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.


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.



14 thoughts on “when things aren’t working

  1. It’s definitely tough. I wonder if there’s a cheaper / easier place where you could put things, but more as a portfolio than actual items that are for sale, so people could still order, but more on a custom basis? Although I know that’s not quite how you like to create …

    1. That sounds cool, but yes, you are right, I tend to take a different selling approach – more of a “take it or leave it” deal. I talked to my dad over lunch and it helped get my brain working. I may work something out eventually. Thanks for the feedback!

  2. I post selfies with your fiber. 🙂

    Isn’t there a happy medium? Aren’t there times when you don’t have shows? Like during winter months. Is it possible to take pictures and make a blog post or email newsletter with them all and let people have a custom etsy listing if they are interested?

    1. You are special, Haizle! And I always appreciate it when you share your photos. 😀

      There are times when I’m not doing shows – like right now. I don’t have one until March. And in the summer things get slow. But I just get so busy catching up and restocking that I don’t think about updating it. I know a lot of this is on me. If I was better at time management, I would get a lot more done in the day!

      1. I know few people who don’t have issues with time management. Maybe make that a part of your plan for 2014? Put on the calendar days to stock your online shop. Even if it’s 2 or 3 items.

        1. That’s a good idea. I do have a dry-erase board calendar in my office. It was supposed to help me do more long range monthly planning, but I just end up writing what I did for the current day. Ugh. I need to actually DO THE THINGS I SAY I’M GOING TO DO!

  3. What about just having inventory that is for online only? List it online for a certain amount of time (3 months? whatever etsy’s listings are) and if it doesn’t sell, it goes to a show?
    You could also try Storenvy–since you don’t pay anything to list items, only if they sell. =]

    1. I’ve been thinking about Storenvy or even using the Square Marketplace. My concern was that I would lose the community I had developed at Etsy, but honestly out of the 400+ “fans”, I think a handful have actually bought something. They aren’t doing anything for me these days. My sales dropped off a long time ago.

      But I do like their shipping tracker. As if I ever use it now, though!

  4. When I go to big shows I bring my etsy stock with me just in case. It is kept in a seperate box that is labeled. So far it hasn’t been necessary but it has saved some stress.

    So that you do have somewhere that fans from sjows can go it might be worth kerping 12-20 items on etsy. Think of how much stress and time you would save yourself. Another option could be your own store through paypal or square. It sounds like the general etsy browsers aren’t finding your awesome fibers. Do3s your etsy shop get many views?

    1. That’s not a bad idea, although it is likely that I’d end up putting the extra stuff out anyway. I don’t get much help from Etsy anymore. People may view, but they don’t buy. I guess the stuff just looks better in person!

  5. I don’t get many sales on Etsy either and I’ve been on Etsy since Nov 2007. I love your fiber and still have 2 bags left to spin. I haven’t bought anymore from you because my budget won’t allow me to. I hope you stay on Etsy even if you only list a few items now and then.

    1. I appreciate that, Virginia. I’m not saying it’s been a total waste of my time. I just know I can’t devote the time it needs to really be successful. A reinvention is in the works!

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