Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Look at 2011

I am so happy to look back at this past year and see that I've made leaps and bounds of growth with CraftyStitches.  Here's a quick overview of all we've been through...

April - 1st feature ad on The Knot Washington, DC

May  - Perfect Bridesmaids Jewelry 1st feature banner on Martha Stewart Wedding

June - 1st try at Heartsy; Jewelry rolls featured in wedding blogs in Australia

July -  hire a part time assistant sewer

August - launched DIY Kits

September  - 1st wedding blog feature ad

October - HelloEtsy with Smithsonian Event.  Shop Feature at Shop Happens

 November - Business Plan Win

December - Whew!

Sunday, December 11, 2011


With our favorite holiday around the corner let's now forget about the great custom gifts by CraftyStitches you can purchase for anyone in your family or friends circle. What is better then a gift that was put thought into, Craftystitches can help you personalize any gift to meet your holiday needs. Right now many of us have either been super organized and purchased most of your Christmas gifts or have waited to the last minute. Don't sweat it your not the only one! We are all busy bodies and it is hard for us moms to try to get as much shopping done as possible. Not to mention with or work schedules and the many things we have to do on our laundry list, Christmas shopping has been at the bottom of our list.

CraftyStitches understands that is why our deadline to order any of our custom handmade designs is December 15th! Order by December 15th and get our gift list by Christmas Eve. Squeeze your orders in so you can get your items delivered to you sooner!

Have questions? Let's chat! Email me and I will respond right away! Have a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


LipGlossFiend is a great website to check out and read about different product reviews. You might find some items that you are interested in purchasing. The blogger is avid about using the products herself and keeping her followers informed.

The blogger purchased a customer portfolio and wrislet from me, which she absolutely loved! To read more and see photos of what she bought CLICK HERE!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Destination Inspirations Blog Feature

CraftyStitches was featured at Destination Inspirations by the founder and editor Jess. Destination Inspirations is a wedding blog dedicated to everything destination wedding.

It’s an Etsy day! and Etsy seller Crafty Stitches makes some of the most adorable fabric jewelry holders, wallets and totes. They are the perfect gifts for bridesmaids or moms. To read more click here...

Thursday, November 17, 2011


CraftyStitches did it! Handmade DIY is a viable and scalable business - not just your little hobby anymore!

Let me breathe for second. It's all happening so fast! I can't believe I won...

CraftyStitches just won 1st Place in the Scalable Business Plan Award! Yes, we are going places! Lookout -Handmade DIY is a viable and scalable business - not just your little hobby.

I have to say that the moment really took off when I did my first Heartsy Deal and sold over 600 pieces of product in 2 days! Yep. That was the day I quit my full time job and decided to push forward with my business. I stopped playing around. It's now a real livelihood. From then on CraftyStitches is now with 2 part-time assistants and 1 full time. J It's incredible! I couldn't have done it without Heartsy!

My advice is to take it seriously! Take every sale seriously and make it count! Customer Service and deliver everything you've got. Yes it's a discount, but you also just increased the awareness of your shop Exponentially.

I wrote my business plan based on all the ideas I've been storing away for years and really thought about the cost and analytics behind building a business and not a hobby. I wrote with passion, I wrote with conviction, I wrote with love for handmade, I wrote from the heart! That's at the heart of handmade LOVE, PASSION and ART. I also love business and understand that my love for quilted accessories would not continue if I didn't make any money to support these wonderful ideas. Love what you make, believei n what you make. Live up to the mistakes - boy did I make a lot of those too. When I did, I offered a refund and my customers came back. They supported the DIY Handmade movement because they believe in it.

Our customers today are different. Our customers are just like us - those who love our handmade work believe in a handmade human economy. They appreciate you. So go and promote your items and what you love to do.

I too hope you will continue your love for handmade goods and continue the DIY handmade movement through Heartsy and Etsy. It's how I believe will create a different kind of economy. We are the next generation of GLOBALIZED HANDMADE. Keep shopping handmade and supporting the handmade human economy.

Visit my website for our DIY CraftyKitsTM and handmade quilted accessories. SEW SEW SEW... keep stitching us together.

Check out how my 15 min pitch with my scribbles.

Thursday, November 10, 2011



Vanessa Blackburn, Marketing Director


VIRGINA — November 9, 2011 — CraftyStitches LLC ( is the 1st Place Winner of the Business Plan Competition for Scalable Business in Loudoun Small Business Development Center ( Look out Wal-Mart, handmade artists are growing big! With over 2 million users on Etsy, the handmade industry has carved a dent into the online ecommerce world. There is a newfound appreciation for handmade quality goods. The new Do It Yourself (DIY) culture has sprouted another movement in the handmade market and it is exciting. Join CraftyStitches and be a part of this fast growing movement of Handmade Quilted Accessories one stitch at a time.

