Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Welcome to the TST Clinic Featuring Caffeinated Frenzy!

Royal Twist - Cabled Scarf

Welcome to the 2nd 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 Kelsey, creator of Caffeinated Frenzy into the Clinic!


Circus - Knit Elephant

Kelsey is looking for advice on ways to fix up her shop as she hasn't had sales in awhile. She would greatly appreciate any advice.

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

Thank you, Kelsey, for opening yourself up and inviting us all in to help.


JanetDavies said...

Hi Kelsey!
First of all I want to say that I am a huge fan of your cabled scarf, the fairytale scarf and your critters. I love all your work but the critters seem to have a strong presence. I really like the fine quality yarns you use too. You're clearly a talented knitter.

Not sure if you wanted to talk about your site or your shop, so I'll just talk about both.

I can't really tell what you are using for your site but the whole right side is blank and it looks empty. I would consider putting one of those Etsy minis right on the front page so when folks are whizzing through the internet it makes it easier to buy quickly. I think the way you have it set up now is elegant but if I were shopping on my lunch break, I wouldn't want to think about how I can buy your items. Make it so easy I can buy it before the boss gets back.

I also think you might need to consider your target market, you may want to pick the thing you love to make the most and do a lot of it. So if you want to do the critters and eyemasks, (I do read your blog!)do them a lot and then maybe comment on treasuries with similar items and hang out in Etsy forums or develop a twitter personality that goes along with it. Tweet like crazy and make friends who will tweet your listings too. (I do that for friends) If you want to make more of the scarves and hats, find out where your target market is for those. Do it relentlessly. You might even want to gear your blog for whatever market you are aiming for.
I am seeing a big difference since I started doing those things myself.

I'm not seeing anything else really. Your photos are bright, attractive and clear, your work is lovely, prices are more than reasonable. So I think all you really need to do is polish up on marketing.
Sending all kinds of happy sales vibes!

Frenzy23 said...

Thanks for all your comments Janet, and thanks Natasha for posting this!
I feel like my website needs a lot of help, and that's what I'm trying to work on during my spare time. I think I picked a design with the wrong format so it looks a little funny.
But I'd love to hear advice about my site or my shop in case anyone else wasn't sure :)


Natasha said...

Kelsey I have half my thought written sorry for the delay I will post all later today I LOVE your shop and want you to soar

lisianblue said...

Natasha - I tried sending a comment last night - did it go through? I was falling asleep in front of the computer - not sure what I did!

Phoenyx Ravenswing said...


Love your work & your shop! :-)

"Armed w/coffee & knitting needles..." *hee!* Been reading a lot of The Yarn Harlot's books lately, and this reminds me of that (in a good way! :-D).

I agree, doing something w/the right side of your shop could be good. I liked the background color, tho' losing it does help the 'sudden blankness on the right' issue. I would suggest being careful about the placement of content on the sides - not everyone has the new 'wide-screen' monitors. I know that it really irritates me seeing telly advertisers assume, and I suspect I'm prob. not alone in this, esp. in more challenging economic times such as these. So something like a pic might be good, where if you only see part of it that's okay. :-)

Yeah, moving on, I must say I strongly prefer your original color layout. Since you have a pink project on the left, how about a silver one for the right? Keeps the theme going and fills in the space nicely. :-) (And if you don't have one done, it's a great excuse to go do one! :-D)

Love the banner for your shop - to me it really goes w/the 'Caffeinated Frenzy', so in your case, I would rec. staying w/the slightly frantic motif of your shop banner. You have a nice balance there - go w/it! :-D

And speaking of balance, it's a nice contrast to your site - showing us the two sides of your crafting that you mention in your announcement. :-)

I say again - I LOVE Ribbet!!! :-D I hope you have the pattern for him down - he's def. on my buying list! :-) (Hmmm... thinking - could you make him in an eensy-beensy size??? And if so, what would the cost be? Thinking for a series I'm doing.)

Most of your prices seem good to me, tho' what w/the price of yarn, you might wish to make sure you are covering all your costs w/your prices. (Inc. time! And remember, you are paying both halves of your taxes on these, so price accordingly. :-D)

For ex., the Dancer - Lace Scarf seems like it might be a bit low-priced to me, but I don't know your costs, so I could well be wrong. You show the advantages of careful categorizing here - I automatically anticipate luxury pricing in a section entitled "Cashmere & Elegance", so conceivably you could bump the price a bit on these items and actually bring them MORE in line w/expectations.

