An idea whose time has come? Or maybe shouldn’t be done?

So, I’ve been scouring Etsy over the last few weeks; looking for things similar to what I’ll be doing. I want to see what other people are charging for their work, what they’re charging for shipping, how they word their policies… I mean, I have a general idea of what I want for this, but I want to see if what I think is reasonable is what other people think is reasonable. And I have to tell you… I’m starting to wonder about what I’m doing. I almost wrote “doubt” but that implies I’ve having second thoughts, which I am not – I’m having way too much fun to have second thoughts (at least until after Christmas, if I haven’t sold anything yet). But I am starting to wonder if I’m a trendsetter or behind the times.

Here are some thoughts, in no particular order.

Shipping is fucking outrageous, and I don’t think I understand what the standard is. Some people charge $5 for everything, no matter the weight. Some people charge $20, no matter the weight.

When photographing your work, at what point do you realize that your photograph is out of focus? How can you not notice until after you’ve chosen them and uploaded them? And if it’s so out of focus in all three or four photos you put up that you can’t even see any detail… do you think about retaking the photo? Or do you just… let it go? Because I’m seeing a lot of people who have just… let it go.

Online is not in person. That page that you’ve put up is the initial impression that people are going to get about you. Don’t you think you’d want to… I don’t know, check for spelling errors?

There’s not really too many people doing what I do, ceramics-wise. The people who do it, do a lot of it; but so far I’ve only been able to find a handful of sellers who pour molds – about 85% of the ceramics I’ve found are thrown. You’d think this would be in my favor, right? Except that it makes me worry that my work is… past it’s prime. I’d say, if I’ve found 10 people, maybe three of them really blow me out of the water. About half of them are only selling bisque, ready to paint (and tell me, why go through all the work of cleaning the piece if you’re not going to have the fun of painting the piece?!) and the rest are… meh. The 80’s have called, they’d like their Country Kitchen back. Of course, most of my molds are from the late 50’s/early 60’s, so I’m one to talk about “vintage”. I’ve easily got a dozen ashtray molds. Does anyone even smoke anymore?!

Almost 90% of the soap I’ve seen online is bar soap; not soap with designs on it, like what I do. Is that good, making me unique? Or does that mean that what I do is passe?

Some shops are very to-the-point. “Here is my item, here’s what it weighs, here’s the dimensions, here’s the shipping”. Some shops are very cutesy. “Here’s little Bunny Foo Foo, won’t you give poor bunny a home before someone comes along and bops him on the head?”. Surely I can come up with something to say about each and every piece that doesn’t make me seem like a cold fish, but doesn’t make me seem like a three-year-old, either. Actually, my friend’s three-year-old could probably come up with some awesome funny descriptions, but she’s crazy precocious.

Blargh.

Anyway. I’m hoping to launch my Etsy site between August 10th and 15th. Oh my, that’s soon. Why am I writing? I should be glazing!

5 comments

  1. I don’t know. There are sooo many Etsy stores it gives me a headache sometimes. What usually impresses me is excellent presentation and good product.

    If your style is different from all the rest, I be you will stand out.

    And honestly, if you’d like me to write some clever (ish) copy for your stuff, I’d be happy to help. This is what I do, you know! 🙂

  2. It’s so very tough. I see people selling things in HUGE quantities for outrageous prices – and it’s absolute crap. And yet it sells! I get frustrated a lot because I look at some of the prices people charge for stuff that’s just awful and I look at the pieces I make and think, it’s obviously much higher quality for less so why doesn’t it sell?

    I try to give info – in my case, I try to always include a few lines about the gemstone properties. Even if it’s not your thing, I don’t think it turns anyone away and if you do like that kind of info, it’s there.

    I try to be fair on shipping – in fact, I’ve been running free shipping for a few months now – but it’s amazing how quickly shipping can add up with any amount of weight.

    All I can say is do what feel right to you; what you’d want to receive if you were the customer.

  3. I agree that good presentation, as in clarity of photos, possibly including multiple views and close ups, impress me. I don’t care for cutesy copy. I want to know what an item is made from, or how, and if there are any care cautions.

    I expect shipping to be on a sliding scale based on how far I am from the shipper and the weight.

    As for your soaps, I love that they have designs on them. I think you could kick ass with them at some of the flea markets up here.

    I think when you market your ceramics, you should definitely say ‘vintage-style’. Let people know that you are using mid-century molds. That will appeal to a larger crowd than just the ceramics lovers.

  4. Accurate, oh, yes. In focus, well, duuuuh, of course. Shipping, well, what does it cost to ship it? That is what to
    charge, including your incidentals, natch. Be fair, be clear
    and that should do it. As for your soaps, I know that I am happy with them and I know that when friends see the images they mention it in a positive way. So, I would say
    change nothing. We are into day four of the trek, so, hang in there the invasion has begun. xoxox

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