ramblings of progress

Yesterday morning I was feeling rather squashed. What to do with that darn Etsy shop? Make it seasonal? Establish separate inventory? Close it entirely? After sharing that post, I went out to lunch with my dad. I basically spent the entire time talking about my situation (FYI – I often have to talk out loud in order to think). I realized that I needed to differentiate the two businesses somehow: my online business vs. my traveling business. They are already quite separate, so maybe I should capitalize on it.

That’s when I came up with the idea of using the online shop as place for de-stashing.Usually my process goes like this:

  1. Dye fibers to sell.
  2. Spin fibers that don’t sell after 6 months.
  3. Sell yarn.
  4. Knit with yarn that doesn’t sell.

However, instead of using those older fibers myself, what if I placed them in a “sale bin”? That would be my online shop! I could also list things like the grab bags when I have them available. And maybe I would list a few other resale items that I couldn’t sell on Etsy, like Eucalan or notions. Ironically, I just cleared out all my old stock and knit it up for holiday craft shows. So, it might not happen right away. This also means that I won’t have those lingering items to use myself, so instead I’ll just dye a pound or two extra for my use. That will also help freshen up the colors of the yarn and knitwear, since they will be intentional and not left-overs.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the discussion. It was good to hear from fellow merchants and customers alike. It’s easy to lose perspective. We all need support from the community from time to time. Without each other, none of us could do this. I’m still thinking about closing the Etsy shop and reopening in a new location. For a long time I was afraid to do this. I would lose the following I had developed there over the years and the help from Etsy reaching customers. But honestly, it isn’t happening there. Nothing is happening there. I want to reinvent this aspect of my business and I feel like creating a new space might be the way to do it. I’ve been developing a shop at Storenvy and it’s fun! In fact, I can work on my listings while the shop is closed! WHAT?! Yes, someone decided that shop owners should be able to see their listings even when the shop is closed. Hm.

Stay tuned as I work through this new adventure!

new banner!

when things aren’t working

Oh, that darn Etsy Shop. It taunts me. Haunts me. Makes me feel inadequate, guilty, and annoyed. It’s always there, lurking over my shoulder. I’ve struggled with it since January 4, 2008. Six dreadful years and a meager 222 sales to show for it. I’ll admit, it was a good way to get started. I didn’t have to maintain a massive inventory. Just update a few at a time as things were made.

Then I started going to events. Again, I started small, but now with 8-10 activities throughout the year, it has become incredibly difficult to maintain an online presence. Just when I get something photographed and listed, I take it to a show, sell it, and have to remove it from the shop. It may only cost 20 cents per listing, but that can add up. I’ve considered keeping separate inventories: the majority for live events and a smaller group for online only. But after all this time, I just haven’t been able to make it work. Why leave a box of fiber home when I know I could sell it at the show?

I don’t know if I should just give up all together. Online sales have never been successful for me. For some reason I have developed a following that isn’t so Internet focused. They aren’t posting selfies with my yarn, or gabbing about their latest project on Ravelry, or buying loads of fiber from my shop. When I stand there in front of my booth, I sell. When I sit at home staring at the computer, nothing happens. Sure, it’s easy to get lost in the overwhelming avalanche of fiber that is now available online. I understand there are many things to choose from, and obviously mine just doesn’t shine through.

  • Is it time to close up shop?
  • How can I reconfigure things to make them work for me?
  • Would it really matter if I just didn’t do online sales anymore?

I was planning to reopen next Monday. But I have to take all new photos of my products, another aspect of this that I hate. Yesterday we finally had some sun, so I got out my camera, lugged the boxes of fiber into the living room, and sat down to work. Camera battery dead! I put in the charged battery. The camera won’t come on. PS. This camera is at least 15 years old. Refusing to be defeated, I used my phone camera. The pictures look great on the phone, but terrible on my computer. No color! Next stop is PicMonkey, a free photo editing website. I fixed all the pictures there and now they look reasonably accurate. But, ooooh, I hate this nonsense.

This first collage shows the pictures unedited.

locks-collage02

The second collage shows the photos enhanced. And I did add a filter over the whole thing to give it more oomph. The “normal” edited photos are available for view on Flickr.

locks-collage

 

where i’m at.

maybe the answer should be “nowhere”.

Remember when I was complaining about Quickbooks a few weeks ago? Well, I finally just started putting in my data and thought I’d made some good progress. Got all my receipts in there along with all the credit card transactions and everything from my bank statement. It felt good, you know, like I’d really gotten something accomplished. Well, here is a piece of advice for you: Don’t get excited. Even when you think you’ve accomplished something, you haven’t. In fact, you probably did it wrong. We met with the accountant over the weekend and I realized I’d forgotten to put in all my mileage info, which apparently is the largest deduction. Everyone just sat there looking at me like I was an idiot. I also found out that I have been assigning things to the wrong accounts and basically all my numbers are off. AWESOME. But the best part is that I still don’t really know what I’m doing. So my job for today is to get at least my mileage stuff in and see how much of the rest I can fix.

And then this afternoon I need to finish up yesterday’s dyeing, which was incredibly uninspired. Some days I get so much done I can hardly believe it. Other days I stand there in the kitchen staring at my pots and dyes. It doesn’t help that I am almost out of everything (again). Next time I order the dye powder, I’m getting the larger jar of yellow. I never do as much with yellow and green as I’d like because I’m being stingy with the yellow. And that’s no way to dye! Also, I’m really annoyed with the Greener Shades. It’s probably something I’m doing wrong, but they just aren’t exhausting. It’s tiresome. Oh yeah, and I’m almost out of citric acid, so I used my vinegar stash, but now that’s gone too. Looks like I have to go head to the grocery store.

Not feeling great about things right now.