Category: Jason’s Articles

Pinterest Zooms Past Etsy

Pinterest Zooms Past in site traffic…

Here is the ComScore pageview graphic:

Screen Shot 2013-10-06 at 7.49.22 AM

This is a remarkable accomplishment. The average pageviews per user per month in October was a staggering 128. So despite having a relatively small online user community of just 3.3 Million unique visitors in October, they were able to generate 431 Million pageviews. For a site that is in private beta, with only 3.3 million unique users, again, that’s remarkable. If you do the math… If they scale to 100 million unique monthly visitors in the near future, and this level of pageviews holds up, they will be one of the largest sites online with almost 13 Billion pageviews a month. That would put them in the league of Amazon and Facebook. Will it happen? Only time will tell. You can read more about this growth story at

Pinterest Q&A

Pinterest Q&A With Jason & Cinnamon:

Q: What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a social network styled website that allows users to create pinboards by ‘pinning’ pictures or video that they find visually interesting. Simple right? You ‘pin’ pictures (or video), and organize your items into digital pinboards. People follow you, and ‘repin’ what they see to their boards. It’s an online version of a craft room concept. And it’s insanely popular with scrapbooking enthusiasts.

Q: So why is this site so popular?

If you’re a visual learner, and enjoy seeing beautiful items, you’ve grown accustomed to an Internet that is full of, well, crap. And on that rare occasion, when you did stumble upon a beautiful picture, you didn’t have a simple way to save it forever. You could always add it to Facebook to share it with your friends, but after a day or two, it would be lost in your feed like an old memory. Pinterest solves that problem with a simple to use interface & tool kit.

Q: This idea sort of sounds familiar, is it really a new?

There are lots of image sharing sites, we use Photobucket and Flickr to run our business, but Pinterest is different than those image hosting sites. And, if you’ve tried to use Google image search to find an interesting picture, you’ll be familiar with seeing mediocre imagery at best, and sometimes semi-crude and unrelated images. You search for red apples and see pictures of random visual garbage.

Q: Why is Google image search so bad, and Pinterest so good?

In a word, Google Images is un-curated. Curators take care to only include images that are spectacular. Pinterest was designed to be an online tool for visually astute curators. We can all benefit from their eye for perfection. And from Pinterests visual search functionality.

Q: Is there a marketing opportunity in the use of Pinterest?

Yes – for sure. We are already seeing Pinterest traffic show up regularly in our “top 10” referring websites to www.libertyjanepatterns. And we expect that to explode as we start to develop our own content in Pinterest. You can also list items in Pinterest as gifts by simply including a dollar sign ( $ ) in the item description.

To see our pinterest page go here:

Announcing Dollabee

Over the last few weeks we’ve been working on a new website project. The idea is
pretty simple.

If you want to sell a doll online, you think of using EBay or Craigslist, right?
And if you want to sell custom doll clothes, you can use those, or Etsy, right?

But there hasn’t been a really good marketplace exclusively for selling dolls, doll clothes,
and doll accessories. We wondered if we could solve that problem. So, we’ve
created dollabee – the Doll marketplace. It’s like Craigslist, but for dolls.

Here are a few of the features:

  • Listing an item is free, unless you want it to be a featured listing, in which case it’s $5 for a 7 day listing.
  • You can sell directly on dollabee, like how you do on Craigslist, or you can create a listing that includes the link to your EBay or Etsy item, and finish the selling on those sites.
  • The categories make it easy to buy and sell lots of different types of items including original (branded) doll clothes like AG Clothes, or custom clothes, (under your brand), or actual dolls.
  • The only items we won’t allow are non-brand-name, (made in china), products.

[special note for premium partners – as part of your benefits, we are going to give
you a special coupon code to use, which will allow you to list your items as ‘featured’
for free – ahh you’re welcome! – another good reason to be a premium partner! Check
the Partner site and look for Coupon Codes like you normally do for the monthly free

This is the biggest online experiment we’ve ever done, and to be honest, we have
no idea if it will succeed or fail, but the feedback so far has been really really good,
and we’d like to invite you to check it out. We are hopeful that it will be a huge
blessing in your online selling efforts.

