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Basic Paper Piecing Tips
Here are some tips that will help you create paper piecings that will sell!
Save some time by eliminating the "tracing" of patterns. Take your pattern, lay it over your cardstock and use your stylus to "trace" it onto your cardstock. You won't need a light box or copier for this and you can re-use your patterns again and again.
Use the Fiskars soft-tip micro-touch ones. They have an ultra fine tip that will allow you to get into small spaces and make precision cuts. You should also try to move your paper around instead of moving the scissors. This will allow you to cut a smooth and even line.
Sets that have more than one matching piece do better than a stand alone paper piecing. Even a title or matching smaller accent piece of paper helps! Other things that help are matching tags, journaling boxes, corners, borders, or stickers.
Learn how to do details. Invest in a very thin tipped black pen and a white gel pen to add detail to your pieces.
Use lots of shading on your paper piecings. Shade with chalk - use the teenie tiny pompoms with hemostates to hold the pompom to do your chalking and shading in small places. Take a look at some tole books to learn how to create proper shading on your sets. Practice shading techniques by taking a household object and shining a light on it. Note where the shadows and highlights are. Move the light and see how the shading changes.
Make your paper piecings special or unique. Try to use the latest scrapbooking trends in new and unusual ways.
Pay attention to color schemes. Invest in a color wheel and earn how to use it.
Organize Your Paper Piecings
Use a set of drawers, page protectors or other filing system to keep track of all of your paper piecings. Separate them by:
(1) paper piecings that have been bid on/sold but not sent
(2) paper piecings that have not been sold
(3) paper piecings in progress
You can also have them packed and ready to ship as you list You may need to combine some paper piecings for a customer that wins multiple pieces, but the packing is already done and makes shipping go faster!
Setting Up An Accounting and Tracking System
Having a detailed and organized accounting system is essential for a paper piecing business.
Set up a three-ring binder, index card, folder, spreadsheet or file system that includes the following information for each auction:
Title (you may want to place a printed copy of the paper piecing along with the information)
Winning Bidders Information:
1st notice sent
2nd notice sent
3rd notice sent
Form of payment
Payment received date
Date PP sent to buyer
Notice that it was sent
Spruce Up Your Auctions With Basic HTML
Basic HTML is easy to learn and can really make a difference in the appearance of your auctions. Go to http://www.lissaexplains.com/html.shtml and learn some HTML information that you can use in your auction description box. You can type up a "template" using HTML in Word or WordPad and just "fill in the blanks" each time you want to list a new auction. This saves a lot of time.
Advertising Your Auction
Don't count on your auctions to advertise themselves! Create an email list and ask every customer if they would like to be notified when you list new auctions. Repeat customers will become some of your best customers.
Keep your email addresses grouped in your address book on your computer and send using the "BCC" so that you are not revealing their email address to everyone else.
When you list new auctions, just send out a short email letting them know what you have listed and include a link to your listings page.
You can also send out advertisements on scrapbooking related "groups" or email lists. You can do a search on Yahoogroups.com, the MSN groups or any other email list to find scrapbooking groups. Email the list owner to find out what their policies are regarding ads. A lot of lists allow ads to be placed once a week.
There are also "For Sale and Trade" message boards at scrapbooking sites that you can advertise at. I don't recommend advertising on regular message boards, though, because most of them don't allow it and it will really get everyone upset!
Accepting and Pricing Custom Orders
You've got QUESTIONS? "I was just asked if I could do a Custom of one of my PP's for a person that lost out on the bid. How would I charge someone for something like that?"
We've got ANSWERS! You should try to charge right around the same price of the ended auction. Maybe a few dollars short of that. Only do this if you are satisfied with the ending bid price. If the price was too low, feel free to quote a higher price for your work. Be sure to make it worth your time and effort. Don't sell yourself too cheaply!
Here is a form letter you can use to reply to custom requests:
"Hello! Thank you so much for you interest in placing a custom order for XXXXXXX. I would be willing to make this paper piecing for you for $XXXX plus $XXX for shipping. Please note that insurance is optional and would cost an additional $XXX.
Custom orders may be slightly different than the set you have seen because these items are handmade. Colors may vary slightly also, but I always attempt to get as close to the original as I can.
Please be advised that I am currently allowing XXX weeks for any custom orders. You can pay for this order using PayPal, check or money order.
Please respond to this email to let me know if you still want to order this set. Include your name, address and any special instructions for the paper piecing. Thanks again for your interest!"
Providing Good Customer Service
Working with customers through online auction sites is the same as working with any other type of customer. Do your best to provide good customer service. If somebody isn?t pleased with an item that they receive, do your best to replace the item or refund the money.
You may want to offer incentive programs to repeat winners. You could offer a discount after so many wins or even offer to do a free paper piecing after the person wins X amount of your auctions.
Always answer emails in a timely manner, ship items as soon as you receive payment and be polite in all of your correspondence.
Copyright © 2002 Antuanette Wheeler
Miss Toni Gifts started out as a small pin sales site and blossomed over the last few years into a pin/bookmark combo design business.
We are three women who have known each other forever. We have all been involved in scouting, scrapbooking and general arts and crafts for a LONG time. This is really a family affair because Glenda is the Mom, Toni is the daughter, and Missy is a friend for over 20 years!