Thursday, July 30, 2009

cars, cars and more cars

My hubby and I went for a weekend away with another couple to Niagara Falls and Niagara-on-the-Lake. The main purpose was to check out some wineries (which we did with zeal - 10 wineries in 2 days!) and we also deliberately tried wineries we haven't been to before.

However, as we were driving to another winery, the guys spotted a car show and of course, they had to go check it out. I'm not a car girl at all, but even I had to admit that there were some gorgeous vintage cars on show (these all had valid plates and we saw some of them on the road later that day).

But the laugh of the weekend was the drive home. We saw this old beat-up "car" being towed and our friend made a remark about how it looked like the tow truck from the movie Cars. When we pulled ahead of it, we all burst out laughing: (the photo is blurry because we're driving along a highway as I took this shot).

pssst - go enter this contest!

In shameless self-promotion mode:

Audrey, on her lovely blog, Audrey's Country Crafts, was kind enough to do a little feature on my shop pandacub! And along with the feature there's a $15 pandacub shop credit giveaway!

Quick! Go enter now! The giveaway ends this Saturday (Aug. 1)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

in the works...

Where are the lazy days of summer?

It's been a busy July for me here at pandacub! Here's a quick peek into what's been happening and what there is to look forward to!

Shop in person!
I'm very excited to announce that pandacub will soon be carried in two, yes, TWO retail shops! The shops are both opening later this summer and as soon as I get some photos and details, I'll be sure to let you know all the details! This is the first time pandacub accessories will be available in a retail setting, so I'm super excited (Thanks Alex and Lisa!!!)

Design your own Nessa ring!
My popular Nessa ring is currently available in a wide variety of colours, but only in the silver base. Soon, you'll be able to customize your very own Nessa ring by choosing the colour of the adjustable ring base (silver or gold) and the colour of the blossom! I'm working on getting a rainbow of blossom colours in stock so that you have a wide variety to choose from. Since I don't always have all the colours listed for sale in my shop, this will be a great way to make sure you get the blossom of your choice and in a ring base that best complements your skin!

Another giveaway - soon!
I'm going to think optimistically and start planning another large pandacub giveaway! I'll launch the giveaway here on this blog when I hit 300 sales! (I'm currently at 271) Last time I hosted a giveaway to celebrate hitting 100 sales, I gave away a pair of earrings, 2 pairs of ponytail elastics and a pair of bobby pins. But this is is 300 sales, so it's going to be bigger! I'm still mulling it over, but details will come soon (yes, optimistically thinking I'm going to hit 300 sales soon!)

Getting ready to turn 1 year old!
pandacub will be 1 year old on August 20! I can't believe that almost a whole year has gone by! I'm mulling over a few ideas on how to celebrate and you'll be among the first to know what I decide on!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

50 books in 2009 - update 6

Here's update 6 for my "50 books in 2009" goal. No big surprise - still behind schedule - haha! The year is half over and I'm not at 25 books read yet. Eep!

If you have any favourite books that you think I might enjoy, please leave me a comment or send me an email! I'd love to hear some of your book suggestions as I'm always look for something good to read!

1. I, Elizabeth by Rosalind Miles, finished Jan. 18
2. Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir, finished Jan. 27
3. Miss Marple's Final Cases by Agatha Christie, finished Jan. 30 (re-read)
4. Brief Gaudy Hour by Margaret Campbell Barnes, finished Feb. 8
5. The Last Wife of Henry VIII by Carolly Erickson, finished Feb. 18
6. The Lady Elizabeth by Alison Weir, finished Mar. 3
7. Elizabeth by David Starkey, finished Mar. 11
8. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson, finished Mar. 31
9. The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Christie, finished Apr. 3 (re-read)
10. King's Fool by Margaret Campbell Barnes, finished Apr. 21
11. Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie, finished Apr. 28 (re-read)
12. Gastronaut by Stefan Gates, finished May 3
13. The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten, finished May 13 (re-read)
14. It Must Have Been Something I Ate by Jeffrey Steingarten, finished May 25 (re-read)
15. Kitchen Con by Trevor White, finished June 4
16. The Year of Eating Dangerously by Tom Parker Bowles, finished June 18
17. The Nasty Bits by Anthony Bourdain, finished July 2
18. The Best of Food Writing 2001, edited by Holly Hughes, finished July 14

Currently Reading:

The Best of Food Writing 2003, edited by Holly Hughes
Sushi Economy by Sasha Issenberg

Coming Up:

101 Dishes to Eat Before You Die (I feel another set of goals coming on...)

Reading lots of food books lately!

Monday, July 13, 2009

the pandacub experiment - results and next steps

So, I finally updated the charts with the tracking for the 2 days where I relisted hourly (well, hourly during my waking hours).

Here are some results:
- I relisted or renewed 30 times between 9 am on Wednesday morning and 11 pm Thursday night
- Total item views increased from 11,488 to 11,014 during the experiment period (526 new views)
- Total shop hears increased from 675 to 690 during the experiment period (15 new shop hearts)
- I sold one item (which sold within an hour of being renewed)

Because I had also posted to the forums when I started the experiment, there were some views/hearts that came from fellow sellers who were interested in watching the experiment, which may have skewed the numbers slightly.

In order to really get a good picture of how useful renewing/relisting so often is and to be able to do a good comparison, I'm going to conduct 2 other trials. Again, I will take a period of two days (and will use the same weekdays, Wednesday and Thursday) but:
1. For the second trial I will again post every hour during the 48 hour period (again, only the hours where I'm awake) but will not be announced until after the trial has run so I shouldn't get any extra traffic from forum/twitter/blog interest
2. For the third trial I will not renew/relist anything during the 48 hour period

After the next 2 trials, I will then do a full analysis of my results and, because of the different situations, we should get a good picture of how successful renewing/relisting so often is for me shop.

