Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Her Two Cents : A Talk With Cindy Caraway of CarawayCache on Etsy About Social Networking and Running Multiple Shops

Cindy Caraway is an award-winning artist, who has three shops on Etsy right now.  This is called "Tea Rose Garden Party" incorporating several techniques.
As you all know, I'm pretty active in social networking. For the winter I spend a lot of time promoting my products, writing articles, blog posts, tweeting this and Facebooking that, and I've often wondered if it would be easier just to spend that time in my Etsy shops.  My one shop is neglected, and I often wondered about the pros and cons of keeping more than one. So I asked a fellow Etsian, Cindy Caraway, her thoughts on the subject, for she is a pro with three shops on Etsy!

Cindy's main shop is her vintage shop on Etsy, CarawayCache , has been open since June 2008. It has over 1000 sales. A year later she debuted her handmade jewelry shop (CindyCaraway) is on her way to 30 sales, and this contains some of her award-winning designs and jewelry creations. She is a Beadweaver who uses several techniques in her work and incorporates upcycled or repurposed items in her designs.   Add on Cindy's Garage Sale, which offers low price great destash finds that just opened in September of 2010, and she's almost at 50 sales. .She also has a destash shop, that she is unsure if it will remain.

Cindy titles her jewelry shop by her name, proud of her creations such as this Chameleon Necklace, $650.00


RetroChalet: Many of us are struggling with one shop much less two or three!  Do you really think this is worthwhile and if so, how do you manage?

CarawayCache:My first wish is that we could have a personal hub from which we could run multiple shops - where I could just sign in and access everything from one page. Blogger works that way - you can run several blogs from a central account. That would make it SOOOO much nicer. As it is, I have gotten used to jumping from one shop to the next and have a decidedly imperfect system of dealing with the 3 storefronts. I have a vintage shop and then a shop for my handcrafted jewelry and beadwork. The third is destash shop which has only been open for a short time - I haven't decided if it will stay or not.

As of now, her 3rd shop is still open and has great bargains!

RetroChalet: Do you think that you need multiple shops because there's just not enough categories to do it all out of one? 

CarawayCache:The problem of categories could be slightly alleviated if they would let us have sub-categories*** I probably wouldn't need separate shops for my jewelry and vintage if there were the possibility of sub-categories. I do agree that MORE categories would be a nice option but I find my biggest need is for sub-categories.
SOAR Necklace by Cindy Caraway, $30, here!
For instance, in my jewelry shop I struggle with how to organize the categories (by color, type, size of piece, theme, ???) as I want to help people find what they want easily. It's hard because you have to pick just one. So, it would be nice if under "Necklaces" we could sub-categorize by color, or type, or material. I realize the tags should take care of that but...

***(It should be noted I talked to Cindy in December, and Etsy has initiated "sub categories" to help with the listing process, but not with the sections/materials like we are talking about...)  

Pushing Luck Bead Statement Necklace, has so much work and is lovely. See it here.

RetroChalet: I have a hard time when an item fits into two top categories, like an item that is vintage yet it is a supply item....

CarawayCache: I used to sell vintage on eBay (and I am NOT a current fan of that site by any means but I did make a nice living there for several years) and liked that I had the option of listing in two categories if I really wanted to. The extra charge was worth it if it helped the item to sell. On some items, I would be happy to pay an extra 20 cents to list in more categories.

Cheer Up Cards by CarawayCache, $5
RetroChalet: I know you have a blog, and I'm wondering if social networking has helped grow your stores?

CarawayCache:  I have often wondered about the effectiveness but nothing beyond that. I am an inactive Facebook and Twitter member. I link my blog posts automatically to them and don't visit very often. When I do it is simply to respond to friend requests and the like. I can't honestly say that I have made any sales from Facebook or Twitter. I also don't think my blog has brought traffic to my shops or sales but I enjoy the community aspect of blogging and find it worthwhile on a personal level. I also think it's important to have a web presence of some sort. The first thing anyone does when trying to find someone or something is do a Google search. My personal opinion: if you aren't online, you pretty much don't exist.

Cindy is an award winning artist!

RetroChalet: Thanks for the honesty Cindy! What else do you want people to know about you? 

 CarawayCache:  I am an artist, musician, actress, mighty fisherwoman, purveyor of vintage goodies and collector of cool stuff from Dubuque, Iowa!  As an award-winning bead artist whose jewelry has been featured in juried shows and galleries across the US, I specialize in bead embroidery and also enjoy bead weaving. As a musician, I perform as one half of an acoustic duo with my guitarist husband. We enjoy playing at wedding ceremonies, private parties, coffee shops, wineries and art galleries. As an actress, I am usually busy learning lines for my next appearance in a community theater production. As a mighty fisherwoman, I spend many hours out on the Mississippi River sacrificing worms to the fish gods in hopes of snagging the "big one"! As a purveyor of vintage goodies, I drive my husband crazy with my inability to part with anything beautiful, handmade, or which might be useful for something someday.

You never know what you will find in Cindy's Garage Sale!  This whole lot is only $1.99 plus shipping!

RetroChalet: Catch up with Cindy here:

CarawayCacheCarawayCache Vintage Shop on Etsy
CarawayCacheCindy Caraway Jewelry Designs on Etsy
CarawayCacheCindy's Garage Sale Destash Shop on Etsy

CarawayCacheCindy's Website
CarawayCacheCindy's Artful Living Blog


victoryvintageb said...

Great post, so good getting to know about you Cindy! I enjoyed learning your thoughts on marketing and I know exactly what you mean on having a "motha board"so to speak..lol..to oversee ally our sites and stores. That would be great! your designs are MIND BLOWING! I LOVE the multi-textured and mixed media pieces!!

Retreauxgirl said...

Wow Cindy, you are a busy girl! Your jewelry is awe inspiring!! Beautiful! Nice getting to know you!

Heather said...

She is a busy girl! Amazing jewelry!

Cindy Caraway said...

Thanks for this great feature! I'm pleased beyond words...
Blogging about it as we speak :)

An added thought on tags and sub-categories before I go...
The new tag sub-category thing is, in my opinion, a step backwards. The first three tags are limited to only what they allow you to choose from and most times the tag I need is not there so I lose a tag!! It was better the other way. I want to be able to add subcategories for MY SHOP inventory and I want control over what the subcategories will be.

'Nuff said.
Thanks again!

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