Sunday, January 11, 2009

Adventures in Sampling (or Buyer Beware)

I entered and won a giveaway hosted by the author of Blog Giveaways before Christmas but due to the holidays and people traveling, etc., I just got the handmade sampler bag a few days ago. Because of the delay, Maria also sent me the bar of Savor soap. At the moment, it's residing in my recently crocheted bag because I needed something to put in there and that was handy! Thank you Maria!

I went to the Handmade Sampler site which is where Maria got the bag ( a lovely recycled paperish kind of bag) to pass on. I'm not clear on how it works, but I think you subscribe and pay a fee to get the sampler on a monthly basis. It's a sample of handmade items from various sellers. I think I counted 15 items plus several business cards. There isn't any tatting in this post so feel free to move on if it doesn't interest you.

The Savor soap is called Sweet Carrot but doesn't smell like a carrot. LOL! It has a nice subtle scent. It reminds me that I have a bunch of soapmaking supplies in a box down in the basement. Time to use or lose!

This is an Artist's Trading Card (ATC) which I gather is actually a business card. When I went to her Etsy store, I found she used vintage art in various ways. I guess I thought ATC's were something else. I saw them as a way to trade examples of your work, and well, it is - a sample of her work along with her contact information. I didn't know they used them to advertise. My sister does scrapbooking so maybe I'll pass it on to her. It's not strictly scrapbooking stuff as I saw a couple of vintage crochet doilies but nothing else that I'll use myself.

Most of the items in this bag are targeted for a very young audience - like, under 30 and maybe even under 20. LOL! There were three links and an email addy on the back of the baggie for these. I chose to go to the blog which focuses on vintage clothing and accessories. When you've lived vintage, it's not nearly as fascinating, so I went to her etsy shop, which I enjoyed much more. Some lovely jewelry there. I'll probably give the button thingies to my granddaughter. Oh wait, the ring finding already came off of the button back and the hot glue is solid so can't use the button for much else.

This was a cutout for the last quarter of 2008 to make. Oh, this is bad. It was for 2008 so....
I made it and then pitched it, and that means I don't know where it is from. Oops!

I have absolutely no use for these and it's a good thing since when I went to the website, it said no products found. Okay, I'll just save the baggie on that one.

I told myself I would be tactful and gentle with these samples. These are beads on a clear plastic ring. It caught my attention - like, what is it? I may never know. The red print on the olive green background is impossible, nearly, to read. It says: Floating Jewelry Design by....can't read the name; it's too small of print on very little contrast. There is this: Okay, I'm going to try which turns out to be a multiple store site and when I add the remaining stores/show/1858, I get this person's site but there is nothing there or if there is, I don't know how to get to it.

This one is one of two favorites. It's just a decoupaged clothespin. No hand painting or anything special, but it's cute and functional. HOWEVER, going to the website (, I again get the message that no product is found. This person does have an email, but I'm not going to pursue it.

This was my other favorite and it is from the supplier of the handmadesampler bag, which I've already said I'm not real clear on. (not the host of the giveaway! the host simply passed on the sampler bag she got) I do like the fairy charm. I believe this is to put on a cell phone or ipod but I'll use it for something else.

This is a novel way of advertising. It's a little notepad with the business card on top. Once again, however, I'm not finding a way to navigate this store.

This one is a small gift tag, handmade, and the maker's etsy shop was handwritten on the back. Unfortunately, when I went there, nothing was available for sale. Good feedback but it appears she is not an active seller.

I don't have anyone to give this to. It looks like a tooth monster. LOL! Again, the print on the dark green background make it very hard to read. But after shedding glasses and squinting up close, I got which is a real place! Nothing there, but maybe after recovering from the holidays they will put something up.

I have to admit I was not impressed by the paper bookmark if it was meant to be a sample of their work. At least use an enticing photo! When I went to the Etsy shop, it was empty but there was a link to another shop which has a different line and that site has a link to yet another site, as well as one back to this one. I have nothing else to say on this one.

This is a photo postcard printed on photo paper, which makes it too flimsy to use as an actual postcard. There is an email on the back but no link to other information.

Recipe cards from an empty Etsy site. You know...this is an item that you can make yourself from so many free online templates that it wouldn't be worth the postage to buy from someone.

This arrived broken. I thought there was a card for it but I can't find it now.

I did like this as an ad. It's a pen and ink drawing on watercolor with some watercolor added. On the back is handwritten the artist's deviantart address. Oh, this is an ATC also. Ah, yes, these are actual samples of the artist's work along with their contact info. So, if I made one, I'd have a little tatted something to show. Hmmm...that's what we do for our lace guild's giveaways at demonstrations. There was nothing in this person's gallery.

Here are the business cards included that were not related to any products in the bag:
Custom Dog Bandanas
Fine Art Photography Wearable Art for Babies & Kids
Twilight Knits Hand dyed and handpainted yarn
tu2cute tutus and accessories for every little princess

Okay, I just spent a lot of time giving away a huge bunch of publicity that the majority will never benefit from because their contact information is invalid, incomplete, or they simply quit doing what they were doing. The last five links which were business cards only, no samples. are all good ones. Out of 15 samples, only a handful have something to follow up on.

If you're thinking of selling online, I hope you don't make these mistakes. If you are providing a sample, keep in mind that it is representative of everything you offer. If you can't provide an inexpensive sample, then don't - just have a really jazzy business card. Make sure your information is complete. Make sure that whatever your website location is, it's easy to navigate. If you go out of business, gather up your advertising materials so they aren't out there disappointing potential customers.

hmmm...I originally ended this on a negative note and then felt that was disrespectful to Maria who provided me with this lovely gift! Actually, it WAS fun and eye-opening to me too, to look all these up. I could have just taken the few things I liked and left it at that because I am really so appreciative of Maria's generosity in sending me the bag. I think I was just very surprised by what I found and felt it was a good opportunity to help out anyone who is planning on selling online. I also wanted to say that I really liked that blue bag. I like the "handmade" logo on it. Now if I could just put handmade "tatted" sampler on it, it would be perfect!


  1. LOL! That floating jewelry design looks like something you could put on for a party so everyone can tell which glass is theirs! Well, thanks for the warnings!

  2. Such an interesting post. Thanks, Gina. I wonder if this happens in the UK too!

  3. My dear ladye, our taste is "in opposites," I just adore the strange little things you received! Right up my alley, I am forever collecting little bits of ephemera especially!

  4. Gina, the 2008 calendar website is on the bottom of the little bunny box and reasonably visible in your photo. I think is reads:


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