Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Grown Up Christmas List: Not Just Another Carol

Do you remember me? I sat upon your knee;
I wrote to you with childhood fantasies.
Well I'm all grown up now, and still need help somehow.
I'm not a child but my heart still can dream.

So here's my lifelong wish... my grown up C H R I S T M A S L I S T,
Not for myself but for a world in need...

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start, and
Time would heal all hearts. And,
Everyone would have a friend, and
Right would always win, and
Love would never end.
This is my grown up Christmas list.

As children we believe, the grandest sight to see
was something lovely wrapped beneath the tree.
But Heaven surely knows, that packages and bows
can never heal a hurting human soul.

No more lives torn apart
That wars would never start, and
Time would heal all hearts. And,
Everyone would have a friend, and
Right would always win, and
Love would never end.
This is my grown up Christmas list.

What is this illusion called the innocence of youth?
Maybe only in our blind belief, can we ever find the TRUTH.

1. No more lives torn apart

2. That wars would never start

3. Time would heal all hearts

4. Everyone would have a friend

5. Right would always win

6. Love would never end

This is my grown up Christmas list; this is my only life long wish.
This is my grown up Christmas list.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Tale of Two Shops: Shop One, Lesson One

Chapter 1 Part 2
Two shops, two very different shop keepers. Two valuable lessons for life and shop keeping.

I am like a teenager excited over a rock star. When I was 12, it was Paul McCartney. 15, it was Amy Grant. 19, it was Basia. 21, it was Squeeze. 27, Alanis Morissette. 38, John Mayer. Funny, if you notice the list goes from complete idealism to - well, real life. But, that is a whole other story.

To me, Littleputbooks IS a rock star. A huge celebrity. A true genius in my book. I admired her like a teenager obsessing over her first true idol. I was a huge fan. Actually, I still am.

Little did I know, she is really quite famous. With well over 12,000 sales in just one of her Etsy Shops, it is not a wonder that she is quite the Etsy celebrity.

But like all TRUE rock star geniuses, and those who have really made it, she is unaffected. She is gracious, helpful, and always seemed just like “one of the guys” in the Etsy Forums. So, I got to know her in that virtual sort of way.

Funny, as a newbie on Etsy, I had no idea who she was. I didn’t know that she was famous; really, I didn’t know a thing about her. I just happen to like her posts. I respected her very thoughtful and helpful responses to the newcomer's questions. And, then, I liked her avatar.

An avatar - that is that photo you choose to represent you on the Etsy Forums. Littleputbook's avatar was unique, thoughtful and intriguing. So, I clicked.

Immediately, I fell in love with her shop. She sold little books. Little fan books. Little photo blocks. Everything was “little”. Of course, I easily remembered her shop name. It reminded me of “Lilliput” from a favorite book, Gulliver’s Travels.

As I watched her shop and listened to her words of wisdom, I realized that she is an extremely creative being. It is immediately evident when you come into her shop! Her product lines, her product photography, her blog: they are all quite exquisite.

One day while absorbing her blog, (yes, in that virtual stalking kind of way that you would reserve only for your favorite rock star), I learned that one of the most popular and coveted items sold on Etsy was originally her brainchild!

I was now, more than ever, even more impressed. My suspicions were true she IS a creative genius!

Here she was, the original artist, an inventor really, but now she is copied so ferociously, so profusely, even to excess, that it would truly dishearten anyone else. Anyone else but Littleputbooks.

What does my rock star do? She moves on. Yes, you heard me. She moved forward. From my vantage point, the girl has never even looked back.

When I first clicked on her shop, it was not full of what was or how great she was, or how profoundly copied she has become. No. There was not a trace of the past.

Her beautiful shop was FULL of new items, OTHER items, brand new inventions. She had managed to invent more beautiful things and had come up with completely new ideas. Ideas which people loved and love to buy.

Did I call her unaffected? Yes, Littleputbooks just kept on creating. Making new things. Making beautiful objects. And the buyers? They recognized genius. They appreciated beauty. They loved the new creations.

