Wednesday 23 January 2008

Thank you, girls…

For all the good vibes you send in our direction. They sure helped, I am back pottering around in record time!

And for the ones of you who were wondering about how Turkish hospitals are, I will tell you a bit about them. Of course there are hospitals and hospitals. The ones belonging to the government ,or worse, the ones belonging to the public health insurance, you will want to skip all together. The private hospitals are excellent, though. So much so, that health insurers in for instance the United Kingdom, are sending patients to Turkey to have surgery where for are long waiting lists in Europe.

So, my Dutch insurance company agreed with my local private hospital and that was great.
Things are done here differently, though, or Turkey wouldn’t be Turkey.

During the visits to the doctor, no notes at all are made, just the labs results are in the computer. No appointment book is used, either.

Gynecologist : Let me think, when do I have the time to operate you? This week I am out of town, and I know that I have C-sections on the 15th and 18th, so lets do it the 16th…
Midwife-nurse: You sure? The 18th is Mrs. A’s, but whose is on the 15th?
Gynecologist: I don’t remember either, but I am positive that I have a C-section then. We’ll see when she arrives…Esther, I see you on the 16th!

And so I was there on the 16th, because, despite these erratic system, I know that Turkish physicians are often brilliant and committed. And they kind of expected me on that day, the doctor was there, and the anesthetist, and after a couple of hours even a room was available. And by that mingle of serendipity and improvisation that makes Turks so endearing, they also remembered what organs to remove and had me in and out of the hospital with hardly any discomfort at all!

Star mum ogling the web the day after her mayor surgery, he,he…

Monday 21 January 2008

Great things happen :D

We are so excited that we finally found our niche! People who have been reading older posts must know that we had our difficulties with that. The Sea Urchins are doing great and gets alot of attention :) The other day we where on the Frontpage of Etsy thanks to Pamela Angus's beautiful treasury (please check out her awesome shop)! The next great thing was that the earrings where sold to one of admins members of Etsy!!! So we had alot to celebrate!

Also we got alot of blog features in a short while, wich also says that we are on the right track!
(Please check out these awesome blogs!!!)
So we are very happy that the hardworking for new pictures and our Sea Urchin Collection payed so good off, and just wanted to share all the great news with you!

Saturday 12 January 2008

Branch office of heaven

I have moaned often enough in this blog over the weirdness of living in Turkey and specially of dealing with government related affaires.
If you have asked yourself why we do live here, look at this photographs and you’ll know. Nature is all around us, and yes, it is paradise

These pictures are taken during the 40 km drive to the beach where we find the sea urchins and other treasures that you are seeing lately in our jewelry.
The road has at times the sea at its left or its right, being a peninsula, and goes through a pine trees, eucalyptus and rhododendron forest.

We encounter several goats during the journey. If you bleat, they bleat back. Instant contact! In the background are blue painted bee hives.

We are almost there! You can see the sea through the trees…

Here you are, the branch office of heaven…and you know what? It is all ours. When ever we go, summer or winter, we never see a soul. You can walk for miles at the sea shore, pick up treasures and find calm. No wonder that we are looking smug sitting in our private paradise.

And than the road back…along the sea…through the forest…

These are the sea urchins, the way we find them.

After several manipulations they will look like this…

Sunday 6 January 2008

Target Market

A few days ago our European Street Team Members had an appointment at the chatroom. Our subject was: Target Market. To put everything in a row and to review our conversations I made some notes and here are the results of a 4 hour chat session:
Target Market:
Most economists would suggest that BEFORE you start selling, you should look for your Target market. So if you think about selling bags (handmade or not) for example, you should think about what kind of bags you would like to sell and how large the target market would be. With bags you have all kind of styles and purposes, like how large is the target market for bold colored girly bags? Or laptop cases? Or just ordinary bags for daily use? Do women buy more bags or men? And who spend most of there money on bags? Housewives or working women? Younger or older women? If you go on thinking this way you will soon find the perfect market. Of course you also will have to look out for competition, if there is much, you will have to give it a different twist or have to offer great price deals.
While as artist with handmade things is a whole different story: You first start to make your things and when you hear nice reactions you start to think about your options how to make money with your passion. So as artist we start maybe the wrong way; we do not look for our Target Market nor competition when we do our ‘thing’. Handmade is always unique but still there are many artists who make alike things, with or without knowing that they even have competition.
So what do we, artists, have to do? How or why do we have to find our Target Market?
During our 4 hour chat session soon everyone noticed lacks in their way of selling like bad pictures, wrongly priced items and most of us never really had thought about our target.
First things that came up for Target were age, gender and style. And after that how large our Target would be with those in mind and how we could make our target larger. Knowing your target can effect you whole way of selling; style, item descriptions, how and where to advertise and so on.
We have been thinking about asking our customers a few questions to learn more about our customers so also to know who our target really is. Questions like there age, style, taste and hobbies could be very helpful. One member (PaperFlowerGirl) suggested to give the customers a nice extra gift for taking the time to answer the sellers questions. That is indeed a great idea but not everyone would feel comfortable to ask these questions, nor everyone would like to answer them. It is indeed difficult to find your Target Market if you already have started to make your items, hopefully we will learn more soon, maybe in our next chat appointment?
We are now busy with finding a way to get a bigger audience for our shops. Especially EUROPE could be a great Target Market for us, European sellers. We have to use our advantages of being geographically closer to these buyers so that they will have lower shipping costs and faster shipping. All European sellers should think good about how they can promote theirs and other local Etsy shops in there own country by advertising and giving interviews at magazines and newspapers. Difficult side of European buyers is that many do not have experience with buying online and do not own a credit card. By having that in mind it could be an option to have more options as paying method beside Paypal like bank drafts etc. Also MEN buyers are very low, and we are looking for ways to make them buy more for their ladies, hmmm even harder to get them!