Local businesswoman and designer Jennifer Michael is the creative brain behind CraftyStitches, which specializes in handmade quilted accessories. This homemade business has sold over 4000 pieces this year. As the creator of The Perfect Bridesmaids® Travel Jewelry roll, this item is marked as the PERFECT BRIDESMAID gift of the year with over 3000 jewelry rolls sold. This season, CraftyStitches launched the CraftyKit™ to promote the DIY movement where crafters/novice can make their own quilted accessory in less than 30 minutes. CraftyStitches plans to grow into the retail stores market, look out for the CraftyStitches Studios nationwide.

Jennifer Michael has been featured on wedding blogs, Martha Stewart ads, and product reviews by modern brides as a creative and crafty bridesmaid gift “MUST-HAVE”. Check out what they are saying about CraftyStitches Products at Niche Magazine, Destination Weddings, ShopHappens, and LittleWedHen. Jennifer is also the Captain and chair of the Etsy street team (CREST: capitol region etsy street team ARTISANS) of 300 artisans that sell on Etsy in the Capitol Region. Look out for events and info about CREST ARTISANS.

Congrats to CraftyStitches for the spectacular win!
Would you like to read her pitch? Or read her plan? Follow CraftyStitches and find out what it takes to WIN!

For more information:
Contact: Vanessa Blackburn, Marketing Director

Follow Craftystitches on FB @
Twitter: CraftyStitches

Sunday, November 6, 2011



From Canada to Finland, Craftystitches is absolutely everywhere! Recently it was featured on and interviewed by the online shopper extraordinaire Erin! According to their website, " is a website dedicated to sharing shopping knowledge with the general public. Customer service stories, awesome sales, interviews with Etsy sellers… nothing is off-limits as long as it is shopping related."

Jennifer Michael was able to talk about the roots of Craftystitches and how it all began. She also talked about what inspires her and no matter how successful Craftystitches gets the most important thing to her is spending time with her two girls. The best part about the feature was the mentioning of Craftystitches latest promotion, 25% of all sales will be donated in support of Our Lady of Hope Catholic School from now thru December 2011. Thank you Erin!

To read the feature on please CLICK HERE

Friday, October 14, 2011


I am excited to announce the NEW LAYAWAY PLAN from CraftyStitches! I love my customers and always strive to provide them with the best satisfaction possible. As a wife and mother I understand we have other financial priorities in our lives but I also know we must not forget to treat ourselves to things that make us feel and look good. The layaway plan allows you to get the goodies without getting you in debt.

Here are the benefits of my layaway plans:

  • Reserve now and pay by installment

  • NO interest on credit cards

  • Order by Christmas now and pay by installment

  • Better budgeting

Layaway plans work like this. You may divide your total shopping in 2 easy weekly payment installments. This means if purchased today, your first 1/2 payment will be due today and then final payment will be completed in 2 weeks. :) This helps you better manage your money and budget. How? - add to cart (of course describe your fabric/monogram you need) - use "OTHER" as payment option - check out - you will receive a PAYPAL invoice for the first 1/2 of payment. In 2 weeks you will receive the final PAYPAL invoice for the remainder amount. Easy as eating pie. :) - your order will start production after all payments are received. FREE shipping with 4 or more orders.

For more information please CLICK HERE

Monday, September 19, 2011

New School Year Offer 25% OFF

New Year, new friends, new clothes, and new teachers and for some of us sometimes new schools. Are you ready for this new school year? I know I am! As moms we are superwomen tackling every new school year with a bang. The excitement and joy soon goes away when we start to realize how busy our days are going to become. From waking our kids up in the morning to getting them ready and then picking them up, cooking dinner, play time and starting all over again the next day. Oh I remember those days watching my favorite episodes of Sex in the City late at night sipping on a home-made martini. But I have to say I enjoy every minute of being a mom to my two little girls and watching them grow up. I absolutely love seeing them at school, such innocence. Now that I made it thru the first day of school I am looking forward to the rest of the school year. Let me not forget to mention with the new school year I am officially on recess duty! Any suggestions?Wish me luck!

(Not so happy Rekha at school orientation)

I wanted to share with all you moms a crafty back-to-school idea to personalizing your children’s notebook and make them feel special! Or why not treat yourself with this design your own quilted notebook and show it off at work, school, or out shopping.

This is a made to order listing for a custom made quilted notebook cover for small notepads. It fits a 4x5 writing pad. Now you or your child can look stylish and cute all day long. In honor of the new school year and our little ones going back to school order now and get 25 % OFF, use BK2SKOOL code. To order visit

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Every Client is an Opportunity to Improve

Turning a complaining customer to a positive experience!
I think that is probably the hardest thing to do for online businesses.  I have had my share of complaints that's for sure.  But I have to say that I really do try to turn every contact into an opportunity to improve my product or increase my service.  I see that every client contact is an advertising expense that is more valuable than placing an ad for thousands of dollars.