We are considering you our 2nd test group. There are 350 partners partners,
and probably only 250 will see this. And of those 250, not everyone will
go to and give it a try, but if you’re reading this – then we’d love to
have you go check it out for us. There is a blog entry on the site called, “dollabee
feedback”, which is the best place to leave your general feedback and suggestions.
Just remember, we are still getting the site fully functional. So there are improvements
to be made, and some specific technical issues to be resolved, but it should work
for you pretty well. The largest ‘issue’ is the page navigation sometimes errors out,
but we are working on fixing that as soon as possible.

Dollabee Launch Plan:

Starting 8/6 or 8/13 will begin to announce dollabee more broadly to attract
buyers via Facebook and our newsletter. On Facebook we have almost
11,000 followers – so that should begin to send good solid buying traffic to the site – so get
ready! Then, through our weekly newsletter, we have almost 8,000 subscribers. So
that should really pump it up too.

So the basic plan is – to have you start listing items on Dollabee, if you want, then
after you are familar with it we will ‘turn on the marketing’ to get buyers to show up.

Okay, ready to check it out?

New Photography Resource

Hi everybody,

We just came across a new photographer and his online resources that we are really liking alot. His name is Karl Taylor. You can check him out on Youtube. He has a free micro-training course for beginners that very good (Just look for it on his Youtube channel). Of course he’ll try to sell you his full course, but he gives a LOT of free information away. We think you’ll really enjoy it. Here is his Youtube channel link:

Here is an example video from Youtube:

You Stole My Customer…Really?!

Winston Churchill once said,
“Attitude is a little thing that
makes a big difference”.

When it comes to being in sales, there is one attitude above every other that can really mess you up, or set you up for success.  Can you guess what it is?

It’s an abundance mentality versus a scarcity mentality.

Abundance Mentality: Seeing “Plenty” of customers, opportunities, and ways to succeed.

Scarcity Mentality: Seeing very few customers, very few opportunities, and very few ways to succeed. (Don’t confuse this with the idea of using scarcity as a sales tactic. That’s a great idea, but a whole different thing).

See, when you talk to really successful sales people, they are almost without exception nice, generous, helpful people. And they are frequently massively successful. And you think, wow, they make this look so easy and fun. It’s a paradox, the busiest people are the ones who will take the time to be helpful and generous. The least successful people are usually the ones that will say, “sorry I can’t help you”.

When you really get into the mindset of these folks, and try to figure out what makes them tick, you discover the successful ones are not afraid of competition. In fact, they don’t even worry about competition at all. They don’t believe that there are very few customers, or very few ways to succeed. They focus on being the best they can be, and staying focused on serving the customer with grace and style. They aren’t focused on the competition. Heck, sometimes these nice people even help competitors without regard for their own benefit. It’s almost like they think they are bullet-proof.

And guess what?

They pretty much are!

On the other end of the spectrum you’ll find people who are always obsessing over the competition, and over the ‘drama’ of who is doing what, and how it’s going to damage them and their work. They believe that every time a competitor makes a sale – the competitor is robbing them of a sale. In essence, these people are stumbling forward, while they look over their shoulder to see who is following them. They hoard, and act greedy.

Have you ever tried to partner with someone who is totally mistrusting of you and overly competitive? It’s a drag!

This mindset makes them very awkward to work with.

Scarcity thinkers generally don’t partner with other people for mutual benefit because they always think the other person is out to get them. That’s a huge mistake on their part.

If you have an abundance mentality – cool – nurture it. If you have a scarcity mentality to overcome – here are a few exercises you might try:

  1. When you cannot do a job, or fulfill a customer’s needs, recommend someone else’s work. Be a champion for another seamstress, (and no, it doesn’t need to be Liberty Jane Clothing).
  2. Be a fan of other people’s work and compliment it publically. When you say to someone, “I’m a real fan of your work”, it’s really powerful.
  3. Tell someone you’re rooting for them to succeed. I know, you’re rooting for yourself to succeed more than anything else, but telling someone else these caring words is a way to express an abundance mentality.

