Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Facepalm Moment

We all have them, the moments where you ask yourself what the heck you were thinking, how you forgot that, or why did you think it in the first place?

Well, I just had one.

I've been advertising One Stitch Designs for a while now on various fashion and fiber artists blogs. My ad has a coupon code in it, same one I've used in my Etsy shops when I have advertised before.

Well here's my facepalm moment.

I made the code in my website and went on with my life. And today when I went to add a customer specific code (for joining my mailing list), I realized it wasn't active. I forgot to triple check everything and make sure it was active!

That was smart. I wonder now if anyone had gotten to my cart and when the code didn't work, they left. I know I've done it in the past.

Moral of the story: always check everything.

Now, in recognition of my stupidity.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Plus Size Blog

One of the things that I learned from my marketing review was that I really should have my own blog in addition to this one that sticks to the subjects that are closely related to what I do such as designing clothing for plus size women, selecting and shopping for luxury yarn, sweater design and other plus size issues including my mixed feelings about my own weight loss. (Yikes!) I've got a new one set up now and I hope that some of you will come visit me at Mirabilis Fashions Plus Size Blog and tell me about the things that you'd like to read about.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

In Support Of Handmade

(all items shown on this blog post are 100% handmade items)

Today is the day where many shops are closing their shop for the day in protest of etsy's decision to allow a seller who claimed to have a handmade shop that could not have been handmade in any one but etsy's definition to stay open.

I will not mention names, or put a link here, miss perfectly manicured pretty hands carpenter has had more than enough exposure.

I understand why these people are closing shop for the day, the silent protest, hoping that their approximately 0.5% of shops closing for the day will put a large enough blip on etsy's radar to tell them something.

But Etsy knows what we want, and closing our shops for the day isn't going to hurt anyone but ourselves. I know I cannot afford to lose out on even one tiny sale, literally every penny counts!

Some of the shops closing today have been bashing those of us who have decided to stay open, it's sad.

Many of us have devised a way to show support of handmade in our own ways (after all, isn't this why we are in business for ourselves, so no one can tell us what to do?). These other alternatives are positive.

*There's the Stop, Then Shop movement, which will refrain from buying today (May 10, 2012), and buy everything they wanted to buy tomorrow.

*Some of us cannot afford to buy anything, those of us in that boat are doing a whole lot of promotion for people we know to be handmade sellers.  This is done on pinterest, twitter, facebook, in treasuries, on blogs, and wherever else a person may promote

*Some of us are going to go ahead and take the plunge on some items we've had sitting in our carts and were on the fence about.

There are so many ways you can support handmade any day, not just this week.

Buy and promote handmade by the seller in anyway you can. On etsy, on any other site, even on the sellers own websites.  If they have one.

Q: How do you know it's handmade by the seller?

 A: Sometimes it's hard to tell. I usually do a search for that item. if it's a reseller item, or "charm on a chain" (which in my opinion is not handmade unless you made the charm or the chain), you'll usually see several other sellers selling the same piece. Many people add a few beads or dangles to the necklace, this is OK, as it shows a little bit of creativity.  On higher priced stuff, it's not always so easy to tell, though usually a Google search can bring up the original maker

Both Karen and myself are 100% handmade (although I do have a supply shop where I sell some knitting needles and yarns that I didn't make)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Further Adventures in E-commerce

It sure has been a busy month for me with all sorts of good things going on as well as getting some eye-opening advice from a marketing professional that understands my demographic very well.  First for the good news:

- I have over 600 Facebook fans now and they're starting to interact with my page and talk to me.  I'm hating it less every day.

- People are also commenting on and sharing my posts on Google+ but it's still a ghost town compared to Facebook. 

- My stand-alone shop has done more business in 2 months than my Etsy shop has done in the last 6 months and those months included the winter and holidays.

- I've started a new blog to go with my shop and as soon as I get more content out there I'll let you all know about it so that you can visit me there too.

- I learn more and more about SEO every day from being a leader on the SEO team and even though it's a lot of work I love seeing people start to get great results because they took it seriously and really researched their keywords.

- I'm eventually going to be featured on a plus sized blog for professional women (yay!) and will probably have another feature done by a popular plus size blogger during the holidays.  The best part of this is that they have nothing to do with Etsy and are out there in the real world of advertising.

The rest isn't exactly good news but it definitely goes under the heading of useful advice. 

- I was told by a well-known plus size blogger that my stuff was too white and middle aged to appeal to her audience.  After I scraped my chin off of the floor I realized that she was right.  Although I wouldn't have phrased it that way and would have referred to things like "youthful urban fashion" without bringing skin color into it I did appreciate how blunt she was.  It helped me to focus on where I should be marketing and it isn't to trendy young women on a tight budget.  I already reach that demographic on Etsy and it's virtually useless to me.  The average person under 30 probably isn't shopping in my price bracket and I avoid trends like the plague.  If I invest a lot of money in clothing I want it to last for years and years and not look silly in it by the next season. She also said that people my size don't understand plus size shoppers and I was tempted to send her a picture of myself in a 3X from a few years ago but there was no point in arguing with her.  

- I was lucky enough to get a professional marketing review for free and boy did it open my eyes because she was simply brutal about Etsy when it comes to older women.  She felt very strongly that older women do not see Etsy as a place to buy clothing at all, never mind high end items, the plus size categories are a disaster of a mess of mislabeled stuff and that I'm setting myself up to look like a tacky amateur if I stay there.  She said that she would be much less likely to buy my items if she were aware that I also had an Etsy shop and that I should eradicate the word "crafts" from my vocabulary because I don't make macaroni art.  Her strongest advice was to shut down my shop there and if I wouldn't do that I should at least open up under a new name so that I don't taint my real business name.  Yikes.  I have to think about this because I can add a "for the home" section to my own shop to put the blankets in but I still have a few straight size sweaters that don't fit with the plus size theme of the shop.  Leaving Etsy altogether would probably be great for my blood pressure also because they're the most outrageously immature, rude and obnoxious entity that I've ever handed money over to. It isn't like I make much money there anyway and it falls far behind local sales and sales from my own website.  (She also asked me if Etsy sold anything that wasn't white or beige and that was my best laugh of the day.)

So, my adventures in learning about e-commerce continue...

A few hours later... Hmm - that certainly seemed to hit a nerve. I'm not much into replying to abusive anonymous convos so I'll take a stab at it in public. My comments about Etsy are certainly not meant to be a universal criticism and I wasn't implying that everyone that sells on Etsy should be ashamed of themselves or of the site. The marketing expert was talking about one specific type of product targeted to one specific demographic that Etsy doesn't try to serve. For the people whose products target the same demographic that Etsy does and whose work falls within the traditional craft categories and and pricing of the other types of items there Etsy is probably just fine. All of that long convo blather about hating me and unliking my page is sort of childish, don't you think? I'm sorry if anyone was offended but it would probably be better for your blood pressure to just ignore me. Sheesh.