Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Etsy, My first Year, EtsyNJ, making crafts for the fall/winter season

So my one year anniversary on has come and gone. It was very nice of Etsy to pick up my fees for the month, as an anniversary gift (yea, right-don't I wish...LOL)
Looking back it is very funny to see the items I listed in the beginning. I started with August! 90+ degrees every day and I listed scarves.
Then I moved onto making earrings, everyone loves earrings! My problem was I had a camera that couldn't capture ANY detail and close-ups were just a blur. My immediate solution was to
SCAN the earrings (okay, I'll wait until you've stopped laughing).......
Yes, scans. Now I was able to capture some of the details at the expense of the colors.
So it was either blurry, very colorful digital pictures that hurt your eyes or fairly detailed scans with washed-out colors. And yet the Etsy community took pity on me and bought some of these earrings. Okay, the earrings really weren't sooo bad, but there were so many shops with brilliant images of their creations, I really don't know how I sold as much as I did.

When the Gift Guides came out around the holidays and I wasn't in any of them, I knew it was because my images were holding me back. So late in November I bought a real camera. I'd like to say that the camera made all the difference. But my sales didn't improve and November and December sales were big disappointments. After the fall/winter show schedule and endless promoting on Etsy, I was thinking about a short break in January, just to re-charge the batteries and step away from my crafting table. For the first time, going to my table was becoming a chore and I began questioning if the amount of time I spent promoting was really worth the effort. A short break was in order...but there I go thinking again.
2008 started slowly, but by the middle of January my items started selling, with minimal promoting. And they continued to sell going into February, like every couple of days!
So back to the creating table and back to the promotion forum. I was excited that things were selling, but it was still a grind to create and especially tough to want to promote. I didn't want to lose the momentum my shop had, but I was feeling a bit burnt-out.
Then the economy fell apart and so did my momentum. I guess I was a bit disappointed when it slowed, but looking back, I should be happy to average a sale a week during March, April and May. I know I was happy for the break from my craft table. With my s/o doing most of my promoting, I was able to go on Etsy when I felt like it, promote whenever I wanted and with the exception of a couple of custom orders, I did little else.
June started slowly, but finished well and the shop picked up the momentum into July. And I found it fun to once again sit down at my table and create. I'm enjoying being back at the table again and find it therapeutic once again (after working all day at my J-O-B)
With a year under my belt, I guess I have an idea of what to look forward to and maybe this time can pace myself better to avoid burning-out
At least that's what I think....but I know what happens when I start thinking : )

I'm very excited about the EtsyNJ team. We have a grant from Etsy to run an ad in WeirdNJ (which comes out next month) and hopefuly I'll have some New Jersey type items, along with Halloween and holiday creations ready to go when the issue hits the stands.
One of the team's leaders has put together a craft show for the end of October and I hope I'm one of the vendors selected (there's already about 40 applications from the EtsyNJ team, plus whatever she receives from local crafters) The show will be held in Medford, NJ on the 25th of October. The show is called the Handmade Faire and the first show was held this past spring (I didn't do the show, but I know I paid for quite a few of the vendors show was an awesome show and I know I'll need my s/o with me to hold the money or I'll go into debt buying everything at the fall show!)
The team is planning on more advertising and have several more ideas in the works. It looks like everything we do will only help promote ourselves and promote Etsy outside of the site. More to come, along with a banner for the Handmade Faire show!

I'm so busy looking for supplies for the upcoming holiday season and planning my creations for upcoming craft shows and Etsy (along with the above mentioned EtsyNJ happenings) I wasn't very prepared last year to do Halloween and I really didn't think there was much of a market for handmade Halloween items. Of course, there I was thinking again. Halloween was indeed a great opportunity for sales and I hope to have a bit more ready to go by the beginning of next month.
I'm already to begin creating my autumn line of jewelry and I'm starting to build up inventory for the fall/winter craft show season (at least this time I think I'm ahead of the game....did I just "think"?)

No new creations this time around, but I'll be back in a few days with a craft schedule (for my non-Etsy friends ) a few new creations and the banner for the Handmade Faire

'til next time...