Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Two Ongoing Giveaways

Right now I have two Giveaways going and the deadlines are yet to be determined as I am waiting to get more entries.

Giveaway # 1:

Win a hammered cuff (pictured above) in your choice of wire colors, by signing up for my new email newsletter! This newsletter will keep you up to date with what's going on in my shop and with my jewelry line. It will include my new items, coupons, giveaway info, and craft shows I will be attending, maybe near you! I am also going to do an Artist Spotlight with each newsletter showcasing some of my favorite artists! To enter, send an email to MegsCrochetJewels@gmail.com with the words "Email Newsletter Giveaway" in the subject line. The entries will be numbered in the order they are received and will be drawn using Random.org when I reach 40 entries.

Giveaway # 2:

This Giveaway is open to ALL my previous customers; Anyone who has purchased, traded or won anything from me, up until I draw a winner, can enter. You can win a $50.00 gift certificate to my Etsy store to use on anything you wish! Including custom orders and sterling silver!

To enter, send me a picture of you wearing each piece you have and a short review on what it is you like about each piece. You will get one entry for each picture and one entry for each review. So if you have three pieces, you can get up to six entries. Fill free to send several pics of each piece so I can have a few to choose from. I am building a blog post to include as many of my customers as possible to help encourage those who have never heard of or aware of what crochet jewelry is like and may be hesitant to buy.

So send your pics to MegsCrochetjewels@gmail.com or Tag me in your photos on Facebook. If there is a caption for the picture that describes what you think about the piece it can count as your review. Once I get enough to post in my blog, I will number all the entries in the order they were received and then draw a number using random.org

Thanks a lot and good luck to all who enter!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Setting Up My GoPayment

If you haven't read how I chose Intuits’ GoPayment for my credit card reader and payment service, it can be found here: http://bit.ly/lvhnO9

Now, After receiving the reader and activating my new phone I clicked this link that I was sent earlier and went through the application process for the Intuit Payments service. I am actually not very good with all this technical stuff so I had a few questions. I emailed the person back who sent me the link and who was so helpful with the card reader. Within no time she replied back with an answer and was very nice! We actually ended up talking back and forth for quite sometime through e-mail as she walked me through! It was so nice to have someone who seemed to care and didn’t seem bothered by my questions one bit!

**Just a quick note: Intuits GoPayment is the service you use to swipe the credit cards on your phone. Intuit Payments is your account that handles your transactions, statements and transfers the money to your checking account, and where you will go to accept credit cards or access your account on your computer. As of right now, you cannot link your Intuit account with your PayPal account. Hoping that will change soon!**

Once I finished the application process I was approved very quickly. Then I went to the Market on my smartphone and searched for GoPayment. It came right up and I downloaded it to my phone. She then told me to go into my Intuit Payments account and set up another user. This user is actually for my phone. To do this, log into your Intuit Payments account, go to “manage payments” and then “add new user." Choose a short user name and password that will be easy to type in on your smart phone.

Now you are all set up and ready to go! If you are anything like me, you are going to want to test it out first to make sure it works! So first things first: Attach your intuit card reader to the speaker jack in your smartphone/device. Then go to your GoPayment app and type in your user name and password/pin. Now, before you go to “charge” you need to go to “settings” then “enable swiper.” It may ask you to choose a swiper. You are looking for the “audio swiper.” Choose and enable your swiper. You need to go in and do this every time you take the swiper off and put it back on, just to make sure! Now go back to the first screen, then go to charge. Now type in the amount you want to charge - I chose $1.00 - then it will ask you to swipe the card (unable to talk one of my neighbors into coming over and buying some jewelry, I swiped my own card! lol). Once you swipe the card all the information will auto fill. Then click the “charge” button at the bottom. Once the charge goes through it will ask you if you want to send an email receipt to the credit card holder. Most buyers ask that you do, so just enter their email address and viola! - it sends the receipt to buyer. You will also receive a confirmation on the payment. Yay!! You have made your first credit card charge! Now you can log into your Intuit Payments account and void the charge. That way it doesn’t bill your credit card for the $1.00.

Just a little note: Be sure and have your volume turned up all the way as this will ensure a good signal for the card reader. Also, while the reader is plugged in, you will not be able to hear anything out of your speaker. So you won’t know if someone calls/texts and you won’t be able to make calls.

If you have not received your reader by your first show, don’t fret. You can enter the credit card info manually. Log into your GoPayment account with your phone or your Intuit Payments account with your laptop. Go to charge or process credit card. Enter in the amount, the credit card info and then click charge. Intuit charges a slightly higher fee for this method.

Another perk of Intuit is you can enter credit card numbers online. So if you have someone who wants to give you their info over the phone or by email you can do it that way.

Now for some technical info:

Fees: GoPayment is totally free to use including the reader. All you pay is 2.7% on each swiper transaction and 3.7% on each manual transaction.

