Monday, March 5, 2018

Every time I start a new blog post, I am determined to do them on a regular basis .... BUT that never seems to happen!  As you know, I now have two shops and they are keeping me BUSY ..... but my private life is keeping me just as busy.  If you ever hear of a place that sells extra hours in a day please let me know  :+

As many of you know, I was diagnosed with cancer four years ago.  BUT what has happened since then completely blows my mind.  My husband was diagnosed with cancer about four months ago.  His, too,is a "nice" kind of cancer that will involve ongoing treatment but as a rule, the kinds of cancer he and I have are kinds you die WITH, not from.  After our diagnoses, within about three weeks SIX people we know (ALL of them husband/wife teams) were ALSO diagnosed with cancer. Of the six of us,  three of us (hubby, myself and one of the other wives) continue to work. The others are still undergoing treatment and/or surgeries.  BUT it's been quite a jolt.  Only my husband and I grew up in the same town ... so we can't wonder if we were sitting on a toxic dump, or anything like that, since none of the others did.  Life is and adventure.

I'd like to share with you just a few of the items in my newest shop, annswhimseysupplies.  I have close to 500 items in the shop for every kind of craft imaginable -- lots of scrapbooking, sewing, card making, tag making, applique and quilting items ... with box upon box upon tote upon toe of items still to be photographed and put INTO the shop!! I'd love to have you visit and make suggestions on other things you would like to find in there!  AND my first shop, annswhimsey, is at 800+ items, with lots of art, collectibles, antiques, and vintage items.

If you are starting a new line of items in your shop and would like me to highlight them for you in our blog, just get in touch with me at either of my shops, and I'll be glad to do so!!!

AND Spring is SUPPOSED to arrive soon --- let's all keep our fingers crossed!!!   ANN 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Customer Service is Dying

Here we are, about to start 2018 ... and for all of us who sell on line, I would be willing to be in OUR line of work customer service is NOT dying --- but it is out here in the new world (which is a GOOD thing for those of us who do on-line sales). AND that's why I do MY Christmas shopping on line.

We've had two examples of really rotten customer service in just two days -- in the "real world".  First we got snow (nope I'm not blaming God for poor customer service :+)  SO hubby got out his brand new snow blower .... and it refused to start.  Our neighbor, hubby's co-expert, and he worked on it for about an hour (after recharging it) --- and not a whimper from it.  SO we live near the shop he'd always taken his mowers, blowers, and other such things to and was greeted by a huge sign on the door .... "Didn't buy it here?  Then we don't fix it."  THAT had happened sometime within the last year.  SO I wonder if the owner just decided to throw away all of his old customers in order to sell?  As hubby said, "That would now be the LAST place I buy from".  Talk about creating customer dislike for yourself!  NEXT he called another fix-it shop and got their voice recording to leave a message ... and then got the MESSAGE "sorry the mailbox is full".  By then he was fuming and tried another place where a real person answered the phone, was polite, asked him questions about how it was not working, and was here in about a half hour to pick it up.  Any guesses as to who now gets his business?

THEN this weekend my computer stopped working.   I have had my computers custom built forever, four of them from the same company.  I called in and talked to the owner and told him my problem AND that I wanted THE most experienced person, as my "guru" had quit and gone elsewhere. He told me the name of his most experienced guy and I said that was great, and he was here the next day to look over what I had, take it with him so he could reload it into the new computer he was building and I should have it back today.

WELL yesterday I got a call from the owner "explaining" to me that one of his guys had called in sick" and they'd sold 12 new computers so it would take MY technician until "sometime next week" to get mine finished. I said "now wait a minute -- mine was FIRST in line and almost done" and he got ugly.  Well they couldn't just let new orders "sit" to finish mine.  I was furious.  My husband then picked up the phone and called him and asked him to explain why they didn't finish orders IN the order they came in.  "Well we don't want to make a bad impression on new business".  SO we drove over to the shop.  My technician looked like he wanted to throw up and HE called the owner and he will now be here first thing Tuesday, after the holiday ... thanks to him.  I then took the phone from my tech and talked to the owner .... I said "you know all the new orders you've gotten?? Well three came from my referral".  HIS reply?  "Well if you want us to just scrap your new one I won't charge you".  And HE is close to 60 years old.  Talk about no knowledge of customer service!  NO I didn't want the one that is almost done scrapped --- AND after it is set up and running, I will be checking out other places that custom build computers so I'm read in about eight more years.  AND he'll never get another referral from me. 

It seems like we see it in a lot of brick and mortar places anymore.  We see it a lot in our world today .. the "attitude that "I'm doing you a favor to take your money", the "attitude" of "I really would rather be doing something else".  SO since we can't meet our shoppers in person, the least we can do is communicate with them, answer their questions in a friendly manner (I've have some snarky answers from people I WAS going to buy from on Etsy and then didn't) ... more and more people are finding on-line shopping easy --- we need to make it easy AND friendly for them!  :+)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017



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:

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

Sunday, July 16, 2017


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


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!  :+)