Wednesday, February 29, 2012

New Timeline for Fan Pages

Did you happen to see??
Facebook now has given facebook fan pages the Time Line look.
I hadnt even switched my personal page to the time line. 
I didnt like it and it seemed confusing...
But when I read that facebook would be switching fan pages on March 30 anyways, I decided I better jump on board!
I must admit I do kinda like it.
I like that we can have a big custom cover photo!
It makes it look so much more professional, I think.

But I am still figuring things out, like the tabs and such.
So its still a little confusing to me, but I'm sure I will be used to it soon enough.
I did find {this site} to be a little helpful, in case you wanna check it out.

If you're the owner of a fan page are you making the change now, or waiting?
For those of you with only a personal fb page, have you switched to timeline yet?
What do you all think so far??
I'd love to hear from those who have been using it for a while!

Much Love & Hugs,

P.S. I just wanted to give a fond farewell to a few of my lovely sponsors that are leaving my sidebar this month!
Please continue to check them out and support them!
And look for a few new "faces" coming to my sidebar tomorrow!!
Piccola Pickle Doodle Designs little b Easy Canvas Prints

Stuff I Love

Blog-erview With Brianna of Baubles, Accoutrements and Garb

Its Wednesday and time again for another Blog-erview!!!
Lets welcome Brianna from Baubles, Accoutrements and Garb to Agape Love Designs!!

If you are new here, find out about the Blog-erview Series, as well as a list of previous blog-erviews {here}!

~ Tell us a little about yourself and Your blog (and shop if you have one)
My name is Brianna and I love pretty things! I’m a small town girl with a big love for Fashion/ Beauty and Interior Design. I work as an Interior Designer and as the Owner of Baubles, Accoutrements and Garb Blog and Bres’ Baubles Vintage on Etsy.
I am addicted to thrifting/ treasure hunting and collecting/ selling vintage. I adore lazy Saturdays and love to spend hours on Facebook and Twitter entering sweeps!
I post a "What I Wore" series on the blog. See images below. I just started a new series called "Your Style" so that my readers can send in their looks and be featured.


~ How did you first get involved with blogging?
I started B.A.G. in May 2011. It has grown tremendously in a short period and I am so proud! I love where its headed!
I hadn’t planned this blog as much as thought up a name and opened an account one day. I dabbled in a few other personal blogs previously, but hadn’t found a connection to the outside world as much as I was journaling my day.
My husband uses the word “accoutrements” all the time. He will say, “Baby, did you pack all your accoutrements for the trip?”
So, that word was fresh in my mind and I chose to incorporate it as well as my love for pretty baubles and garb!

~ Has blogging played a role in the start of or development of your shop? If so, how? If not, tell us how your shop came about.
Blogging definitely allowed me to pursue my Etsy shop. After I gained a following, I realized someone is reading my blog and likes MY style! So, I thought I would share what I know about vintage and open an affordable shop that is well within reach of everyone so that all could own something unique and vintage of their own.

~ How do you come up with material/content for your blog each day, What inspires you?
I am inspired by so many things. I think of myself as wearing so many different “hats”. Like my personality, I cannot stick to one thing day after day on the blog, so I change it up whenever I feel like it. If I want to write about my outfit that day- I DO! If I watched an awesome episode of America’s Next Top Model- I SHARE! That simple!

~ What has been the most challenging moment in being a blogger?
The numbers! It’s easy to get obsessed with reaching the masses! But, it’s difficult to put yourself out there and sit and wait. You can’t sit and wait but you can’t force it either. I have learned how to engage with my audience via social media and that helps me to forget the # and focus on the people involved.
~ Name some of the bloggers whom you look up to and why?
Eisy Morgan is such a fun and creative blog. Ashley the author covers a wide range of topics and posts link up parties for readers to share photographs, DIY, etc.
Kendi Everyday is one of those blogs that you really want to LOOK at! With an enormous following, it’s easy to see why it is so popular! Kendi posts her style looks and shares with us where she found the pieces. Photography is excellent and so is the styling.
The Shine Project- Ashley the author shares with us her philanthropic efforts and lovely outfit posts as well. Offers a challenge group for others to participate in weekly.

~ If someone was interested in blogging, what would be a few things you would suggest?
  • Do your research
  • Post often
  • Be yourself
~ What Social Networks are you on?

