Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Back on the Etsy Bandwagon! and New Things to Share

Now that school is over (and I have a degree, yay!) I've been making more jewelry, taking more pictures, posting items and generally getting back in the swing of the jewelry business. I've recently had my first successful Etsy shop "sale", and I thought I'd go over a few things that I think worked in my favour.

When I launched my sale a couple of weeks back, I started with the basics. I posted several brand-new items, then reduced the prices of many of my pieces by $2-5. It worked out so that most of my earrings and bracelets were $12 and some more expensive listings came to $25-35. I decided to then tweet about my sale and re-list a few of the items that I was now offering at a sale price.

It was all simple enough -- but too simple. I didn't get a single bite that week, or the next! I had gotten a few more views of items, and a few more Etsy "hearts" but that was about it. So, I decided to finally try something many Etsy sellers swear by -- constant re-listing. When an Etsy seller lists an item, that items appears on the top of the searches for that item's category, and is generally seen by the majority of buyers looking for a similar item. However, it also costs $0.20 to do so. The item will have the pleasure of being on top for only a few short hours, or even minutes, as new listings are being posted all the time, all being laid on top of one another, pushing the older listings further down the line.

It is a well-known trick of Etsy sellers to list and re-list items several times a day to make sure that their items stay on top, paying the $0.20 for each item every time. In theory, it means that the more one re-lists, the more potential customers will see and buy said items. And in theory, the cost of re-listing will more than pay for itself once people take notice and start buying. This is a theory that I finally conceded to try for myself.

With a bit of extra money in my paypal account, I decided to re-list a few items a day, every day for a while, and see what happens. At first, nothing happened but a big spike in views! Many people were seeing my items, but none were interested. Then something I would consider a miracle happened! Suddenly, I made 4 sales in 4 days, and it most definitely paid for my re-listing several times over.

To be honest though, I don't know if it was the sale, or the re-listing, or the combination of both that did the trick. If anyone out there is having trouble with sales, all I can say is try a shop sale, or re-listing as complementary to trying to take the best pictures possible and having good prices. Thanks for reading!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Neglect

I'm sorry that I haven't been updating as regularly as I should! Although I suspected that this might happen; My diary can tell you how much I neglect it!

My excuse is School. University started up again, and I've been straightening courses, finding books, finishing one job, and began searching for more! Even still, I am far from done all of this "first week back" stuff, and the first week is already over! Keeping that in mind, anyone out there want to buy a twentieth century history book? (Here I would put a smiley face if I wasn't opposed to it within formal writing).

I did just finish an art fair today, however, so selling my jewelry is still ongoing. Once I give myself time to reflect on today, school stuff, and an upcoming job, I'd love to post some more "newbie tips"! I have learned more yet about selling during a fair, and I'd love to share.

Alright, that's it for now, just thought I'd let you all know I'm still alive! Haha!

-Sarah

Monday, August 24, 2009

Tour Guide by Day...

In "Beautiful Mount Pearl" (and yes, it is quite beautiful) there is a gingerbread house aging almost a hundred years old. It is surrounded by maples, roses and lilies, a gazebo, and a winding walkway.

That gingerbread house used to be one of 13 wireless stations commissioned by the British Admiralty for use during the first world war. Hence it's name, Admiralty House. Were you to walk into this building any time during this summer, you may have been greeted by me, with the words "Hi! would you like a tour or would you like to take a look around yourself?" (We're a little laid back here!)
However, I am not here to talk about the tour, but about the job. I started working here this summer just as I was a few weeks into operating my Etsy shop. Soon enough, I was working at the museum 36 hours a week, and making/marketing jewelry about 20 hours a week. It has not stopped all summer, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

Working at this museum has been pretty fantastic, I am currently taking a break from cataloging newspapers. I have one in front of me with comics from the 50's on it! I've never heard of "Alley Oop" or "Vic Flint" but they're all fun to read. However, cataloging and giving tours is not all that I do here, in fact here at Admiralty House we like to try and participate in the community as much as possible. And this is where the fun begins.

Every year, the city of Mount Pearl hosts a "Milk Carton Boat Race" for the various establishments who want to celebrate Mount Pearl's birthday and show their awesome boat skills. A couple of years ago, the students working here at the time were commissioned to build a boat for said race. However, the man who comissioned them decided that Admiralty House's boat should be a big, fantastic, showy boat... that turned out to be entirely disfunctional.

What happens when you put a massive, top-heavy boat in a race alongside many well-engeneered boats? It sails very slow, then topples, and crashes. It would topple and crash the second year as well! -- We didn't learn. This year, our manager decided that although it's a very nice boat, it should not touch water again. Instead, our showy boat should be re-furbished, and set out as a prop on which kids could get their picture taken during the boat races, safely on land. It was an excellent opportunity to remind the city that we exist, and to add some names to our mailing list!

