Thursday, March 26, 2015

What's Trending This Week

Sorry for the lateness of this post.  My laptop got sick yesterday and I needed to run all sorts of diagnostics to heal it. :0)

If you're looking for ideas for your hashtags, look no further....

Top Gear (Jeremy Clarkson fired)
#CWC15 (cricket world  cup 2015)
#NZvSA (cricket world cup 2015)
#backtheblackcaps (cricket world cup 2015)
#thebachlorNZ (the show..The Bachelor)
South Africa (cricket world cup 2015)
Eden Park (cricket world cup 2015)

#INDvsAUS (cricket world cup 2015)
#WCW (cricket world cup 2015)
#MCW (cricket world cup 2015)

Cate Blanchett
Scottsburg, Indiana
Vietnam Woman's Memorial
Phil Robertson
Cissy Houston
Sam Taylor-Johnson
Super Troopers

You can find creative ways to use these trends to boost your items,
and don't forget the most important hashtag of all...


Have a wonderful day!

Monday, March 23, 2015

Open House on The CraftStar

My email account is blowing up with people sending various articles about Etsy and their impending IPO.  This one seems to be the most talked about, and of course April never lets us down!

So, … the time has come.  It’s really come.  Not “Malibu” incident come, or "Chad’s favorite factory made item” come … it’s really come and it’s really time to move on.

If you want a change, stand up and make that change! 

A very successful site that’s proud of its creative small businesses has been built once, it now needs to be built again.  Yes, it’s not fair if you were one of the original builders (I was also one of them), but that home (Etsy) has huffed and puffed and blown itself down.  So, dust yourself off, and let’s all get building.

To create an environment that is as successful for you now as Etsy once was, is going to take work - work from the sellers as well as the venue.  Any E:Commerce site is only as strong as its sellers and marketing.  There is no point in slamming Zibbet or The CraftStar, or any other site, for lack of traffic, when you’re still sending yours to Etsy!  You can’t be frustrated, disillusioned, and supportive all at the same time.  It just doesn’t work.  

If you’re “done” with Etsy, then find somewhere new to call home for your business and support it wholeheartedly.  Talk about it, get involved with it, promote it.  And whatever you do … please DON’T send out your Etsy business cards with orders from your new home.  Bangs.  Head.  Against.  Brick.  Wall.  :)

We, The CraftStar, may be the new kids on the E:Commerce block, but boy are we passionate.  We were created by crafters, run by crafters, and we make a lot of noise for a new company.  What we don’t have in thousands of resellers driving traffic, we make up for as much as possible with innovative and unique ways of doing business for creative small business E:Commerce sellers.

We have a promotion team that is solely dedicated to getting YOUR items out there.  We have a very supportive community and we close down resellers as soon as they open.  The management team answers your questions, in fact, we’re LIVE on camera once or twice a week where you have the opportunity to ask us anything you want.  We’re proud of what we’ve built so far, and we’re going to keep hammering those nails in.  (If you want to see our next live show, it’s scheduled for Tuesday: )

We take immense PRIDE in The CraftStar and our sellers, and we’d love you to join.  We are here because we are creatives and we are passionate about helping creative small businesses grow.  If it was just all about the money for us, we’d have closed up shop long ago.  Believe me, building and running a site like this takes A LOT of work.  A lot of joy comes with it, but so do a lot of tears.  But, that just shows we’re human and not factory made.    

We’re going to offer an “open house” so you can check out The CraftStar for yourself.  Use this link to get your first month free.

Join up, jump in, and let’s make this the best site out there!  But remember … it’s going to take work.  I’m not going to pretend you’re going to get 100 sales in the first month.  But you’ll have a much better chance of that if you’re focusing on your new home and not looking over your shoulder wistfully hoping that Etsy is going to change its ways.  And of course, you won’t be competing for sales with resellers.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to any of The CraftStar team.  You can reach me at

Wishing you all the best and a very successful future wherever you decide to build your new home.


Bethan Davies

Thursday, March 19, 2015

TCS Artist Feature - George and Evielynne Sanchez from Bubble Boy Boutique

There is a really fun shop over at The CraftStar...
Bubble Boy Boutique, owned and operated by George and Evielynne Sanchez, is stuffed full of amazing products.  From home decor, to fashion, to children's items, you'll be sure to find what you need here.  Let's go visit and get to know them better.
pink farm diaper cover

What is the story behind your shop name? 
Bubble Boy Boutique is a shop named after George who is the sewing guru. Evielynne is famous and well known for giving out nicknames and George's just happens to be Bubble Boy George - for two reasons. One, he is often sewing in a small enclosed room which we call the bubble, and two because he often pins himself (like for real at least 8 times a day and that is on a slow day).

Where, when, how did you learn your craft? Bubble Boy George's first project was upholstery work on his private airplane at the age of 18. He is 100% self taught - but over the last 10 years he's been taking technique classes. He also has taught his wife Evielynne how to sew but she only does crayon roll wedding favors. 

What has been your biggest obstacle, or challenge, to finding and 
achieving success? 
That is easy. Honest web hosting (we've had a successful business under a different name and that company burned us bad) so being with TheCraftStar we don't even have to think or worry, because they have an amazing team that knows us by name not by invoice number. And the cost of supplies going up.  We fight hard to keep our prices at it lowest for budget brides/moms/dads/ gift buyers in general. 

mountain stream painting
Tell us a little about your family life...married, kids, pets, etc. 
Married and we are with each other 24-7, I kid you not. We are best friends and often make people sick because we are the real deal. 2 cats in our home but no kids or pets in our studio/boutique.

