Wednesday, August 16, 2017

HAVE YOU LOOKED AROUND?


HAVE YOU LOOKED AROUND FOR SUPPLIES?

I have to admit, I am so busy with my shop (now shopS plural) I usually buy any supplies at need at the first place I find that has what I want.  Since I started selling on Etsy, I shudder to think what I've spent on business cards AND how much I could have saved had I just taken the time to LOOK. AND the same is true for boxes for packaging .... I'm sure the majority of on-line sellers are much better than I at finding the BEST places with the highest quality supplies --- BUT I DID FIND A BUSINESS CARD SUPPLIER many of you may NOT be aware of.


I always buy my cards by the thousand ---  and by ordering them on line (from a company in the Netherlands) I was paying over $100 per thousand.  I just figured that was the going rate ... AND after checking a couple other on-line sellers that reaffirmed what I'd though.


NOW I have opened my second shop and a week ago I thought "well I'll have to wait until I order them and get them" (which usually took about a month).  Then I wondered if anyone in the city I live sold them -- figuring I would pay the same but at least have them more quickly.  It was MUCH better than that.  And it is called STAPLES!!

It had never occurred to me to check out Staples --- I assumed (I know, never ASSUME) that their printing center was for copies and books.  SO as I googled "Lincoln NE business card printer) they came up. I ordered on line.  They were done the following day.  I ordered 1000 double sided cards,  AND I PAID $26.00 plus tax. 

SOOOOO if you have a Staples in your city, be SURE to check them out.   AND if you live in a smaller town or a place without Staples, it would be well worth the phone call to see if they would mail them to you ... I'd be willing to be they do.

AND take a look at the quality




AND these are not just plain heavy paper -- they have a glossy finish and are nice and heavy.

OH and just in case you can't read it .... the name of my NEW store is AnnsWhimseySupplies and it can be found at:

https://www.etsy.com/shop/annswhimseysupplies

AND you'll probably find another article about the new shop soon!  :+) It IS open and doing business!!! If you use supplies for your products, crafting, or scrapbooking you just might find something.  AND I have TEN more large totes of items to put in ... so it will grow :+)



Friday, July 28, 2017

Better Not Leave Home

I was talking with a good friend of mine about our  blog and she is the most uplifting person I've ever known.  She encouraged me to start writing more in here so  here I am and today we are going to talk about Shopify versus Etsy.

As you may remember in our ongoing drama, Sandy, Linda, and I decided we'd had it with all of the changes on Etsy along with having absolutely NO control of our websites and for that matter, of our promotions or customer relations. And it is damned frustrating as 98% of us know.  The constant "tests" they run, awakening to find a message telling us to do this or that differently, it is NOT ideal. HOWEVER ..... let's look at other places (I'm sorta like a gypsy, roaming around and trying different sites). 

I had read about Shopify for over a year and everything I heard was wonderful.  AND Shopify is NOT bad ... its' the best site I've found but it's only for those who have lots of expendable cash and can BUY every app they offer, and for those of you who have the utmost patience, AND for those of you who are ready to start all over, from scratch, just like starting over at Etsy again.  Remember those slow days, weeks, and months until sales started coming in on Etsy? And then how long it took to get a LOT of sales each week?  Well, I can say from experience, I grew my shoppers much faster on Etsy than on Shopify.  AND we all three had mailing lists and emailed all of our existing customers. 

I did the building and it took me about three months.  IF you are a computer guru (and I'm pretty darned good) you might be able to do it in two months, but I doubt it.  The one GREAT, absolutely GREAT thing about Shopify is their support and service.  I called them more times than I'd ever called my kids when they moved to their first apartments!!  In fact, I'm sure the support personnel knew who was calling when they heard my voice.  It was awful .... I would be flying along, getting one part of the site set up and then I'd hit a snag; time to call.  They would explain what I'd done wrong and would remote in to show me things.  But picture yourself thrown into completely new environment after spending months or years in another -- nothing LOOKS the same, the terminology from the techs is different (small example -- home page, front page, title page are all different there). 

Then I had already tried WIX where you can import your items and which was a disaster ... so we did NOT import at Shopify -- we spent another three months copying our things over.  THEN messages pop up daily about "trying this" or "trying that" to "grow your audience".  AND they are NOT inexpensive. Google is like a big green monster waiting to get you into his/her talons ... been there, done THAT.  There are so many apps which Shopify talks about .... and we did end up paying for one which was in-house marketing --- at this point about six months had gone by. 

