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Author Archives: Deb

The problem with shop sections on Etsy

And why they aren’t as helpful as you might think.

Sections are another thing that Etsy doesn’t explain to buyers. Every seller can create their own sections and use them however they want, but sections are optional. One of the things I like about shop sections is that the list of sections (top left corner) includes total number of items in the shop beside the words shop home. Unfortunately, without doing the math yourself, there is no way to tell if some items were (intentionally or accidentally) left out of a section. I wish there was an automatically populated other category for missed items.

Debnests Shop Sections

Debnests Shop Sections


A shop can list an unlimited number of items, but can only organize them into ten sections. That’s not nearly enough, especially for the large supply stores that can have thousands of products.

Sections are also exclusive. An item listing can only be in one section at a time.  Subsections and non-exclusive sections would help organization and make it easier to find items.

Sellers are not given the option of rearranging the order of items in a section the way they can rearrange the items in the shop. The custom order is not available in a section and the  sort defaults to most recent.


Destash: Buttons


Descriptions would be very helpful to explain some sections and to define terms and abbreviations. Not everyone knows what OOAK (One Of A Kind), ACEO (Art Cards Editions and Originals), and Destash (shorthand for selling your own supplies) means.

destash beads

Destash: assorted glass beads

I have my jewelry divided by type (necklaces, rings, etc.), but I would also like to identify groups by materials (felt, polymer clay, gemstones, etc).  I have a holidays section, but it doesn’t currently show up because it is empty.

What changes do you suggest for shop sections? Do you have any other Etsy questions?

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Expiring Listings on Etsy

Items that sell on Etsy are listed in a sold section of each shop, but some things just seem to disappear. Inactive and expired items do not show anywhere. Each product or item listing on Etsy lasts for 4 months or until the item sells. Listings can be renewed after expiring or selling. Some sellers automatically renew all listings when they expire, but not all do. Each listing costs 20 cents. That’s cheap, but it does add up if you have a lot of items. 

I’ve recently created an expiring soon section in my store (Debnests). If a section is empty, it won’t show up in the store. Mostly only items I’m considering dropping will be added to this section. Items in treasuries or with favorites (hearts) are more likely to be renewed. So if you want to save an item (without purchasing it), favorite it or add it to a treasury. Items may come back later, maybe for the holidays or when other items have sold. The ones in this picture probably won’t come back until time for Valentine’s Day next year.


Expiring Soon Section in list view

You can’t tell when an item might expire by looking at the item screen, but you can find the date it was listed from the shop page. You have to switch to list view. Gallery view is the default and it’s not obvious that there even is another option. On the same line as the search in shop box, to the right of the sort by selector is two little graphics that are supposed to depict gallery (some dots) and list (some dots and lines) views. Hovering over the graphics should reveal the titles. Click on list view. If you don’t see the item you were looking at, you can go to the shop section or search in the shop. To see the items that will expire soon, sort by Most Recent and go to the bottom of the last page. Don’t forget to add 4 months to the date listed to get the expiration date.

One of the problems on Etsy is that the help text and the forums are more for the sellers than the buyers. There doesn’t seem to be a good place for Etsy shoppers to find tips and tricks for navigating the site. If you know of any resources or blogs that covers this topic please let me know in the comments.

Do you have any questions about shopping on Etsy? What other Etsy topics would you like me to cover?


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Learning Product Photography

I’ve never been much of a photographer, but I really have no choice if I want to sell jewelry online. My earliest blog posts on Deb’s Answers have no pictures at all. Later posts often use pictures from Zemanta, screen shots, or wordles.

I have learned and improved quite a bit in the last year. The only pictures I have of my first sale are horrible. I didn’t even know to use the macro setting, much less how to prevent the shadows. Those I won’t even show you.

