Friday, January 21, 2011

Fourth Year Etsyversary

So I realized today is my 4th year on Etsy, so I thought I would post a few random (or maybe more then a few) thoughts on this topic. I am often saying how fast time goes by, and really for most things this seems very true, like high school was it really 20 years ago? But etsy seems to be a long road the last four years, a journey I sort of accidentally took.

I started out selling handmade on ebay, again quite accidentally, after having my daughter my stack of stuff I thought I would sell on ebay someday beckoned. I became quickly acquainted with selling and starting listing random supplies, fabric, beads, books, rubber stamps, papers really lots of stuff I outgrew, never did, bought because it was on sale, whatever I had hundreds of items to shed. I sold a lot very quickly and as I ran low on supplies to list I looked at all my quilt tops hanging in closets packed in boxes, and the many more in various stages of completion I knew I would not or did not want to finish.

Again I had scads of these many were for myself, colorways I no longer liked or used, gifts started never completed, challenges I joined in, etc I had dozens of these so I did some searching to see if there was a market and there was. Not just a market but lots of demand, I started listing these at .99 cents as I knew they would sell and then you got the lowest listing price, it was easy and my quilt tops, half completed tops would sometimes go for 50.00 (about the lowest I ever sold for a unfinished table runner) to hundreds of dollars for scrap log cabins. As I ran out of these I started to make more scrap log cabins, I love making them and used up tons of fabric in the process. However I need to make more stuff, so I dabbled in table runners and quilted table linens honestly the demand for finished projects was a lot less, and I needed to keep my shop stocked.

It was then I thought of going back to a love of making totes and purses, I made a few adaptations of bags I had made for myself and began listing on ebay, I did pretty well and could sort of keep a stocked shop. This was late 2006, it was then I wandered into the ebay forums and learned of etsy, I think it was November, just before Christmas and I knew I needed more time to get organized.

I did about 6 weeks of research and getting ready to move to etsy and joined on this day 4 years ago, it was another 4 weeks before I began listing, below is the first item I listed (cringes at early pics).
First item listed, Laurel Burch Medium Tote

First Sale - Goldfish I Have Loved Large Tote

I listed 6 items that day and day 3 made my first sale I seriously was wild with excitement, I genuinely thought I had found my home. Luckily I was able to continue listing and selling at a pretty regular pace, it was within 6-8 months I knew this could be my job. My wonderfully supportive husband agreed that a 2 year trial run was worth it, so I really committed to my shop really never looked back.



I think my pictures have improved dramatically

For the first few months it was kind of an odd family secret, I was very careful with whom I shared this info. Looking back not sure if it was insecurity or just a need to grow comfortable with this new found path. Luckily upon sharing the news with more and more people and was very pleased the the level of support and interest those around me showed.

I also found when sharing etsy virtually no one had heard of it, for nearly first 2 years I always had to find new ways to describe etsy and how amazing it had been for me.

During this 2 years on etsy I kept plenty busy enough most months selling 75-100 items, it was a lot of fun sending purses and accessories literally all around the world. I also did a lot of custom orders, some months as many as 30% of my sales were custom creations.

However like all good things they do come to an end, well for me not an end but a change. Etsy has changed like any venue that is new and revolutionary it is bound to change and in today's fast pace world Etsy is no exception. It has become a lot harder to sell and keep up with a pace of making dozens of new items every month, so I have changed too. I remind myself I am who makes and sells my items and try to not let the changes interupt my love of sewing and creating and etsy just allows me a venue to do this. Etsy also has given me the courage to move offline and into the real world, spreading eggs to different baskets has been my goal the last year and will continue to be a big part of my evolving business.

In closing Etsy has been great the last 4 years and has truly brought me to where I am today, I hope that I can continue to create and sell handmade as I would not be doing this without Etsy.

Good news is most everyone now knows what Etsy is!

2 comments:

delia hornbook said...

wow what an interesting journey. I have only just recently heard about of itsy and its something that is in the back of my mind to do, but you have mentioned many of my own thoughts in your post. Good luck with your new projects, Dee ;-)

Sarah said...

Very cool to read about your Etsy experience! I'm a fairly new Etsian myself....I'll be having my two year anniversary in July, so it's really interesting to me to see where other artists have been and are going! You make beautiful items, and I'm glad that you have had the opportunity to rekindle your love of sewing! Thanks for sharing!!

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