The art of Sue Griffiths at MessieJessie

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Etsy News What’s on: Brighton Art Fair 2014

I won’t be able to go but maybe some blog followers down south may get a chance.
By Sarah Hewett handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Brighton Art Fair 2014

Creativity is in the air and art fair season has begun – we love this time of year! Here at Etsy HQ, we of course cannot wait for our very own show; OPEN: An exhibition of art on Etsy opens on 16th October and runs until Sunday 19th October (pop those all important dates in your diary!)

In the meantime, we’re looking forward to the Brighton Art Fair coming up this month (26th-28th September). Our busy friends from MADE London and MADE Brighton, Etsy artist Sarah Young and fellow organiser Jon Tutton, somehow also find time to run the much anticipated Brighton art event.

For over 10 years, they have selected 100 of the brightest contemporary visual artists from Sussex and around the UK to exhibit at the Brighton Dome Corn Exchange. They tell us:

“The Brighton Art Fair is the largest annual art exhibition on the South Coast and enables artists across all media to sell their work to the public, building a relationship with buyers, galleries and curators.”

Sounds good to us!

Jude Freeman

Emma Forrester Brighton Art Fair 2014Emma Forrester
Janie Ranger Brighton Art Fair 2014Janie Ranger
Celia Wilkinson Brighton Art Fair 2014Celia Wilkinson
Melanie Bellis Brighton Art Fair 2014

It’s also a great opportunity to mingle with the artists themselves, learning more about their artwork, creative inspirations, techniques and future projects. Find painters, printmakers, photographers and sculptors along with artist groups and Sussex based galleries.

This year they will also feature photographer Alun Callender‘s latest personal project – a series of environmental portraits of East Sussex artists in their studios. Sounds right up our street!

To help you on your way, Brighton Art Fair are also offering Etsy UK blog readers the chance to buy tickets for the price of one – hurrah! To redeem, complete this form by 22nd September and a voucher will be sent to you in the post before the event.

Inspired by this exhibition but not yet selling your work on Etsy? Opening an Etsy shop is simple – get started with 20 free listings! Enter the code: MADEUK at (new sellers only).

Source: Etsy UK

September 17, 2014   No Comments yet, your thoughts are welcome

Kate Bush Inspired Art Dresses

Despite releasing many albums, Kate Bush has not toured since 1979. Last month she took to the stage with her new show – Before the Dawn , a 22-night residency from 26 August – 1 October 2014 at the Hammersmith Apollo, London. I was fourteen when the first Kate Bush single – Wuthering Heights, was released in1978. With her individual voice, visual performance and style she soon become and remains one of my favourite performers.


Kate Bush in the Wuthering Heights days.

Like Kate Bush, the novel Wuthering Heights and the fairy tale The Red Shoes (Kate Bush’s first single, single was Wuthering Heights and in 1993 she released the album The Red Shoes), have inspired some of my art dresses and art assemblges. So, when she started her new stage show I decided to look back at some of her work and see if I could draw some inspiration directly from her work.

Kate Bush released her last album in 2011, entitled 50 Words for Snow ; it consists of seven songs “set against a backdrop of falling snow”. As I love snow and I love words, especially new ones or those that have been made up,finding out that the Eskimos have 50 different words for snow (I’ve since found out this may not be entirely true) was very exciting. Having listened to the title track “50 Words for Snow”, in which the 50 words are recited by Stephen Fry (English comedian, actor, writer, presenter, and activist) I set out to create a set of art dresses to represent snowflakes, each hand embroidered with one of the 50 words for snow.

Creating 50 individual art dresses is quite a challenge; to make each art dress as individual as a snowflake when seen up close but, when observed from a distance, appear to be the same as all the other snowflakes. So far I have five little art dresses – Sliperella, Vanishing World, Swans-A-Melting, Eiderfalls and Vanilla Swarm.



Vanishing World

Vanishing World.





Vanilla Swarm.

Vanilla Swarm.

Silent Snowflakes.

Silent Snowflakes.

Keep watching I may have more soon…

September 5, 2014   2 Comments

Free Desktop Wallpaper For August

True to form the calendar is late but, you must be used to that by now – summer is here and I’m pinning the blame firmly on the weather. Its been too nice to sit inside bashing a keyboard, however, at the moment its not that good. So, for those of you interested, I might get an opportunity to write up some great walks I ‘ve been on over the past few weeks.

Meanwhile, my summer break is just starting and Sue is going to focus on creating more art, meaning the blog and Etsy shop will be quiet over the coming weeks.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of your summer – here’s August.

Free August calendar desktop wallpaper. To make it your desktop wallpaper, left click the image to see a larger version, then right click that image and choose “SET AS DESKTOP BACKGROUND”.

Free August calendar desktop wallpaper. To make it your desktop wallpaper, left click the image to see a larger version, then right click that image and choose “SET AS DESKTOP BACKGROUND”.

