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An Insider’s Look at Etsy

Click Here for My Shop: WEATHERSTONE & CO

Who hasn’t heard of Etsy?  It’s hard to believe that this website which was just struggling to get started in 2005 did $314 million worth of transactions just five years later.  Not too shabby, I’d say.   I could talk a lot about how Etsy is an e-commerce website for buying or selling handmade or vintage items, art, or craft supplies.  But rather than talk about that, as an owner of an Etsy store, I’d rather talk about the features of Etsy I love the most.

For starters, I love the interface.  Etsy is consistent for buyers (which is what every seller wants!), and every page’s organizational setup is the same, which makes it clean and neat for the buyer.  Customization comes in for the banner of each page, and store categories, as well as the information and pictures for product listings.  While this is great, and the .20 listing fee is not at all outrageous, my love for Etsy comes in the “Shop Stats” tool that every seller may access.

Sellers are constantly connected to one another, and to new features being added.  Whether an option for more advanced coupons, or gift cards, Etsy is innovating and keeping up with what online buyers want.  But none of this compares to “Shop Stats.”  This lets you know what items have been viewed, and at what time of the day, on which days, and overall trends (i.e. this week less items were viewed as compared to last week).  It keeps track of who has favorited what items, pending orders, and revenue.  Etsy will even tell you from which site the viewers of your site came from (Etsy, Google, directly searched for, etc.).  I love how Etsy makes it so easy to list a product, to contact buyers, to add tracking information, and etc.  Etsy is the perfect balance of easiness for sellers and for buyers; it’s a genius.  Selling could never be easier for sellers, nor buying for buyers.

My Etsy shop is not meant to be a big money maker so much as an opportunity for me to experience selling online, with its ups and downs.  Few things in life are as helpful as simply understanding people, and to do that we must have experiences in common.

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If you’re artsy, creative, and bored, try Blendoku.  This mobile app allows the user, or rather, player, to organize colors in gradients by shade, hue, and saturation.  Think it sounds too easy?  Give it a try, and you’ll soon find it gets progressively challenging; if nothing else, you’ll tickle your right brain.

The player is allowed as many free puzzles as he or she can handle, but using more than one hint per day will require purchasing the app.  In theory, the app is educational.  The founders wanted to create an app that would teach color theory, and are working to make it colorblind friendly.  They had observed teaching methods in education from elementary through college, and wanted to make color theory basics fun (and less messy!).  At this point, they only need to spread the word about their app to stand a chance of it becoming successful.  Now if you don’t mind, I’m going to play some Blendoku instead of studying for finals.

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The Perfect Palette

The Perfect PaletteThis blog post is a shout-out to any designers out there, artistic or not.  One of the biggest issues for anyone working with anything that needs to be visually appealing (painting a home, making a flyer, designing a logo, editing a magazine, etc.) is finding the right color palette.  For some people, thinking of   a palette is a challenge akin to wrestling a crocodile.  But whether you’re trying to find a third or fourth color to fit the mix, or searching for that initial inspiration, Design Seeds provides hundreds of  drool-worthy, beautiful palette suggestions.

Pair Design Seeds with Color Picker, an app for  Google Chrome (or Mozilla, or any other internet browser) and you have a match made in heaven.  Color Picker allows you to point out any color on a web page and reference it in the color spectrum computers have in common.  So pick a palette you like, and easily re-create it in whatever program you are using.

Hapy Designing!


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Meet TweetDeck & Say Goodbye


TweetDeck is a social media dashboard application for management of Twitter and Facebook accounts, purchased by Twitter for $40 million in May of 2011.  It has consistently been one of the most popular Twitter applications, and allows users to send and receive tweets, or view profiles.

TweetDeck’s intuitive interface is comprised of customizable columns, which can display feeds from social media, or specifically messages, comments, or updates from a single user.  From a business side, it can be used to schedule Tweets to keep an audience happy, or be notified about new Tweets.  Have you ever had a bad experience in a store and made a post about it on social media, only to have the store apologize to you and maybe off compensation? That could be because TweetDeck can allow for tracking and controlling social media, especially when angry customers are involved.  TweetDeck easily allows users to stay up to date on the latest news, whether from their friends or major news agencies.

Twitter recently released that on May 7it will remove all mobile TweetDeck apps from its stores, and they will no longer work.  In addition, Facebook integration to all TweetDeck products will be severed.  While TweetDeck for Mac and PC will remain for the time being, many users of its mobile apps will be enraged.

So if, like me, you hadn’t met TweetDeck, say hello.  But while you’re at it, say your goodbyes.

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The topic of this blog post is Quirky.  If you want to read about how to be quirky, I recommend this article by wikiHow.  If you want to learn about the industrial design company located in Soho, New York City, keep reading.

Ben Kaufman

If you are not familiar with Quirky, it is one of the companies at the head of the crowdsourcing race, allowing its many users to determine which products to design and manufacture.  Ideas are solicited (only $10 to enter one) and voted on through the Quirky   website, which functions as a platform for open innovation and allows anyone to become an inventor.  Chosen products are designed, manufactured, and marketed, with help from Quirky users around the world.  The inventor gets up to 30% of the revenue.

The company was created by Ben Kaufman, who took great risks to become successful, but now is the CEO of his own company.  His enthusiasm  is inspiring, although many find him to be as quirky as the company he started.  Focused around community and collaboration, Quirky allows anyone the opportunity to be the inventor of a product, or to contribute in the building of one.  Most reviews shout praises for Quirky and what it’s capable of, and I’m close to hopping on the bandwagon, but as always there are critics.  Most notably, they point out that by nature of the rushed design, Quirky products languish in pre-sales and often receive unfavorable reviews from customers (namely for poor quality); these critics also point out that lack of patent protection for inventors.

Quirky seems to me a genius idea.  It has its issues, but the crowdsourcing platform on which it is based is magnificent, and will be inseparable to its success.  Keep on eye on Quirky, as it will no doubt turn out successful entrepreneurs and could one day carry many people out of poverty.

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