Devices: GoPayment is compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry phones. To see if your phone is compatible go here. Scroll down to “compatible devices” and click “see all devices.”

Credit Cards: You will be able to accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and with an extra application process, American Express.

More Questions: Check out the FAQ section for even more info!

Intuits Payments: When you want to access your payment info on your laptop or computer go here. Go up to “login” in the upper right hand corner. Select “Other Services” and then select “Payment Solutions”. Then type in your main login(which should be your email address) and your password.

I hope that this information has been helpful! Feel free to ask any questions that I may not have covered! My next post will describe my first craft show experience with my GoPayment, including shoppers reactions and ease of use! Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

SquareUp or Intuit GoPayment

My first show of the season was also my first juried art show. It was a HUGE success! Although, I know I could've had at least 4 more sales had I been able to accept credit cards. So I went home and seriously looked into getting a credit card reader and a new phone to use the reader. Having heard the names Square and GoPayment passed around the Etsy forums, I started doing my research.

Before I go much further, I think it is important to state that I went into this leaning towards the Square. It is more popular in the forums and I've even watched TV commercials for it. And it made sense to me that customers would be more comfortable handing over their credit card if I were using something they recognized from TV.

So to start my journey, first I had to find a phone that would be compatible with both credit card reader apps. (You can find more information on their websites about compatible phones.) I ended up going with a certified pre-owned smart phone from my provider so I wouldn't have to invest too much to get started. Once I ordered the phone I started browsing social media to see what real people were saying about both Square and GoPayment.

I first searched their Facebook pages.

Square on Facebook: The first thing I noticed about Square is that you couldn't post to their wall, although, they did allow anyone to open a discussion. However, all of the discussions seemed to be people trying to find answers, and from what I could tell, no one was answering the questions.

I also noticed that when Square would post something, if anyone commented on that post with a question, the questions went unanswered. I also left a question to see if I would hear anything back - never did. Well, I figured, hey, this is a huge company, surely they can’t answer all of their fans questions? So then I go to their website to see if they have a customer service number you can call just in case any of the issues were being brought forward - no number…what? No customer service number?!? So then I hit Twitter.

Square on Twitter: Twitter seems to be where it’s at with Square! They have lots going on over there and they even have a separate Twitter account just for Support. So if you need answers that’s the best place to go! I tweeted “Can you guys expedite me a Square Reader?” And, within no time, I got a reply telling me I may be able to buy one from a local Apple store (I could not, but if you can, you will get a credit for the purchase price, I was told). Or, you could find an inner Square member to get one from. The only way you can find one is to search Twitter for the term “inner square” in relation to your area. I was out of luck with that as well.

I was using “Expedite a Reader” question as my test question to see how their customer service worked. I wasn’t actually expecting to get one overnighted to me. This was on a Thursday and my next show was that Saturday. You can use the credit card service without the credit card reader. You just type in the credit card numbers manually and run them that way. Then start swiping once you receive the reader (there is a difference in fees).

Okay, at the same time I am doing all this on Squares Facebook and Twitter , I am doing the same thing on GoPayments Facebook and Twitter.

GoPayment on Facebook: WOW… they actually let you post on their wall! Cool! So I read a lot of posts - look at that! Someone is actually replying to the post! Wonderful! So I leave my question, and low and behold, I get a reply pretty quick! They tell me they are going to look into the matter and get back to me….hmmm. So I go to their website - Oh look! A number to call! So I call the number. Apparently, because of higher than normal call volume, I get a guy who obviously is not used to working with Gopayment. He takes my number and a message about expediting the reader and says someone will call me back….hmm. But after asking other Gopayment users, this was actually highly unusual. They all got in touch with Intuit GoPayment easily using the phone number. After further explorations into their site, I realized that these are the same people who bring us QuickBooks, TurboTax and Mint. I love Mint! So I think…maybe people WILL recognize the Intuit name!

So, I then popped over to their Twitter. I tweeted my question about expediting a reader. Within no time, someone direct messaged me on Twitter from Intuit. They tell me if I can send them my address they will have it the credit card reader out to me as soon as humanly possible….hmmm. So I send my address and within minutes someone e-mails me from Intuit. They want to confirm my address and they send me the link to get pre approved for the service. So I confirm my e-mail and save the link for later. But I still haven't made up my mind yet. I don’t make my mind up until the next morning.

Who did I choose?

I went with Intuits GoPayment. Why? Because, even though I ordered my cell phone (overnighted) several hours before the Intuit Card reader. The card reader made it here (GA) FROM CALIFORNIA early Friday morning. And if you remember, I did all this searching and contacting on Thursday evening. So I have to say, I was impressed with their customer service. Having done the same thing with SquareUp that got me no reader, with Intuit, it got one overnighted to my door step! So Intuit GoPayment won me over!

Keep in mind this is just MY experience. I was rushed and this was all the info I could dig up in a short amount of time. Someone who has more time to devote may come up with more information. But, for me, as a very small business owner with a part time job and working on my product almost 24-7 I needed someone who could be RIGHT there to help me at any time. I feel I made the right decision for me. I suggest that everyone do the research and find out which works best for them!