I still have problems with reflections and some pieces I haven’t listed just because I can’t get good pictures.




debnests ring



PicMonkey (free photo editing website) helps a lot. I tried using different settings for white balance and didn’t like the pictures, but then I figured out that the automatic adjusting of exposure and colors in PicMonkey worked better if the correct white balancing setting was used even if the original pictures looked pink. Every time I discover a new trick I want to redo all my old pictures, but it’s just too time consuming. It’s the same with tags and descriptions, I’m continually wanting to improve the old Etsy listings instead of making new ones.

My husband makes good pictures, but he almost never edits them and didn’t know anything about macro and product photography when I started. Here’s a picture of me that he took.


Deb of Debnests at Art Market



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Selling for Holidays is Harder than it Looks

Or why sellers have to make holiday items 2 to 4 months before most people start thinking of that holiday. Maybe it just takes time to get used to thinking about holidays early enough. Hopefully, it will be easier next year, but I currently feel like I didn’t do anything soon enough.

The most time-consuming part of listing an item on Etsy is taking and editing five good pictures. I’m not a photographer and getting good pictures has taken a lot of time and effort. You also have to title, tag, and describe the item in a desirable way.

I made some Valentine’s Day specific jewelry this year, but I didn’t get all of them listed on Etsy. I did sell one pair of polymer clay heart-shaped earrings, but the other things I listed are still there because Etsy listings last for four months.

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day

All I did for St. Patrick’s Day was move the green stuff to the first page. I made some polymer clay beads that looked like Easter eggs, but didn’t promote them very well – I didn’t even have this blog or my twitter account then.


I have sold some jewelry for Mother’s Day gifts, but I think Mother’s Day sneaks up on people a bit because it’s not the same date every year (second Sunday in May at least in the US) and people don’t even start wondering when it is until May, so it could be too late to order something by the time they pick out a gift.  Next year I’ll try to remember to start promoting Mother’s Day gifts in time for people in countries that celebrate the holiday in March.

Mother's Day Birthstone Colors

Mother’s Day Birthstone Colors

I don’t think I have enough things to worry about Father’s Day yet, but knowing me I’ll probably think of several things I should have made after it’s too late to list them. You have to leave enough time for shipping. I’ve never celebrated Grandparent’s Day, but now at least I know it’s the Sunday after Labor Day (in the US, a few other countries also celebrate it in September, October, and November).


Maybe I should start thinking of red, white, and blue items for Independence Day (Fourth of July in the US) now.

Which holidays would you buy jewelry for?


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Using the Etsy Feedback System

Etsy claims they are working on their feedback system, but I don’t know if they are going to completely overhaul it or just tweak it. So much of this could change by the time you read this post. 

Etsy Feedback

Please Leave Etsy Feedback

The biggest problem is that most people don’t leave feedback at all, but there are some other problems with the way the current system works. It’s frustrating when customers will tell you they love their purchase, but they still don’t leave feedback.

Sold on Debnests Etsy

Only 3 of 10 customers left feedback on Debnests Etsy

The amount of positive feedback is reported as a percentage and is rounded up. If there is a lot of feedback, it can show as 100% positive even if there are some negative and neutral feedback. You can’t sort or filter to see details. If there are 300 positive, 5 neutral, and 1 negative, you can’t read the neutrals or the negative without paging through all of the feedback to find them. Only 20 feedback details show on each page.

The number of feedbacks includes feedback as a buyer as well as a seller even though you can’t see feedback left for a buyer on the buyer’s profile page – you can see it on the seller’s page. If a seller also buys supplies on Etsy, they can end up with a higher feedback number than the number of sales in the shop because each item purchased can get a feedback left for it.

Sellers can’t respond to feedback. Sometimes a buyer didn’t read or understand the description of the item. Many times a buyer will leave negative feedback before contacting the seller and won’t change the feedback after the issue has been resolved. There are horror stories of customers demanding refunds without returning items and other acts of fraud using the threat of negative feedback to get what they want.

Do you leave feedback? Do you read feedback? Does feedback or the lack of feedback influence your purchases?

