Halloween In February?

I have noticed a surprising increase in Halloween themed sales in my Etsy shop Curious Portraits over the past few weeks and simply cannot account for it. I am happy to believe however, that the world is simply filled with fellow Halloween enthusiasts like myself who just never get enough!

Two Wonderful Blog Posts about Yours Truly

I want to mention today how honored I am to have been featured on two wonderful blogs this week!

The first is by Evelyn Pelati, a talented jewelry designer who has a knack for finding interesting artists, craftsmen and designers to write about on her blog.  Just click the image to read more of her post about yours truly! You can see her beautiful jewelry on her website: evelynpelati.com


The other one is called Papoose Clothing by Ashley Duggan Smith who makes the most adorable and charming children’s clothes. Just click the image to read more of this wonderful post. You can find her unique clothing line in her Etsy shop Papoose Clothing.

papoose clothing-curious portraits

Thank you Evelyn and Ashley for your very kind words about my work!


Cleaning House, Etsy Style

www.curiousportraits.etsy.com I am always reading articles on Etsy's blog about having great photos for your listings. Since my items are all prints of my artwork I didn't think there was much I could do to improve them. A few weeks ago I had some extra time and decided to look over my shop with a critical eye.  I realized  that my jewelry listings were abominable! When I first began to carry jewelry I was so overwhelmed with all the details of finding the proper supplies, deciding how to package them in an appealing way, and how to photograph them properly. I found that it was very difficult to get a good clear photo (with the camera I had at the time).  I did however want to get them up and running to see how they would do, intending to polish the listings up later so I just photographed them all against a soft blue suede background. Two years later I realize that they continue to sell well despite the terrible photos so I thought it was about time to do some polishing! I decided to put cheery backgrounds behind them in polka dots, stripes and damasks that I thought helped to convey the feeling of the image. With a little help from Photoshop (and my new camera which I love, a simple point and shoot Nikon Coolpix S8200 ). It has a terrific wide angle that allows super close up shots and in just about every setting allows you to adjust the color balance and light exposure which is important especially when you don't use a flash. It was so much fun putting in the backgrounds and seeing them come to life. The good news is that with these new flashy listings sales have definitely  gone up so I am grateful to Etsy for all those inspiring and motivational articles ! I have included a sample of the before and after of my Christmas Elf Squirrel so you can see the difference.

Christmas Elf Squirrel before and after







New ACEO Prints at Curious Portraits

curiousportraits.etsy.com For awhile now I have been hearing about and running across the acronym ACEO regarding artwork and prints. After some investigation I discovered that it stands for Art Cards, Editions and Originals and has become a hugely popular way for people to collect and trade miniature artwork and prints. The only criterion seems to be that they must adhere to a standard size of 2.5" x 3.5" ; the original size of baseball trading cards. Being extremely fond of anything miniature myself, I thought it would be the perfect way for me to offer less expensive editions of my artwork in my Curious Portraits shop on Etsy!  I spent last weekend experimenting with different ways of photographing the prints in a way that would show their unique, petite size. In the end I propped them up in my bookcase with some vintage books and a vintage camera which I thought would also convey the old fashioned, vintage feel of the prints and photographed them in natural light. So far I have only listed the most popular prints in this format but I'll be adding more every day. Meanwhile I have added a listing to the shop through which you can order just about any image in the shop as an ACEO.



The sudden cooler weather here in NY inspired me to begin listing some of my Christmas Portraits too!


I also decided to finally list some MINI prints in the shop that are slightly larger than the ACEO prints . They are 3.5" x 4.5"  and printed on 5" x 7" paper ready to pop right into a standard frame. I always get requests for framed prints so I will soon be offering this size print already framed and ready for gift giving. I got to use some of my favorite mini dog statues and my mantle clock for these photos.  I have also added a general listing for this size print to use until I get all the separate listings up.