To make it your desktop wallpaper, left click the image to see a larger version, then right click that image and choose “SET AS DESKTOP BACKGROUND”.

If you would like to purchase any of Sue’s work, please visit  Our Etsy Shop. Our Etsy shop also has several other art dress assemblages for sale, we hope you enjoy viewing them. If you have any queries about this piece or any of the other pieces in our Etsy shop or, would like further information about Messie Jessie, please feel free to contact us via a “convo” through our Etsy shop or via e-mail at .

August 2, 2014   No Comments yet, your thoughts are welcome

Stay on Top of Your Shop: 4 Inventory Management Tips From Etsy

By Cheyne Little handmade and vintage goods

Photo by Anna Joyce

Anna Joyce opened her eponymous Etsy shop in 2006 to sell the accessories she had been hand printing and sewing in her Portland, Oregon studio. She’s racked up nearly 2,500 sales on Etsy since then. In addition to managing orders for Etsy shop and Etsy Wholesale customers, Anna has spent the past year writing a do-it-yourself book slated to publish in fall 2015. That’s a lot to juggle, but, over the years, she’s learned to take advantage of her shop’s annual ebb and flow.

When you make your first sale on Etsy, worrying about having too many orders to fill might be the furthest thing from your mind. But for many sellers, keeping up with demand as sales ramp up is one of the trickiest parts of running a business. One way to make busy periods more manageable is by setting up inventory management systems and embracing advanced planning. Read on for tips from Etsy shop owners who have learned to do just that.

Stock Up on Popular Items

Anna Joyce opened her Etsy shop back in 2006. Over time, she came to realize that sales in her shop tend to slow down each July. So she started using that time productively. “The summer is a great time to stock up, since I know orders will start to increase for Back to School,” she says. “I’m focusing on creating items now so I’m not scrambling when the fall demand comes.”

Keeping pre-cut fabric pieces on-hand makes it easier for Anna Joyce to fulfill orders on popular products.

Anna keeps ready-cut pieces of her signature fabric, which is printed by a local artisan, on hand in her studio. By keeping popular patterns, pre-cut pieces and complete pockets and labels consistently well-stocked, she’s able to respond quickly when there’s greater demand for a specific item. She also avoids overstocking items that aren’t currently in demand.

Anna is careful to let shoppers know when items are out of stock and keeps them listed as backordered. By adjusting listings to let shoppers know a popular item is out of stock, she manages her customers’ expectations while creating excitement and urgency around sought-after pieces. She also adds extra padding to delivery times for popular items. “It’s better to surprise someone with a delivery that’s even earlier than they expected,” she says.

Create a Smart Storage System

Alice Garrett founded Alice Caroline, an Etsy shop based in Cheltenham, England that sells fabric supplies, in 2009. Since then, she has made more than 10,000 sales to customers all over the world. Given her shop’s high volume of orders, many of which contain multiple items, maintaining an organized inventory system is key. Alice alphabetizes her collection of fabric prints by name for quick reference and easier order packing (the names appear on the edge of each bolt). When she’s packing orders, she also checks off each item on a printed receipt to ensure accuracy. ” You can do a lot with a little organization,” says Alice, who prefers her low-tech approach to fancy inventory management software.


Alice Garrett organizes Liberty fabrics for her shop, Alice Caroline, alphabetically by name to make packing orders easier.

Alice Garrett organizes Liberty fabrics for her shop, Alice Caroline, alphabetically by name to make packing orders easier.

Optimize Your Workspace

Originally trained as an architect, Holly Luttrell of Etsy shop Edward Owl creates exclusive jewelry pieces with an “all-about-the-rock” approach in her New York City studio. Offering made-to-order jewelry in her shop while building stock for local holiday markets keeps her especially busy during the holiday season. To stay organized, Holly keeps paper receipts posted on a bulletin board alongside a calendar so she always knows exactly where she stands and what’s coming down the pipeline.

Holly also keeps a close watch on her most vital supplies, maintaining drawers full of gemstones and a binder of important information about each one. “It doesn’t have to be pretty or perfect,” Holly says. She suggests studying how you work and optimizing your space and supplies for efficiency, so creating becomes more intuitive. “I lean over and the basket of items I need is always right there,” she says.


Keeping organized supplies at her fingertips is key to Alice Garret’s inventory management system.

Don’t Wait!

After having two babies in two years, wardrobe stylist Cat Shanahan decided to find a new home for many of the vintage items in her closet. She founded her Toronto-based Etsy shop, Aiseirigh Vintage, in 2010 and quickly amassed a massive inventory of vintage items, which she managed using spreadsheets. But the system eventually stopped working, partially due to a lack of discipline on Cat’s part. “It’s the most terrible feeling to not know where things are,” she recalls.