If you have any question please feel free to ask!

Be sure and read my next blog post on how it went downloading the app attaching the credit card reader and actually getting my first credit card sales!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Craft Shows.... From a Buyers Point of View

As a jewelry artist I have only participated in small festivals and church events. Lately I have become curious about juried shows particularly the LARGE indoor weekend long shows.

Recently, I headed several hours south to a HUGE annual spring arts and crafts show to do some recon!! I wanted to learn from the professionals how to be successful if I were to be excepted to a show of this caliber. I also wanted to see what the organizers of such a show are looking for and to see the show from a buyers point of view.

Here is what I learned:


I saw three levels of booths. 1: A few tables and regular table cloths 2: Professional show goers with nice setups 3: Booths that look like a brick and mortar store set up in a postage stamp sized booth.

I have to say that buyers seemed to steer clear of the "3rd" booths; the ones with all the lighting and glass cabinets. I think they were very intimidating for people that couldn't spend a lot of money. Even though they had comparable prices to others you would have thought they were 10 times more expensive.

The girl I saw doing the best had all of her jewelry pinned to the walls!!

Lesson: You want to look professional but you don't want to look more expensive than you are.

Booth Setup:

There was one woman who had beautiful painted glass windows. In order to get into her booth you had to walk through a tiny opening that she had created between the wall displays of her work. Once inside the "cave" the table where she sat was facing you so you felt watched (even though she wasn't watching) the whole time you shopped. BAD IDEA!! She hadn't sold a thing! Even though I saw a lot of people stop and browse the paintings on the outside they didn't want to go into the cave.

Booths that had tables set up around the perimeter did really well because people could browse as they walked by. Also, shops that you had to walk into but had a very open feel to them did well.

Lesson: You don't want to trap your customers.... you need to lure them in and make them feel at home and not pressured to buy anything.



Some people you could tell were not enjoying themselves! Either they were tired from all the setup or disappointed in sales. Either way it was a real turn off!

People who I saw actually working on their crafts seemed to draw more onlookers. Also those who greeted passerby's and explained their craft seemed to draw a crowd as people got caught up in the process.

Lesson: If you're not happy potential customers will avoid you no matter how great your product!


Please don't dress as shabby as you probably feel from all the work and preparation you have put into your show! I also like to see people wearing clothes that match the feel of their product. Ex: Beach Garden Signs = Beachy looking outfit. Also if it is possible to wear your own designs BY ALL MEANS DO!! If I'm considering buying a piece of your jewelry and even you don't wear it! Thats a turn off!

Lesson: As gorgeous as your product is people still look at you as well!;)


Some sellers who payed hundreds for their booths had no business cards.... what!?!

Please invest in business cards if you are going to invest in shows. This is a really great way of getting future sells! Support a local artist and buy handmade/designed cards. This is my favorite designer.

Another thing: If you have a really unique craft say so in your banner or sign. Most people have no idea about the craft beyond what they see. Have a picture of you working on something and explain what makes your product special. I think this is really important! When I walk up to your booth of pottery I wanna know what makes yours better than all the other pottery booths and why I should spend my money with you instead of others? This is especially important for those that make jewelry since there are so many!

Lesson: People can't buy from you in the future if they don't know how to find you! And people might not buy from you at all if they don't know how special your craft is!


Please clearly display that you take credit cards and what cards you take and if there is a minimum purchase. This is VERY important. Not all buyers are outspoken and will ask questions! Don't except credit cards? Check out these two websites for info on accepting them with your smartphone! Square and Go.

Lesson: Credit cards = impulse buys!!


Once you have spent money as a customer it is thrilling to get a nicely packaged item! It doesn't have to be expensive just make it nice. And for larger items something with handles is great!! I like kraft recycled bags!

Stick a little advertising on the bag as well and snag more potential customers from the crowd when they see people walking around with your bags!

Also, if you can include a small freebie, nothing is more exciting than discovering a free gift!

Lesson: Make your sale seem special to the buyer and you will stick out in their mind for future purchases!

Insuring a repeat customer:

Put a coupon and your business card in the bag. Everyone loves a coupon and they are more likely to go visit your online store if you have one. Even if they don't use it at first they will bookmark you for future reference because they have a coupon. Make that coupon/business card a refrigerator magnet and you ensure they constant reminder of your shop in their home!! Great for when they need gifts! Order magnet sheets for an inexpensive way you can do this.

Lesson: You have only a few seconds to put a lasting impression on your buyer. Do everything you can to ensure they will remember you!

I hope that this post has been helpful. Again this is the standpoint of me as a customer. But, as a seller, I have been guilty of many of these things myself! Being a shopper really opened my eyes. I suggest we all go to a show as a shopper and really get a feel of what is going on around us. You will be amazed what you learn!!

Happy Craft Shows!!