So here's my quick low down on what it means to turn every client contact into an opportunity to improve. 

Why be pleasant?
  • When a customer contacts you, they are actually giving you an opportunity to fix it.  That's a good thing!  :)  So take every advantage of it - no matter how ridiculous you think the request really is - unless you really can't do it - like I make quilted accessories and a client asked me to make a chain for her with metal.  So that's not my medium and I know I don't know how to do that.  :)  So do it. I really do try to do it.  ... 
  • It's at a loss for me... I can't offer that... Offer a refund - even if it is a loss to me.  Offer to redo the product, even if it is at a loss to me.  WHY?  well, it imagine this as a ROI for advertising.  So if the client spent $50 at your shop, it's your chance to advertise how great you are as a business, as an artist, as customer service.  So it's worth it.  REALLY!
  • The client is ALWAYS RIGHT!  I know this one is an old one.  But it is still true! So one time a client order a bunch of totes (10) in green but did not indicate a specific color.  Later she claims she didn't order it in that color.  But of course I told her that I'm happy to change them for her ... later she discovers it and reveals that she made the mistake and said she apologized profusely.  She was soooo happy with the result and service that I got lots of referrals from her as she as an event planner.  Scored!  :)  So you never know who your clients are and every client is an opportunity to improve.  
I hope this helps your business as it has helped me truly understand how to improve my business.  

Thursday, August 25, 2011

HelloEtsy - Sustainable Business Event

As a Etsy Street Team Captain I'm excited to announce that the Capital Region Etsy Street Team (CREST) will be featuring and volunteering at the HelloEtsy Smithsonian collaborative event on Small Business and Sustainability through human artful economy.

The event is this September 18 at the Smithsonian Museum.  To get your free tickets, click here and register!  HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Business Analytics

It's all about the Numbers!

Fellow Etsians Shop Owners ... It's time to study your shop and sale analytics. This is an important tool and process to understand in the age of information technology. This was my day job before I quit my day job to go FULL TIME ETSY. :) Sharing with all my peeps today.

So I'd like to share a few tricks I learned!
  • Track your traffic/customers
  • Track your sales
  • Track your search words
If you have not already started viewing the new settings on your Etsy Shop - be sure to visit your ETSY SALES STATS and learn to understand what you see. Some quick items to look for...
  • Where are your visitors coming from (top traffic source)
  • When do they come visit you (hour by hour traffic visitors)
  • What are the key word searches that get them to see your shop (top key words)
These are the key things to look for... but what does that tell me as a shop owner?
  • Top traffic source tells me if I am advertising properly. So if I placed an ad spot on a website and it tells me that I am getting lots of customers from there, then yes... it was good to do that again. If not... it's time to change up or update your ad.
  • Hour by hour visitor tracking helps me understand when is a good time to relist. I love doing that. if I see a dip.. i renew. :) it's a simple one for me.
  • Keywords help me type in all the important words that my customers like to see.
Sales Stats... this one is the hardest one to understand... here's a few things that I do to track my sales...
  • Average daily sale (I have a chart that helps me track all my daily sales and then gives me an year to date AVERAGE of all my daily sales. Helps me budget)
  • What are my TOP days when my visitors purchase? is it a Monday/TUES/FRIDAY? This helps me with my marketing so I know which is my HOT days.
  • Again monthly sales reports helps me understand whether my marketing efforts paid off. If sales increased + web analytics show the traffic source is from a marketing effort, then looks like at least I'm moving in the right direction. ROI baby! :)
For more on spreadsheets and other tools to help you with analytics, feel free to post your comments and questions and I'm happy to help.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Bridal Show - January 2011

The Bridal Showcase in Fairfax Virginia Patritio Center on January 23, 2011.

My booth turned out beautifully. I really enjoyed the show. Brides from all over the Washington, DC metro area attended and we had lots of visitors at our booth. The Twisted Cow and I shared a booth and we were so excited about this event. Our booth featured both our products (quilted accessories by CraftyStitches and dog collars and groom accessories by The Twisted Cow)

We worked really hard at keeping our design simply while able to display our products and signage. We stuck with a simple white furniture so that all of our products stood out from the booth. We had over 500 visitors at our booth and received raving reviews from the brides. By the end of the night all of our marketing materials were gone. We even had a few sales. :)

The event was mostly to market our product rather than cash and carry. The Twisted Cow offered a drawing for a prize of her coveted and beautifully made crystal bling dog collar or cuff links.

I thought it was a successful event and would like to do it again.