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Monday, October 20, 2008

Oops... now I'd better write something about Etsy

So, I spent about two hours already with this blog window open and no typing going on. Oh no, I didn't just SIT here staring at it... but still... I could have been saying SOMETHING.

I think sometimes "starting" is the hardest part to any task... jewelry making, torching, writing, etc.

Lampwork Etc.
BTW, for those of you who know me, but don't already know about Lampwork Etc... may I introduce you to it? It's a forum (a community, really) of bead makers and jewelry people (mostly bead-makers, but they are kind to us jewelry people). As with any family, there can be the occasional heated debates and cold pricklies, but all in all it's a pretty warm and fuzzy place (warm because of the nice people and fuzzy because 95% of the LE population seem to adore fur-babies).

It's one of the few places I get a chance to visit anymore... I rarely have a chance to spend time where I used to: The Mellow Bead, Bead and Button, etc.

Anyway, if you're interested, check it out.

Sigh... okay, what I was GOING to say about Etsy is this: I joined Etsy pretty close to when they first started... the really foul behavior of some people on the message boards pissed me off and I left for awhile, but I've been back now for a LONG time (with the caveat that I won't go into the forums because I don't need to put myself into negative situations).

Anyway, I have 17 sales to my credit. What are they, though? All findings. I have not made ONE SINGLE jewelry sale on Etsy. Are my prices too high? No. I know my prices aren't too high because:
1) I do market research and see low quality items going for ten times what they should be going for, so I know that even if my items are at the higher end of the pricing spectrum for this type of jewelry, there is no shortage of people with money
2) I know my pricing scale is very low. I price based on two things only, components (materials) and time (and I often by-pass the "time" factor if I am sick of seeing a piece sitting around). I do not factor in any kind of "artistic" fee. It's materials + hourly labor + overhead + cost (there's another blog post in here somewhere showing the exact forumla).
3) I know my prices are acceptable because I sell a fair amount (compared with my peers) on both eBay and my website, AND I have a huge repeat customer percentage.

So... I can't possibly be the only one not selling on Etsy, can I?

It's true that I won't do what I was told by many Etsians in order to make Etsy sales... market the hell out of my Etsy store. Ugh. I don't think so.
A) If I *had* the time to market the hell out of anything, it would be my own website... duh!
B) I'm already paying a fee to Etsy... and I don't consider that fee as covering merely the cost of hosting my photos and text. Just like the fee I pay eBay, I choose to list there because I expect that THEY can bring in a certain amount of foot-traffic. As does eBay, Etsy should bring a ton more people in for viewing pleasure than I ever could.

So why am I still listing there if I'm not making any sales? Well, it's darn cheap to list there. As a matter of fact, I recently closed my second RubyLane shop (I tried RubyLane many years ago too) because after months of paying some pretty steep fees, I had made one sale. Oh joy. Don't give me the "it takes time" speech. I gave it "time" during the first go 'round. I have spent hundreds of dollars for mere pennies in profit trying to sell on RubyLane. Again, I expect THEM to bring in the interested traffic... if they don't have the people who are interested in my items, then I'm selling in the wrong place.

Can you imagine if you had your jewelry (or beads) in a local gallery, but the gallery expected you to stand on the street corner, hand out flyers, and try to talk people into going to check out your creations? Ew! With a capital "E"! No thanks. A simple mention of the gallery once in a while to friends and acquaintances is fine, and that's precisely what I do with my three online selling venues.

Ideally, I'm going to have my items in a place where the already established foot-traffic is there because my items are along the same lines as what they'd be there looking for.

I recently found out that some Etsy sellers just do "re-lists" of their stuff... daily, weekly... hourly!? Yes, that kind of behavior will keep you at the top of the search engines in Etsy, but... doesn't it defeat the purpose of one of Etsy's biggest selling points?... low listing fees? Just as with RubyLane and eBay (where you can pay more for mo' better exposure), I don't want to head down that path.

Stubborn or exposing my integrity? Shrug. Don't know, don't care.

I don't make jewelry in order to pay the bills (at the moment). I make jewelry because I enjoy making jewelry. I think it's majorly cool when someone wants a piece of my jewelry... it's like my creative vision speaks to them... communication... awesome... humans bonding, etc.

I like creating. I like speaking through design. I don't like marketing, I don't like business, I loathe schmoozing (that's why I quit the writing business). So until the time comes when I *have* to make a certain amount of money with my creations, I don't feel the need to do things in a way I find distaseful.

Did any of this make sense? I'm not really sure why/how I ended up writing so much of what I did on this subject. I meant to come in here and merely ask for opinions from others if they is anyone else NOT selling on Etsy (I mean, has a store there, but nothing sells).

Now, just so's you don't think I'm picking on Etsy (sometimes it's hard to see what someone's saying in an unemotional way), I think Etsy has some of the most awesome artists I've ever seen. And based on some of the people who've befriended me because we're both Etsy sellers, I'd say they also have some of the most awesomely nice people in their midst. I know a ton of sellers, too, who seem to do remarkable business through Etsy and I don't begrudge them one single sale.

Meh... anyway... I'm not bitter... just curious.

Oh, and yeah, I am NOT happy about how Etsy admin has handled certain things over the years that I was directly involved with (details withheld because I don't want to bore anyone with more of my stories... and don't say "Why stop now, Laura?"... heh), but I try to move beyond those things and look at the bigger picture. Just saying this 'cause I know some of you have heard my occasional snarky comment and maybe you don't know the "why" of it.

Anyway, this rant has turned out way longer than I inteneded so I may actually come back later and post my normal blog stuff.



  1. Oh Laura I can soooo relate to the idea of promoting the heck out of your Etsy store...... I have 19 sales over a bit more than a year..... wish it was more, but I simply do not have the time or the energy to sit in front of the pc the whole day and promote. That's not what it is about to me... I have to enjoy the whole process. Btw.... miss you bunches!!!!

  2. I've done fairly well on Etsy. The key for me has been trying to list regularly and street teams. I pretty much only hang out in my street teams forums so I stay away from any nastiness that goes on in the forums. Heck, when I first started selling on ebay, no one really found my beads until I was asked to join a couple groups.