From a distance, I can tell that it is her creativity that drives her. It is her unlimited imagination that gives her that true rock star “je ne sais quoi”... that thing you can’t put your finger on, but know it is there, and that it is truly magic.

Moral of the Story which is Lesson #1.
Let your own imagination and creativity be your drive. Keep on being creative. Keep on creating and making and designing. Then surely, your inner rock star will be discovered.

Find out how Littleputbooks got started.
This is her story.

Editor's Note: Photographs are the property of Littleputbooks. This post is not endorsed by her, but I surely hope she will find it as it was meant to be, a little tribute for big genius.

Next Lesson: A Tale of Two Shops: Shop Two Lesson Two

Friday, December 10, 2010

from Everything I Know .... A Tale of Two Shops

Chapter 1 Part 1: A Tale of Two Shops

Total strangers are well, strangers. That means I don’t know them and consequently, they don’t know me. An online business is really a virtual relationship. You end up selling, buying, and dealing with total strangers on a daily basis.

It was quite an eye opener when I realized that having an online shop meant I would have to get comfortable with meeting, knowing and even liking complete strangers.

For me, it was an odd concept at best. I am a fairly private person and I don’t make good “close” friends very easily. So now, I had new virtual friends from a virtual community. It was very strange indeed.

Somehow, I had 'met' and liked a few shop owners. People who attracted me to their virtual personalities. We would hang out in the Forums. I liked their posts. I respected their generous advice, and I even laughed out loud at their jokes. This is crazy! I don’t know these people. They are strangers.

But watch and listen and learn, I did. I browsed their shops, stalked their Forum posts, read their blogs, listened to their advice, and mostly, absorbed their online presence.

So, I became a huge fan of a few. It was easy to do.

So, this is the story of the first two shops that caught my attention on the Etsy Forums way back in January. To this day, these shops do not know who I am, but for me, I am still a big fan.

Moral of the story? Virtual friends can teach you some valuable lessons.

Next Post:
Chapter 1 Part 2: Littleputbooks

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Everything I Know I Learned From the Etsy Forums


Well most everything....

When I first joined Etsy, the online marketplace I sell my collection on, I used it as a parking spot for my jewelry stuffs. And, park they did. For a little while, it was like a parking lot for a very slow strip mall... in the south... in a very small town... without a traffic light... during a recession. You get the picture, it was slow.

Wondering where everyone was, or better yet, what everyone else was doing to get more sales, I clicked around Etsy, and I accidentally stumbled upon the Etsy Community Forums.

Yes. I could practically hear the cover band playing music at what seemed like a very popular pub. Everyone was there. They were talking (called posting), chatting (instant messages), and hanging out. So, intrigued, I stayed to read a few posts.

Hours later, I was still reading. 2 AM came, and I was still reading. By the next day, I was typing and commenting. A few more days in there and then, I realized that I was completely hooked. Addicted. Like a junkie. It was downright embarrassing that I woke up so excited to see what would be posted by who were now my favorite posters and new virtual friends.

I was obsessed with interacting with complete strangers in a virtual world. My poor husband suddenly had to live with what seemed like a fifteen year old who just got a new iPhone... and just found Facebook... and Twitter... while on summer break... on a deserted island... with wireless signal. You get the picture, it was not pretty.

The business “advice” kept coming in everyday. Innumerable secret tips were shared. Hundreds of milestone posts like “how to get 100 sales in 30 days” kept me clicking. The proverbial controversial posts attracted all of us to the same threads. And don’t even mention the unforgettable “train wreck threads” (will explain later). It was absolutely a whole new world.

Anyway, after I found the “exit” sign (only after a few months), and after I found my normal self again, I decided that the only way to ever justify the INORDINATE amount of time I spent "inside," was to share with you the many lessons I learned while in there.

So, of course, this will be a series of lessons as there are many. So, for those of you who sell online, buy online, sell in person, do any kind of marketing, these lessons are little nuggets of wisdom for your business, your art and some for your life.

Editor’s Note: I am no longer addicted. I am now just a casual user after only a few months of rehab. Of course, this is part of my therapy program.

Next Post:
Chapter 1 Part 1: A Tale of Two Shops