Tell us what you think about this issue…

Jason & Cinnamon

Ps. And hey, we are rooting for you!

Battling An Expense Explosion

Hi everyone,

We are working on an article for a coupon blogger site called Obsessive Coupon Disorder – and we thought we’d share it with you here…We hope you enjoy it. It’s more of our personal story than we’ve shared before. We hope it inspires you.

I’ve used coupons my entire married life – almost 17 years. It’s a Sunday morning ritual. But in 2008, we hit a financial crisis that coupons couldn’t rescue us from. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice it to say our fixed expenses shot up by almost $2,000 a month. To meet the challenge we looked at our budget and made some changes, but we knew we’d need at least $1,000 a month of new income if we were going to make it. My stay-at-home mom days seemed numbered.

My husband encouraged me to think long-term, and avoid doing dead-end jobs, or worse, taking a job that would require me to work long hours into the evenings and weekends. He proposed we take one of my skills, and build a home-based business around it. So with the goal of earning $1,000 a month, and a lot of prayer, we started two part-time businesses: Cinnamon Miles Photography and Liberty Jane Clothing.

Being a professional photographer wasn’t for me, so that was short-lived. But my talent for making doll clothes started to get people’s attention, and when combined with his enthusiasm for online selling, Liberty Jane Clothing took off. Our $1,000 a month goal was achieved.

Fast forward to 2011 and we have a thriving business, which will finish this year with revenues in the six figures. I’ve also become an official brand ambassador for Bernina, the world’s premiere sewing machine maker. And in many ways, we are just getting started.
Here are my 3 suggestions if you need to increase your income quickly:

First, embrace the desperation. I’m convinced that most people fail at money making ventures because they aren’t desperate enough. If failure is not an option, you probably won’t fail. Get hyper motivated to reach your first income goal.

Second, take your best skill, and brainstorm ways it could make you money. Try your best to develop a solid business concept associated with your passion or hobby. Become a student of business models.

Third, as they say, ‘find hungry people and feed them’. Don’t make a product and then try to convince people to buy it. That’s really hard. Instead, go to the sites where people are buying daily, look at what is selling well, improve upon it, and jump in. You’ll be a sensation. Sites to look at include EBay, Etsy, Craigslist, and Fiver.

Tell us your story – Have you had an expense explosion that required money making, not just money saving? Leave a comment and tell us about how you did it.

Cinnamon Miles

Liberty Jane Clothing

Camera Upgrade Story…

Hi everyone,

We got this great email from Robyn of Hadley’s Modern Doll Fashions (etsy) and here she is on EBay, and Facebook.

We thought we’d turn it into a little article to encourage you to consider upgrading your camera… Here is her story in her own words:

Hi, Cinnamon!

I bought a Sony Alpha 100 used on Ebay about 3 weeks ago. I paid $285, and a huge smart card (I think 8 GB) was included on the deal.

The deciding factor in going with the Sony was the reported ease of use for people not familiar with using a DSLR (which is 100% true) and also that you can use most older SLR Minolta lenses.

So after I bought the Sony, I bought an old 50 mm Minolta lens on Ebay for $59.

The difference in picture quality is shocking! I’m almost embarrassed to say what I had been using, which were a couple of Fuji FinePix point and shoot cameras. There’s really no comparison. It’s the difference between steak and hamburger. LOL. With the Fujis, I would go outside with the white tag boards for the best lighting, as I do now, and the pictures would turn out OK, but the new camera & Lens almost give the pictures a 3D quality.

My LJC experience has been so much fun and rewarding! I love the patterns, and really, everything having to do with selling on ebay. I’m remembering a lot of HTML I’ve forgotten, and now I’m getting hooked on photography. Oh, yeah, and my sewing skills have really improved too. LOL. Just the challenge of the sell is very exciting, and I’ve actually met a couple of fellow enthusiasts that I can talk shop with. I had hoped I might make a little extra fun money doing this, and this is happening, but I’m gaining skills that are way more valuable! So anyway, just wanted to tell you that because you really tapped into a creative outlet for a lot of people. This is way better than selling Avon. LOL.

