Finding the Right Tools at Staples to Help your Small Business Flourish – and a GIVEAWAY!

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Owning an Etsy shop for many of us is not just a hobby, it is a small business that we nurture and grow. We have the same challenges as any other business; we need to think about properly marketing our items, giving a professional appearance and having a quality product that people want to purchase. Along with that comes the challenges of managing the business necessities that no one knows about but you; designing and printing business cards, checking emails frequently and packaging up your items so that they arrive to the customers safely. Luckily, Staples is there for small business owners and can help them with a lot of these challenges.

Small business has been in my blood for as long as I can remember. My parents are small business owners and own a brick and mortar store. When I was a kid, one of our favorite things to do after dinner was go to Staples so my dad could look at new computers for the store (a novel idea back then), printer paper, Post-it Notes, Post-it Flags (which I was obsessed with) and other necessities like pens, rubber bands, binder clips, etc. I loved going on these shopping trips with my parents because there were so many fun items in the store and sometimes they would let me pick out a colorful pen or marker or something for myself.

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Fast forward 25 years or so and now I am shopping at Staples for my small business and it’s still one of my favorite places to shop. One of my favorite things to buy at staples now is business cards because every time I run out and need more, it means that 200 more people now have my business card in their hand than the last time I purchased them. I like the ones with the “clean edge”, it makes separating the cards easy and has a professional look. I love buying these because they are so much less expensive than having cards designed and printed for you. As a creative business I create and design my own card and then print them myself. It’s a great DIY thing you can do for your business. I create a different card for each platform I’m selling on (the basic design is the same, but the name of the platform is at the top and I use a different color pallet to distinguish each one) and I also have a card for the My Craft Assistant business as well.

One of the things I love about Staples is how affordable they are, in fact you’d be surprised how competitive the prices are, you’ll find what you need there within your budget. When I was looking for a new laptop (an absolute must for my small business) I went to browse the selection at Staples and ended up finding exactly what I needed at a great price so I bought it and was able to bring it home with me that day. I love my Lenovo Yoga and am so glad that they had something that fit my needs perfectly. My printer, the toner for my printer and my shredder all come from Staples as well.

Did you know that Staples also has packaging supplies that can help you package and send out all of the items that you sell on Etsy? There are so many essentials here for your creative business… this packaging tape dispenser helps me quickly seal up packages and these bubble envelopes help me keep items safe through the mail system. One other item that I love for packaging is this huge roll of bubble wrap it always feels like it lasts forever and the value is really great as well.

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Today, Staples is still one of my favorite places to shop and every time I walk in I have the great memory of shopping there with my family when I was younger and then when I walk in with my own family today for my small business I know that I am carrying on a really fun tradition. Staples has been kind enough to offer one lucky reader on our site a $50 gift card! In the comments section below let us know what your favorite Staples items are for your small business and we’ll choose one name at random!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Staples, I was able to try a lot of the items mentioned above for free in order to let my readers know about them. All of the information above is accurate and I will only recommend items to my readers that I have tried myself.


Review of the Sir Stitch Portable Sewing Kit

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The perfect sewing kit for a crafter! This is a great Sewing Kit to travel with or even to keep in your car. It has everything you need for an emergency fix. It’s really nice to know I have this around when I need it, it’s one less thing to stress about!

You can also keep it in your house for a quick sewing job like hemming pants, it comes with:

  • straight pins
  • safety pins
  • scissors
  • thread
  • needles
  • a seam ripper
  • a measuring tape
  • 2 threaders
  • and a fabric pencil.

It stores away nicely in the zippered pouch when you’re finished so you can keep everything neatly stored in one place. I also love that this is a family owned company. I love supporting small businesses! Check it out on Amazon!

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Disclosure: I received the product mentioned above for free in exchange for my honest opinion. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. Reference ID: pmfa9364369b2d4eef0af96be8855164f0


Get your Etsy Shop Noticed by Advertising on Blogs

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I wanted to let you know about an amazing opportunity that recently came my way. Many of you have been emailing me lately and asking about marketing and advertising opportunities for your Etsy shops so this could not have come at a better time.