The day we opened we emailed our customers.  In the first week we had six sales (between the three of us -- actually between two of  us).  Then we sat.  We sat for months.  We sat for a few more months. I am NOT one to keep emailing my shoppers and neither are Sandy or Linda ... so we sat.  One of Sandy's reeally great customers followed her to Shopify and she DID have quite a few sales to her,  but the shopper herself said she found Etsy easier to use. 

It took me MONTHS to be able to move around in the shop without having to stop and think "now where do I go next?"  BUT the big thing was  NO TRAFFIC. I know Etsy's search is a mess but at least there ARE shoppers who come through every day.  AND if you've built a relationship WITH your shoppers they WILL find you. 

IF you go to another site to build your shop, it's up to YOU AND your POCKETBOOK to drive traffic.  AND sales are always slow in a new place so your pocketbook gets more and more slim.  PLUS no stand alone website is as intuitive as Etsy for the shoppers.    

If you happen to watch "The Sharks", nearly all of the websites of the contestants they invest in are built on Shopify.  BUT The Shark's technical team builds the website and teaches the store owner how to use it.  MUCH easier than on your own and trying to teach two other people what to do .. and two of them findings things and telling me about it.

SO we moved back and I sent another email to my shoppers .... and within a week my sales were back to normal.  Several of them told me they were sorry they hadn't bought in our new shop and all gave the same reason .... shopping on Etsy seems "safe" and "easy".  They hurried to say they did not mistrust me because most of my shoppers have been to my shop a lot more than once ... but they didn't like the idea of "putting their money" into someplace whose name they didn't even know (we had simply called it our website, which is what it was).   

AND I may yet again try Shopify but I've learned one extremely important lesson -- bounce around the internet. Look at shops.  And IF you decide to try another site, have only ONE kind of inventory. I have all of my "categories" in Etsy filled with very different items -- sort of like a department store. THAT does NOT work anywhere on the web (except for Amazon and Etsy).  If you specialize in one item your chances of success are better.  If you have enough money put back to buy into all of the Shopify  apps AND into google, your chances of success are much better.  (and I'm talking LOTS of money --- some of the apps are $100 a month).  AND if you do handmade and you have to sometimes fill "custom orders" forget it.  People shopping on-line are NOT going to wait for a custom order unless you are in Etsy where many things ARE handmade and they are expecting  the delay. 

I am definitely NOT an Etsy fan but after trying (I'm counting) four other sites, with the most time spent at Shopify, I would think long and hard before leaving Etsy.  You may, however, find a shop with my name on it out there it the gruesome internet -- but you will find only ONE kind of item in it!

my shop:  AnnsWhimsey  https://www.etsy.com/shop/annswhimsey


Sunday, July 16, 2017


UBER AND ETSY

If you sell on Etsy, and if you watched the NBC news  tonight you found out what I did ... we, Ettsy  sellers, have "come a long way babies".  The tag line for "coming up" on tonight's newscast was "what do Etsy and Uber sellers have in common?"  

FIRST think about that --- 10 years ago the lead-in would have been "what do EBAY and Uber workers have in common?"  and you can bet I'm right on that.  WELL tonight it was Uber and ETSY.  And they gave us a name which I've already forgotten (if you saw it, let me know what it was).  Basically the story was about what those of us who work part-time on Etsy (or for Uber) should do.  Their advice was #1 do NOT burn out ... limit yourself (like any of us can or will) and the second was make sure your money is going to pay off loans, or pay the bills ...  if necessary.  ANYWAY my favorite part of the spot was that it wasy "Uber and ETSY" and not "Uber and EBAY" -- :+)

Monday, July 10, 2017



If It's Good Enough For Amazon ----


FIRST ... don't miss our new slideshow ... to the right of this post ... and be sure to click on the "speaker" so you can enjoy the music!

Tonight Sandy told me "Christmas is selling" and I guess being on Etsy for five years has JUST ABOUT made me into a seller.  BUT I'm still hesitating on putting out my Christmas ornaments (for sale) and my restored Halloween and Christmas art.  I think it's because I've spent more than half my life married to a man who has a complete, total meltdown every August --- he has to run to the store and comes home saying  (not yelling .. he never yells) -- but saying with disgust -- "WELL the August Christmas trees are up".  It drives him batty.  BUT Amazon is having IT'S first big sale ... their "Christmas in July" so I guess I have to take that last tiny step to becoming a REAL retailer huh? 

This has been quite the year for both Sandy and me.  She went to Texas for her first visit as a mother-in-law.  And she had a wonderful time with her married daughter and her new son-in-law.  We saw our last grandchild graduate this Spring.  That was very bittersweet.  AND out oldest granddaughter graduated from college this year.  And the middle child, our grandson, starts his second year of college this fall.  Where DO the years go?  My grandma used to say that all the time, and the older she got the more sadness there was in her voice.  I'm starting to understand.

