Sunday, November 30, 2008

Etsy Homefront Team

I've been a member of Etsy Homefront since May of this year. This is one of the greatest parts of Etsy. These talented artisans, are full of support, generosity, and spirit. I wanted to highlight this great team and the things they've done for me in a blog entry, that will hopefully spurt some on looker to take a look at their shops, and see their wonderful a reward for their wonderful hearts.
They have given me 2 types of support. They have supported me during this year while my husband was deployed. There were many days I needed some reassurance, some good thoughts, and an ear. The forum, the chats, and our cafemom board was always there. And this filled with women who have been there, done that, as all of Homefront are military spouses.
I was also given a ton of shop support. Ideas for new product, thoughts on pricing, photos, sales, etc. A lot of help was given when I was trying to open my second shop, Lilac Ave, and that helped to make it a smooth opening and a successful business.
I also sent out one request via our yahoo message board for donations for my husband's coomand FRG (family readiness group), for a silent auction, and was overwhelmed with the response of 20 donated items. These items were given, with nothing asked for in return, and at no cost, so that the entire proceeds could go to help pay for our homecoming, and single sailor gifts for those returning home with no family.
These are just a few of the items, I am in love with from our group of fabulous Etsians!

(also, please see the website )

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday- Tell me to Shut Up!

Tell me, what exactly was I expecting? To magically clear all the shelves in my stores with my amazing products, and my fabulous bargain?!?! Insanely, yes! Here I was making a sale or 2, and getting irritated then it all came into perspective.

1st of all, Etsy is filled with a good amount of skilled artisans, those making cards, candles, and many other perfect gift items! Why would I think my bargain or my items would outweigh theirs any more or less than any other day on Etsy?

2nd of all, Between Thursday and Friday, I made 1/3 of the dollars in sales, than my best MONTH ever on Etsy!!!! That is pretty impressive!!!

So realistically, yes Thanksgiving and Black Friday were fabulous for me. Enough to quit my job no...but that would really be unrealistic. I work in retail financial planning. It is considered good for us to see 5% increases over the previous year. I wasn't even open last year. And month to date, there is an increase of 8% on Etsy (113% if you include the Craft Show sales from last weekend) compared to my previous best month ever. So really there is nothing here but good news stories!

Another thing to think about is that many of these customers were new customers, and as much as I adore my loyal customers, new customers are the way to grow a business. These could turn into return customers for larger grossing future months.

So I guess the moral to the story is to keep your goals and expectations real. And appreciate the 'normal' rate of growth.

I also want to say, thanks to ALL my customers, past, present, and truly are a dream come true!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My 1st REAL Craft Show Experience

Okay, okay, so there was that one little Show back in March, but does t count if there was 0 sales? No, this show was a biggie! It is the annual Indian River High School Christmas Craft Show. It is well advertised, well known...and $100 for a table! Now $100 may seem cheap to some, but for me, and amateur, with an average price point of $ was daunting. I did all the research, made a ton of inventory, got propay, so I could accept cards. By the time, propay, props, and table costs were spent, we were up to $150. A lot of investment!
The show had a lot of traffic, and I made nearly as much sales on Sunday as Saturday, which was great. I would've been ashamed if I didn't make at least that $150, and I made $221 to be exact....but what did I really make, and what did I find out, and was it worth it?

Here are the good things.
1. There were customers who bought my items. This is not to say that I don't have confidance, but still it is a huge flattery point for me, that things I made with my hands and creativity, someone feels willing to spend their money on.
2. My best month ever on Etsy was $200, so to do that in a weekend is something.
3. I gave out a lot of business cards, and really got to market myself.
4. It was fun.
5. It was experience.

Some of the not so great things.
1. Craft shows are not for me. This show actually made, money, versus the first show that had no sales. The first show was $35 vs this $100. That being said, I didn't make a 'profit' on either when you take into consideration cost of goods, time spent to prepare, time spent there selling (assume min wage for a sales person, and I would've had to pay myself $80, for working this weekend).
2. Of my $221 in sales, $143 was from people I knew, and already knew about my etsy site. People that I invited to this show. So only $78 was new business.
3. For the $150 I invested into presentation, booth fees, and ability to take credit cards, I could've listed or renewed 750 times on Etsy....I can't imagine that that many listings or renewals wouldn't have produced an output of business.

So in conclusion, likely the only fairs I will be at from now on are the ones with my local Etsy group "Hampton Roads Artisans Street Team" (seen at And even that is to participate with the group, and promote Etsy than it is to achieve higher sales in my shop.

P.S. My mom helped at the show, she is the one in the photos. Love you MOM!