Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Relevancy...The New Buzz Word

As you know, I have a craft shop on Etsy called CalliesCraftCottage. Recently, Etsy has changed how they do their default search. To really understand why this is such a big deal, you need to understand how searches used to work.

The Old Search
The old search default used something called "Most Recent", meaning most recently listed. If I searched for the terms "pink glass", for example, at the top of the list I would find the item that was most recently listed, or relisted, that was made from pink glass. This wasn't a bad way to run the search, but it assumed that the most important item to you, the buyer, was the one most recently listed. When putting together a treasury, sometimes I would scroll through pages and pages of items just to find something that wasn't listed "today" because I purposely wanted to find something that had been listed a little longer. I suppose I'm just contrary that way sometimes.

Having come from an accounting background, that type of search makes me think of a LIFO, or "last in, first out" type of inventory management, which from a search standpoint makes no sense at all. It only makes any sense whatsoever if all inventory items are indistinguishable from each other. In the handmade craft world, it is totally senseless,  and I for one am very glad that Etsy has changed for the better.

The "Most Recent" type of default search contributed to "renew fever", that contagious little bug that made us all want to keep our products at the top of the lists, rather than buried down in the pages and pages of stuff. A listing stays active for four months before it dissappears or must be renewed, but you can renew at any time. To stay at the top of the searches, sellers would renew often, sometimes daily.

The New Search
The new default search uses something called "Most Relevant". Relevancy is defined as the relation of something to the matter at hand. So, today I searched for "pink glass" and search returned 65,272 items. The first ten things shown all said "pink glass" somewhere in their titles, but their listings were really varied in age: 8/5/11, 8/16/11, 8/21/11, 8/24,11/ 7/25/11, 8/10/11, 7 hours ago, 8/1/11, 57 minutes ago, 8/7/11, respectively. As a seller, I find that very encouraging. It means I don't have to renew my listings before they are due to be renewed, just to get them seen. I just have to title and tag them with words that are meaningful to a buyer.

Is "relevancy", therefore, a new strategy? I think not. We should have been using titles and tags that were relevant to start with. Does it mean sellers need to do business differently? Maybe. We need to look at our marketing strategies with new eyes. Those who were relying heavily on renewing daily to be seen can save their pennies to be used in different ways for their businesses. Those who, like me, didn't feel successful enough to waste our pennies on renewing, just might be seeing an increase in shop traffic, I know I am. Is it because of "relevancy", or because I joined a new team, or because I started a blog? I won't ever have the answer to that question, but I'm just grateful that for whatever serendipitous reason, my shop has more traffic. Now I just hope that traffic will translate that into more sales.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


It is with great pleasure and humility that I present IlzesCreations as my first featured artisan. Ilze is from Riga, Latvia and recently featured me in her blog. She uses a variety of techniques for a variety of crafts. Ilze makes hats, socks, shawls, and jewelry using felting, embroidery, sewing, crochet, and knitting techniques. She opened her shop in April of 2011, and it has matured greatly just in the short time since I first met her. Ilze is running a 20% off sale through the end of August in her Etsy shop, the code is ICSALE.

Monday, August 1, 2011

In the Beginning....

In the beginning was the Box, and the Box was with Material, and the Box was Material. The same was in the beginning with Material.....

This phrase very much describes my relationship with fabric. Scraps of fabric became my toys. Some of my youngest memories involved boxes of fabric, or "terials" as I called them then, and my mother sewing various things. I loved playing under the quilts she was quilting, back when quilt frames took up a whole room. She never threw anything away, "you might need it someday".  As I grew older, I learned other skills from her as well, such as knitting and crochet. I learned other craftiness from friends or on my own .

Today I was looking through old photos trying to find the picture I took of my daughter Hannah at around 3 years old, and her "web" of yarn. I had let her play in a box of yarn and she strung it all over the house. I attribute her love on knitting to being able to play with the yarn as I did with the fabric. Hannah knits 99% of the hats that are for sale in my Etsy shop and at least 50% of the scarves. I didn't find that photo, but I did find other photos of things I have made over the years.
This was my first cross-stitch effort, a poem dedicated to a mother-in-law. I didn't write the poem, but it expressed how I felt about my wonderful mother-in-law.
Me almost 18 years ago and pregnant with my third child. The quilts behind me are quilts I had made as a teenager and are on display at a church talent show.
A baby quilt that still need its binding. I don't remember who the quilt was for, it doesn't look like the quilts I made my own kids.
This quilt was pieced together by the lady in the picture. She contracted with me to do the quilting and binding. I developed the quilting design from the patterns in the fabric.
This photo is about twenty years old. This is a sweater that I made when I worked for Savage Frost, a handknit sweater company. Unfortunately, I didn't (and still don't) knit fast enough that this lasted long, but I gained a lot of confidence in my knitting abilities, and in the ability to follow a pattern. I even learned how to resize patterns!

Some plans for future posts:
1.Treasuries from Etsy which I have currated.
2. How-to demonstrations of various crafting skills.
3. General hopes and dreams.
4. Excerpts from daily life "living in the cottage".
5. Other ideas as they come.
Some of these ideas could become regular features.

If there is something that I can make and you want to know how, just ask!