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5.28.2016

Simple Wood Cutting Board | DIY

If you don't have any crazy Memorial Day plans and want to feel accomplished by putting forth minimal effort, I have an incredibly easy DIY for you. I wasn't even planning on posting this since it is SO easy…but every home needs a well loved wood cutting board. I remember ours growing up, it was heavy and sturdy and well loved. I don't think I appreciated it enough until I moved out and didn't have a trusty cutting board. I had some leftover wood from Jordan's desk (which I'll post about soon...here is a preview), and I knew it would be the perfect cutting board. It was way cheaper than buying a new one and it is just more fun to use something daily that you made with your own two hands!
 Materials: Piece of wood (we used Aspen), Miter Saw, Sander, Sandpaper in a fine grit, Butcher Block Oil, Old rag, Rubber feet
Process: Cut your piece of wood to the size you want your cutting board to be. Our kitchen is rather small, so I made sure it would fit comfortably on the counter and not take up too much space. Sand down your piece of wood going with the grain until it is smooth. Don't forget the sides and corners! Using your old rag, treat the wood slab with butcher block oil, following the instructions on the bottle. I treated mine 4 times letting the oil soak for 20 minutes in between. Finally, adhere the rubber feet to the bottom four corners of the cutting board.
 If you have a Trader Joes, PLEASE try this yogurt. It is amazing!





See how simple it is? I imagine it will only get better with age. Do you have a tried and true wood cutting board?

5.26.2016

What's in My DIY Toolbox

I often get emails asking me what my favorite tools are or where in the world you should start with buying tools for a successful project. The correct tools are imperative for a successful DIY. I've tried to improvise many times and the DIY didn't turn out half as good as it would have if I would have just invested or borrowed the tool from a friend. Remind me to tell you the time Jordan and I needed to hang a light in our kitchen and tried to hack away at a piece of wood with a lousy knife ;)
Put the wimpy knives away, this list is exactly what you need to start attempting those projects that have been on your DIY Pinterest board for years now.


Hot Glue Gun / Drill & Drill Bits / Rotary Cutter / Canon 60D / 50mm Lens / 24mm Lens / Baby Lock Sewing Machine Crop-O-Dile / Fabric Scissors & Paper Scissors / Staple Gun / Cutting Mat
Cricut / Wacom Writing Tablet

Some of these tools are larger purchases so if you are wanting to start at ground zero, I would recommend just getting a hot glue gun and a great pair of fabric scissors! Although I love the Cricut and it is an awesome tool to have, I barely use it-but it definitely is a luxury when I want to cut out something intricate. I actually won it in a contest, so that is how it got in my toolbox!

That sewing machine got me through my first year and a half with my leather goods shop…I can't believe it made it that long and is still chugging along! I now have an industrial sewing machine for my leather goods but if you are looking into getting a sewing machine I can't recommend Baby Lock enough!

With anything, if you are looking in to tools to buy I would take in to account how often you'll use it and research, research, research! (This is my motto).

Next on my list, I would love a Miter Saw! What are your must-have DIY tools?

*This post includes affiliate links, thanks for supporting Always Rooney!


5.25.2016

Top Etsy Tips From 3 Successful Etsy Sellers

I am so excited for today's Etsy Tips Post because I reached out to 3 successful Etsy Sellers to hear their take on Etsy! These Q&A's were refreshing and encouraging for me to read, so I am sure you'll leave inspired! Be sure to check out each shop and their instagram, I'm sure you'll find ways you can improve your shop by observing what they do to promote their shop and keep their shop going!

First, Sydney is here to share from Anewall (a-new-wall) about how she used Etsy to share products that were smaller and more tangible for the average buyer. I personally love how Sydney has her home base website as well as an Etsy shop! 

What made you want to start your Etsy shop?

When we first began our company 3 years ago we wanted to sell smaller versions of our product on Etsy to compliment the larger formatted products that are sold on our official website anewall.com What is your biggest hurdle with selling on Etsy?

We absolutely love using Etsy as a business platform. It's such a great community for sharing one another's products, shops and ideas. Our biggest hurdle with it is probably the fees that are taken from each purchase but in the end the pros outweigh the cons for us! 
What is your number one traffic source?

Our number one traffic source for our Etsy shop is Etsy itself - through features and treasuries. Our next best traffic source is Pinterest for posting high quality product photos and linking the product. 
How do you use social media to help promote your shop?

We use all platforms of social media for our business. Pinterest is the greatest tool for us to use for Etsy. Customers are captivated by the images and want to find out where they can buy the products. 
Do you have a business motto/mantra?


Our business motto is to: Create beautiful, high quality products that create a statement in any room! What is your daily schedule like with Etsy?
Over the years Etsy has really paid off and does a lot of the work itself. We answer messages and conversations daily and spend a lot of time processing custom orders for customers! 



Follow Anewall on Instagram, Their Website & Etsy

Next, I reached out to Monica from Boho Pillow. I found Monica last year as I was searching for new pillows for my reupholstery project. I have been following her ever since and she is always churning out not only beautiful mud cloth, hmong, and indigo pillows but she has these beautiful plant covers that I love! 

What made you want to start your Etsy shop?

 At the end of 2013, I was unable to find an Etsy shop that carried pillow covers similar to the mix of textiles that I had been curating for my own personal use. I felt there was a need for a shop and I took the plunge in February 2014!

What is your biggest hurdle with selling on Etsy?