Great evening over at the Etsy Headquarters

Etsy photo booth photo Last evening I attended the "Get Found in Search"  lecture over in the Brooklyn headquarters of Etsy as part of their Success Series. It was super informative and and everyone was so welcoming. I came away with lots of notes and ideas about how to improve my tagging, titles and item descriptions in order to make my shops, Curious Portraits and The Curious Kitchen more searchable. A lot of the information I had already absorbed and implemented over the years from Etsy's fantastic blog and newsletter but it inspired me to go over my shops with a checklist and fill in some gaps. One of the new tips I acquired last night was from Erin at Knot and Bow; she recommended putting something with your brand name in every photo. I know a lot of people use watermarks on their images but I have opted not to do that so as not to spoil the look of the photo in case some enthusiastic blogger wanted to post it. Erin has one of her labels with her brand in every photo of her products and that gave me the idea of putting my shop name discreetly in the bottom corner of all my images so that it isn't distracting yet would always lead a viewer back to my shop in case the trail got cold through Pinterest or Tumblr.

the curious kitchen

She suggested we name our photos with keywords (instead of numbers as many of us do) so that they will come up in Google Image Search. This was new to a lot of people there so I think everyone found it really helpful. Erin also reminded us to keep an eye on the traffic sources and top keywords in our shop stats page to stay on top of where we are being found and how.

The most important thing I learned though was from Dixie Laite's talk about targeting your customers. She writes  15 minutes of Dame  column at the DYI Business Association blog(among other things) and was an overflowing fountain of useful information. For some reason I have always shied away from pin pointing my target audience. I don't know if it seemed too overwhelming a task or if I simply didn't understand how but now, thanks to Dixie, I feel fully armed to sit down and overcome my resistance! She broke it all down into identifying who is most likely to buy from you, seeing who your competitors (or like minded sellers) target, interviewing past customers for recommendations and identifying what makes your product different, just to name a few. She urged us to be prepared to change as we collect new information and to think about what we are really selling. Not in terms of product only but in a deeper way such as comfort, protection or nostalgia. I had never before thought of it in that way. This process requires some real work but I believe it will be well worth the effort in the end. I highly recommend reading her column at DYI which goes over all of this in more detail. Don't forget to check out her blog The Lost Art of Being a Dame as well which is a must for classic movie buffs and lovers of vintage everything from the golden age of cinema.

Last but not least Julie Snyder of the Etsy team went over the importance of choosing simple and searchable keywords in your tags and clear and descriptive titles to your listings. Oh and they had a photo booth complete with chalkboard props for us to commemorate the evening which was great fun! I'd love to hear comments from anyone else who attended or any other Etsy seller with their tips for being found.

The Curious Kitchen on Scoutmob

I am so pleased to announce that Scoutmob is featuring my Etsy shop,  The Curious Kitchen on their wonderful site! Scoutmob is a great place to find new and interesting artwork and crafty products at a discount and they really promote buying local by sorting their shops by location. They were so easy to work with and I think they did a great job of describing myself and the individual prints. Visit the page here and let me know what you think! The-Curious-Kitchen-Scoutmob 1

Studio Shot

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The-Curious-Kitchen-Scoutmob 3

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Thanks to all the Bloggers out there...

I thought I would take this opportunity to thank those of you who have written such lovely things about me and Curious Portraits, my Etsy shop in their blog. It's been about 9 months since I first opened it (only 7 since I actually began to list things) and I have learned so much in that time especially about the Etsy community and how supportive everyone is. Everyone listed here has their own Etsy shop as well as a terrific blog so I encourage you to check them out:

Hopefully there will be more to come!

Etsy Photo Shoot for Inc. Magazine

Yesterday I headed up to Gary's Loft for the Inc. Magazine photo shoot. They had invited NY based Etsians to participate in an article they are writing about Etsy and I thought it would be fun. The  penthouse space was beautiful and they let me take a few photos of all the yummy vintage items they had there. I'll let you know when the article comes out!

Curious Portraits

I am very happy to finally have my new ETSY shop Curious Portraits up and running. It has taken a lot of work but I think I finally have all the little details ironed out! I've already made a few sales and have been featured on 4 different treasuries (2 of which I've posted below) so I am very encouraged. I hope you will take a look and let me know what you think.