Tell us a little bit about where you, farm, suburb. 
We are proud to live in Spirit Lake, Evielynne is well known here because she is the town Cheerleader and never misses a meeting or event and is always on hand lending an ear or hands in help. Its a lumber town turning into a biking town with all the new riding trails coming in.

 Share a story / memory of your childhood. 
Memory?? Gosh we are old and really have to think: George - the first time I sat in the cockpit of my father's plane. Evielynne: Winning her first community service pin at the age of 10. Like I said a real Cheerleader.

Idaho Conk Art
Tell us something about you that no-one else might know.
George is afraid of spiders and his wife is the hero in the story of each and every encounter. Evielynne is afraid of crowds and is shy even though she is often in big gatherings and events.

 If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why? 
George: Indiana Jones - need I say more.
Evielynne: Elmo because the world loves him because he is both cute and silly.

Share your social media links and where we can find you on the 

winnie the pooh crayon roll

Pick a favorite item from your shop, and why is it your favorite. 
Crayon rolls, because they took us out of hard times and has made us smile for years.

What advise would you give a new artist just starting out?
Give yourself a 2-3 year plan and stop thinking of yourself and help build up others - karma will always reward you. It takes 2 years to build a name so work hard making and networking but don't expect to make real money for the first two years. hard work will pay off. 

quilted wall hanging
Pick a favorite item from another shop, and why is it your favorite.
We love bears - let me correct that #BearForEVIELYNNE is a major love of Evielynne.

 Do you have any special coupon codes for our readers?
BearForEVIELYNNE for 15%. Like I said, Evielynne is a bear freak.

Wasn't that fun?  This couple sounds like people I would love to have a cup of coffee with, and I don't even like coffee.  :0)

Now, click on a link and visit their shop.  And be sure to come back and let me know what item is your favorite!

See ya!

Monday, March 16, 2015

Trends For The Week

During last weeks show, we talked about trending subjects and using those hashtags to help promote our shops.  So let's see what's trending today....

On Facebook, they're talking about ...
Elton John and other singers boycotting Dolce & Gabbana
Valerie Jarrett, the white house aide that leaked Hillary Clinton.s email details
Tehran and Sen. Ted Cotton
Brandon and Leah, a music couple expecting their first baby
Vladamir Putin back from his 11 day absence
Chris Martin and Kate Hudson together (?)
Jon Voight criticizing President Obama and supporting Israel
Mike Porcaro dies at 59
City dyes Chicago River green for St. Patty's day.

On Twitter we have...
SXSW  (South by SouthWest music site)
Kendrick (Kendrick Lamar)
X Factor (the singing competitions show, not the show with Skully, lol)
Natalia Kills (from the X Factor show)
xtrafactornz (for the X Factor show)
Vanuatu (cyclone Pam destruction)
to pimp a butterfly (album by Kendrick Lamar)
stuss (a group on the X Factor)
spring (the season.  finally, a hashtag we can use!)

Well, that's it for today....
Don't forget the show tomorrow night, we'll be chatting and discussing how to succeed at craft shows.

see you there!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

TCS Artist Feature - Karen Kepins from Rhinestones Etc.

The CraftStar is full of such amazing talented creatives, and we love to show them to you.

Crystal AB 30ss
 What is the story behind your shop name?
 Mainly I sell Swarovski Rhinestones and I wanted the name to reflect that. But I also was selling other embellishments and wanted to keep the door open to adding different embellishments later on.

Where, when, how did you learn your craft?
Originally I started out designing and sewing skating outfits when my second daughter was younger. Rhinestones are an integral part of skating outfits. When my husband lost his job just before the Great Recession, we relocated to another state. There was an established seamstress at the new ice rink so I decided to focus on selling rhinestones. When my daughter decided to quit skating, I moved online.

Sun Swarovski Elements
 What has been your biggest obstacle, or challenge, to finding, and achieving success?
I can't say I am a success yet! Actually I had a big learning curve when it came to shipping. for examaple, I didn't know you could print labels from Paypal.

Tell us a little about your family life...married, kids, pets, etc
I have been married for 28 years and we have 5 children ages 23, 20, 16, 10 and 4, four girls and one boy (he is the 16 year old sandwiched between the girls). I a homeschooler and currently the oldest girls are in college and I am teaching the younger 3.

Jet Black Swarovski Elements
 Tell us a little bit about where you, farm, suburb
 I was born and raised on Long Island, NY, lived in Pittsburgh, PA for 15 years and currently live in North Carolina in a development in the suburbs.

 Share a story / memory of your childhood
 My favorite childhood memories are of my Grandfather who lived out East on Long Island back when it was still rural. He lived down the street from a duck farm (back when LI ducks still existed) and a beach. He had a small boat and he would take us out in it. He fished and one of my favorite memories of him is his smoked eel that he would catch and smoke himself.

silver nailhead stars
Tell us something about you that no-one else might know
 I always had a secret desire to be an author and illustrator of children's books.

 If you could be a fictional character, who would you be, and why?
 I suppose Pippi Longstocking because even though she makes lots of mistakes, she tries hard and never lets the mistakes get her down. She also is never afraid of adventure.

peridot swarovski elements
Pick a favorite item from your shop, and why is it your favorite?
Green is my favorite color so peridot is mt favorite item.

 What advise would you give a new artist just starting out?
Work hard and don't give up! Be willing to try new things and don't be afraid of making mistakes.

Bright handpainted turtle

Pick a favorite item from another shop, and why is it your favorite.
I just love everything in this shop but I think this is my favorite.

 Share your social media links and where we can find you on the internet.
I am on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

That's it for our visit to Rhinestones Etc.  Karen has graciously offered a 10% discount to our readers, just use the coupon code SPARKLE10 at checkout.