Tag Archives: Christmas cards

I opened my first Etsy shop in 2010…

{I took my mini sabbatical off during the week of 9/17 but instead of my normal sabbatical week report, I have a more urgent news for you…}

Hey friend,

I opened up my first Etsy shop in December 2010.

I’d posted a picture of my crocheted fingerless gloves on Facebook (can’t believe FB has been out there for so long…) and a couple of friends said “you can sell that!”

I didn’t know what Etsy was and it was hard to imagine if anyone would want to pay for what I made.

But I said “why not?”

So I opened up a shop called “TeAmi Works” – te ami means “hand-knit” or “hand-crocheted” in Japanese – and posted a few pairs of fingerless gloves I made.

(OMG the quality of photos were so BAD 😂 a humble beginning…)

The very first day, a super sweet customer in Nashville, Tennessee, purchased a pair and turned around and placed another order right away because her daughter loved them too and wanted a pair.

It was so rewarding to be appreciated for what I made with my own two hands.

I caught the bug and kept making more gloves and other crocheted accessories to sell.

Over the last 8 years, I’d moved on from making/selling crocheted wares because I got sick of making the same things over and over, and how could you price them for the time it takes really? (anybody wants $150 pair of fingerless gloves?? 😀 maybe with the right kind of positioning and marketing, but I didn’t know that stuff back then.)

I was getting more into drawing then and was getting the same kind of appreciation for it.

And people started asking me if they could pay me to draw or design something for them.

The light bulb went on again 💡

Drawing and selling cards and prints were much more in line with how I wanted to do business, so I slowly transitioned from selling crocheted stuff and adding more art in the shop.

I changed the name of the shop to “Honeyberry Studios” in 2013.

And, mind you, I was never a hot seller on Etsy – between 2010 and until I quit my day job in July 2015, maybe I sold a thing or two per month.

It only started to pick up after I quit my job and started to devote more time making and promoting my work.

But still, Etsy has never brought me enough sales consistently.

I feel it’s hit and miss, and there is the sense of “pay to play” (in fact, they raised their seller fee a couple of months ago) and you need to be on top of your SEO game etc., which I just don’t have the time and energy for.

I was originally going to build a separate shop just for my wholesale business – because Etsy decided to close their wholesale shops at the end of July this year.

I have a bunch of friends who do really well on Etsy, and I’m happy for them!!

But I don’t like the feeling of not being in control of my shop, and it’s just not working for me.

It was time for me to move on and have my own shop that’s under Honeyberry Studios’ name.

I started working on building my new shop back in May when they first announced the closure of Etsy Wholesale.

I then decided to combine both retail and wholesale shops in one place per Shopify’s advice (that’s who’s hosting my new shop now.)

I thought – oh, I’ll take a couple of weeks to finish bulk of the website. It’ll be done by the beginning of summer.

I’m not building it from scratch (thank you Shopify!) so how hard could it be? It’s basically just copy and paste, no?

WRONG.

I always tell myself everything takes 3x longer than you think. In this case, it took me almost 5 times longer 😅

There have been learning curves and bumps on the road, BUT the important thing is…

IT’S DONE!!!! 🎉🎊🎈

Without further ado, meet new Honeyberry Studios shop!!

Isn’t it pretty?? 😍

Not only is it prettier than my old website, it’s got more functions that make your shopping easier (and save you $).

Allow me to point out some of my favorite functions here.

(I know you know how to shop online – I’m just too excited to not talk about it!!! 😆)

First of all, you don’t need to enter a coupon code to get a free US shipping any more.

When your total purchase reaches the minimum of $35 (before tax), bam, your shipping’s free.

(I’ve been manually refunding shoppers on Etsy who forgot to use the coupon code. So it saves me time, too 😀)

I love how easy it is to create/select categories, too. Etsy only allowed a limited number of categories (I think), so it’s a big bonus.

You can either start shopping by selecting a category from the “Shop” button up top, or…

Scroll to see the categories visually laid out for you!

I’m particularly happy about how you can filter all of my greeting cards by occasions, too!

On Etsy, you’d have to scroll through 80+ cards to find what you’re looking for 👎

One thing I’m a little annoyed about, thou, is that every time you put something in a cart, you’re directed to your cart and can’t just keep shopping.

If you want to keep browsing, I suggest you click on the top “Shop” button and get back in a collection you want to explore, rather than hitting the “CONTINUE SHOPPING” button at the bottom because this will throw you in “all products” page where you have to wade through 150 products all mixed together!

And may I suggest you create an account during your first visit??

Not only would you save time on your future shopping, I’m rewarding your loyalty by giving 5% off on every single order you place through your customer account!

(**NOTE:: I was hoping there was an easy way to automate this, but since I haven’t found one, I’ll be manually giving you a refund on your first order after you activate an account. Please allow 48 hours for you to see the refund. After that, it should automatically come off.)

And if you have any questions, I’ve got links to important stuff at the bottom of the website. Of course, you can always shoot me an email, too!

Last but not least, with the grand opening of my new shop, you finally get to shop my fall & winter collection!!! Weeee!

You can explore the llama stationery gifts pictured above, new holiday cards, 2019 calendar, and wrapping papers in my shop now.

FYI – if you’ve already bought some of my new products at markets and are sad you didn’t get the discount – wipe your tears, friend, because I don’t charge you sales tax at markets and fairs. Plus you don’t pay for shipping, so you’re still getting a pretty good deal 😉

My old website used to make me cringe – you know, I built it from scratch using very few coding skills I had, which I’m super proud of.