That’s when Cat’s husband, Craig, created a software program that functions much like a SKU system and helps her keep track of inventory. The system has proven key as Cat continues to expand her inventory, which is now located in two warehouses. Her advice to fellow sellers: Don’t wait until your inventory gets out of control to set up a system for managing it. “Don’t start the bad habit,” says Cat, who has made more than 1,700 sales in the past four years. “Make a system that works for you; use labels or number all your items. Get creative!”


A huge inventory of vintage clothing is the crux of Cat Shanahan’s business — and knowing exactly where and how to find individual pieces helps her keep up with orders.

How do you organize your inventory? Share your favorite techniques in the comments.

Seller Handbook Best-of Archives | Bin-Based Inventory Management System

Cheyne Little worked full-time on her accessory line and the leadership team of her local Etsy Team for two years. She left Texas and self-employment behind to work on the Seller Education team at Etsy in 2011.

Source: etsy blog

July 29, 2014   No Comments yet, your thoughts are welcome

Jan Gardner Colour Workshop

A couple of weeks ago I enjoyed a colour workshop at Oriel Ynys Môn, with the artist Jan Gardner, who is currently exhibiting there. I really enjoyed the workshop and Jan’s personality is as colourful and exiting as her work. We we explored colour and mixed media which, I’m sure you’ll know, is a favourite with me. Jan’s  current exhibition is called “Stories of Stillness” and runs until the 3rd of August. These are some of her wonderful creations.

To Take Me There

Branault Sunset

Jan Gardner

Jan Gardner

My attempts  – didn’t get anything finished, but I must say I came away inspired!








July 25, 2014   No Comments yet, your thoughts are welcome

Long Tail Keywords as Etsy Listing Titles?

Sue and I have always tried to apply SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) to her Etsy listings, in particular using Keywords.

Well, a few of weeks ago I wrote a post entitled “If you run a blog to support your Etsy shop”, which received a comment from Mandi of  DIYCraftPhotography. Visiting Mandi’s web site I came across a great article “ Get Discovered with Search Friendly Etsy Listing Titles”. In essence, the article describes using longer listing titles to draw more views. Not unlike using long tail keywords as part of your SEO strategy to draw more site visitors.

What is a keyword?

A keyword is a word used to help search engines, including Etsy and Google, deliver appropriate pages when people conduct searches.

1. What Is a Long Tail Keyword?

Long-tail keywords are phrases rather than individual words; they have less search volume and less competition to rank for. Take a look at the following example “Assemblage Art Dress Little Women” This is a long tail keyword as opposed to the single keyword “Assemblage”

The difference between “Assemblage” and “Assemblage Art Dress Little Women” is this:

  • When a person searches for “Assemblage” you’ve little idea what that person has in mind.
  • When a person searches for “Assemblage Art Dress Little Women,” that person’s intent is much clearer.




2. Relevancy

Keyword searches with single words will always return many and varied results because a single word can cover such a broad spectrum of subjects – it is not accurately relevant.

Long-tail keywords are more targeted and the results are highly relevant. This means the people who click through are more likely to purchase your item.

3. Competition

Because there are a limited number of results on the first page of a search, competition for ranking with a single keywords is high. Because of their relevancy long tail keyword searches have less competition. But, as long tail keywords can often result in a higher conversion rate, it follows that it is more profitable to get ranked for long tail keywords than getting ranked for a difficult single keyword.

4. Long Tail Keywords Are Old Hat

Some people would say long tail keywords are and old method of SEO and no longer works. But, theses days more and more people are using long tail keywords when searching on line.

5. How so?

Both Apple and Google, leaders in mobile device operating systems, are moving forward with natural language technologies – iPhone’s Siri and Android’s Google Now.

The way we interact with mobile devices favours long tail keywords.

The way we interact with mobile devices favours long tail keywords.

More and more users are using a mobile device to surf the internet and, to search on Etsy! People pull out their mobiles and “talk” to their phone to get answers. Search is becoming more like a conversation with the search engine. And even when they can’t talk to their device, they are still typing out their search as a question.

Here are some samples:

  • “Where’s the nearest Tesco store?”
  • “How do I get rid of toothache fast?”
  • “Which essential oils affect mood?”

Searches on Google, likewise Etsy, are now more of a long tail question than a single keyword. That means more than ever long tail keywords are important in good SEO.

6. So What Next

I read Mandi’s article and decided to give it a go. I changed the titles of Sue’s Etsy listings on 9th June. As you can see from the graph below, although listing views both before and after 9th June could exceed 50, overall they have seem to have exceeded 50 on more days after 9th June than before.

Changing the tiltes appears to have had an affect.

Changing the titles appears to have had an affect.

The change in listing title does seem to have an effect. I’ll continue to watch the listing views over the coming weeks and see if the numbers continue to increase. Of course I may need to improve my titles but hey, there’s nothing to lose. If you fancy having a go at this yourself why not pop over to Mandi’s site and read the full article, you can find it here “Get Discovered with Search Friendly Etsy Listing Titles” by Mandi Grant of .

July 22, 2014   1 Comment