Advertising your Etsy shops on relevant blogs can be a great way to get your shop out there and in front of people who may not have heard about your brand before. Finding relevant blogs to advertise your products can be difficult – you need to search for them, make sure they have a good audience and then contact them one by one hoping that someone will respond. Aaron from MomBlogWire has a way to make this whole process a lot easier. When you sign up for his service, he will email his network of over 2,100 bloggers a summary of what you sell and ask if anyone is interested in featuring you on their sites! Relevant blogs that think you are a good fit for them will email you directly to setup the blog feature!

A service like this normally costs upwards of $300 (some clients pay him thousands of dollars for his services), but we have worked out a special discount for our email newsletter subscribers. If you mention My Craft Assistant when contacting MomBlogWire they will give you an 85% discount off this service! That’s only $50 to be blasted out to over 2,100 bloggers. If you are interested please use the contact form here and Aaron will get back to you. Because of the steep discount he is limiting this offer to only a few Etsy sellers. New spots will open up throughout the year.

Additional information:
• When working with Aaron he will ask you to set up an offer for the bloggers – a sample of your product, a giveaway to do on their blog, basically an incentive for them to want to feature you.
• Some of the larger blogs may ask for additional compensation to do the feature. The blog will let you know this upfront and you are not obligated to work with any blogs that you do not want to.
• If you would like to turn down any blogs, please do so in a diplomatic manner – remember, you may choose to work with them in the future and appearances are important!

If you have any questions about this service or want to know if it is a good fit for you, contact Aaron here and we will be happy to answer them for you.


3 ways to sell more on Etsy (that you haven’t already heard)!

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There is a lot of information out there on how to sell more on Etsy. Articles or blogs about selling more on Etsy usually give the same advice, over and over again. Well, today I’m going to give you 3 tips to help you sell more on Etsy that don’t include taking better photos or marketing on Facebook.

  1. List more of your top sellers. Offering one of kind items is great in theory, but by doing so you lose the benefit of being able to restock items that people really like. Also, having items you can easily relist without having to take photos and create a new listing description can save you a lot of valuable time. If you find one item is selling particularly well then try to make it in other colors and variations. I know some of you might be thinking that your customers like your one of a kind items or that they shop with you because they know they can get something unique; or maybe your products are hard to replicate. If that is the case then sprinkle some of your one of a kind items in with other items that you can reproduce.
  2. Send out newsletters. Etsy sellers spend hours on social media promoting, often with very little return. Why not spend your time doing something more productive? Handmade Newsletter provides Etsy sellers with an easy way to sign up new customers and people who like their items to their shop newsletter. Create a newsletter with Madmimi or any other email marketing provider to send out promotions, coupon codes or new product announcements to the people who have opted into your newsletter. Just think, with the newsletter you’re promoting people who have already shown an interest in your items! Mckinsey.com says that E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined”. Now that’s a good reason to try newsletter marketing!
  3. Don’t put your shop in vacation mode. Ever. The internal Etsy search engine looks at many things when determining where an item falls in a potential customer’s search. One thing it looks at is how many views and hearts any one item gets within a certain time frame (the more views and/or hearts for a particular phrase, the higher that item will fall in a search for that particular phrase). When a shop is put into vacation mode, it becomes harder to find an item in that shop and as a result the item will start to get rated lower in the Etsy search because it is no longer getting consistent views. It can take weeks, even months to get back your standing in search engines because of this.So, what should you do when you go away and cannot ship items? Use the bulk edit tool from MyCraftTools, it will allow you to add a vacation message to all of your listings without closing your shop down. Simply let your customers know that you are away and give them the date they can expect items to ship. This same message should also go into your shop announcement and message to buyers for sold orders. The other great thing about this method is that you can also continue to sell items while you are gone…. and who doesn’t want more sales?!

All of the other articles out there on how to sell more on Etsy have good tips… improving the quality of your photos, making sure your prices are competitive, selling a good quality product, having stellar customer service, etc. is essential to having a successful Etsy shop. The tips I outlined above are designed to help you take your shop to the next level and make you an Etsy rockstar!

Want to get even more tips and great advice about running a handmade business?? Maker Mentors online conference is taking place May 14th – May 16th. There are 20 live-streamed sessions from amazing creative speakers and I will be there to mentor as well! Use promo code CRAFTASSISTANTVIP to get $50 off your ticket! Get more information and register here.

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