~ What networking do you do, that you feel helps your blog and/or shop the most?
Facebook, Twitter, Email, Contests

~ What has been the best thing about blogging so far, feel free to share any exciting triumphs or milestones you have had or reached! :)
When I hit 10,000 page views in less than 8 months, I was in shock! Now my page has almost 18,000 hits and I am so proud of my little baby aka my blog B.A.G.

~ Is there anything you know now that you wish you knew before you started blogging?
Blogger Promotion/ Networking/ Learning groups exist! There are networks dedicated to helping you help yourself. Here are a few that I found on my own that I wish others had shared with me!
Blogelina- I learned so much using Blogelina when I first started up. Members are so willing to share ideas and help you grow.
IFB- Independent Fashion Bloggers is a community for Fashion specific blogs.
She Speaks- women connect and share reviews, offers, coupons, deals, articles, discussion and product samples.
~ Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?
Discount Code to my Etsy Shop for an extra 10% off already low Vintage prices!
 Use code 10OFFNOW

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Birthday Portraits| Kiah's Sneak Peek | Red Bluff Photography

My Baby Girl is 9 today!!
I cant believe how grown up she is becoming.

She is my little beauty.

I can hardly believe I'm already the Momma of a NINE year old!
Happy Birthday Kiah-Girl! 
Mommy LOVES you. ♥
If you want to see a few MORE photos from this birthday shoot,
check them out {here} on my mommy blog.

Much Love & Hugs,

Sunday, February 26, 2012

8 Ways to Increase Traffic & Sales for Your Online Shop {PART TWO}

Happy Sunday all and welcome to part TWO of :

Today I will be sharing the last 4 ways I have personally discovered to be useful in gaining traffic and sales to my online shop!
If you missed part one, you can check it out {here}.

Now, I would like to mention, again, that I am no expert on this subject!
These are some things that I have PERSONALLY discovered to be useful and helpful for myself.
So I am sharing my own incites with you, hopefully you find them helpful!!

On with part TWO.

5. Giveaways
Giveaways are a WONDERFUL way to attract attention to your shop, especially if you are just starting out. They are a fun way to celebrate when you hit a milestone for your blog or business.
They are a lovely way to reward your loyal fans/followers. They are also a great way to gain new followers or "likes" and build your business audience. And if you are only looking mainly to gain a following audience then go crazy with giveaways!
(Though I have learned not ALL the fans you gain will be loyal, a lot will un-follow/un-like as soon as a giveaway is over & they didnt win!)

However, if you are looking to actually get more SALES then, I suggest, you need to set a limit for giveaways.
Why do I suggest this?
Well have you ever heard the saying "Why buy the milk when you can get the cow for free!?"
Usually this saying pertains to sex (at least that's how Ive always heard it) but in this case I think it is very fitting too.
Think about it; If people know you are constantly giving away your items for free, do you think they
are more likely to make a purchase from you or wait on "Lady Luck" in hopes they will WIN something instead?
Yeah....The second one, right? Hey, who doesn't love freebies?!
You just need to be smart about giveaways.
Think about the cost versus the result, and think about what result you are really looking to get.
The result you want will vary, but don't over-use giveaways if the result you want is: to get more sales and they are not working for you!

6. Reviews
Reviews are another wonderful way to advertise.
When I first started out and I thought about reviews, I instantly thought "NO way!" I didn't want to send out my product to someone for "nothing". I thought things like; "What will I get from this?"
"I wont gain any followers.. and who knows for sure if I will gain sales!?" I was iffy... 

