Tuesday, September 27, 2011


                                                 TWO roads diverged in a yellow wood,
                                                 And sorry I could not travel both
                                                 And be one traveler, long I stood
                                                 And looked down one as far as I could
                                                 To where it bent in the undergrowth ...

                                                 ~ Robert Frost

Beautiful poem, right? And it brings forth such lovely visions in your mind's eye, right? Uhhhh . . .     Wrong !!! 

What pops into my mind is the subdivision next to mine when I lived in St. Louis. My son and new DIL live there now. It's a great area with the high property taxes to prove it, which only adds salt to the wounds in this completely outrageous situation.

Just a few more sentences, and then I'll let the photos do the talking!

I lived on a pretty tree-lined street, and about three blocks away, the street splits off and goes into another subdivision. That's where I met this guy ... right where the "two roads diverge"!

He was a lot younger then, of course so was I. I was pregnant and out taking walks so I wouldn't gain too much weight. It didn't work all that well ;D 

Long ago in a Galaxy far, far away ... A preggers jQ
Anyhow, he was an art teacher on summer break and lived & breathed cycling. I'd never layed eyes on him before, but he decided to be my new best friend, and showed up almost every time I was out for exercise. He kept it up even after I had Paul, and would pull up on some expensive racing bike or other while I was pushing pQ in the stroller.

Being an art teacher, I guess he fancied himself some sort of genius, because he started to 'share' his art with his entire neighborhood in the form of Yard Art. Only NOT in a good way. It was colorful metal and had all sorts of sharp pointed edges that I considered a law suit waiting to happen and outright dangerous. A lot of children lived on his street! At least there was only a little of it, though. This guy's yard art consisted of only a few pieces back in the day.

This is what it looks like now. I saw it with my own eyes when I was in St. Louis for the wedding in May ...

The Front! Yes, of course his neighbors have sued and tried desperately to get the city to make him clean up the mess!

The Back!   Plenty of room to add more 'Art'
The street-side of the house

There's a neighbor on this side that's had his house 'For Sale' forever!!!

"Guys, guys, guys ...  whaddya mean you can't sell your homes? And how is that MY fault?"

"Yes I've heard that nobody on this street can sell their home, but look at how talented I am!"

C'mon now ... I thought everybody loves a sharp-dressed man.

The Inside ... courtesy of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

More of the inside ... courtesy of the Riverfront Times

His drawings seem a little chaotic & dare I say ... frenzied! (courtesy of St. Louis Real Estate News)

Last, but certainly not least - The Car. Perfectly normal ...   right? ๏̯͡⊙

Somebody started a FB page for this fellow, but I don't think he/she is exactly a Fan!

I thank the heavens for the fact that living three streets away in a different subdivision has saved me from having to look at that mess or suffer loss of property value.  

In case you're curious about what happened ... not much! He finally got convicted of littering and storing hazardous material, with an order to clean up his yard - he refused, of course! So the judge gave him 20 days in jail, a $1000 fine and six months probation. He has yet to serve a single minute while his case is being appealed.

As for the poor souls who live on his street, not one has been able to sell their home, although some have moved away. Word that he's caused his neighbors terrible financial losses has spread near and far, and I don't know of anybody within 25 miles of his 'Art Gallery' that will even speak to him.

And visitors? The newspapers report nobody ever comes to see this guy ... I mean who would want to look at that mess he's created? The street going past his house is definitely  "THE ROAD NOT TAKEN" !!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Do you Communicate With Your Customers?

You've Got Mail!

Does the symbol @ have a name?  IN ENGLISH, the symbol is boringly known as "commercial at".

Getting someone to your Etsy shop can be a real challenge, and once there your first thought is to get them to buy something. But what you should really be interested in is turning that customer into a repeat customer! A previous customer returning to your shop is six times more likely to buy something than a new visitor. Much llike shopping in the Real World, those newbies are  usually "just looking". 

In DUTCH the "commercial at" is called apestaart , which means "monkey's tail" ... kind of cute!

You've already spent your valuable time and maybe even some money attracting customers, so what are you doing to make sure they stay with you as repeat customers? You've got to give people a reason to come back.  One way of doing this is through an email newsletter.There are free templates available at Mail Chimp, the same host of our Team Newsletter.

What I don't understand, is why we feel the need to abbreviate a two letter word ๏̯͡๏ 

I've done quite a bit of reading up on the subject, and I would encourage you to do the same. Newsletters have been a valuable tool for me, and I believe they are the reason I've gotten custom orders on Flickr. My customers know they will find a lot of my designs posted on Flickr that are not listed in my Etsy shop.

Keeping the customers I've worked so hard to find is definitely one of the most important challenges I face. I rarely offer discounts in my Etsy shop, but when I do I want to be 100% sure that my customers know about it!!!

To maintain branding, I sent out an email for the Mega PromoFrenzy Special using a version of my shop banner:                                            

In the live email, each photograph was clickable and linked to the item in my Etsy shop

This is the email I sent to my customers before a sale I ran last Fall. I was using a different shop banner at that time:                            
Maintain branding by using the same banner for Newsletters and Etsy shop
The previous year I wasn't sending Newsletters. Sales were almost half of what they were the following year when I used email to let my customers know I was having a Sale.

I went in a different direction using sale-specific branding for my Etsy shop banner, avatar and Facebook announcements:                        

Shop banner and avatar I used during the Sale

Placed on Facebook a week before the Sale began

On Facebook the day the Sale started

With the Holiday shopping season just around the corner, now is the time to be making plans on how to Communicate With Your Customers ...



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