Starting an Etsy shop

It has been a couple of weeks since I opened the online doors to my Etsy shop now and whilst I have no big ‘updates’ to give as such, I thought I’d take the time to write a little bit about how it’s all going.

The TLDR; of it is this: slowly. 

It’s what I had expected, what I had read and what others had told me. I guess it’s only natural that when you first start a business it takes some time to get your name out there and to build up a following. I follow many creatives and Etsy sellers on Instagram and can see that it has taken them a long time and a lot of trial and error to gain the many loyal followers and buyers they have. But still. Even knowing all this good stuff I’m horrifically impatient and want all of that success already. I’m terrible, I know.

I am enjoying all of the processes behind running a small business though. I enjoy accumulating followers on Instagram and that little thrill when someone tells me something I’ve made is cute. I enjoy checking my stats on Etsy and seeing how many people have looked at my shop. It makes my day when someone favourites a listing. I know I know, I’m sad but what can I say? It’s all sorts of fun to see something you’ve created grow.

At this time I  have made one sale, so I think that means I am getting there. I know success won’t fall at my feet overnight and that I just have to keep myself motivated. I’ve been reading a lot of success stories lately and I do think that helps to keep my mind focused on the overall goal (which is to have a successful Etsy shop.) I’m also hoping to start producing some new designs too, as I think that will help boost views of my shop and perhaps I will sell a few more things!

As long as I can keep moving forwards, I am happy.

If you’d like to visit my Etsy shop, you can visit it here. You can also follow my journey over on instagram here. If you’d like to buy something, please feel free to use the code PRETTYLITTLEBLOG10 for a 10% discount on your order.

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Please feel free to share your Etsy shop links with me, as I love discovering new places to buy!

BKA bird sale

When we found out that the BKA (Bird Keepers Association) were having a bird sale on February 14th, we knew our Valentines Day plans were made. Luckily we both enjoy a good bird sale or this could have been awkward!

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I wore my owl finch necklace to the show
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It’s all in the details!

On the day we left at around 9.30. The sale was to start an hour later but, knowing that these things can be busy (and hard to find) we wanted to get there early.

This sale was held at a much larger venue than the last; The Mill Hall, Bellingham Lane, Rayleigh, Essex – so we were quite excited at the prospect of what we might find. We had decided between us that we really wanted a pair of goldfinches but would settle for a cock goldfinch and hen canary if needs be. (So we could still breed them.) We also decided on a budget.

Getting there was easy enough, and the bird sale itself was sign-posted well. When we got there a few people were milling around reception, also similarly eager to find a bargain – but it wasn’t what you’d call busy so after buying our wristbands, we decided to head to the cafe for hot chocolate and orange juice. Rookie mistake. By the time we’d actually got our drinks, a huge queue had formed through the reception and out of the door! We hurriedly joined it to shiver outside in the cold and chat to other attendees about birds (because, well, that’s what bird people do.)

When we finally entered it was manic. Previous to this sale we had attended two others and both had been really busy but this was something else. Everyone came prepared with boxes and cages and it seemed like everyone had something in mind. It was hard to get down each aisle because of how bustling it was but, on display were some beautiful birds.

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One thing I did notice about this event, was a slight lack of British birds. Most seemed to be foreign and there was a great selection of parrot finches, gouldians, etc etc as well as zebra finches, budgies and even some quail. We came across just two goldfinches in the whole place – and before we could buy them, they were snapped up for a bargainous £65 each by someone else! This was a shame for us, however we still had a lot of fun peeking in at all of the other birds and becoming gooey-eyed at the tiny timor zebra finch.

One highlight of the event was a stall set up by a company called Owls R Us who have static bird displays. I, like the rest of the modern world, am obsessed with owls and it was nice to see so many of them perched there. I paid a small donation and even got to hold a gorgeous tawny owl which was very exciting for me! Prior to this I’d held and flown a  few different owls/birds of prey but never a tawny. It had such a sweet little face and feathers as soft as a cloud, holding a beautiful bird is always a wonderful experience.

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Holding a tawny owl was a real highlight for me.

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We didn’t stay for long after that. We picked up some british bird seed from the Essex bird centre stall (an essential if you find yourself at a BKA event.) And then headed off. It was a little too busy to just stand around.

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Instead we decided to head out to some specialist shops in search of our wanted goldfinches. After a short search (and discovering beautiful European bullfinches) we did eventually come across two that had very natural colours. I know this is best for the bird as it means it hasn’t been fed dye, but to me they weren’t the most beautiful. These birds were also quite skittish which is something we’ve heard before.

After some consideration we decided to go for two redpolls instead! We already have redpolls and they are such lovely birds, so it was nice to get some more and extend the family. I really hope to breed these in the summer. We have named them Buttercup (hen) and Parsley (cock.) They are such friendly and interesting characters and Muffin and Chestnut our other redpolls are obsessed with them.

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Not the best picture but our new redpolls are beautiful.

