One reader suggested that I post more pictures of my “studio” in my product listings. Let’s get real. The other end of this couch is my studio until ten minutes before my husband comes home in the evening.
First, let me say, I love my friends and family. They are the best. They all reposted and retweeted and pinned their little hearts out over my new Etsy shop. They all left comments like, “Looks great!” “That’s awesome!” and “Love it!” but, sadly, all that positive reaction has yet to generate any sales.
Granted, it’s been almost three days. If you’ve ever had any friends or family sell cosmetics – and I have had several – you know how this goes. You want them to succeed. You support their goals. You love them dearly. But you just don’t want to buy any more makeup or Tupperware or kitchen gadgets or cleaning supplies. I get it. I don’t want to depend on just friends and family to sell my crafts.
Some of the more constructive feedback came from the fantastic Baltimore Post-Examiner readers who read my last blog. They had suggestions such as offering more products and a wider array of products. They requested more photos. They also wanted me to change some of the wording in my shop description to avoid the terms “trash” or “junk” but I’m just not sure the John Waters in me can handle that. And in general, they wanted to let me know about their experiences with Etsy and wished me luck.
Only one of my friends pointed out any mistakes. The rest was left up to BPE readers and Etsy users to straighten me out. The first and possibly most embarrassing was the fact that I had listed the dimensions of my bowls as height and diameter, when in fact, I had measured height and circumference, making it seem like each bowl was around 30 inches wide.
My math teachers would be so ashamed. Several spelling mistakes were pointed out in various locations. All of which made me feel a little silly. As an English major, I should probably know the difference between vary and very.
Perhaps the most important mistake was actually one I made in the previous blog post I wrote for BPE. A member of the Etsy PR team contacted me directly to correct the fees I had discussed when setting up the shop.
I wasn’t way off, but I wasn’t anywhere close to correct either. It does cost 20 cents per listing, but not every month as I had thought. That listing lasts for four months or until the item is sold. The two percent “commission” I mentioned is actually a 3.5 percent “transaction fee.”
Though the email was friendly and helpful, I was a little intimidated to know that someone who really works at Etsy had been reading my little blog post.
So I have a lot to learn and a lot to work on. At the moment, I’m making new stuff to list and sell. I’m going to have a long talk with my former journalist husband about journalistic integrity and fact checking. I’m getting out my ruler and my elementary math book.
And I’m going to have to sit down and really read up on how to manipulate this big old Internet to promote my stuff beyond friends and family.
Wish me luck! Check it out here.
Kathryn Powers is a native of the Oklahoma Panhandle. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from the University of Oklahoma and Georgetown University respectively and like many English majors, is not currently utilizing any part of her education. After a brief stint as a high school English teacher, Powers married and followed her husband to Beersheva, Israel where he is studying medicine and she is struggling to buy the groceries, do the laundry and pay the bills all without a working knowledge of Hebrew. Powers is a long time crafter, sewer and general project starter. She, her mom and her two sisters have been known to sweep into each other’s lives, start ten projects, finish two and then quickly disappear leaving only a trail of yarn, glue and ribbon. Powers is an avid and indiscriminate TV watcher, sometimes baker, and dog-less dog lover. She thanks her husband for his everlasting patience with her craft mess.