Sunday, October 18, 2009

etsy update and online selling advice sought!

Just a flying visit to say I have finally added Ethel (and her little Willy) and Frank embroideries to my etsy shop. Hurrah!
I'm actually all of a kerfuffle about my internet life, and it's hampering my productivity. I think I need your help! Yes, yours!

I mentioned a while back that I won a shopify store in a competition on Super Cute Kawaii and I have been secretly slogging away at that for the last few weeks. (I hope it is going to be ready to open very soon - I will keep you posted!) I do think shopify will be great once I have it up and running but the thing that is really sending my head a-spinning is having bits of myself in all these different (online) places.

For my etsy shop, each item listed and photographed is the actual item you would get if you bought it, and I keep the contents of my etsy shop in a box. If someone buys something, I take it from my shop-in-a-box and send it off. Simple! This approach would be just about do-able for shopify, too (I would just need a slightly bigger box!) but I'm thinking of 'getting myself out there' with maybe a Folksy shop and a Dawanda shop and...? And then I'm doing more markets and I want to take e.g. my embroideries with me... I don't know that I could ever have enough embroideries at any one time to have them in every online-shop-in-a-box and... I think this could get out of control and I don't like it!

Also, in the winter months especially, it is really hard to photograph things in my flat and I'd like to have a standard photo that I re-used when I re-listed an item, rather than spending hours trying to get a new photograph for each new item. In setting up shopify, I've followed this approach a bit more for some items but it makes me kind of uneasy when the items are handmade and each one does vary slightly, which is very much the case for the embroideries in particular. If the photo is of the exact/actual item, I feel like I couldn't really get away from the shop in the box system and if I had four online shops I would have to have four of each embroidery (one in each online shop's box) plus separate embroideries to take to markets... That's a whole lot of embroideries to stockpile! Maybe that's madness or maybe that is precisely what I should be doing? I really have no idea!

Not to mention that I will now be blogging on shopify and I want to keep blogging here too and... Aaargh!

Do you have multiple shops selling unique handmade items? How do you photograph, list and manage your stock? Do you have a system? Please share your wisdom before I go crazy!
Thanks :)


  1. This is something I initially struggled with too, but you soon get over it ;)

    Unless you are making things which you can make in large numbers quickly, it's never going to be feasible to photograph each one individually. Also, unless they are big fancy art pieces, or very limited edition, I don't believe customers would expect it either.

    To allay your fears, in your terms and conditions or even in your listings, you could simply add a sentence saying as each piece is handmade, tiny variations may occur.

    This is also a selling point though - turn it round to your advantage! Each piece will differ in a tiny (often imperceptible way), and therefore will be totally unique.

    Can't wait to see your Shopify!

  2. I don't have much experience with multiples in a shop BUT i would say it's perfectly acceptable to have one picture just add a comment to your description mentioning what the person above said! (each piece is handmade, tiny variations may occur)I would just keep whatever you have in one box rather than having different boxes for different things!

    you could just cross post i guess? Just post there whatever you would hear and just copy/paste it!

  3. Thanks, Claire and Claire!

    Honestly, my shopify is FULL of disclaimers about handmade items being unique/variations occurring etc! That's partly what's been driving me crazy :)

    I think this wouldn't be such a problem if I could get the embroidery frames more easily i.e. so that I could use the same colour of frame every time. I don't expect someone would complain that Willy had an extra roll of fat in their embroidery compared to the one pictured. But I kind of think if the picture showed a black frame and the item arrived in a pink frame, then they might complain... I just ordered heaps of wood effect frames though so that might alleviate that problem eventually. Some level of consistency is what I will strive for!

    I guess I could have a folksy/dawanda/whatever shop with the same items that I had in my etsy shop and then just swoop in and remove an item from all the other stores if it sold in one, which almost seems more fiddly than having umpteen shops in boxes! And then what if I forgot to remove it and someone else ordered it and I didn't have what I needed to make another e.g. a zip brooch, made using a VINTAGE zip and not the sort of thing I can necessarily find in a given colour at short notice???

    I'm probably worrying too much but I'm a bit of a control freak (and quite disorganised with it - not a good combo!) and I somehow can't stand the thought of not being totally accurate in listings. It will drive me crazy though - I even had to be talked out of early retirement from the pro-crafting life this week!! I should probably just chill out a bit and open my shopify even though my shop sign is pants, my products are in goodness knows what shop-in-a-box and I don't have a scooby what I'm really doing... Yes, I should chill out.

  4. I have had similar issues - a lot of what I make is a one off due to the nature of the materials I use...vintage and antique bits and bobs. Photographing things started as a nightmare, but now I think I am at the point where it doesn't take too just takes practice and experience and it will get easier...although I agree with claire & claire...if you have something that is the same design, but with handmade differences just use the same photo for them all.
    I tried to have an etsy, dawanda, folksy...etc shop and it all got a little too much...I tried to split things up, but then I thought that the things sitting in my lesser viewed folksy and Dawanda shops were being wasted and that maybe if there were more in these shops they might be viewed more. Anyway. I gave up and now just have an etsy shop...and I'm just starting to create my own shop on my own website...It means I know where things are, I don't sell things and have to remember where I have to take them down also means I don't have to promote 6,000,000,000 places at the same time - I can concentrate on one. Maybe I am missing loads of sales...but my brain doesn't hurt!

  5. Nice. I love your blog and crafts.

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