Tuesday, November 24, 2009


So, I've come to crossroads with my business. Actually, it's more of a self-imposed fork... or even a branch.
It could be because I don't have time to list items and promote as much as I should, but I'm not seeing as much attention/sales in my Etsy shop as I would like to. So I've been trying to think of ways to bring more customers in.

Alright, I should explain the REAL reason. Got time?

I am at a point in my "real" job/career where I think I'm burnt out. I need a change. Long story short, I thought about buying a bakery franchise and having fun with that. And I think I would. But my boyfriend pointed out that I would have to be there EVERY DAY, even on weekends, and would I enjoy it enough to do that? So, without intending to, he basically talked me out of it.
Instead, I would like to go back to my original dream of quitting my job and just focusing on my own business. The problem is, selling jewelry doesn't get you many return customers. Don't get me wrong, I DO have repeat customers and I love them dearly and appreciate their business. But I just don't get as many as, say, a candle shop, or a seller of baked goods. My product is not "consumable". People don't buy come back for more because the first one is used up.
So I've been thinking of things that I am good at (or would be good at) making. Things I enjoy myself. Consumable things.
I am still trying to think of something jewelry related, but until I am hit with that stroke of genius, I'm considering some non-jewelry related items.
Of course, then the question becomes: Do I create a new Etsy shop for the new items or just try to sell them along with my jewelry? Because I am not looking to replace my jewelry (though, if the new stuff sells well enough, maybe I will!) and the point of it is to get customers in the shop more frequently, so perhaps I will just add the new stuff to the jewelry and if it really takes off, I can set up another store.

I'm probably going to keep the details and specifics to myself for the time being. I don't want to make it public and then end up not doing it. I'd feel like a royal ass. I guess I'm just thinking out loud here, and wondering if anyone has come across a similar situation. I'm sure there has.

Then there's another part of me that thinks I just need to list more jewelry. Add more things that I've got waiting in the wings. I just wish I had the time for that.
Of course, you could say, "Well, if you don't have time for that, then how on earth are you going to have time for this new, special, secret stuff?"
Well, so far, this new, special, secret stuff is something that can be made easily. Photographs are not key, so I don't have to wait for a day off with good lighting. So that's another positive of the new, special, secret stuff: it doesn't require as much time as my jewelry does.

Anyway, I do have plans to purchase a small quantity of supplies and materials for the creation of the new, special, secret stuff, to give it a try. So eventually there will/might/should be a blog post about the experimentation. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Open House

My mom was invited to sell her products (she does mosaics, etc.) at a crafting open house at a local office building. Don't ask me how that works out... a craft show at an office building? I've heard of it before, so I guess it works.
Anyway, the organizer said she wanted my stuff there too, but didn't have space, so she invited my mother to have some of my items at her table.
I gave her a handful of bracelets, and necklaces, as well as several of my Starflake tree ornaments.

My inventory has been pretty strong up to now. But, if the majority of those items sell at the open house, I'm gonna have to really haul ass to fill in the gaps for the big holiday show coming up during the first week of December. I'm going to work on as many pieces as I can until then anyway.

Thanksgiving shouldn't be too much of a distraction, even though I'm needing to make three desserts to bring.
Hmm, had I thought of it, I would have taken a few days off before the show to really buckle down and make some items.
Oh well, wish me luck! I think...

Friday, November 13, 2009

Etsy did the right thing, the Etsy community did not.

Well, that Gift Guide button is gone. Etsy apologized and confessed it didn't think about how it might affect the influx of customers to people's shops.

Sure, I'm glad. What I'm NOT glad about is being a part of a community where some/most of its members fly off the handle so ridiculously. I know I can behave rashly on occasion, but c'mon people! That's the beauty of the internet. You can write something and take time to think about it before sending it. I bet 90% of those people would have never behaved as they did or said what they did if they were saying it in person. I guess that's the downfall of the internet as well... people say things without thinking about the actual person with feelings that's behind what they're mad at.

I wonder how it was decided to put that button on there. Was it one persons idea? I bet they call out of work the next few days. Probably feel like an ass.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Should I go there?

I'm debating on whether or not I even want to bring up the recent development of, and the volatile response to the addition of the Gift Guide button on Etsy storefronts.

But seeing as how I just did, I guess I'll just give my opinion while I'm at it.