I was being stingy.
But something I sort of did on accident totally changed my mind completely.
We all know Casey Weigand right? Of course you know her, she is a sensation right now!
Well around the time I found her blog was right about the time she had lost her baby. Her post about it, broke my heart. I felt for her, having been through the same thing (twice). I was feeling her pain and her words spoke to me. And I wanted to do something to comfort her, something to let her know she wasn't alone.
So I reached out to her and offered her one of my custom birds nest necklaces. I shared the story behind them, and what they meant to me. She was touched and excited. I felt so happy to offer it to her. I didn't ask her to "review" the necklace for me, or even to post about it. I wasn't expecting that, and that wasn't the reason I gave her the necklace.
But she DID share the necklace in a post (this post).
It was one simple picture, with a single sentence about what the necklace meant  and she was kind enough to link to my shop. Then she shared the post with me. I was surprised and excited she posted about it. But I never expected what would happen after that. Within the next few days I had 10 sales for my custom birds nest necklaces! And after that, my sales just kept coming even weeks after....
People would make purchases and tell me they heard of me through Casey.  I was wow'd by the response, I had never had so many sales that fast.
After that, my eyes were opened to the power behind "reviews" and what they could do for my sales. I never thought about it before, but its kind of like when celebrities promote name brands by wearing their items in real life or doing commercials. Many companies will give celebrities their items for free just so they will be seen wearing them. When "normal" people see their fav celebs wearing/drinking/using a certain brand item, we "normal" people want that item! Silly? Yeah kinda... but that's advertisement.
So something I have been doing more is offering some of my items to a few of my favorite "big name" bloggers for free, in return for a review or fashion post showing off my item(s). Not only has it helped my shop gain more exposure, and upped my sales,  but it is also just so fun, exciting and cool to see how my items look on different people. I LOVE that! And I bet you would too.. So I encourage you to be open to reviews.

7. Be Unique

With so many crafty momma's out there trying to get their shop noticed, there are also so many people doing the SAME THING. 

Offering the same goodies.

The same styles, the same items, the same ideas.  Usually the only thing that varies is the price. So how do you get noticed in a world where there is so much creative likeness?


Be unique.
 Think of something different. Put a different or NEW spin on something old. Take for example, my ruffled headbands. They are a unique design I came up with a while back, because I was totally crushing on all the pretty ruffled headbands out there, and I also LOVE making fabric rosettes. I wanted to make, sell and wear cute headbands but I didnt want to copy someone else's design. Or do something everyone else and their momma was already doing and selling! So I came up with a fun & unique design, that was inspired  by vintage feather fascinators and by my love of pretty ruffles.
Also, take for example, my custom birds nest necklaces. Those are EVERYWHERE. And when I first made one it was for a gift for my mom. I didnt intend on selling them. Why would I? There are several others out there that sell them already. But when I came up with a new design, a "unique twist" to add to the necklace to make it personal, memorable and make it MY OWN design, it was THEN that I decided to sell them.
If you arent getting many sales, take a look at your shop and all you offer. If it is filled with the same things several other (already well established shops) are selling chances are, that is why. A lot of customers are loyal to certain people, shops, brands. And they wont likely drop one shop for another that has the same stuff the can already find at their favorite shops already.

So be unique, be yourself, stand out. Give people a reason to remember you. And they will keep coming back, and before you know it, you will find yourself your own loyal customers!

8. Sales & Promotions

Last but not least I come to Sales & Promotions. I decided to save this one for last because these things tie into several of the things mentioned previously in ways 1-7 to give them a little extra boost!

Everyone loves a great sale!
Having a sale is one of the
 BEST ways to get sales quick.
Just a couple weeks ago I had a big 50% off sale, to celebrate hitting 2000 likes on Facebook.
I got about 13 orders that day.
Of course 50% off is a HUGE sale, so I only use such a high percentage on rare occasions.
But it definitely gets people's attention!

Here are a few fun ways to use Sales & Promotions to help you gain more attention and sales.

Have a sale for each Holiday, 
even your Birthday, and Black Friday!

Ok so I mentioned being smart about doing giveaways. Remember how I mentioned most people holding out to get something for free!?
Well its always smart to create a special coupon code to go along with your giveaways.
It gives people more incentive to check out your shop, and purchase something (other than the giveaway item) because they are getting a deal. 
Be generous, people respond to coupon codes 25% off or higher!
You can also offer a discount code for those who do reviews for you.

~Specials or "Deal of the Day's"
Do you have a certain item in bulk??
Want to sell it fast?
Give it some extra attention, create hype about it with a deal of the day sale for that item,
or a Special deal price for a certain amount of that item.

This is something I remember Little Miss Momma doing {here}.
She had 50 of a certain necklace in stock and did a "deal of the day" for it.
I remember looking at her shop, at the sales and was WOW'd at how many she had sold!
I have done something similar with this necklace {here}...
This is a necklace that is fast for me to make, and I have plenty of supplies for it in stock.
I decided to create a special price for it (40% off) and list 10 in my shop at that price.
I posted about it on FB, and sold 7 within the week.

Last year I had a special promotion going on in my shop.
FREE earrings with each purchase.
I promoted it on my facebook page and here on the blog too.
It was fun for me to give a little something extra to my customers.
And my customers loved getting a special freebie too..Again, who doesn't!?
Things like that make you memorable, and more friendly to your customers.