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When even one ounce matters

It seemed like a no-brainer. Of course I should buy the padded envelopes. They were larger and more substantial than the bubble wrap envelopes I was using and they were 11 cents cheaper.

six cents

six cents (Photo credit: katerha)

What I didn’t consider was that the new envelopes were also heavier than the old ones. Postage is determined by weight. My jewelry is light and each package I had previously shipped came under the three ounce limit for the lowest rate. The new cheaper envelope bumped the weight up to the next rate. No, it wasn’t that much, but it did cost me 17 cents more – 6 cents more than I saved by buying the new envelopes.

Now I know to consider the weight of any shipping and packages materials before buying them. At least I only bought 10 and not 100.

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Custom Family Nest for Mother’s Day in Birthstone Colors

It’s only three weeks until Mother’s Day. Order your custom family nest today.

Any of my bird nest jewelry would make a good gift, but the family nests were designed with mothers (and grandmothers) in mind.

Family Nest Jewelry

Family Bird Nest Jewelry


First decide how many eggs you want in your nest. One for every family member, one for each child, or just the grandchildren. The eggs are 8mm glass pearls in birthstone colors. Then choose the type of jewelry; necklace, ring or brooch.

Rings with an adjustable band are made with non-tarnish silver wire and are probably better with a smaller (2-4) number of beads.

Brooches (pins) come in silver or gold. Less than three beads may show a small amount of the pin back.

Necklaces are the most versatile, accommodating 2-7 beads and a choice of wire. The necklaces can be made in antique copper wire, gold wire, or silver wire.  

Then specify the month for each bead.

birthstone colors for family nests

birthstone colors

Birthstone colors by month:

January – Garnet
February – Amethyst
March – Aquamarine
April – Crystal
May – Emerald
June – Light Amethyst
July – Ruby
August – Peridot
September – Sapphire
October – Rose
November – Topaz
December – Blue Zircon


You can place orders through my Etsy shop or just email your choices to



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Debnests on Location in April 2013

Created a category called local for events so everyone that isn’t local (SC or NC) to me, can just ignore these posts, but people who are local may want to know where Debnests can be found.

Spring Flea

Spring Flea Poster

Saturday, April 20 I’m going to be selling at Swamp Rabbit’s Spring Flea in Greenville. The Holiday Flea in December was my first craft fair and I really enjoyed it. Seams I like talking about my jewelry and it was great having strangers buy my jewelry. My first sales on Etsy weren’t until January.

April 19-21 is the Grand Opening of the Artists View in Easley. I have a few items on consignment at that shop, but I won’t be able to be there for most of the festivities because of the Spring Flea.

Saturday, April 27 is the Art Market at the Art Lounge in Spartanburg.

Please let me know if you have any questions and if you plan to come to one of these events.


Links for more information:


Artists View Facebook Page          Artists View Grand Opening Event


Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery      Spring Flea


The Art Lounge                Art Market


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A little about this blog.

You can learn more about me on the about page, but please make comments here or on other posts because I’m sure the about page will change many times as I think of new and more brilliant things to say.

I make jewelry, but you don’t have to be interested in jewelry to read this blog. I have lots of ideas, but I don’t want to make promises (my plans keep changing) and I want to keep this first post short, so make suggestions and just skip the posts you aren’t interested in. I’m actively looking for blogs for the blog roll, so feel free to suggest any related ones, even if it’s your own.

Debnests Jewelry

Bird Nest Jewelry

OK, that’s an older picture (from last summer, I think) some of those have already been sold, some I can recreate, but not all. I think my photography has improved a little since then, but most of my pictures are for Etsy so they are of one item at a time. I’ll add newer pictures later and you can always see the pictures on my facebook page.

I’m just getting started so hopefully there will be improvements to the site soon, I’ll add widgets and links and other stuff. I just didn’t want it to be empty. The related articles below are always hand selected by me from Zemanta‘s suggestions, so they should always relate to something in the post and may elaborate on something I only mention here since I use those suggestions for research. This time the first article is actually from my other blog (Deb’s Answers), so you might want to check it out too. I respond to comments even if the post is old, so go ahead and tell me what you think.

I welcome any feedback on my jewelry, my etsy shop, and both my blogs.

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