Monday, July 5, 2021

3 Etsy Shops- Am I CRAZY?

Sometimes, I wonder that myself,  because keeping up with all 3 Etsy Shops consumes a great deal of my energies.  There is a thought and some logic behind this madness.  Well, at least that is what I've told myself.  I thought I would just explain what each shop is about.  I know that there might be some confusion since I have moved a number of items from my main shop over to the TOWNCOSTUDIOS shop.  Let me just take a moment and clear it all up for you.

Julie Townsend Studio- Etsy- (SIGNED ART PRINTS, STICKERS, CARDS AND SUCH)

My first and main shop was created way back in 2010 but I had no clue what I was doing with my art back then, and didn't get serious about Etsy until the first of 2016.  My very first sale was a little 4 x 6" chickadee print in March of 2016. I also had my first commission drawing that year sold through my shop.   I continued to sell a number of small prints and stickers in 2017.  Sales really took off for me in March of 2020 when I started creating my "Wash Tub Series".  My Facebook followers really grew that year too and that has helped with many of my sales.  Now I'm almost ready to hit the 1000 sale mark with 997 total sales showing today.  

I have poured myself into this shop and work hard every day to build it up.  It features all my art prints, cards, magnets, stickers and so much more.  Anything that I print myself or ship out of my studio is listed on this shop.  I have worked hard to create a special brand that reflects my personal touch.  I make my own wrapping paper, free thank you gifts and the cute little pig and cow confetti that I sprinkle in each order.  My love and DNA is all over these items!  LOL!


TownCoStudios- Etsy (PRINTED GIFTS- MUGS, MOUSEPADS & BUTTONS ALONG WITH TONS OF PRINTABLE INSTANT ART)

The second shop, I opened in February of 2020 and it was supposed to be a joint venture with my son but that didn't really pan out like I hoped it would.  I've just recently gotten a clear vision of what I want the shop to be.  The shop motto is "Faith, Family and Farm Art to Make You Smile" and is mostly an extension of my first shop. There is a lot of my own artwork here but it isn't limited by that.  I have lots of graphics, quotes and mottos and font art here as well.

I wanted a shop that would provide complete passive income and so I've recently done a lot of rearranging of these two shops.  All my outsourced printed gift items, such as coffee mugs, mousepads and such are all listed on this shop. I also have lots of downloadable art that you can print out for yourself.   The whole idea behind this shop is that when we are traveling in the camper with no WIFI or on vacation and my printer is at home, the shop can continue to generate income because all the listings are either processed through dropship or are downloadable.  It's a great idea and I'm working hard to see that come to fruition. 


Dusty Boot Finds- Etsy  (VINTAGE ITEMS)

This final shop was opened in July of 2020 and is now at 50 sales. I am pleased as punch with how this shop is going.   Nothing listed here is handmade, rather there is an assortment of vintage items that we have collected over the years that I decided that I needed an outlet to sell them. Mostly things we have collected that are just lying around here collecting dust. I raided my jewelry box, the garage, the bookshelves and we have even picked up little things out in the desert.  Hence, the name DUSTY BOOT FINDS.  It has worked rather well over this past year.  I have a dedicated shelf in my inventory room where I house all the listings in numbered bins.  The hardest part is finding the time to create a new listing from the piles of items I have gathered up that I want to add to the shop.  


Saturday, June 19, 2021

Sticker Storage Solutions- I'm Obsessed


I have searched high and low on Pinterest for ideas on how to better store my Etsy Shop sticker inventory without spending a boat load of cash at IKEA.  Well, yesterday I figured it out and I'm so excited I just had to share it with you.  I wanted a storage solution that would allows each sticker design to be stored separately,  protected safely, be convenient and still allow for the stickers to be viewed by the public if I'm at an event or a festival.  I have a unique inventory number that I use on my Etsy Shop and I'm not fond of the idea of having to sort hundreds of stickers when I return from a weekend show.  I needed a way to keep them together but make them easy to flip through.  Let me just say, that once I started transferring my stickers to this new storage solution, I didn't stop until I had finished with my whole inventory.  I was obsessed!   I'm in  LOVE how it is working out so far.
My sticker inventory stored by #

As usual, when I try something new, I can't keep it to myself.  I love sharing my discoveries with you as I'm on this journey to grow my art business.  I'm sure you are asking yourself, "Why does she even bother with stickers?"  I wouldn't be truthful if I didn't tell you that I have wondered that myself.  Let me just say that having stickers on my Etsy Shop in the beginning was a great decision.  It is all a numbers game.  If you look like a brand new shop with just few sales and not many positive reviews, then potential shoppers may hesitate to purchase more expensive item, such as original art from you. If they see lots of sales and 5 star ratings in your shop, they have much more confidence in you as a business owner.  Customers are more willing to take a risk with a new shop when only spending a few dollars.  Stickers definitely helped  me get my shop up and running.

Also, unless you have at least 100 listings, Etsy doesn't really rank you very high in their SEO searches.  You want to get your shop listing to 100 or more as quickly as you can.  Designing stickers and offering them on my Etsy Shop was good way to accomplish that.  Not to mention, I sold over $400 in stickers in 2020.  Those $2 or $3 items do add up.     