I agree with most of the angry people. Etsy can do what they want with their site. That's the ultimate point, I guess. But they have given us our own space to list our items. We pay them to list our items. We pay them when those items sell. Seems like a fair deal.
Up until now, that space that they gave us was nice and cozy and we were allowed to do with it what we wanted. Etsy has fun coming up with guides and articles and showcases and treasuries and labs and educational stuff. They've got links to that stuff all over the place. EXCEPT on our pages.
Sure, you could get to any of those places from our pages, but it wasn't in your face, so our pages could continue to be our cozy little storefront where we did our best to greet our customers with quality, handmade items in the hopes that they would stay and browse and buy something.
But the addition of this Gift Guide button is a little bit of an intrusion. And to make it so obvious and garish just intrudes even more. All the work we did in our store (as well as the endless work we do outside of our store to get customers IN our store) is for nothing because now those customers are lured away by this glowing beacon of a button.
A poster in the forums had a good analogy. She compared it to two vendors at a craft show. She said it wouldn't be fair for one vendor to put a neon sign that advertised her booth in the other vendors booth. It would be even more unfair if the sign-placing vendor was getting paid by the other vendor to have a booth there.
So, basically, I agree with all the angry people.
Having said that, I could present the alternative and much less popular view:
It's Etsy's site. They can do with it what they want. We only pay them for two things: 1)the ability to list an item for sale. 2) The code for the checkout process.

We don't pay them for all the nice little conveniences they create for us to make listing our item easier. We don't pay them for all the work they do behind the scenes creating things that they think will bring buyers to the site. I would go so far as to say that we don't even really pay them for the page that we call our store. We just pay them for the space it takes to show the item listing itself. Everything around that (the sections, the hearts counter, the feedback system, the conversation system, our profile, our policies, our favorites, the banners and avatars, featured items, vacation mode, batch sorting and shipping, forums and chat, etc.) is extra. Our $0.20 is for the listing only. The 3.5% of the sale price is for the checkout process.
If they really wanted us to be able to completely customize our store appearance, then they'd make it like Blogspot and make every aspect of it customizeable. But they don't. Everyone's shop looks the same. Why?

It's our ITEMS that are meant to attract the customer.
Not a customizeable layout. Not a colorful background that we made ourselves. Not embedded music or a news feed.
This is not Facebook. This is not Twitter. This is not MySpace. This is not Blogspot.
This is Etsy. It's where people come to buy our handmade items, not the "handmade" website on which they're sold.
If our items can't keep the attention of our customer and prevent them from straying off to that orange button in the upper corner, then there's something wrong with our items.

So for all those people that are boycotting Etsy, and refusing to list or relist or renew items because they don't want to give Etsy any money until they remove that Gift Guides button because they say it's ruining their sales, I have some advice.
You'd likely have a better case if you continued as you normally would. Because if that Gift Guides button truly does negatively affect your sales, you need to be able to prove it. You need to be able to say, "Look, I did what has proven to generate sales in my shop in the past, but ever since you added that button, my sales have plummetted." If you have always renewed, relisted, or listed and you suddenly stop, who's to say that THATs not the reason your sales have dropped?

So quit bitching, people. I'm guessing that if you stopped wasting time complaining in the forums and used that time to promote your store, make more items, take better pictures, and just relax, you'd keep making sales. Possibly even more than normal.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Facebook URL

I'm now easier to find on Facebook. Thanks to my fans, I am eligible for a shorter URL: http://www.facebook.com/IronDogMetalsmiths

You should click it now to try it out. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It's that time of year again! My Starflakes are pretty popular at the Wakefield show and I'm in Starflake-making mode. I just hope I can make enough to be able to list some on Etsy as well.


They're about 1.5" in diameter and are made with anodized aluminum. I've got lots of fun colors. I'm actually trying to figure out an easy way to give my Etsy customers ideas of what colors are available so they can customize their own ornament.

I call them Starflakes because I can't decide if they look like snowflakes or stars.

Here's another photo.
Whatcha think?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just an update

Not much to blog about today. Just a few little bits...

I'm planning to start working on some items with turquoise in them. I've already got a bracelet made with some Swarovski accents in turquoise tones. I've also got some turqouise beads that worked perfectly in my flower chain items from several months ago.
The reason I'm focusing on Turquoise is because it is (one of) December's birthstones and rumor has it, Etsy will be posting items with turquoise in them for their December shopping guide.

I also would like to get some photos of my Starflake ornaments. I might just make a listing on Etsy for them. The thing is, they come in tons of different colors and color combinations, so I'll have to figure out a way to show the color choices and have the customers design their own.
Another problem is that my Starflakes sell pretty well at the Wakefield show I'm doing in early December and so it'll be tough to make enough to sell in both places. I'll have to get Rob working on more for me, as well as bring some rings to work on during my lunch break at the hospital.