Saturday, August 15, 2009

A Day of Etsy-fying

Today was a full day. All about Etsy.

I dove into setting up my Etsy shop today, and was reminded how little I know about working retail...

First, I have to say that Etsy is a lot bigger than I thought. It seems like an intimate little place, but there are thousands and thousands of vendors on there. A little bit of searching using their engine, and you realize that Etsy ain't so small... There are people on there that use it for their main source of income, just like Ebay. (I suppose I'll need to investigate that as well, but one storefront at a time...ugh...)

It's one thing to go on quickly and establish an account, and post something to sell. It's quite another to think it all through and try to do it right... I realized right away that my photos aren't going to work. That's okay--I figured they wouldn't. I have some plans for that. Getting live models and a photographer is high on my priority list, but in lieu of doing that today I decided to take care of the rest of my profile.

Good grief there's a lot to say! Not only did I need a profile, but I also had to think about shipping, returns, payment... I had to establish a Paypal account right off the bat so I could even begin to list anything. That was part of the process. In the process, I learned that Paypal allows users to use their credit cards and such even if they don't have an account with them, which was fantastically convenient! I don't have to track down a shopping cart mechanism until I start on my own sight. Right now, that's not a wise idea unless I have the money to promote it, and that's not going to happen right away. Best to ride "piggy back" on venues that are set up to do it for me just yet.

After getting the monetary issues squared away, I had to figure out shipping. This was a real conundrum--I had to research box sizes, figure out how much my garments weigh, and then research shipping services. The bulk of the shops that I saw on Etsy used the US Postal Service, and their flat rate boxes. Well, I couldn't--the majority of my coats are not going to fit into those boxes, so it's not going to work... So I had to come up with different options. Rather than figure out what the shipping was going to be for every zone, for every garment, I decided to simply include shipping in the price of the garment. That simplifies things a great deal. Of course, it'll probably be a headache later on, but for right now it'll work.

So I spent part of my day on the road purchasing a mailing scale and visiting a box supplier, and then wrapped it up with a quick trip to Michael's Crafts... I have heard that part of the charm of buying handmade is the anti-corporation feeling, so packing the garments in a manner that is unique, fun, and ultimately charming can make a big difference with customer loyalty. So I bought some hemp and twine at Michael's and experimented part of the day with wrapping the pieces with old fashioned craft paper and string, then inserting that into the final shipping box. It looks authentically endearing and simple, I think, but it needs some more antiquing and personalization. So I'm gonna consider some stamps, some personal hand-written notes, and some heartfelt creativity to wrap it all together. I'm as excited about the potential fun in shipping stuff off as I am about actually making the garments!

So that's what I did today. That, and more research on the community that is Etsy. We'll see if I fit in...

Live life with Relish!

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