Will I always take the time to print and cut stickers for my shop?  Probably not, but right now I'm still enjoying the process.  Now back to my cute solution for storing my inventory.

An example of a finished sticker envelope
I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the kraft brown A7 envelopes that are sold at Hobby Lobby.  Regularly priced at $14.99 for 100 of them, I want until they are 40 or 50% off and then buy several boxes at a time.  I use these sturdy envelopes to mail out all my small order items.  Anything that will fit and isn't over 1/4 inch thick goes inside these envelopes.  I write a cute little message on the flap and add an equally cute sticker to decorate the envelop before I drop it in the mail.  

What I decided to do was to use these envelopes to store my stickers in.  I cut off each of their flaps to make sturdy little pockets that my stickers fit perfectly into.  I then wrote the inventory # and the title on the top edge of the pocket.  I attach an example of each of the stickers on their respective envelop so that it is easy to see what style of sticker is inside.  To make this envelope more sturdy and help keep the stickers clean, I covered it with a few strips of packing tape.  I think this is going to work beautifully when I go to my next event.  I will certainly keep you posted.  

My cover page for my catalog
Finally, I decided it made a whole lot of sense to create a sticker catalog of sorts.  I just finished my creating a portfolio binder and since I loved how that project turned out I decided to create a similar styled binder with thumbnail photos of each of my stickers, and have them organized by animal categories.  I can visualize customers filling my tent and taking the time to flip through my catalog and portfolio.  At least that is what I hope happens. 

My first festival since COVID is coming up in November and all this is in preparation for that weekend.  

Want to check out more of my whimsy artwork?  Why not head on over to my shop and poke around?  Maybe like my FaceBook Studio Page @JulieTownsendStudio.

Here is the Etsy link to both of my shops:



page 1 of my sticker catalog


Monday, May 10, 2021


Have you read any good books lately?  Or should I ask if you have read any books at all?  What is that one book you have read and you consider it to my your all time favorite book?  For me personally, I love to read but I consider myself a slow reader.  I will confess that it has been a while since I have read a book.  These days my time is pretty much taken between creating art, marketing my art and watching grandchildren.  I do miss reading so I might try to re

Over the years, I have read many books that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have actually read the book "Shepherd of the Hills" by Harold Bell Wright 5 times over the years.  It is a great story and I would consider to be one of my favorites.  Other good books that jump to mind are "Christy" buy Katherine Marshall, "Jane Eyre" by Charlotte Bronte', "Anne of Green Gables" by Lucy Maud Montgomery and anything written by Jane Austin or Janette Oke.  

I may not have read a book recently but I have included them in several art pieces.  You might find them entertaining so let me share them with you.  I hope you like mice in artwork because it seems that if I draw a book I must add a mouse sitting on top.  










Saturday, May 8, 2021

First Painting of 2021

"Bitsy"- 11 x 14 x 1.5 acrylic on canvas

 It's hard to believe that we are already into May of 2021 and I'm just now talking about my first painting of the year.  Now don't you think that I've been sitting on my artist laurels, because that is far from the truth.  You see, I invested in a new iPad Pro tablet and my very first Apple Pencil at the end of 2020 and I've just been having a blast learning how to use these new tools.  I've added a ton of new drawings to my inventory along with 2 more coloring books.  All thanks to my iPad and the amazing app Procreate.  

As much as I enjoy this new medium, there is something about picking up a painting brush or pencil and covering the white of a canvas or paper.  No, I'm not going to abandon my first loves.  So that is why we are almost half way through the year and I'm just now talking about my first painting.  

This cute little goat is one of the new spring goats birthed at Galloping Gerties in Glenns Ferry, Idaho.  I think her name is Gumbo Lil but for my painting I decided to title it "Bitsy".  Katie Lenni takes the best goat pictures ever and I'm blessed that she lets me use them as a reference for my artwork.  You are AWESOME Katie!  Give her Etsy Shop some love and check out all her great goat soap- Galloping Gerties- Etsy

I do have this original painting available at the moment as well as prints, cards and magnets of this little sweetie.  Here is a picture of me holding the original painting for a little family photoshoot taken out towards Lake Mead.   If you would like to give "Bitsy" a new home or want to get cards or prints of her then just hop over to my Etsy Shop- Bitsy -Julie Townsend Studio Etsy Shop

Let me end today's blog with a picture of the cutest art model ever.  







Thursday, May 6, 2021

NO HONOR AMONG THIEVES

 


They might as well have broken into my home and stole my dearest possessions because stealing of an artist's work is like stealing a piece of their heart.  It is no little matter and I feel very violated by the whole thing.

 It was only a few short weeks ago that I was blissfully drawing little angels and stuffed nursery toys, having no idea that a thief was lurking in the shadows of  Amazon.com and other corners of the world wide web.  