Incidently, our manager was going to be gone during the up-coming boat race, so the porject fell on me. The other students had other jobs to do, so for the week leading up to this event I was scrubbing off pond scum, painting with a rather toxic paint, and doing everything I could to make the boat look good again. I even tried to get the hideous milk cartons off the bottom. Alas, thanks to nails, screws, caulking paste and straps, those cartons were there to stay.

The day of the Milk Carton Races came upon us quickly, and with the boat finally looking presentable our only problem was getting it from our museum to the pond. I contacted several people, most of whom said they would be gone that weekend, and I finally conceeded to call city hall and politely ask if they could help us. Sure enough, a man agreeded to send some workers over to get our boat.

Saturday morning came with rainclouds and haze. After some deliberation, we all decided we should take the boat out anyway, even though the weather did not look optimal. After calling the city again, this man told me he'd send people down right away to get our large, mostly wooden 2 person boat that I had worked on all week. I told him it was in the shed, and hung up. I then promtply walked across our property, opened the gate, opened the shed, put all of our other bags and equipment we needed to bring next to the boat, then walked back to the museum.

We waited a while with no sign from these men who were supposed to be taking our boat, when suddenly, the skies opened up, and it downpoured. I mean buckets, cats and dogs, whatever term you'd like to use, was coming down. I looked at the stack of papers we wanted to bring and the digital camera for picture-taking, and I decided to scrap the whole thing. I did not want to be responsible for a soggy camera and boat, especially if no one was going to come because of the rain.

I then called the man at the city. "Hi, It's Sarah from Admiralty House again, I figured because of the rain, we probably shouldn't take the boat out after all, so you can call it off."
The man responded with "Well, I'm sorry, but we've already taken it!"
Feeling rather confused, I asked "really, are you sure?"
"Yup, the big brown boat in the white shed?"
"... I'm going to have to call you back."

Frantically, I lept from my seat, left the museum, walked across the property, and stormed into the shed. Sure enough, our boat was gone, with all of our other equipment and us still there, and waiting.

"THEY ALREADY TOOK OUR BOAT!?"

Now, I might be naieve by saying this, but I would have figured that if people were going to come and take something of signifigance, even if it was asked of them, that they would come and tell you when they were there, tell you they were about to take said object, and maybe even ask if there was more to take. As far as we were concerned, it was as if you asked someone to take your car to drive you somewhere, and five minutes later, you look out your window to see that your car is gone, and you no longer have a ride.

I stormed back into the museum, now decently damp. "Hi, this is Sarah from Admiralty House again... um, because we decided to cancel, can you please bring our boat back?"
Thankfully, it wasn't a problem, and the boat was back in about 15 minutes, now quite soggy.

This was only one of many mishaps that have happened during my time here at the museum, but I now have a great number of stories I can tell. I wouldn't trade my time here for anything! If you're in the area, look us up! The museum website is http://www.admiraltymuseum.ca/ Come in for a tour any time, but I'll be gone by next week, the summer job ends!

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Awesome Necklace, and Future Plans.


After working at East Meets West, I sat on my hands for a week or two giving myself a break. However, I'm getting ready to come back in full swing, as my summer job is ending, and the fall is creeping nearer.

I recently uploaded a couple more items to my Etsy shop, including this necklace! I'm impressed with how well it turned out to be honest, so excuse me for showing it off! (hee hee). I made this with three different sizes and shapes of Mother of Pearl shell beads, held with jump rings and some tiger wire. It's actually a pretty big necklace, but I don't have the measurements to list quite yet -- that's part of my job tonight.

Apart from this, I've also added a couple of bracelets and a pair of earrings to my shop. Now that I'm going to be in full swing again, I'd like to fill out my Etsy shop a little more,which brings me to some future plans I'd like to share, which will both keep you in the loop and keep me on track!

First of all, as I have been reading, now is a good time to start thinking about Christmas, because many people will begin their Christmas shopping as of September. As a result, I've decided to set some goals during the Holiday Season. For example, I'd like to fill out about 3 pages of items on Etsy (I'm about halfway there), set some discounts and try some new promoting techniques. I'd also like to try and set up a giveaway if possible, though I haven't decided what or which venue.

The promoting techniques part will be my biggest challenge. I've decided to design a poster and get a bunch printed, to start. Another thing I'd love to do is set up a sale that's only for my pieces somewhere. In other words, not a craft fair, but to have a jewelry party or set up an isolated kiosk sometime in the middle of September. The cost for all this would be the first thing to consider however, but I'm sure I'll make do!