Thanks again,


Here is a picture showing before (left) and after (right):

Prada Makes An Anchor, Say What?

In Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It), author William Poundstone describes Prada’s business model for us. He says,

“Prada believes in engineering the context”

By engineering the context he means creating a context in which a $300 purse seems like a good deal. How do you do that? You set it next to a $2,400 purse. The $2,400 purse is the anchor, the $300 purse is the one they really wanted you to buy all along.

He goes on to say:

[Prada] paid over $1,700 per square foot for its Rem Koolhaas designed store in SoHo and is forking over equally stratospheric rents. It would not devote floor space to goods that hardly ever sell unless there was a reason for it. Trade-off contrast, (the system of setting a high priced item next to a low priced item), is part of the cost of doing business… It’s not unusual to find items similar to the high-priced anchor selling for a tenth as much. Anyone who can’t swing that can always try the $300 sunglasses. Or the $110 mobile phone charm.

What exactly is anchoring in the context of pricing? It was first described by two ‘behavior decision’ theorists named Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman. They described it like this:

“An initial value (the anchor) serves as a mental benchmark or starting point for estimating an unknown…” The unknown is the true value of an item.

Do you have an anchor? Can you create one? It might be a wise strategy.


The Power Of A Partner

We believe in the power of partnership!

Some people say business is all about crushing the competition, but we believe it is much more common that collaboration creates mutual success. In fact, if there is one foundational business principle we believe has helped us grow Liberty Jane Clothing, it’s the partnership between us as co-founders, (Jason + Cinnamon). Cinnamon brings the technical design skill, and Jason brings the marketing and sales skills. But it doesn’t stop there. We’ve become comfortable working with other people too. We view the business world as a place for lots of collaboration – and less often cut-throat competition. Other people see it differently. If you have a competition mentality, we’d encourage you to consider migrating to a more collaborative approach. We believe that in the long-run it will serve you better.

As I write, this, we are working with the following people to accomplish several specific things, including:

  • Shirley & her partners in India – Our wordpress consultant who has helped us build several of our websites. (this one and our patterns website).
  • The Tax Ladies of Auburn – our book-keepers.
  • Jess – our Social Media Consultant who is helping us with our social media marketing.
  • A dozen cool pattern partners.
  • Dawne – our amazing seamstress.
  • KitzyKK on Youtube – she does pattern tutorials for us.
  • Jeff, Ron & Chris – mentors to Jason on marketing and business issues.
  • Alice – our corporate contact at Bernina.
  • You! Over 300 partners who are working to build cool businesses using our patterns and resources.

Of course we want to be a great partner to you – but if you are trying to do everything alone, and you’re struggling, then we’d encourage you to seriously consider expanding your list of partners. We’re excited that you’ve taken the first step to partner with us – and we want to be the best partner we can be, but you probably need more than just us. There is a terrific saying from the Bible about the power of a partner…

“Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up… Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

There are several great reasons to partner:

  1. A good partner brings skills that you don’t have – and together you’re more complete
  2. A good partner brings energy that you might be lacking – and together you operate more intensely
  3. A good partner brings perspective that might challenge yours – and together you’re wiser
  4. A good partner brings enthusiasm – so that when you’re down – their encouragement will keep you going

Of course, partnering with people can have it’s down side too. Sometimes you partner with people who turn out to be less than trust-worthy. We’ve had that happen. We’ve had people try to get close to us just to learn enough about what we’re doing to go off on their own. That hurts. Maybe some of you are actually just reading everything on our partners site so you can figure out how to compete with us. That would be a bummer, but it’s not a sufficient reason for us to abandon our collaborative approach.

When considering partnerships, we’d suggest you keep these things in mind:

  1. Is the new partner trustworthy?
  2. Do you share the same (or at least similar) values and goals?
  3. Are you and the partner clear on the terms related to money involved? The worst partnerships are vague. The best are written clearly – even if just via email.
  4. Is there a ‘test period’ where you try out the arrangement and agree to end it if things aren’t working?
  5. Does the new partner bring a specific skill that adds value to the business?

You might be wondering how partnerships work formally – legally. The answer is – it depends. There are lots of ways to partner with people – from a simple vendor relationship where you’re buying a service from someone – to a formal business partner where you are in business together. We won’t go into the tax implications of these choices, but if you wonder, ask your CPA. Here are a few:

  1. You can pay people per ‘piece’.
  2. You can pay people a percentage of sales.
  3. You can split net revenue, (50/50 or at any agreed upon percentage).
  4. You can have people pay you to partner with you, (like you’re doing as a premium partner).
  5. You can have people give you products or services so that you’ll partner with them, (that’s our deal with Bernina).
  6. You can have people give you an affiliate commission for partnering with them, (that’s how we get money from Amazon).
  7. And I’m sure there are lots of other ways.

If there is any way we can be a better partner to you – let us know.

And tell us what you think of this post!

Jason & Cinnamon

2 Powerful selling tools

If you’ve got a product that you think is attractive to customers, and you’re operating in a niche that you think has potential, and you have a brand that you think is exciting to people, then there are 2 critical tools that you need to focus on developing.

#1 Copy writing

Copy writing is the art of describing your product in the most compelling way possible. It is the single most important skill you can develop to effectively sell online.

Here is an example… Our daughter Libby has started to sew, and wanted to sell her outfits on Etsy. But she didn’t want any help – she wanted to do it all on her own. We thought that was admirable. So, she made a cute skirt, and took pictures herself, and put them on the computer, and after a bit of help with getting an Etsy account set-up, she listed the item herself. She wrote the description very acurately. It was a good and straight-forward description of what she was selling. But her listing didn’t sell. Days went by, and there was no action. So, finally, depressed, she asked me for help. We changed her listing description slightly to include the following openning sentences, (this is a paraphrase, we can’t remember the exact wording, but it was something like this),

“Hi, I’m Libby, from Liberty Jane Clothing – my mom named the company after me. This is my very first outfit I made to sell, and someday I’m going to be a big time designer. So, if you want to be able to say you bought my very first outfit, then you should buy this”.

The outfit sold the same day we made this change. What did we do? We created a story – that the buyer could be a part of. It’s a classic copy writing technique. An engaging story gives the potential buyer a reason to finish the transaction. Another example of storytelling is when we started our “International Collection” for our Fall and Spring lines. It was a ‘framework’ for the stories that allowed us to create ongoing small stories as we launched new outfits. Now instead of listing a “tan dress” we could list it as the “Outback Libby – Faraway Downs Dress”.

The best copy writers that we’ve found are 1) Bob Bly and 2) Craig Garber. They are true masters. If you want their tips just sign-up for their emails and you’ll get a TON of free advice every few days, (they publish their emails almost daily). And of course, every once in a while, you’ll also get a terrificly written ‘pitch’ for one of their books. And you should buy them if you need help with copy writing. And make sure you read all our articles about wrting.

#2 Product Photography

If you can take a very good picture of your product, then online selling will become almost effortless. I know, that’s a bold statement, but we’ve found it to be true ourselves, and seen it to be true for many other sellers. If there is 1 skill that most online sellers fail to fully perfect, it’s photography. But all things being equal, it’s a huge game-changer. When it comes to photography there are two basic issues:

  1. Equipment. We’ve outlined what we use on this post. And we’d encourage you to seriously consider getting a DSLR and Portrait Lens. It will change your life.
  2. Technique. Once you have the right gear, you can learn the basic functions of your camera and lens pretty quickly. There are tons of free as well as paid online resources. Here is a post.

These two powerful selling tools will be a huge benefit to you if you learn to do them well. Go ahead, get obsessed with them. Spend a little money, and become a pro. You won’t regret it.