I recall clearly that night, just taking one more quick peek at my Facebook wall to see if there was any new news about a dear friend who was gravely ill.  Swiping down though my feed, I noticed a sponsored ad appearing on my wall that showed a cute little goat on a metal sign.  I like goats of course since I paint and draw them all the time but this goat made me stop and take a second look.  My initial thoughts were that this goat looked very familiar.  I snapped  a screen shot of it to remind me to check into this matter more closely and I headed off to bed. 

The next morning, the ads appeared again and this time it was the same goat but the background had changed.  This company was advertising all over my Facebook feed and the same goat was always there smiling up at me.   I walked right into my inventory room where I have all my original painting hanging on the wall that are currently for sale on my Etsy Shop.  Right there, front and center was my original little 8x8x1.5 inch acrylic painting I did last year that I titled "Silly Little Goat".  I held it up and compared it to the goat on my phone.  Just as I had suspected,  I realized at that moment that I was the victim of intellectual property theft.  What has followed since that time is hours and hours of me working to get all these listings pulled down. 

One company had this little goat listed 32 times and another one had it listed 14 times.  I found 4 Etsy Shops and about 20 different listings on Amazon.  I still have no idea who stole it first but because there is no honor among thieves, they just steal from each other.  It's like a stage 4 cancer that has metastasized.   It's discouraging to say least, but I have to stay diligent and address each infraction as I find them.  I keep a Google doc file for "Stolen Artwork" where I keep the URL and the company name.  I make a note when I email them the cease and desist letter.  So far almost all of them have apologized and removed the listing.   I'm sure they are more sorry that they actually got caught than being REALLY SORRY.  I then cut and paste the URL to my "Resolved" list.  

Anyway...I thought I would share the herd of goat imposters and have you compare them to the original.  As you can see, adding a little dandelion in the mouth isn't enough to disguise their treachery.

IMPOSTERS-

   
 




 
 
THE REAL "SILLY LITTLE GOAT"






  

Friday, March 19, 2021

Cute custom wrapping paper on a budget



 I have started watching a number of artist/Etsy sellers that have regular studio vlogs on YouTube.  They seem of have several characteristics in common- They are all from the UK and they LOVE PINK!  This is just an observation and I'm not saying that you have to paint your creative space pink but I do notice that they are very dedicated to making this part of their branding.  That branding is obvious even down to the packaging of their orders.  Cute PINK stickers and wrapping paper are a must.

I did check into the whole custom wrapping paper option and found that it is rather of an investment.  I mean to get 250 sheets of wrapping paper printed you are talking hundreds of dollars.  I decided for myself this was going to have to be put on the backburner, as I don't feel that my shop is at that level yet in consistent sales.

Does that mean that I'm stuck using dollar store tissue paper on my orders.  NO- I came up with my own branding solution and I'm having a blast with it.  The beauty of having a farmhouse/country niche is that I can easily use ordinary supplies and give them a farm look.  I have a whole box of huge sheets of white packing paper that were given to me several years ago and rolls of brown Kraft shipping paper in the studio and so I decided I was just going to invest in a few rubber stamps.  Down the road I plan on designing my stamps but in the mean time these are working beautifully.  I ordered some on Etsy (I love supporting my fellow creators if I can) and then a few other's I purchased on Amazon or at my local Hobby Lobby store.  

I have to admit that I've kind of gone a bit overboard on the rubber stamps at this point but they were all so cute and now I have plenty of options.  If the order is primarily goat, then I can pick from several of my goat stamps to create the perfect wrapping paper.  The same goes for cows, sheep, horses and chickens.  Yeah, I have the whole barnyard of rubber stamps now.  It's sort of therapy for me to just stamp up the pages, dreaming of my future art sales.  I can even enlist the help of my grandchildren.  (Got to train them now to be my studio assistance for the future)



My final touch before I seal up the envelope is a sprinkle of pig and cow confetti that I punch out of paper using paper punches.  I've not been able to locate a goat paper punch so if you have one lying around that you never use, let me know.  By the way, my grandchildren also LOVE to use paper punches.  It keeps them well entertained.








Sunday, February 28, 2021

Awwchuuu....Spring is upon us



The winds have been fierce recently around the Southern Nevada area, and the pollen count has been in the HIGH range everyday. Add the COVID pandemic and I find it's just a perfect time to stay in the studio and be creative! I know much of the country has faced bitter cold and lots of snow so SPRING is always something to look forward to as we hunker down and try to stay warm. Drawing colorful spring flowers and little critters has been my focus for the past few weeks.  These little drawings have brought me a great deal of joy, and I am pleased at how this spring collection has turned so far. Who doesn't love dark purple irises, sunny daffodils and bright pink tulips? I'm already making plans to add crocus and gladiolus to finish out the spring blub flowers.  For my gardening friends, am I forgetting any other bulb flower? 

 I'm just dying to show you what I've done so far. Be prepared to smile.

 
 




Wouldn't these pieces make an adorable wall art collection for a baby nursery or a child's room. I have options where you can print them yourself or I would be happy to do that for you.  You can hope over to either of my Etsy Shops and just search SPRING.  Hint, hint....these would also make wonderful Mother's Day cards and gifts.