I do have a lot more plans and ideas, but for now I'm going to go one step at a time. In the meantime, if anyone has any ideas about what they'd like to see on my blog, or in my Etsy shop, feel free to tell me! Post on my blog, convo me on Etsy, or send an email to op.designs@hotmail.com .

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

East Meets West Expo


For a couple of weeks I've been busy with the East Meets West Expo in Mount Pearl, Newfoundland. Being the first time I've sold my pieces live (off-internet) I was really nervous! I spent most of my free time making stock, printing tags, labeling and making make-shift display racks. The experience paid off though, I finally broke even thanks to sales during the two days I was there, and now I won't shy away from doing craft sales.
I was able to do this thanks to the Association for the Arts of Mount Pearl (AAMP). This Expo, which took place in Mount Pearl, Cornerbrook, and I think HappyValley Goosebay, Newfoundland and Labrador this year, was an attempt to bring the province together by means of festival.
Luckily for me, AAMP had their own tent to show off the various means of artistic talent this side of the province, so I was able to set up a display for my jewelry, and make jewelry as a sort of demonstration while I was there. My display was set up next to some other incredible artists, which alone made me nervous (am I as good as these people?) but I did quite well considering.

Considering this was my first attempt at selling my jewelry at a fair of sorts, I'd like to share some of the things I've learned. Some of these are pretty specific to my situation, but if some of them help in some way, then awesome!

1. Stapling mints to your business cards makes them go really quickly! Dubbed "Advertis-mints", I found that giving a little something for free will certainly catch attention of passers-by. If you try this though, make sure you have a ton on hand. I ran out of my mint-cards the first day!

2. If you have no money, you can still make great-looking displays using stuff you find around the house (especially if you have a lot of random craft supplies). I made busts out of wrapping pieces of fabric around cardboard cut-outs, and I made bracelets displays by sticking pins in black bristol board, and cutting it so it stood up like an open book.

3. Remember that most banks are closed on weekends. Okay, this is pretty obvious, but when you have so much other stuff to remember for the sale, it's easy to forget! I needed a cash float, and thought, oh, there's a bank just across the street from where I'm set up, it's no problem. -- Except it was a Saturday. Thankfully everyone who bought from me at first paid in correct change, so I ended up with a float in the end.

4. Make eye contact, smile, and say "Hi!". You'll hear this from any retail job out there for a reason -- it works. Being somewhat shy, I'm usually turned off by sellers trying to chat me up, but for most people, (as my boyfriend pointed out) the interaction makes you seem friendly and approachable. There's no need to share your life story with everyone who comes by, but a simple "hello" is an incentive for people to at least glance at your items.

5. Bartering is good. To be honest, I didn't really do this, but I would have gladly dropped a price by a couple of dollars if an interested buyer didn't have quite enough. When I was packing up after the last day, one girl asked me about a pair of earrings, and I sold them to her for a fraction of the listed price. The way I saw it was, a sale is a sale, and if they like the item, they might come back and pay full price for something else!

I'll leave it at that for now, and I hope that helps some other sellers out there. I have lots of other things I could share, but I'll leave that for another post! Thanks to my boyfriend for helping throughout the weeks, as well as during the sale, and to AAMP for supporting me letting me use their venue.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Sigh of Relief

After much time and struggle, it seems like things are finally coming together! I have been working on jewelry, my Etsy site, my facebook page, Twitter, business cards, and of course, this blog for a collective of about 2 months. During the first month especially, I worked for very long periods without seeing any profit. The second month has been almost as equally time-consuming, as I have been trying to improve my 'social networking' as well as everything about my shop.

I am now very pleased to say that I've actually gotten a sale! Yup, two months of work brought me one sale, but I couldn't be happier. As well, I have joined an arts association in my area, and they have expressed interest in featuring me during various events. It may not be much, but I feel as though I haven't been putting so much work into nothing. -- Well, yet I suppose, but this has given me encouragement that I might actually have something here!

I do, however have a significant amount of work still to do, and I don't see it ending any time soon! My short-term plans include making Halloween and Christmas inventory, writing up an inventory list (apparently that's important...) and trying to get into some craft fairs. Long term plans include getting my jewelry in some actual live stores, organizing a jewelry 'party', and figuring out how draws and giveaways work.

It's going to be a long and exciting year, and you can be sure I'll keep my blog updated!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Bear with Me.

Since I am new to the whole blogging thing, I'm going to try out a few templates and add-ons. Ideally I'd like to design my own page entirely, but I am not particularly technologically inclined, so I'm going to try a combination of what this site offers me.

So please, if you're clicking on my blog one day and it's entirely different from the day before, do not think I am crazy or that I have a short attention span. -- Well, both are somewhat true, but for different reasons! I am trying to find the best combination of elements.

I'll add an actual update soon!

See you!
-Sarah