Saturday, January 9, 2016

And What a Holiday Season It Was!

After a successful little bout of sales at a local craft fair in November, I thought I was pretty well ready for the holiday season this year for my little shop. I had extra mini sweater ornaments made up,  a little bit of jewelry, some more wine bottle hat toppers, some new hand stamped metal stuff and just a little bit of everything ready to go in my shop. (Sprinkled throughout the blog today are some things that are in my Etsy shop, JeanBeanGifts.)

Selling on Etsy is not easy if you are a very small shop like me. When you list something on Etsy, you pay .20 for each listing. Not bad at all, but your listing won't get found and won't get many views unless you tag it properly with a bunch of terms that people might use in searching for your item. For example, I make leather wrapped bracelets. So do thousands of other people. At the moment I list my bracelet for sale on Etsy, the listing will be at the top of the search for just a few minutes or even seconds, because countless other people are listing "2X Wrap Leather Bracelet" at practically the same time. Day by day, your listing gets relegated lower and lower in the search engine list on Etsy because newer items of the same description--to use the same example--more double wrap bracelets-- are being added. You can bump your listing back up higher in the search if you "renew" it, which costs .20 each time you renew. Someone once told me the secret to getting views for your items on Etsy is to renew, renew, renew....So I have been trying to do that, and trying to carefully time the renewal to when more people are online...certain days of the week, weekends, evenings...those are the times I do it. But those costs add up after awhile and if you are not careful, you can end up getting very little for your item because you renewed it so many times! (Ask me how I know that!)

There is a LOT of information out there about how to label or "tag" your items more successfully, and how to get views and build your business on Etsy, but I continue to struggle a bit because I want to have a wide variety of gift items that might appeal to a lot of different people, and because my attention span is so short, I get bored with just one thing! So my problem I THIINK, is that I'm too varied in what I sell. AND--I haven't figured out my "niche" market yet. What do I want to make a LOT of and focus just on that? I don't really enjoy making a ton of the same thing so I will keep trying different things for now and see what sells...

I was surprised that no one particular item was off and running, but that a smattering of things sold in the shop this season. I got more views this year and that really helped draw some more traffic to the shop. Some of my items got over 100 views, and other things I have only got 3 or 4 views. Not sure if it's because they are not tagged right, or people just aren't interested in those particular things. I used Twitter, and did a little advertising on Facebook, so I think that helped, too....If I was truly doing this for more than just a hobby to fund my future craft purchases, I would be trying to learn more about the business aspects and marketing, but I don't have that background at all so I would need help or a LOT more training and classes to learn about all that side of trying to be successful on Etsy.

At any rate, I was really happy to have sold some things on Etsy during the holiday season. Now that they are allowing people to sell things that aren't necessarily home made but can be made in factories, that is a really disappointing turn of events. Despite that, people were thrilled to receive some of my hand crafted items. And I love crafting things so much, different kinds of things, I will continue to make little gift items that people might like to give, knowing that it was made by someone painstakingly sitting and stitching and sewing, stamping and knitting with my own two hands. 

I really do enjoy making things......and hope to be able to do that for years to come....Bye for now!