I first began selling on Etsy. I started with crocheted, felted coasters and business card pouches, crocheted cotton spa cloths and crocheted, felted java jackets. When my shop expanded to include hats, scarves and gloves, I realized that not all of the items fit well together. This relates to the subject of cohesiveness, about which I have written previously in End of year shop review. Recently a fellow Blogging Business Artisans team member asked me if I had thought about consolidating my Etsy shops, since I manage three presently and have been contemplating a fourth for a long time. It’s a very good question because time management is already an issue when you make merchandise by hand for one shop, photograph it, write product descriptions, list it, advertise it through social networks, and track sales for the Tax Man. The answer for me, however, is not shop consolidation but instead branding. According to Etsy’s staff member, Michelle, in her post, How to Create a Cohesive Shop, a shop whose style can be identified easily by its customers keeps them coming back:
Creating a cohesive shop is the most important tool for branding yourself, and one of your biggest allies in your search for repeat customers. Customers who love your style will share your shop with others and come back again and again.
So, opening a fourth shop—possibly in 2014—may be in the cards. It all began, of course, with a pair of fake eyelashes.
© 2013 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.