Etsy Holiday Boot Camp Weeks Eight, Nine and Ten

OK, I have to be honest that I’ve been letting this slide. For one, I’m usually the initator of contact with my boot camp buddies, and I was kind of holding off to see if either one of them would talk about Boot Camp if I didn’t prod them (they did not; so I did). And for another – and wow, this sounds a little self-important, but… I’ve been so busy with orders that I haven’t had time to fuss with figuring out how to get orders! I know… I know… it sucks to be me. ;p

(Have I mentioned lately how lucky and grateful I am?!)

So… Week Eight

Read this week’s blog post – check! It was on Ten Tips for the Holiday Rush:

  1. It’s not too late to enlist in Boot Camp – I already have.
  2. Consider offering special promotions – I am considering it.
  3. Get in on the “shop local” action – I have long since added my location and made myself on of the other… 18 shops tagged as being from Gainesville, Florida.
  4. Thank goodness there’s no limit on the number of Treasury lists anymore! – yeah, but too bad that Etsy recently revamped the profile pages, and now rather than profile pages focusing on us and what we do, it focuses on our favorites and treasuries we’ve made or been in. Which directs people away from your shop – I don’t know if you’ve noticed (if you even look) but at first glance and/or if you’re not paying attention, you could click on things in someone’s profile thinking you’re looking at their items but surprise! You’re looking at items they like. Which, granted, is interesting; I like looking at things that people like. But I think it also detracts from the seller’s profile page. So I’m conflicted about making treasuries (although I’m awfully glad when I get in one!).
  5. Offer international shipping – I do, but ask that they convo me first so that I can get an accurate shipping price for them. I don’t want to overcharge them, but I also don’t want to vastly undercharge myself.
  6. Share your story – I do, in every piece as well as in my profile. Although technically here they’re talking about when you do Press Releases… which I haven’t gotten a lot of call for yet.
  7. Speaking of press, help spread the word about Etsy – which I will do, should I ever be in the press!
  8. Tie events back to Etsy.com – which I will do, should I ever be in an event!
  9. Customer service is key during the stressful holiday shopping season – IMHO, customer service is key.
  10. Join a team – I don’t think I really understand Teams.

Plan for Cyber Monday – here’s where I’m dragging my feet. I don’t know why I *don’t* want to run one of the three deals Etsy is suggesting for the weekend; Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or Free Shipping. Or they also suggest that you recategorize your shop by price point.

  1. Black Friday: whoops, too late, drug my feet long enough and can’t do anything now.
  2. Cyber Monday: here’s what I think part of my problem is… they’re touting these days as “shoppers looking for a bargain” and… I don’t really want to attract shoppers looking for a bargain. I want to attract shoppers looking for a good product. See… we had a discount policy at the yarn shop based on how much you spent, and eventually those discounts worked against us. Now we’re closed (although still online). So in my head I equate people looking for a good bargain with going out of business, I guess. My issues: let me show you them!
  3. Free Shipping: Look, I already take a bath on shipping. What I charge is usually, with some exceptions, anywhere between $2 and $5 less than shipping actually costs. This adds up over time. I don’t mind rewarding repeat customers with occasional free shipping – except that the way Etsy works on shipping is that you have to mark each item as Free Shipping, and then anyone gets it, not just someone you want to reward for continued patronage. So at the risk of sounding bitchy, I’m not going with free shipping. I’d rather charge someone shipping and give them a free bar of soap!
  4. Re-categorizing my shop by price point: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA no. Just… no.

Get Back on Track Here – catching up now! That’s my point!

Add a badge to your blog – check!

Post in this week’s forum – check! And what I wrote –

I admit that I’m about three weeks behind, but for a good reason – my sales have been so good that I’ve been extraordinarily busy wrapping, shipping, and re-making! I don’t say that to make anyone jealous, but to point out that me, as a new shop, and by week eight had my hands full?! I’ve been selling since mid-August and just broke the 150-sales-mark this weekend. It can be done!