I also like your 'Spring Clutch' and am in awe that you can make it fast enough that it is only $30. :-)Again, maybe check your costs & time here??? :-)

Overall, you have a lovely shop & site, and I suspect that it's mainly been a comb. of summer up here in the Northern Hemisphere and the economy for why you haven't had as many sales recently, so I'd stress not. :-)

Making more critters could be good, esp. if that's more where your heart lies. I must admit, that is where you & I make the connection of passion, tho' that could just be me. :-D

BB & GF! :-)

Amanda Fall - PersistentGreen said...

Hi Kelsey! Not sure if I have enough time for a full response here, but a few things did occur to me the other day.

I'll focus on your Etsy shop today:

First of all, your product photography is spot-on. I especially love the way your DNA scarves are displayed, and the angles on the animals. Great contrast and brightness.

I love your use of color--very warm and cozy, which goes perfectly with what you're selling.

Good job with your shop policies--very clear and direct.

Now, a few suggestions:

Check your spelling throughout. One typo I noticed right away is in your sections--should read "miscellaneous," not with the i.

I'd strongly recommend filling out your profile. If people are finding you directly on Etsy, not through your web site, this is their only chance to see who you are. One of my favorite parts of buying handmade is knowing that it's from a "real person"--and a blank profile is a disappointment from that angle.

In your shop announcement, you might consider rearranging a bit. For SEO, your second line ("CaffeinatedFrenzy features cozy wools..." etc) is PERFECT--but you want that to come first. Far as I know, it's those first 150 (? maybe 160--can't remember) characters that should be loaded with keywords for Google. You could easily solve this by just flipping your order.

That's all I can do right now--hope this helps! Good luck!

Natasha said...

Kelsey - First, please forgive my delay in getting here. Life has been upside down but I wanted to be here much earlier - I am truly sorry.

Let's hop to it...

I love the warm colors on your website. I love the pinks you used balanced with the bits of white. I am a huge fan of your work - it's gorgeous, delicate, warm, cozy...I love every piece. And you have some of the most stellar photography - truly. Seeing the work on you or seeing you holding a piece makes me understand how it looks or will be when it's in my hands. I love that.

After reviewing your site and shop I have a few suggestions that I would like to share that I believe will strengthen your already strong online prescence.

- On your site, you have a huge grey space to the right that seems like wasted space. I think you might want to use this space to share more of your work. My suggestion would be: 1. center the site so you have equal room on either side. 2. Use the space on the right to show - a. a close-up of a grey piece (especially the work) the way you have shown it in pink on the right) b. a couple of pictures in black and white, one on top of the other, close-up shots of your hands working on a pieces. 3. If you choose to use the grey on the right add a few splotchces of grey throughout the home page (alternate grey/pink buttons on top or something).

-You have such a great site but like your shop I feel like it's missing something truly important -you! You have such an amazingly warm, thoughtful personality. I see it in your work but I'd love to hear more of it in your words. So I have a couple of suggestions -1. The Gallery is good but I feel like there are not enough photos and the ones that are there simply link to your shop which is a little bit of a repetition from the Shop tab. I'd suggest a couple of things: a. Change that Gallery page to have more categories - Fun things for Kids or the Young at Heart and feature some of your amazing little creatures, b. Gifts from the Heart and feature those gorgeous hearts you make, c. Have a seasonal category that features hat specials for winter or Fall scarf specials. OR you can have a link to your blog which is another way for potential buyers to get to know you.

-Finally, you have great sales but you need to really announce them. I think you should have a special area on your home page as well as your shop announcement so that people know when you are having sales OR have a Facebook or Twitter space where you can make people VIP's - where VIP's get invites to special sales. Doing things like that make people feel special and you will develop repeat customers and get people talking about you which word of mouth is the very best form of promotion because it's genuine and people like to learn about new companies from people whose stule they admire or whose judgement they trust.

I sincerely hope this helps. I think those sales are going to pick up so keep it up. Good things are coming for you!! Thank you for putting your shop and site out there ..please let us know how this worked.

Frenzy23 said...

Thanks so much for all your suggestions!
I actually had no idea about the big blank half of my website. I chose the wrong size template, as it turns out.

I will be slowly but surely altering things according to some of these suggestions. They're all very much appreciated :)
My sales have actually began to pick up a little again!
Thanks again,