Thursday, 4 August 2011

Celebrating two years of online selling

I am three today!
OK, so if it is the dog's birthday, that means it is also an anniversary for my Etsy shop, the first one I opened online, and means that I've now been selling online for a full two years.  I don't claim to have any special insight, but I must admit that hanging out in the Etsy, Folksy and Dreamaid forums, I've seen so many people start off with great enthusiasm and then realise how hard getting noticed is and fade away, that I do feel like a bit of a veteran!

It all has been much more complicated than I thought when I started out - I had that basic "I'll put it online, people will see it and buy it, job done" sort of idea.  I had never really thought about the competition for SEO, the complexities of pricing, how much time social networking would take etc.  Then there are the off-line tasks - photos, listings, business cards, packaging.  It really is a full time job, on top of a full time job.

This week's earrings
My advice to anyone starting out would be don't start unless you are really happy to spend more time on the business of selling than you are on making things.  This works out OK for me, as most of my jewellery is quick to make, and if I spent as much time on that as promoting, this tiny little house would be bursting at the seams.

I enjoy the selling, but the making is still the best part for me. I've moved on in terms of crafting skills as well, and I hope this shows in my work.  There is so much more material available now in terms of interesting and colourful gemstone and findings - as many of you know, I'm as much addicted to buying beads as making things!

And another pair of earrings!
I have five online shops (Folksy, Etsy, Dreamaid, Zibbet and Stylistic Gallery), but my main focus is Folksy, as it gives the best value for money in terms of SEO and that's really what gets online non-crafty customers to your shop.  I've nothing against crafters of course, but I want to reach the real magpies in the population who adore gemstone jewellery but don't want the hassle of making it themselves.  I've been very lucky with around 117 online sales across the shops in the 2 years, and only about 5 of those sales have been to other crafters or handmade shop owners.  Thanks to all my customers, as well as those folks who have given great advice over the two years - I literally couldn't have done it without you.

Other sales in the 'real' world have boosted my total to around 150, thanks mainly to colleagues in the day job, and it's great that they and some online customers are now regulars.  I don't sell to friends and family so if they admire something, I tend to end up giving it away (one of the many reasons why I'll never be a millionaire!) but I have inflicted a number of items on them as birthday and Christmas presents - poor things!

Enough rambling.  In the spirit of onwards and upwards, I'm celebrating this anniversary by launching my own website  Two years ago I could never have dreamed I'd be able to do this, so allow me a proud moment, please!  It is in it's early stages, though, and I'm still on a steep learning curve, so please pop along if you have time and do please send any comments you have.


  1. Your success has been well deserved. You are one of the most genuine, nicest people around and you helped me no end with all my silly questions and gave me tons of advice. I am also a recipient of some of your jewellery (soon to be worn in October) and I can say I WAS absolutely thrilled with every single item. it is beautifully made, wonderfully packaged and every one should have at least one item from BLUE FOREST JEWELLERY

  2. Well done you!! Happy anniversary, and good luck with the new site as well!

  3. Happy Birthday...!!
    I read your blog with interest - I'm just in the process of closing down my on-line shop. Not paying its way at all...
    I'm going to concentrate on selling locally but as you say, it's all in the promotion.
    Jo. x

  4. You're right, selling online isn't easy!
    Good luck with your website, it looks really good.


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