It worked for what I needed in the beginning, but it felt outdated and didn’t really represent who I was and where I wanted my business to go.

My creative business is labor of love. It’s so much work but gives me so much joy in return.

I’m so happy you’re here with me, witnessing and being part of my dream!!

Take a few minutes to explore my new site today! It’s still somewhat a work in progress, so if you notice something not working, email me and I’ll take care of you!

I’m so looking forward to continue helping you find the adorable and thoughtful gifts for yourself and your loved ones ❤️

Thank you, friend!!!

xo

p.s. If you’re wondering what happens to my Etsy shop now – I’m undecided. It will be there for now, but I will be investing all of my time and energy learning and improving my new site from now on.

Fall & Winter Collection sneak preview 🐱🐷🐶 (Pt. 2 of 3)

Did you enjoy the sneak preview of my new collection last week?

Today I’m back with more cuteness to delight you!

Let me show you some of my new winter holiday designs.

Meet the Winter Kitties 🐱

I love all animals, but I’m more of a cat person if you ask me.

Last year when I made my doggie design, A LOT of my customers asked “where are the CATS??”

So I designed these adorable winter holiday kitties just for you ❄️

Also available as wrapping papers (how can you not??)

And notepads! Wouldn’t you love to organize your holiday to-dos on this cutie? You can, very soon 😻

The next up is 2019 Year of the Boar card!

New Year’s holiday is a BIG deal in Japan and many other cultures, so I’ve designed cute animal zodiac cards for the last 4 years.

2019 is the Year of the Boar, and these happy, party boars bring me SO much joy 😆

And I updated the Doggies in Sweater design from last year (it was for the Year of the Dog design for this year).

Now it’s a plain doggie design without any texts 🐶 so it’s appropriate for Christmas or any other occasions!

Don’t forget – doggie wrapping papers are already in the shop!

And here is my new Hanukkah card design 🍽

I love learning about foods in culture and the meaning behind them – I really enjoyed researching about foods for Hanukkah for this design! 😋

(and it made me hungry!!)

Well, did you enjoy the previews​?

There is a lot more where they came from, and I can’t wait to share more next week 😘

xo

p.s. My new collection won’t be available online till early September, but you can shop the existing cuteness (and they’re equally cute 💕) today.

Nurturing connections, belonging, and making time for what’s imporant

When I visited Japan in October, I got to see my friends from high school.

{dinner with my high school buddies 🙂}

Even though we are 40 now, and some of us hadn’t seen each other for almost 20 years, we clicked instantly.

We have different lives now – many of them are married with kids (a couple of them have kids in high school even!!), handle lots of responsibilities at work and home, and some have lost their spouse or a parent.

But we laughed and talked for hours and bonded over funny/awful stories from our teenage years.

The whole time we were hanging out, I was overcome with gratitude.

First of all, I was so grateful that they wanted to see me! It makes me sound like I have a low self-esteem, but I just honestly didn’t know they wanted to see me because I hadn’t kept in touch with them in any meaningful way.

Sure, some of us are on Facebook and occaionally “like” each other’s posts, but it doesn’t make me feel super connected. It’s like reading the news I won’t remember two weeks later (or even 2 hours later!)

But seeing them in-person and eating and laughing together created an instant connection.

Even though it’d been a long time and we’re all in different places in life, I still felt like I belonged.

It’s hard to have a split life between the two worlds. It’s my choice to live so far away from home, and I appreciate it 95% of the time. I have a fulfilling life and a loving community in Seattle, and I have a great time when I’m in Japan, too. Of course, neither places are “perfect” and we all know what kinds of problems exist in both countries.

But I still wish there was a magical portal that connects the two places so I could go back and forth whenever I want. I wish I could just drop by my parents’ house for dinner or see my friends’ kids grow up close by.

It was sad to say goodbye, but my heart was full. 

​Yes, it sucks to be away from your loved ones. But it makes me realize just how special our relationship is. I’m grateful I have family and friends who are truly happy to see me and make me feel accepted for who I am today. 

It’s kind of like when Dave and I were in a long distance relationship for 5 years – I was a wreck whenever we had to say goodbye to each other, but it made our time together so much more precious. We were much more intentional about our communication and didn’t take each other for granted. The distance between us made our hearts grow stronger.

And it really doesn’t matter how close or far away you’re from your loved ones.

Full disclosure: I’ve only seen one of my closest friends in Seattle, who lives one train station away, 5 times this year. That’s like seeing each other every 8 weeks. I was actually shocked to learn that just now! I gotta take a deep breath to calm down…

Yea, we traveled a lot this year, and I was frequently out of town. It seems my friend’s been working on demanding projects at work all the time. We’re both introverts, so we really need alone time to unwind on weekends etc. We text each other sometimes to check in, but still…

There is an artwork on my wall that says, “You always have time for the things that are important to you.”

There it is. It can’t get any truer than that. If I value connection with my friends and family, then I will make time to nurture that connection. I can always choose to be the person I want to be!

So I decided this year I’m gonna take the time to send out Christmas cards to my friends and family. 

I may not be able to send them to everyone I care about. I may not be able to do it every year. But this year, I’m going to do it because I can and I want to.

I know I’m lucky to have them in my life, and the holiday season gives me an opportunity to do something extra. (Plus, I already asked for a bunch of my friends’ addresses, so they’re expecting to receive something from me 😀 Accountability!)

How about you? What helps you feel connected to people you love? How do you make time for things that are important to you? 

xo

 

p.s. If you’re inspired to join me in sending cards to our loved ones this holiday season, you can browse all of my holiday notecards in my shop here.

SaveSave

SaveSave