And my first announcement here of an upcoming event:  I WILL be starting my SECOND shop soon.  I know, you've heard that before ... twice ... once from three of us, once from two of us ... and we're down to just me :+)  Sandy, of course, HAS two shops ... and I certainly can't let Sandy outdo me!!!   BUT I have ALWAYS wanted that supply shop and this time I'm doing it alone.  I'm having FUN loading it up with all sorts of goodies ... and keep making myself wait until I get at least 400 items in there.  I'm not a patient person!!!

SOOO I hope all of you are having a wonderful summer -- looking at the calendar, within a month the kids will all be back in school!  Where DOES the time go???

Thursday, June 8, 2017

ONE THING TO NEVER DO IF YOU ARE A SELLER!


OK I am sitting here laughing and rolling my eyes (yup I can do two things at the same time :+)  I ordered something on another "E" on line sales sight -- no not Etsy. I just got the package.  Ready ... the item was in a Planter's Peanuts can --- with the peanut label still on it --- OMG.  Yes,  I keep a supply of NEW boxes on hand AND as I've said before (a few years ago in here) there is ONE kind of box I will re-use and those are the ones from Amazon.  They are sturdy, the previous label can be taken off without doing damage to the box, and it looks professional.  BUT A PEANUTS CAN???   Truly, appearance counts!  :+)

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Life's Changes

I've never been one to easily accept changes.  I'm sure this goes back to the first horrendous change in my life, the death of my Dad when I was 11 years old (and he was 33 years old).  My life and my brother's life were shattered and it seemed after that, our lives were nothing but change.  Our mother remarried, to a man with five children so instead of "we are two", he and I were told to adjust to being "we are seven".  We were told to call another person Dad ... it was, to say , traumatic. AND I think that is the reason I don't accept change  easily and never have.  If I decide to make a change that's fine (after careful thought) but  I don't like changes done without my input.

SOOO I think that's why the constant changes in the place where many of us sell just drive me NUTS :+)  I am aware that  due simply to technology, changes DO have to be made, but when a group of so called "management" people just take it upon themselves to change the appearance and the management tools for the shop I've poured thousands of hours into , I am more than a little disturbed. And since this has happened many times over the years I've been selling with them, I've developed a strong distrust.

SOOO I just want you to know that if the new changes have you banging your head against the nearest wall, you aren't alone.  I don't like being forced to accept change while at the same time most of our suggestions are ignored  ... AND I am very concerned about the impact it has on our shoppers. Good old Wal-Mart is the best B&M shop to use as an example ... every other year they do a "reset" of their stores.  AND every  time they do this, I visit their store less and less.  It was fine to begin with, everyone who shopped there knew where everything was UNTIL their biannual change.  Our venue for selling seems (at least in my mind) to do it more often!   SO just know, if you are frustrated, you aren't alone!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

HAPPY MOTHERS DAY


Sandy and I would like to wish all of you who are moms and grandmothers a very Happy Mother's Day. Our's will be very quiet I believe.  Sandy's daughter lives half way across the country from her ... and in our family our youngest grandchild has her graduation party on Saturday.  I think we'll spend Mother's Day resting!

For those of you who are not yet grandmothers, I have to tell you that your children are going to get just a teeny tiny (VERY teeny tiny) nudge to the back of the line once they give you grandchildren :+)  We have two who live in the same city we do, and one who lives not far away.  The not far away one graduated from college two weeks ago!  How proud we are of her.  The two who live here in the city .... the oldest graduated last year, and has finished his first year of college. Now little sister is  graduating this year.  She decided when she went into 9th grade that she WOULD graduate in three years.  She has always been stubborn and when she says she will do something, she DOES it.  She was a three year cheerleader, played volleyball for two years, and still managed to graduate in three years.  Her party is Saturday and then graduation is a week from Saturday.  (I don't question why they do it backwards ... I just go :+) SO this year I gladly don't mind graduation shadowing Mother's Day! And hubby is making 25 pounds of potato salad for the party, as he did last year, and he very sternly told our daughter "this is the LAST time .. if you have parties for college graduation YOU make the potato salad or you don't have any".

SOOO this is a very happy week for us.  Sandy knows she'll be getting a phone call and long talk with her daughter (and no doubt gifts) ... and we'll be surrounded by family.  Who says Christmas is "the most beautiful time of the year"??? :+)

Happy Mother's Day!