Week Nine

Read this week’s blog post – check! Let’s talk about packaging…

  1. Stock up – oh, believe me, I AM STOCKED. I have tape. Tissue paper. Packing peanuts. Boxes in so many sizes I’ve had to devote an entire shelf in the ceramics room to them. Packing peanuts. Bubble wrap. Bags to enclose packing lists and thank-you soaps. Two different size bags for in-person purchasing should someone come to my house. BEHOLD MY PACKAGING PROWESS!
  2. Brand it – I have a stamp I got made from my fabulous locally owned office supply store, it’s a 3″ by 3″ stamp of my H logo with “HaldeCraft” underneath. I stamp bags for in-person sales. I have recently begun stamping the bags for packing lists. I just today started stamping the outside of the boxes to be put in the mail. I use the same tissue paper on everything. I try to stick to kraft-colored everything. Yes, I am branding.
  3. Be thoughtful – I try to be. I write a personal note on the packing list. If I know them or can get a general idea about them, then I send them a thank-you soap in a scent or design I know they’ll like. I try to treat each package as I’m wrapping it as if that package is the most important package I’ve ever put together – every time.
  4. Be unique – Again, I try to be. I try to be personal. I try to make things that I would use if I weren’t selling it. I try to make things with my heart.
  5. Keep it safe – This inspired a whole upcoming blog post on how I package my ceramics.
  6. Ask for help – I’m more likely to *search* for help (reading forums, google, etc) than to *ask* for help, but if searching doesn’t bring it up I have no problem going to others for an answer.

Organize/stock up on packaging supplies – this article lists a bunch of places to get supplies for packaging and packing to mail. A good portion of them I already knew of from owning a shop and needing supplies, but a couple of them were new. Including a place that… wow. If I ever need 540 pounds of wheat paste, I AM SET.

Read this Cyber Monday post – check! Boo, hiss. See my bitchery above on Cyber Monday. Perhaps I am just being a Grinch, after having to close the yarn store earlier this year; next year maybe I will feel differently about handing out discounts and bargains willy-nilly.

Check in with your buddy – check!

Post in this week’s forum – check! And what I wrote?

I really liked the talk in week nine about packaging. As someone who’s owned a retail shop, I knew of some of the online places to go for shipping supplies, but I like seeing new places that I didn’t know about – there’s always room for packaging supplies, especially if it gets you noticed!

Week Ten

Read this week’s blog post – hmm, seemed to be the same one from last week, on packaging. Oh well, it was a good article!

Schedule tasks & get more done – long time readers of my blog will know that scheduling tasks and getting more done is something I have long struggled with. In fact I just pretty much did a post about this; how when running the yarn store I felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that I needed to get done… and since working at home, there’s been a slow shift to feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to have as much fun as I want to have. I’m not saying there aren’t days when I feel that I didn’t get everything on my list checked off; but even the worst days are less stressful than anything in the last three years.

Set your location in your profile – I had actually done this when starting my sellers account

Check in with your buddy – check!

Post in this week’s forum – check, and pretty much just wrote the paragraph above about scheduling.

I guess I have the opposite problem of trying to figure out how to get more done each day. I guess… see, I used to own a yarn store, and worked six days a week. Now I make ceramics and soaps at home, work seven days a week, and yet feel that I never lack for free fun time.

For three years I had one day off a week and felt like that one day was never enough; now I have no days off but feel like I could keep going forever. When running the yarn store I felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done that I needed to get done… I had my Outlook calender and two Google calenders (one for me and one for the yarn store, and I pretty much had them laid out like the post described) to remind me of everything I needed to do.

But since working at home, there’s been a slow shift to feeling like there aren’t enough hours in the day for me to have as much fun as I want to have. I’m not saying there aren’t days when I feel that I didn’t get everything on my list checked off; but even the worst days are less stressful than anything in the last three years.

Wow, that makes me sound kind of uppity and perfect. I’m really nice, I promise! And far from perfect! I’m just really loving where I am in life right now, and partly have Etsy to thank for that!

3 comments

  1. You really should charge enough for shipping to cover your costs… I really hate to think you’re losing money there.

    I think you’re doing a wonderful job, and I will be writing a gift guide for a review site that I write for, and your soap will be on it. I keep sticking my head in the bag I put those gift soaps in. Delish!

    If you ever need a press release, I’m you’re girl and would be more than happy to write one for you.

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