~Customer Coupon
When someone already makes a purchase, send them a special coupon code for future purchases! 
This is a great way to encourage repeat business, and build loyal customers!
I LOVE {this idea} from Dana of Wonder Forest, where she created "secret savings" scratch off cards to go out with orders. Such a FUN idea! I am actually going to be doing this soon. ♥

~Ad Spots
When you sponsor someone, include a special discount code on your ad button!
Ive seen lots of people do this, and its always wonderful to find a new shop on someone's blog, 
and ALSO see they have a coupon for me to use too!
Ive got a coupon posted on my blog here at all times, on a button linked to my shop.
Its only 10% but its something I have going ALL the time, as a bonus for those who read my blog, 
and for all the new friends/followers who find my little space here in blog-land.

Ok so this one is new to me, but oh so fun!
I originally saw the idea for this on The {Posh} Daisy's FB page.
We played BINGO on facebook and winner received a special coupon code for 50% off!
Its fun, it gains attention fast, it gets people to interact with you, and its win-win.
Win for the person who gets 50% OFF, and win for you getting another sale!

Just for a bonus extra, I wanted to mention a new series I have started for etsy shop owners!
Its called Treasury Trade Off, and it is a linky party!
If you would like to gain more exposure for your etsy shop, while also helping others promote and gain exposure for their shops through making beautiful treasuries, then please check out these series here:
Treasury Trade Off Linky Series
I would LOVE to have more people participate!! :)

And that is all for this 2 part series!
 I truly hope you enjoyed this post and found the info helpful for your online shop!
If you have any questions, concerns, tips or suggestions please post them in the comment section!
I'd love to hear from you. ♥
Please feel free to tweet or pin this post!!
Pin It 

Much Love & Hugs,

Saturday, February 25, 2012

8 Ways to Increase Traffic & Sales for Your Online Shop {PART ONE}

Hello everyone!!
Today I bring to you a mini 2 part series that has been in the works for a few weeks now.
I am excited to share my "wisdom" and advice with you on how to increase traffic & sales to your online shop.

But first I would like to say that I am in no way an expert on this stuff!

I am still on the "new-ish" side of this stuff. And My shop has just over 125 sales... Just so you know!
I decided to write this post after I had been asked by a few different people just starting out about how I gained "so many" sales, and for advice on how they could gain more sales too.
So I put a lot of thought and A LOT of time into the posts I will share today and tomorrow on the subject.
I really had to look back through out my time being a shop owner.
I asked myself what it was that brought me the most sales, what did I do to gain traffic and attention?
And in doing this, it really helped myself get perspective.

I came up with 8 things, that I have found through trial and error, as an online shop owner,
 that have helped me most to gain traffic and sales.

Today I will be sharing the first 4 things and tomorrow I will be sharing the last 4 things.
So be sure to come back, to check that out! ♥

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1. Use Great Photos
This one is no secret. You have probably heard it many times. 
Or maybe you have not heard it yet, either way I still felt it was important to include in this post first.
The reason this one is so important is because well, you are an ONLINE shop (duh) and people like to really SEE the product before they buy it. If someone is iffy about something, chances are they wont commit to buy if there is only one crummy cell phone picture. 
So you need to really show off your product as BEST you can through your photos. 
You need to take photos that really grab the attention of potential buyers.
I usually try to follow these 3 guidelines when taking pictures:
  • Take a pulled back shot of the entire item.
  • Take an up close shot of the details
  • Take a few photos of your item in use
Now I know this may seem intimidating!
You may say "well I don't have a big expensive camera or a nice studio area!"
Ok thats no problem, you dont need a big expensive camera to get good photos of your product.
You can use any point and shoot camera, just make sure you have good lighting.
Take your pictures in natural light and use a simple free editing service to help spruce up your shots.
And just set up a simple clean space using a poster board or pretty paper for your background!
Little Miss Momma has a great tutorial on how to take pictures for a blog tutorial, 
but it is also perfect to use for photographing your products too.
Check it out {here}.

