OK ... I would imagine some of you have noticed something's different :+) For a while you saw posts from us and received emails from us as we were "leaving Etsy" and "moving to our stand alone shop". Now you see annswhimsey posts on google plus, twitter, pinterest, and from Hugs and Holidays, and from Craft Stuff Depot. So what DID happen? The answer: "We got educated". AND we hope what we found out might help at least one person who is thinking of doing what we tried.
We moved to Shopify and built our inventory to over 1000 items --- i.e., we worked our butts off :+) We promoted and we had sales. However, every web host site has its warts ... be it Etsy, Wix, Shopify, GoDaddy -- you name it, you'll find a few warts. It was very nice not to have all of the Etsy rules to follow and not to have the platform we were on change on an almost weekly basis. But the basic fee grew and grew (if you wanted to really promote and get your shop to work). SO with our tails dragging we've come back to Etsy ... and are glad tobe "home".
What I want to share with other sellers is the turning point for us ... something for you to think about should you be considering a move. MANY years ago I owned and ran a resume' development, job placement firm. While we were working on our new stand alone, I "bumped into" one of my former resume' clients who got a job with google. SO I asked him to look at our shop and tell me what else we could do to promote it.
As many of you know, we use all the categories allowed by Etsy. We are a mini-mall, a mini department store. Let's call my former client "Joe". Joe looked at it and asked me if I knew of other Shopify stores. Yes I did. They are hard to find since they are all privately owned, BUT they do have question/answer forums on Shopify, so I would click on the names of those shop owners to find their shops. Joe asked if I noticed anything. I told him yes -- they are all niche shops -- ALL of them that I'd found. He said "And therein lies your problem".
Joe said that when people are shopping for, for example, specialty teas, they would end up at a tea shop, a niche shop. T-shirts, same thing. Golf supplies, same thing. AND those (niche shops) are easy to find as they have just one brand to promote. However, WE, with our many "departments" in our shop, were competing against on-line malls, the places people go to shop for Christmas or birthday gifts, or for office supplies ... anything they want in one place. SO WE were competing against three major "malls" .... Amazon, Etsy, and Ebay. He said that in order to compete, we could expect to spend tens of thousands of dollars on Google, and tens of thousands of dollars in more products. Even then, it would take years and years to become known and we would still be competing with bigger (and richer) shopping sites.
And thus, we returned to Etsy. Yes, it has its warts ... but at least we know we can sell there and we don't have to take out second mortgages to fund it :+) SO you will once again find us on Etsy ... at annswhimsey, Craft Stuff Depot, and Hugs and Holidays. We are moving our inventory BACK and it will take weeks but this was as much an educational experience as our college years were! AND I hope this has helped at least one person decide whether or not to try to "go it alone".
PS --- And yes, you can click on the shop names to see how we're doing with our move back. :+)