Etsy has been really great for exposure, but on the flip side, the biggest hurdle would be that it is very saturated. I know it can be personally overwhelming for me to search as a buyer, so as a seller, there are no guarantees that someone coming to Etsy is going to find my shop.
 
What is your number one tip for selling on Etsy?


In my opinion, the most important tip for selling on Etsy, is to have a specific niche; otherwise, it can be really hard to be found in the Sea of Etsy Awesomeness. 

How do you use social media to help promote your shop?


I’m probably not the best resource on this one, because I have serious mom guilt when I flip through my phone’s photo gallery and there are more pictures of pillows than of my kids! I do participate in sales/giveaways/collaborations throughout the year via social media (mainly Instagram) and have mostly relied on growing organically by sharing new products/textiles that I’m stoked about!

Do you have a business motto/mantra?


My business motto is to under promise and over deliver! I treat every transaction like it’s my first one ever and strive to offer the best customer service possible.

What is your daily schedule like with Etsy?


Etsy is instrumental with keeping me organized, from its stats, messages, to keeping me on track with my orders- I heavily rely on it for my daily operations. I am usually packaging orders in the morning, and once that is done, I’ll focus on any products I need to make, photograph or list, and respond to messages throughout the day (and usually night after my kids are in bed)!

Follow BohoPillow on Instagram Etsy & Their Website


Finally, I reached out to a good friend I went to high school with, Sarah Tate! Sarah is hilarious, fun to be around and an incredible artist. Even when we were younger, she would paint these fun canvases for all her friend's birthdays! She is an adventurer at heart and I'm sure you'll notice that through this Q&A!


What made you want to start your Etsy shop?


That’s a funny story. I had just dropped out of the college of graphic design at my university because “I didn’t want to do all the things my design professors wanted me to do”. I switched to Hospitality because I was like “Yeah, hospitality is cool and it will give me more time to paint”. One day I was sitting in my kitchen with my roommate and I was doodling on a napkin. She said “You have good handwriting. You should try calligraphy. My friend showed me this thing where you make the down strokes thicker. It’s like calligraphy but without the actual pen”. I was like “Hmm, Cool”. So that night, I went to the local Wal-Mart and bought a bunch of greeting cards so I could have the colorful envelopes that come with them. I wrote out some fake addresses with my friend’s names on them, made an Etsy, and put up my first listing. Within 1 week, I had two jobs addressing wedding invitations.


What is your biggest hurdle with selling on Etsy?


I do a lot of custom work. I have been trying to transition into more of a print shop, but a lot of people request custom goods. Custom jobs can be fun, but they also take a lot more time and in the end, you just don’t make as much profit. For me, the hardest thing has been having to say no to jobs. When a job is presented to you, it’s hard to say no. I just have to remember that in the long run, sometimes saying no can be a good thing so that I’ll have more time to work on things that, in the future, I will benefit from more.


What is your number one tip for selling on Etsy?


Look at what your competitors are doing and do the opposite. Seriously, I know it sounds crazy, but hang with me. If someone is already making something, why would you make the same thing? Take Courtney for example. She makes leather passport cases. I don’t think I had ever heard of a passport case besides the little books that I always see when I’m in line at the post office. She just hit 3000 sales. Like what?! And they’re so cute! I look at them and I’m like yeah, I want to put my passport in that and go on a fun trip.


How do you use social media to help promote your shop?


INSTAGRAM. Seriously, it’s the best thing ever. I would say half of my business comes from word of mouth and half from Instagram and social media. Just post stuff. Get personal and let the viewer see into your life. They don’t just want to see your product. They also want to see your process! It helps people feel like they are a part of something and shows them that we are also learning as we go.


Do you have a business motto/ mantra?


Fake it till you make it. When I was just starting out addressing envelopes with “fake calligraphy”, someone approached me and asked if I made wedding invitations as well. I was like “Uhhh, yeah. Yeah I can do that”. So that night, I downloaded Adobe and learned how to use Illustrator. After a series of Youtube videos, I figured it out (kind of). After that job, I was like “Yeah, I guess this is what I do”. I now have 3 years of experience under my belt and I am STILL learning. That’s just life. Be honest with yourself and your skillset, but don’t be afraid of opportunity. My second favorite motto is “Work hard, play harder”. I LOVE to travel. So much so that I will work 12 hours days so that I can take one…sometimes two weeks off to go do something really random and fun. It’s how I keep myself fueled and inspired. Like right now I’m on tour with two of my best guy friend who are in a band. I’m just brainstorming new ideas and taking a lot of photos. It’s awesome.


What is your daily schedule like with Etsy?


Because a lot of my jobs are very large, I don’t do a ton of packaging and shipping. A lot of my days involve sending emails, scanning in lettering for proofs, ordering envelopes, or going to the printer. Pretty mundane stuff. My favorite days are when I get to spend all day painting and illustrating for designs. Then, I’ll go to my favorite coffee shop and just play around with ideas on Photoshop while I listen to podcasts. Those are the days when I’m like “Yeah, I could do this for the rest of my life”.

Follow Sarah Tate and Wild Wood Paper Co on Instagram, Her Site, & Etsy


Interested in more Etsy tips and insights? Read these blog posts: My Biggest Etsy Traffic Source and How To Start Your Etsy Shop. Still want more? Sign up for my Etsy tips newsletter! I send out insightful Etsy tips weekly to help you grow your shop.

Now I want to hear YOUR story! What are your favorite parts as well as hurdles on Etsy? Leave your Etsy URL below so I can check it out.