2. Tell A Story
Everyone LOVES a good story. 
So tell YOUR story!
When you create... what ever it may be, tell the story of how or why you created it.
If it was something personal that inspired you to create, then share it!
If it was a special gift for someone for some special reason or cause, share it!
A lot of my jewelry has a story behind it and love that, because it MEANS something to me & to others.
It makes what I do and create, special, unique, personal and memorable.
And that is the kind of items people WANT to purchase.
You can read the stories behind some of my jewelry here:
The story behind my Birds Nest Necklaces {One} & {Two}
The story behind my Water Of Life Necklace {here}.
The story behind my Faith Jewelry Line {here}.
The story behind my Carried Necklace {here}.

 Since we are talking about sharing let me tell you about number 3 on the list:

3. Take Advantage Social Media

Photobucket Photobucket Photobucket

If you are not connected to any social site like facebook, blog, twitter, pinterest etc.
Then I encourage you to get with it and acquire one or more of them!
Use these sites to share your stories, and new items and connect with your fans and buyers.
 Post about new items in the shop,  Post about sales you have going on, promote giveaways and such!
Ive heard several people say they don't feel the need to use facebook or anything.
They don't think they are ready and/or they feel they need to grow their business more FIRST
before getting themselves a fan page or what not.
Well HELLO free advertisement! 
People are on facebook and twitter CONSTANTLY because of smart phones.
If you want to grow your business, connecting through those kinds of sites are KEY to doing so.
Its fast, instant, and easily accessible.
Anyone can easily connect with you!
It makes you seem more personal and people like personal!
I really like personal. And I love connecting to and chatting with new people.
So go, CONNECT, Share, take advantage of these great social sites.

4. "Pay for" Advertisement
Ok so if you are like I was when I was first starting out, this may scare you!
It took me a LONG time before I actually paid for advertisement, AKA "Sponsoring another blog".
I did a couple ad swaps with some people with the same number of followers as me.
But the idea of paying for it, just scared me.
I thought things like:
~I couldn't afford it.
~What if it doesn't help?
~My Shop isn't good enough or ready yet.

Let me tell you, don't let those kinds of thoughts stop you!
Don't even let those kinds of thoughts enter your head!
They will hinder you from any kind of progression at all. You need to think positively.
For one, make a budget of what you can afford for advertisement each month and just go for it.
There are lots of blogs who give special discounts for advertisers on certain months, or even do giveaways for an ad spot!
Take advantage of those times!!
For two, do not be afraid to ask those you sponsor to promote & advertise for you!
That's what you are PAYING THEM to do!
So if you are advertising with someone, and you have something cool going on at your blog,
or if you are having a sale in your shop.. email the person you are sponsoring and ask them to help you spread the word about it!
When ever I got something big or new going on I will email my advertisers and ask them for help.
And I also encourage those who advertise with me to do the same!
I'm always trying to check out my sponsors' stuff and promote them any way I can.
But if they have something specific and email me about it, I am more than happy to share it for them.

For three, DON'T THINK BAD about yourself or your stuff.
If YOU don't like what you do, or if you don't take pride in what you do, then why even do it!?
LOVE what you do! Think positively about your work and what you create.
Be EXCITED about what you do, about your blog/shop and others will get excited too.
Now, with that being said I'd just like to say one more thing; Be sure to choose where advertise wisely. If you are going to spend your money on advertisement, make sure you are advertising with someone who's audience fits with who you want to sell to. Like if you sell childrens clothing, advertise on Mommy Blogs, If you sell Jewelry or Accessories advertise with Fashion Bloggers, etc.
Of course most any place you advertise, you will see some kind of traffic if the blog you advertise on is a popular one. But as for actually making sales, advertising with the right people really does make a difference in sales!


Alrighty, well that is it for today!
Come back tomorrow to read part two of this mini series where I will cover:
  1. Giveaways & why you should limit them
  2. Reviews & Why you should give them a try!
  3. The importance of Being Unique
  4. Great ways to use Sales & Promotions!
 Hope you enjoyed this post and if you have any questions, concerns, tips or suggestions
please post them in the comment section!
I'd love to hear from you. ♥
*UPDATE* Read part two {here}
Much Love & Hugs,
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Friday, February 24, 2012

Senior Portraits| Cowgirl Sneak Peek | Red Bluff Photography

You've Kayli before in Part One of her senior portraits.
For part two she wanted to show off the cowgirl side of her.

This is one of my favorites:

Some fun color accent. ♥

One of the main pose ideas she had in mind was for this shot below:

I really love this one, so mysterious and a little flirty.

Such a beautiful cowgirl!

Which of these did you like best?
Much Love & Hugs,

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