is now october!

washwhendirty.etsy has been open now for about 5 months next week. i opened my etsy store on june 9th and started posting items about a month later. it hasn't been terribly successful i've only made about 13 sales so far. and this is despite the positive feedback i've received over the past few months about my items. so it's evaluation time!

i don't have a business background at all and have just been learning by doing. and also by talking to various people both online with successful etsy shops and off line. it's been a great learning curves and i was really infused with excitement at the beginning...i guess like with anything new, you start off by being really excited and have tons of motivations to pursue what you are striving to accomplish. i'm going to be honest though, right now i don't feel too optimistic about this whole thing at all. of course the occasional doubts are bound to come by every once in a while but they usually pass after only a short instant. and i'm not really doubting my decision to start all of this, but i'm definitely beginning to be weary and a bit discouraged.
i love making things for people but when the feedback do not really mirror the state of things, it's easy to get bogged down and feel frustrated.

positive highlights since june has been meeting great people online and starting to build a good network of friends. i've also won a few alchemy requests on etsy lately, and having fun creating custom items for some really cool etsians, which is part of the reasons why i wanted to do this in the first place. i personally love having unique handmade things and i also take great pleasure in creating something special for someone. so the alchemy requests have been a great fun...and please don't hesitate to let me know if you are interested in some custom items, i truly love making those! *wink*
though in order for me to be able to sustain this venture, i also need to start making more sales on the things in my store =) because right now this is not giving me any returns at all, i'm putting in a lot of my personal money in it and i'd love for this little adventure of mine to be able to run with its own funds. i know there is that prerequisite year when you start a business where you are not making profits...and that's completely okay with me as long as i'm making a return in my investment. profits are really not anywhere in my radar right now, building up sales and turning those sales over into more items are the main goals at this time.

i fear that this might be a really long and hard road, and trust me i didn't except it to be easy. i love challenges, if it was going to be a walk in the park, i wouldn't have been interested. i truly enjoy the struggles, the ups and downs because they make the victories that much sweeter and much more appreciated. but with the current state of our economy, my anxiety level is very high. everybody knows that when things go bad it's the regular folks and the small business owners that suffer the most.

so to all my lovely online friends and visitors, please help me with my evaluation on where things stand right now. if you don't mind, i would love to hear some feedback about my etsy store, advices on how to better manage my business and critics on where i fall short.

i'm a pretty happy, go lucky person who loves to see the glass as half full rather than half empty. however with the current state of our country and our economy, i can't help but fret about taking the wrong turns as far as my business decision making process goes.

much love,


Amanda said...

emailing you... :) everythings gonna be ok

Studio618 said...

I have to ditto. I feel exactly the same - ups and downs, doubts and confidence, etc. Hang in there, it can't get worse than this. Like all things, the economy is cyclical. Good luck to you too because I need it as well.

Lolafalk said...

I know exactly what you're talking about as well. I've been selling on Etsy since May and have seen peaks and valleys in sales - especially due to the fact that they were having issues with their search and relisting functions (which I believe have been nearly resolved). One thing you need to do tirelessly is promote the heck out of your shop. Not in an obnoxious manner where you are bringing it up in every conversation with everyone you meet, but be open and in tune to those opportunities where you can bring it up. I've found quite a few customers simply through mentioning that I make handbags or carrying around something that I've made. Also, hang out in the Promotions forum on Etsy. A lot of sellers who do trunk shows around the country invite other sellers to send their coupons/business cards/samples to them and they in turn will distribute at their trunk show. Experiment with coupons/sales/discounts (and track your different coupons and discounts with codes so you can learn which ones get you the best response). Start a newsletter list. Participate in trunk shows whenever you can (it's an investment but worthwhile - at a local level people get to know you and get familiar with your brand. Make sure you have a clearly defined "brand" (the Modish blog has some great articles on branding your business). Consider doing a showcase on Etsy. Ummm...if I think of any more I'll let you know. Regarding your shop - I think it looks great and don't think that's the issue with slow sales. Of course you need to have a good product (which you appear to have), but all said and done, marketing really is the key to more people finding you, and therefore more sales. Whew!

talia said...

Hi! I love your blog and your store! You did ask for opinions on your here goes....

You have such lovely purses using gorgeous fabrics. I also love the fact that you have a number of different kinds of fabric per each purse. That is a lot of work!!

My feeling is, though, that the way you have your purses displayed and photographed (maybe it is the lighting, too) make them look a little wrinkled, "lumpy", and some of the tops look lopsided. Now I *know!* in real life I bet they are perfection, it is just the way they are displayed.

I think you should iron your purses and straighten them out a little more so they look perfectly made. The little zippered pouches look uneven at the bottom. Is there something you can do to correct that? When you hang the purses up on the wall hanger it makes the straps bunched up, so a buyer could ask "will my straps be wrinkled when they arrive?" Hanging them this way also makes the straps look like they pull the purse up in a stained way.

Each page should have a photo of your purse on that people can see how large the purse is and how far it hangs down from the shoulder.

I also think including fabric in your store is distracting. I have to look around for your purses. Maybe rearrange your items on your main page, or open another store for just your fabrics.

Your banner is lovely! I am wondering about the name of your store though. It is very utilitarian...bringing to mind doing laundry and that your purses will get dirty over time. Not something people want to be reminded of when spending their money. You want to create a certain image and not sure your store name does that.

I hope some of this is helpful and did not seem too critical! I want you to do work so hard and your bags are lovely.

much luck!!

Laura Bucci said...

Hi, a few of the women above have already left good comments. I would add that from everything I read, you should expect two years without profit or salary. From experience I'd say that's very accurate. Also, you might want to think more about marketing in the form of giveaways through blogs such as Modish and purchasing blog advertising regularly. Modish has some good posts on marketing.

I am also still struggling. It is hard to stand out will all the other good stuff out there so I personally plan to spend more on advertising.

I recently offered a giveaway through my blog and had people answer the question 'how do you assess quality when buying online.'

Good luck and hang in there!

Laura Bucci said...

This a popular topic. This post at Make It blog might be of use.

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