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We will be looking out for the next BKA show – but hopefully we can show some restraint as I don’t know how many more birds we can house! I don’t think I will be looking for goldfinches in the future because I think they may be difficult to look after. Perhaps this is something to consider again when we have an outdoor aviary.

 

Quick Etsy shop update

I have decided to open my Etsy shop a little earlier than I originally anticipated. Largely because I’m impatient, but mostly because I really want to get the ball rolling with this one – and I now have everything ready and in place.

If you’d like to take a look, you can find my shop here

I am selling handmade wooden necklaces featuring garden birds.

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I have a limited number of lovely blue tits.

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And a limited number of beautiful bullfinches. But I will re-stock (and add some new designs) if and when these sell out.

Get buying people – help me create more things and realise my dream of working from home in my PJS all of the days.

Garden birds update

It has been a few weeks since my last post on the birds that visit our garden and since then we’ve had a few more in so I thought I would update.

All of these photos were taken through a glass door, and some are a little blurry but you should be able to make them out well enough!

As always we’ve had our old friend the robin visit (a few robins actually.)

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Our robin loves to sing.

The great tits have been back in force too

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Having a little preen.

And we’ve spotted some blue tits as well (my favourites.) Today I managed to capture a shot of some lovely long tailed tits that paid us a visit.

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I love their little pink backs, and if you look closely, this chap has some yellow eye shadow!

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Last but not least, we spotted a plum headed parakeet on our feeder. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked out of the window and saw a bright green bird feasting on the peanut granules. For a moment I thought we’d bought her back from Rome! She appears to be ringed so I am bit concerned she has escaped from somewhere. I haven’t seen her since but I’m keeping my fingers crossed she’s okay.

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We’re still on the lookout for some goldfinches, so hopefully we’ll see some soon. What have you spotted in your garden recently?

 

Etsy reviews (haul)

Last month I decided to treat myself to a few bits and pieces from my ever-growing list of Etsy wants. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I love buying handmade and think it’s vastly superior to mass created crap.

I thought I’d do a little review of some of the things I have purchased and the shops I purchased them from for anyone looking to treat themselves (or a friend!) this month.

Please note: this post contains affiliate links.

Birds in Hats

You can visit the shop here

It does what it says on the tin. I’ve loved this shop ever since I first discovered it which was quite some time ago now. The shop sells lots of amazing art prints and cards featuring – you guessed it- birds in hats. The illustrations are quirky, cute and just really appealing, especially for bird enthusiasts. I have wanted to purchase a calendar for a few years running – but somehow the window of opportunity always slips past and someone else will buy me another one. Anyway, I noticed that in the shop was a card with a print of a Zebra finch wearing a straw boater. Self proclaimed queen of the zebra finch and crazy bird lady, I have 14 of these fluff balls ‘irl’ and figured it wouldn’t hurt to add a card version to the collection too. I purchased this adorable card for a very reasonable £3 (not inc p&p) This print is way too cute to send out in the post however so I’m going to frame it and hang it up on the wall with pride.

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Tukoni Tribe

You can visit the shop here

I originally discovered this adorable moth brooch (and Tukoni Tribe) through a friends Instagram and I fell in love. Tukoni Tribe features lots of beautiful and inspiring art-prints and brooches based on animal illustrations. The moth brooch struck me the most because it is quite simply adorable. I have a friend who used to squish moths when they invaded her room – to make her feel super guilty about this I told her that moths were just butterflies in business suits! I’m sure not even she would want to squish this cute lil guy though – I’ll be wearing him everywhere to spread the word; moths are awesome! He wasn’t super cheap, around £16.33 including postage and packaging. So this one is definitely a treat for me. I am happy to pay that though because he is very nice – I’m sure he’d make a great gift too.

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This isn’t my picture, I took it from the Tukoni shop site. Doesn’t little moth look sweet?

Charming Creatures

You can visit the shop here

I reviewed this Etsy shop some posts back but it’s always a winner for me. Technically I didn’t treat myself to this one – my boyfriend did! But I certainly would have treated myself to a cute critter if he hadn’t. Charming Creatures sells stunning custom pet ornaments and necklaces and I’ve had a couple pieces from here that I adore. This time my lovely boyfriend requested a custom necklace of one of our owl finches. I couldn’t be happier with the result! It is made so well and looks just like little Pipkin. I can’t wait to wear this out and about!

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Nikki McWilliams

You can visit the shop here

Another firm favourite of mine is Nikki McWilliams and her biscuit goodies. This shop sells amaaaaaazing biscuit-themed treats for your home, your office and you. My mother purchased me a wonderful jammy dodger necklace for my birthday and for Christmas this year I was incredibly lucky to receive two fantastic custard cream cushions! When I heard there was going to be a seconds sale and the opportunity to buy a pick n mix bag I was (rather sadly) besides myself with excitement. In the end I went for the pick n mix bag (the bourbon was cruelly snatched from my cart before I made it to checkout.) I didn’t technically buy this on Etsy – I actually visited her other online shop. However, she trades over on Etsy and that’s why she’s included in this list!

