When I first started selling on Etsy, I was the one and only tatter on the site. That is one of the reasons I chose to sell tatted jewelry as opposed to my knitting or crochet pieces. As Etsy grew, a few tatters migrated over and I would be lying if I said I didn't panic greatly. Was I good enough to handle competition? Would the other tatters mock or hate me?Almost every day, I would check the other tatting shops, not only to see how they were doing, but also to make sure I was doing something that they were not. I figured the only way to stand out was to be different and the other way to know if I was different was to spy.
There are some great reasons to spy on your competition that have nothing to do with copying designs. You can really grow as a seller by really looking at how other shops are doing. Look at their prices, their sold items, color choices, and stock numbers. Look at how they describe their items and how they take pictures. Compare your sales with theirs and try to make better items than them. Try doing searches for your products using your tags and see what else comes up. Never copy them or bad mouth other sellers that you feel are doing something wrong, just point out what you are doing right and use this info as a jumping off point. Never stop spying, because there is always more to learn.
Today there are quite a few more folks selling their tatted jewelry there, but I'm not nearly as stressed out about it and I'll tell you why. Most of us have dramatically different styles that would not appeal to the same buyers. We have each carved out our own niche and I know this because I'm still spying on their shops on a regular basis. I swear it's a good thing. Sometimes a shop will make me giggle because they have designs suspiciously similar to my own making me think they must be spying on me too. For some reason I enjoy watching someone else try so hard to compete with me, perhaps because it makes me feel like I've arrived.
You'd think I'd be upset that someone might be copying me, but most of the time I'm not. I know my work is original and my workmanship is as good, if not better than anyone I've seen doing similar designs. There are a few tatters on Etsy that I really admire for their skills, some that hand dye thread, others that make beautiful shuttles, and some that make designs I don't like at all, but I appreciate the skill and time that goes in to making them . I'm not afraid of the competition anymore, but that doesn't mean I'm not watching...always watching.
Now for Something completely different:
I got featured on not one, but two treasuries yesterday: