Recently Susan from gentleadornments and I traded critiques on our Etsy shops and I think it worked out very well for both of us. We both make jewelry so we have the same type of issues to deal with:  how best to photograph small shiny objects, shipping costs, jewelry pricing and so forth.

We traded several lengthy convos giving advice and bouncing ideas off each other. It was so beneficial to me to have her input on various things, but especially on my photo backgrounds which I have been struggling with. I needed her fresh eyes to take a look and she had an idea that I'm really excited to try. I gave her advice on her shop announcement and International shipping costs and starting an e-mail newsletter. Susan tweaked her International shipping costs in the evening and woke up to a sale from Australia in the morning--her first International sale!

I'd like to encourage other CAST members to get involved in giving thoughtful critiques to each other. If you are interested in finding another CAST member to share critiques with, you can always invite someone from the team to participate with you, or leave a comment on this blog post to let everyone know you are interested.

There are some etiquette rules to remember when giving a critique. 

* If you are the sensitive type, let your partner know up front, but remember you may not get the best critique if they are trying to spare your feelings.
* CAST Team members tend to be VERY nice, but that doesn't mean you can't also be honest and thorough.
* If your partner doesn't take your advice, it's totally OK. They may have a completely different vision, artistic sensibility, time and money restraints, etc.
* Take your time. Look at everything:  photos, descriptions, shop announcement, shop title, banner, avatar, policies, shipping, tags, bio, EVERYTHING.
* Tell them what they are doing right too--that's a critical piece of the puzzle.
* Tell them what you'd like to see in their shop they might not have now.
* If you are struggling in a specific area, let them know to spend extra time on that.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who work hard among you, who are over you in the Lord and who admonish you. Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. And we urge you, brothers, warn those who are idle, encourage the timid, help the weak, be patient with everyone. Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always try to be kind to each other and to everyone else.
I Thessalonians 5:11-15

Remember to leave a comment if you are interested in letting people know you'd like to share critiques.

by Sue of SueRunyonDesigns

Check out Susan's shop:

Comments (13)

On June 22, 2010 at 10:40 AM , Jewels by Trish- Handmade Jewelry- Artisan: Trish said...

Great article!! I feel too new to offer a good critique, but willing to make a go if it. I would love someone to look at my shop & offer advice! =)

On June 22, 2010 at 11:39 AM , MYSAVIOR said...

I am always up for a critique.


On June 22, 2010 at 2:56 PM , Kathleen said...

Great post, Sue! I have actually never had a critique of my shop. You sure got me thinking that would be a good idea!

Thanks for using my Best Friend painting in your blog post =) Our best friends can often give us really good advice, too!

On June 22, 2010 at 7:13 PM , pfd said...

Sue - great idea. Thanks for taking the time with your hectic schedule to put this together! I love Kathleen's horse pictures... they are amazing. I'm up for critiques if any one is interested in doing it with me!

On June 22, 2010 at 7:51 PM , Mulberry Lane Folk Art said...

I would like the advice, since I've only had 14 sales since I opened last Nov. I am detail oriented, so I might be able to contribute also. Love the Bible verse, too!

On June 22, 2010 at 7:59 PM , sweetybird09 said...

I like the idea of letting each other know things that maybe we may have more knowledge in, that to me is just plain helpful!

On June 22, 2010 at 9:36 PM , KippysSoMature said...

Great post - Sue! An excellent idea - beautiful horse drawing as well :O)
It is great to hear of ways we can help each other, especially something like this that is so beneficial...and that had not occurred to me (or others?) :D
This is such a great blog - really - thank you all who work on it! It is an encouragement, a help, a reminder and a, well, fellowship :O)

On June 23, 2010 at 12:12 AM , Lizzi said...

I would like to do a critique :-) Thanks for that article, it was very detailed and informative especially for people like me who have never done one...

On June 23, 2010 at 8:02 AM , Julie Riisnaes said...

Yes please - I'd love a critique and would be happy to do one! Great article!

On June 23, 2010 at 1:40 PM , cksilver said...

I'd love to do critiques and to be critiqued.

Sue, what is the best way to do this? Would it be here in the comment section, on the CAST thread, or through private convo's? It seems like a lot of this information could benefit everyone, so if people are up for their critique being public there is probably a lot we could all learn and grow from.

On June 23, 2010 at 8:05 PM , Sue Runyon said...

Cindy, I think you can do it any way that works for you. It's up to everyone to arrange their own partners unless someone wants to take the reigns and organize it.

On July 5, 2010 at 11:33 PM , Sherri said...

I would love a critique, and would be willing to give one, although I'm still a bit of a newbie - can I still say that after 5 months?
My shop is butterflyfeetshop, by the way.

On July 6, 2010 at 12:26 PM , Sherri said...

I thought I left a comment yesterday but I don't see it so I'll try again. I would love a critique, and would also be willing to give one. (My shop is