Thursday, July 23, 2009

EtsyKids July Challenge

Every month, the Etsykids Street team has a design challenge reflecting a certain theme. For the month of July, the challenge was "School Days" - design something for kids going back to school. Since I just joined the team in June, this was my first challenge and I was really excited to participate. I wanted to design something that would fit the theme, but would also fit in with the other items in my shop.

So I came up with this little Fuzz Monster Key Chain:

I wanted to do a plush key chain because I thought it would go better in my shop (as opposed to something totally different like pencil cases, etc. ) And anyway, no backpack is complete without a keychain or two. Initially I was thinking of doing a panda head or something along those lines, but then I thought of doing a mini fuzz monster on a key ring, and I loved that idea. I've sold two different Fuzz Monsters in my shop already and they've gotten lots of hearts, so I thought this would be a great way to put a new twist on an item that's already part of my shop's identity.

Here are a couple of my favorite entries from other Etsykids team members:

I find this alphabet puzzle from PuzzledOne so clever because it gets kids thinking in two different directions - language and visual-spacial skills.

And how can you not love the idea of these reusable sandwich/snack bags from CountingBunnies? If you imagine that on average each kid uses 2 baggies a day in his or her lunch (one for a sandwich, one for a snack), times 5 days a week, times 40 weeks in a school year, that's 400 baggies a year! Now multiply that by the number of kids bringing their lunch to school, and that is a lot of plastic going into the landfills!

Voting is going on NOW, so pop on over to the Etsykids team blog and cast your vote!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Return of the late night visitor

Some of you might remember my post a couple weeks ago about being woken up in the middle of the night by my cat having a panic attack about a raccoon that was peering in the window. Well, Sunday morning, I opened the blinds of that same window (the one off the fire escape), and this is what I saw.

The little bugger was getting a good day's sleep right on my fire escape, and using my potting soil as a pillow to boot. Note the rear paw hanging down between the slats of the fire escape... relaxed much? I snapped a couple photos, and then thought well, I don't exactly like having a raccoon using my fire escape as its bed. So I banged on the window, and after several times, I finally woke him up, and got this reaction...

"Excuse me. I'm trying to sleep here!" Continued banging just prompted more "why are you bothering me?" looks, so I gave up. He wasn't really doing any harm anyway. Within a few minutes, he was sound asleep again, this time curled up like a cat or dog.

He's actually kind of cute, no? Much less frightening in the daylight, that's for sure. The little fellow ended up sleeping there most of the day, at least 4-5 hours, and Marlie (my kitty) never even noticed he was there.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Etsy's Weekend Deals - The Numbers

For those of you who don't know, every day Etsy sends out an email called "Etsy Finds" showcasing some number of items from sellers on Etsy. (You can sign up for this and other email lists here). On Fridays, the Etsy Finds email always focuses on "Weekend Deals," which may center around some particular theme (spa/relaxation, summer jewelery, etc) or a certain type of deal ( % Off, Free Shipping, BOGO, etc.)

Well last Friday, July 10th my Romper the Rhino made it into the Weekend Deals email. Here's a screenshot of part of the email, showing Romper and a few other lovely items from fellow Etsians.

So what kind of traffic did I get from being in this email? Lots. and Lots. We're talking a month's worth of views in a single day. It was amazing. I was sitting on Craftcult, refreshing the page and watching my item views and shop hearts go up and up. Yes, I really am that much of a dork, and to prove that point further, I'm now going to launch into a bunch of numbers because I love data.

First some background information for comparison purposes...

This is what my visits looked like for the month of June

So you can see that during the month of June I received a total of 954 visits and 2,289 pageviews. That averages out to 31.8 visits and 76.3 pageviews per day.

Now, here is what my views looked like from Friday, July 10th (the day the email went out) through Monday, July 13th (yesterday).

On Friday alone, I received 711 visits, a 2,136% increase over my average daily visits in June. And I received 2,411 pageviews, a 3,060% increase over my average daily pageviews, and 5% higher than the number of pageviews I received during the entire month of June.

Also interesting is that during these 4 days, the number of pages people viewed per visit was higher (3.32 versus 2.40) and my bounce rate was lower (40.98% versus 58.49%) than average. So not only did I get waayyy more visitors, but those visitors viewed more pages, and fewer of them left immediately.

As for shop hearts, between 12 noon on Friday and 11:59pm on Monday, I received 68 new shop hearts. Prior to then I had 108 hearts, so that 68 hearts amounts to a 63% increase in just 3.5 days. Considering it took me over four months to get the first 108, that's a big jump in hearts! Even better, out of those 68 hearts, 41 (60%) were from non-sellers. My experience has been that non-sellers are more likely to buy from my shop than sellers - only 2 of the 11 people I've sold to have been sellers.

So while I sold 2 toys and 1 pattern over the weekend, the big question is whether this will have any long term impact on traffic and sales in my shop. My suspicion is that it will, because there are now 68 more people who have my shop easily accessible in their favorites, so some of them are bound to come back. It also seems to me there's a bit of a snowball effect when it comes to awareness - the more people know about your shop, the more people will find out about it. And I now have A LOT more people who know about me.

It looks from the second graph I posted that my views haven't levelled off from their peak yet. While they have dropped significantly from Friday's crazy high level, they are still much higher than my average, and are still decreasing. Sunday I had 168 visits, which dropped to 130 visits on Monday, still 309% higher than my June daily average. I will keep an eye on my Google Analytics and post again after things level off and I can determine whether or not there's a long-term increase in traffic.

One final note (and this is the part you want to read!)...

If you want to get in the Etsy Finds Weekend Deals email on Fridays, search the Etsy forums for "weekend deals" and you'll find the threads where you can submit your items for inclusion. While every other day the Etsy Finds items are picked in some secretive mysterious way, on Fridays all items come from these threads. Make sure you have something that fits the theme (if applicable), and follow the rules in the initial post or you won't get picked. Excellent photos are also essential.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to post with any questions or comments!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Midnight Fright

Okay, it wasn't midnight... I was still awake at midnight... but it sure was a fright. I was woken from a dead sleep by my cat Marlie making an awful yowl, the kind that makes your heart beat three times faster because you know something is wrong.

I sat bolt upright, looked at the clock, 1:30am, and waited... was I dreaming? Did I imagine it? Then she made the noise again. No, clearly I was not imagining it. I jumped over the headboard to the window where the noise was coming from. I thought maybe she was stuck and was struggling. It sounded like she was in pain.

I get over to the window to see that she's between the blinds and the window, so I pull up the blinds not really knowing what I'd find. Well Marlie just jumped right out of the window onto my desk, and what do I see? A raccoon. With its face right up against the window, peering into the bedroom.

Well, to be honest, I was more than a little freaked out. I dropped the blinds back down so I wouldn't have to see it, and then I thought gee, maybe I should try to scare it away. So I banged on the window (through the blinds), then picked the blinds back up and it was gone.

So Marlie was not hurt, just frightened. I think she was hanging out in the window when the raccoon showed up and scared the bejeesus out of her, and since she was behind the blinds she couldn't bolt and started to panic.

I have no idea how that raccoon got up onto our fire escape, but I do know I won't be sleeping with the window open anytime soon!! Yikes, last night could've been a lot worse if it were screen instead of glass between Marlie and the raccoon!

In my state of mind, the last thing I was thinking of was to take a picture, and I probably couldn't have gotten one if I tried, but I just can't have a photo-less post! So here is a picture of Marlie not being scared by a raccoon. That's my open textbook she's lying on... apparently I was paying too much attention to it, and not enough to her.