So, what did I get in the Pick n mix bag?

I got a wonderful custard cream necklace! (my favourite)

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A sew your own cushion kit (again custard cream) which I sewed rather clumsily but had a lot of fun with. And a pack of cards! All the things were wrapped up in the cutest of packaging.

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Overall I think I spoilt myself quite a lot but what can I say, I’m worth it (I’ll keep telling myself that!) Have you made any Etsy purchases lately?

 

An update

Life has been pretty hectic lately and it feels as if I’ve not stopped. But it’s a good kind of hectic, the kind where you feel you’re making progress.

My job as a copywriter takes up most of my waking hours but in my precious spare moments I’ve been cramming a lot in. When I’m not writing/blogging, adventuring or adding to my ever-growing feather family (yes we did finally get those quails) I have been working on a creative side project.

It has been a dream of mine to create and open an Etsy shop for a long time. Previous posts will show you I’m the crafty type and and fully support handmade. So the ideas I’ve now ‘realised’ have been on the back burner for quite some time, they haven’t just popped up over night.

Recently I’ve been playing around with a lot of creative mediums and trying to discover what it is I really want to create. After a lot of playing around I decided to combine my two greatest loves: birds and jewellery.

The process of creating my pieces was understandably time-consuming and much of it was a learning curve as cliche’d as that probably sounds. But now I’ve created some pieces that I’m really proud of (and this is a big thing for me, because I’m not ever proud of myself!) My Etsy shop is set to open next week, Saturday 13th February. More details of this can be found over at the Pretty Little Finch Instagram.

The whole idea around my shop and my pieces is centred around birds that you might find in a back garden in Britain. Here’s the spiel:

Pretty Little Finch is a collection of hand-painted, digitally edited and laser cut wooden jewellery inspired by the beautiful and varied birds that visit British back gardens.

Carefully selected for their beautiful colours and patterns, the collection focuses on birds that can be caught at a tantalising glimpse in gardens across the country. This natural beauty found in the most ordinary of spaces is translated in to highly wearable pieces that will lend a touch of charm to any outfit.

Each piece is lovingly hand-painted in our studio before being adjusted digitally and prepared for the laser cutting process. Pendants are crafted from plywood and glossed for protection.

And here are some shots of the finished pieces

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I’m hoping that this venture will be successful because I’d love to continue creating more pieces. I have a lot of ideas and designs in the pipeline…it would be fantastic to realise them. For now though, I’m just having a lot of fun with it!

 

Day three: The Forum, Palatine Hill and parrots.

On our last day in Rome we woke at six but snoozed until eight. Almost overcome with exhaustion yet not wanting to waste time this felt like a good compromise. My legs had seized up and were sore but today we had planned to see the forum and walk up Palatine hill.

Ideally it’s best to visit the Colosseum and forum together because they are in such close proximity. We would have done this ourselves but, not wanting to miss the Capuchin Crypts (and not being able to find out if they’d be open on a Sunday) we chose to break our time up and leave the forum to last. Besides, this way we had more time to give to our surroundings.

We stopped first for breakfast. Our last day in Rome required a breakfast befitting of such an occasion. I had a beautiful custard pastry and milky coffee whilst Gareth had a pain au chocolat and freshly squeezed orange juice – this was vastly nicer than the offerings of the hotel and left me feeling ready to take on the day.

We took the Metro to the Colosseum.

When we arrived at our destination, we wandered around for a while stupidly unable to find the correct entrance.

Inside the forum were beautiful and intriguing ruins and as we rambled further among them I felt as if I were in a story book or film set. Some of the charm was lost to the pain I felt in my legs as I struggled on. Often I had to take a seat on a bench. Sometimes this was pleasant, especially when I could hear the melodious sounds of a violin waft on the breeze (it felt like a private concert.) Other times it was frustrating as I willed my poor legs to work so I could explore this exciting place. Although there are plaques up to briefly describe what everything is, not much information is given. For those who want to learn the history I’d recommend a tour. Personally I just enjoyed soaking up the surroundings and feeling as if I’d stepped in to a text book.

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As we walked around the Forum we came across this adorable bunny who didn’t seem very shy!

We eventually found ourselves traversing up Palatine hill and taking in the views of the forum below us which were stunning. At the top we came across orange trees, fountains and exotic green parrots feasting on seeds and berries. I was truly surprised to see parrots as I hadn’t expected them at all. I also caught site of two chaffinches which made me happy.

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And that was it. Our trip to Rome was over and it was time to catch the plane back to rainy England.

I had a wonderful time in Rome and saw some beautiful and extraordinarily interesting things. It’s more than possible to see a lot in a short space of time but if you’re thinking of visiting Rome as a weekend break I’d recommend sticking to the main attractions – they are more than worth it!