Again, everyone gets different results with different marketing methods, so please don't think that this is the only method or that this will be the same for everyone. :)

What did you think of my results? Were you surprised? Not surprised? I did get a lot of great comments from other sellers regarding their own experiences with relisting/renewing and I think most of us agree that whenever you take any action with your shop, it always brings in some new browsers and potential buyers.

Friday, July 10, 2009

update on the great pandacub experiment

Well, my 2-day listing frenzy is over and I know there are many of you waiting for the results, so I just wanted to let you know that they're coming! I accidentally left my tracking chart at home so I won't be able to do an update on my chart below until later.

Plus, it's my 5th wedding anniversary today so I'm not really going to be sitting at home tonight analyzing the results. :) There will definitely be a full review/results and next steps of the experiment posted some time this weekend though, I promise!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

experiment - renewing hourly

I've decided to run a little experiment in my Etsy shop, pandacub. For those of you who are fellow Etsy sellers, you'll probably know what this is about and understand what I'm talking about. For everyone else, please feel free to ignore this post as it probably won't make much sense. :)

On Wednesday, July 8, at around 9 am I started renewing or listing an item every hour (renewing an old item or listing a new one). I'm hoping to keep this up for the next 48 hours to see what kind of effect it has in attracting new people to my shop. Of course, it won't be a truly scientific experiment since I don't plan on giving up sleep, so there won't be much renewing overnight (my overnight, which I know is daytime in other parts of the world) and of course, there are other reasons people may be venturing into my shop that are not a direct result of my actions, so please, PLEASE take these numbers with a grain of salt. :)

I don't expect to get much sales immediately from this, just more exposure for my shop, but I added the sales column just in case!

p.s. I also started a post in the Etsy forums about this experiment, so some shops views/hearts will be a result of that forum thread.

p.p.s. After some feedback (some nice, some...uh, not so nice) I'm going to add another "chapter" to this experiment in the hopes of making it more useful. Later on, I will do the whole thing again (renew/relist for 48 hours) on a Wed/Thurs, but without telling anyone until after I'm done. That way, those numbers will not be affected by people who are curious about the shop because of the experiment. And then, there will be Chapter 3, where I won't do anything at all for 48 hrs (again, on Wed/Thurs) and post those numbers as well. The 3 chapters added together should give a fuller picture into this whole renewing thing (I hope).

Wednesday, July 8, 2009 (all times listed are Eastern Standard Time)

TimeActionItem ViewsShop HeartsSales
8:57 amre-listed expired item10,4886750
10:06 amre-listed expired item10,5236750
11:08 amrenewed item10,6726770
12:05 pmre-listed expired item10,7176800
1:08 pmre-listed expired item10,7496810
2:08 pmrenewed item10,7516810
3:13 pmrenewed item10,690*6811
4:07 pm

re-listed expired item

4:48 pmrenewed item10,7346810
6:13 pmrenewed item10,565**6830
7:14 pmrenewed item10,5716840
8:13 pmlisted new item 10,5806850
9:16 pmre-listed expired item10,6206850
10:38 pmlisted new item 10,6316850
11:42 pmlisted new item 10,6416850

*the drop in item views is because I sold an item, so that item's view counts is no longer counted into the total.
**the drop in item views is because several items expired and so were removed from the shop

Thursday, July 9, 2009 (all times listed are Eastern Standard Time)

TimeActionItem ViewsShop HeartsSales
12:25 amre-listed expired item10,7186850
6:56 amrenewed item10,7636850
8:40 amrenewed item10,7846850
9:25 amrenewed item10,7926850
10:23 amrenewed item10,8016860
11:19 amlisted new item10,8166860
1:04 pmrenewed item10,8276860
2:10 pm

listed new item

3:07 pmlisted new item10,8506870
4:35 pmrenewed item10,8626880
6:07 pmre-listed expired item10,8726880
7:28 pmrenewed item10,9206880
9:10 pmrenewed item10,9486880
9:58 pmrenewed item10,9526890
11:17 pmrenewed item11,0146900

Monday, July 6, 2009

annual weekend away

This past weekend was our 2nd annual weekend away with my sister and her fiance. We returned to the same bed and breakfast that we went to last year. We love how relaxed it is there, the huge amount of space that you get and of course, the exclusive use of the all-natural, eco-friendly golf course. :)

I love playing this course because it's a great place to practice without any pressures or people watching/waiting. The only bad part is that the grass is so thick in places we always seem to lose balls!

The B&B is owned by a really nice couple, Linda and Peter. Linda makes the most amazing breakfasts! On the first morning we enjoyed an apple/pear tart, breakfast burritos (with egg, spinach, kale, bacon, salsa and cheese), homemade granola and yogurt, fresh fruit and sweet potato muffins with currants.

Morning number 2 had us munch on sausages, banana pancakes with strawberry compote, a spinach and mushroom quiche, fresh fruit, homemade granola and yogurt and orange muffins with dates.

Breakfast was so filling that we never had lunch and could golf pretty much all day!

The only damper is that I got a very severe sunburn across my back so now I'm home, and my skin is stinging something fierce. I definitely need to remember sunscreen next time we do this.

Oh, and check out this huge loom that Linda has!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian friends and readers!

I'm planning on relaxing all day long! :)

Oh, Canadians, in case you're in the mood for shopping, I'm offering free shipping to Canadian addresses all day today in my shop.