Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Welcome to the TST Clinic Featuring the Funky Monkey Girls!

Welcome to the 3rd TST Clinic! In this space, we have an opportunity to make a real, positive difference. We will work to help our fellow artists, crafters and small business owners by providing constructive criticism on whatever they would like to share - a blog, a shop, a new piece of work, etc.

There are a couple of rules. It's nerve-wrecking to step out onto the TST stage, expose something that means the world to you and say tell me what you think. Keep that in mind when you are sharing your thoughts. Allow yourself to feel what it would feel like to be on the stage here.

Then, listen to what the artist has said below, review her shop and when you return to comment, please think of 3 positive things to say and 3 constructive things.

Today we welcome Jolene and Donna, Jewelery Designers & Owners of Funky Monkey Girls and VivaMexico.

Let Me Worry All About It - From the VivaMexico Shop

Jolene and Donna are looking for advice, thoughts, ideas for improving both of their shops.

I ask ALL of you out there to take a moment, visit their shops, and, with your heart AND business mind, share some advice.

Thank you, Jolene and Donna, for opening up and inviting us all in to help.


FunkyMonkey Girls said...

Oh cool! Please please give us your hints etc:) Thanks for listing us:)

Funky Monkey Girl,

Phoenyx Ravenswing said...



Places of Yay!!! :-D

1. I like that you list your accomplishments and places to find you offline. That gives me confidence as a customer that you are the real deal. :-)

2. Your prices are fair, and appropriate to hand-crafted items. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! :-D

3. I love some of your section titles like "Living on Beach Time", and "Colors of the Sun Collection". Maybe find a way to put a similar wonderful twist to the rest of them? It really personalizes the sections, I think, and gives them a unique flair that tells me I am in YOUR shop, not someone else's. :-D

4. On the "Frida" necklace, I loved the bit of personal crafting info you added in. As one who has also had bits try to escape before, that really brought the piece to life for me and gave me a connection to that piece. :-)

Also loved the story with the "Puff the Magic Dragon" piece. :-)

More, more! I really like it when you relax and play with us. :-D

5. You use color and texture very well in your pieces. :-) Simple strands come wonderfully to life in your hands. I love your choices of beads and how you use them in your work. :-)

Places to Consider Looking At... :-)

1. Language. There are spots where I have to work a bit to understand what you are saying, and other spots where the language jumps out at me in a way that you may not want.

2. Maybe give a little more info in spots for non-Latin folk? I was very intrigued by your "Frida" necklace and was a bit disappointed to not learn more about the name and why it is important, and the connection to the Day of the Dead.

3. Is it intentional to not have links to the folk who contributed pieces-parts to your works?

If not, you might want to consider experimenting with the format until it does give the link (tho' I recommend keeping the name, just add the shop addy in the way that Etsy likes).

If so, you might want to consider changing the wording of the listings to have more of an emphasis on your finished goods, and less on their contributions to them. :-)

4. You might wish to be careful also about 'apology phrasing'. This is a place where I need help too, so I don't have a suggestion for you, but 'very comfortable to wear even w/the coral sticks' from your "Old Man of the Sea" listing draws my attention to the pointy-ness of the coral sticks and makes me wonder about their comfortableness-to-wear, even tho' you've just spoken about it. Like 'do anything, but don't think of pink elephants' - you can't help but think of pink elephants! :-D

5. Overall, I like what you are seeking to achieve with your pictures. Upgrading to a camera that allows for clearer close-ups might be something you wish to consider, tho'. Nikon is one brand that we've found to be very good at that.

As it stands, while as a customer I want the closer view, it's a bit wearing on the eyes to keep trying to focus on the piece in the closeup pics.

Or is it something besides the camera? The previews to the side are sharp, but the bigger picture is not. Are your originals too small? Maybe try changing the resolution? Etsy says something about the size they recommend to avoid blurriness. And there are programs both freeware and online that can help with that if you don't already have such a program. :-)

The Overall Picture!!! :-D

You have some great achievements under your belt, and some lovely pieces. Your prices are fair, and seem to accurately reflect the actual work and thought which went into them. :-)

Your main area of concern, from my perspective, is language. Work on polishing that up, maybe look at changing the way you do your close-up pics, and you are good to go! :-)

Since this is a novel, will close for now and do your other shop in another post. :-)

Bright Blessings & Good Fortune! :-)

FunkyMonkey Girls said...

Thank you so much for your comments and suggestions! I will definately keep them in mind:)

Funky Monkey Girls,

Phoenyx Ravenswing said...


Viva Mexico

Places of YAY!!! :-D

1. The first thing that struck me on clicking on your shop was the monkeys on your banner. Instantly I knew I was at a Funky Monkey shop. This is the good & happy thing, from what I understand. Branding and a'that. :-D

And overall, I really like this banner. The design of it really spoke to me of what you are wanting your shop to be about. :-)

2. Again, the listing-of-accomplishments and where to find you offline are both yay! :-D

3. I love your pendants! "Going to the Chapel" is very kyool, and quite funny when you read the listing.

Again, please keep going w/the language that shows us you! I love the stories you have to tell, and would really love to read more of them. :-D

4. You find the most amazing pieces to make your jewelry with! :-)

As a fellow artist & crafter, I find myself constantly checking out your source shops as I go. Seems like there should be some way to do even more with that, a la 'Miracle on 34th St', but I'm not sure what. Natasha, do you have any thoughts on this? :-)

Maybe make arrangements w/some of these crafters to do mutual promotion & customer rewards??? That way you can help ensure the flow is two-way, rather than just one-way away from your shop.

5. Your pics are much better in this shop. :-) Every now and again, there is still a pic where you seem to have gone further than your camera was happy with, but overall, it's much easier to see the details here. :-)

Places to Consider Looking At... :-)

1. Language again. See previous post. :-)

2. To me, the cultural information becomes even more necessary here - unless your target market is only the Latin audience who already know this information.

This is totally fine if that is your intent, but if it's not your intent, perhaps take a look at how to include more of us in your listings by showing us how these pieces can still be an important part of our lives.

For example - everyone grieves their dead sometime, and to me, Day of the Dead pieces can bring comfort & joy, even tho' that is not in my direct ethnic heritage. :-)

Also, when you mention references, it might be helpful to explain them a bit more.

Example - In your 'Mexico Memories' piece you say that it 'gives us memories of Mexican culture.' I am intrigued, and would like to know more about specifically what and how this is so. :-)

Things like that. :-D

3. Nitpicky thing that probably no-one else will notice or care about, but I mention b/c a similar thing was mentioned to me once about my offline wares.

Your dancer (yay, someone else loves her too! :-D) has the earrings sticking through her arms. To the best of my knowledge, folk don't have piercings there in RL, or at least it's not common, so to me, there is an unconscious discomfort in seeing the earrings displayed like that.

Whereas, at least for me, I love seeing them displayed in her hands - it's like she's saying 'Take a look at these - they are awesome!' :-)

4. The one thing I'm not entirely sure of is why you are splitting the shop. While there are many things I like better about the setup here, I'm not quite sure what makes this shop sufficiently different from your other shop to justify its existence, as it were. :-P

Perhaps make this more clear? Or is it simply a case where you will be letting old listings expire and then moving items as appropriate, so that the differences b/c far more apparent as time goes on?

Again, nifty-neat pieces and wonderful networking! :-) Looking forward to seeing even more as time goes on! :-)

BB & GF! :-)

Natasha said...

FunkyMonkeyGirls! I just didn't want you to think I'd forgetten you!! I am juggling a few things today but will be back to leave thoughts about your awesome shops :)