Monday, May 19, 2008

Should I Quit

You may have noticed that I have a bit of a big mouth. When something bugs me I tend to lay it all out there and I like to use a lot of big words while doing it. So after I made a big deal out of folks complaining about a lack of sales in their etsy stores( see here), I felt like I just have to suck it up now that my sales are in the toilet. I had all the familiar thoughts, it's the economy, my newest items aren't any good, nobody likes me, maybe I should just throw in the towel.

Then I came to my senses. Look, my sales are nonexistent right now and while I could very well blame the economy and I wouldn't be entirely wrong doing so, the truth is, I know exactly why I'm not selling. I figure there are two options at this point. I can quit or I can go into extreme business mode. I know what I need to do, but I'm simply not willing to put out the effort needed to make the sales happen. Why? Well, I have more important things to do with my time, than spend hours networking and advertising. Many people have spent their free time outlining their successful strategies and I thank them for their time and expertise, but I just can't get that invested.

So, do I think I should throw in the towel? No, I think I'm going to opt for secret option three, continue doing what I'm doing and not stressing out about it. I was making things long before I found etsy and I don't plan on stopping any time soon. The only real difference is now, my pieces aren't gathering dust or being given to unresponsive relatives for Christmas and birthdays. I was always spending money on my crafts, only now I occasionally make my money back. The worst case scenario is I never make another sale, all my listings expire and I'm stuck with all my unsold inventory, which I will give to relatives.

I'll keep on tatting new designs as long as there are people who at least like to look at them. I've used my store as an excuse to try things I never would have attempted otherwise because I just couldn't justify making all this stuff if I didn't have a potential outlet for its dispersal. I imagine that I would go into creative hibernation without my store, sales or not. So for now, I'm gonna stop stressing about sales and enjoy creating, because when all is said and done I think that's the real reason artists, artisans and crafters create. Ars Gratis Artis!

On a completely different subject, I finished my black cuffs and I will be posting pictures tomorrow, so don't forget to come back for them.

24 comments:

Jennifer - Beadoodles said...

Good luck! I know my sales were pretty miserable during March and April, and I thought seriously about closing up shop. I didn't want to spend the time to become "super marketing woman" so I pulled back a little, just watching and enjoying my free time (oh my gosh, I actually got to read books!). It's been really nice not to stress about sales, new pieces, continually ordering supplies, etc...Though as soon as my summer rolls around, I'm planning on jumping back in feet first :)

Kelly said...

Found you through etsy and I completely understand your point, here. We are both in niche markets and I don't make anything off etsy. I have a personal website that I work on my keywords in order to keep my ranking high. Because you are also in a more niche craft, you could focus on keywords to drive traffic to you. Just a thought although I'm sure you've done this already. Your work is fantastic. Don't give up!

Liebling said...

Great post! I love what you have to say. I decided the same thing just this morning to simply let the universe do what it will and stop obsessing over sales. If it works out it works out, if it doesn't I'll still love to craft.

Jess
http://www.lieblingartcrafts.etsy.com

Callooh Callay said...

I'm so glad you're not quitting--your work is so lovely. You need to write a book--The Zen of Etsy.

enso said...

sometimes I think it's like dating - you're more liable to meet good people the moment you no longer care who you meet.

I can't say for sure this will work, and frankly, if you're in the frame of mind you describe, you won't CARE if it does or doesn't not to care, but enjoy the craft, don't sweat it, and good luck.

She Who Runs Amok said...

You are such a sane person!

My sales have dwindled like crazy over the last few weeks, in all 3 of my Etsy stores. Ive even gone to the point of stating that I would be closing my jewelry store soon.

And now Ive gotten sales...and they were REAL sales of handmade items, not just supplies...and sales for items that I just listed...

I feel like Sally Field now 'you like me, you REALLY like me!'...

I keep making, I keep putting it out there and trying to hold on to the faith that the person for that item is out there somewhere...

~brenda

LongStoryShortCrafts said...

I know it can get pretty discouraging for me, when I see all the views of my items, and I'm thinking ....someone buy Something!! But - ya gotta love what you do. I do, and I'm pretty sure that you do as well, because your work is lovely! Throw all the towels you want, but keep that store open!!!

Moon Maiden Soapworks said...

I like your style, I like your attitude and your no-nonsense approach to ... er ... issues. ;)

Keep up the great work, don't give up. DON'T GIVE UP!

Seriously, I've quit SO many adventures in my artistic endeavors out of frustration over things like this. Don't do it. You do LOVELY work!

Peace,
Dana

outofthepinksky said...

Hanging in there myself!

ingermaaike said...

Keep on making you gorgeousness and speaking your mind. Both are a pleasure to behold. Ind just as you said, better that what you make goes to people who really love it than to overload friends and relatives with it, yay for etsy (however slow)

Diana said...

Well, my friend, you've said eloquently exactly what I wrestle with daily. We operate in such a unique parallelogram. I think it has alot to do with reconciling identity between mother and artist.

I wrote about precisely this topic (albeit not with the threat of packing it in yet) here.

I think it's important to keep it a game. Put in your time, generate some excitement, create new goals for yourself. But don't get wrapped up. When it starts feeling negative, back up and dive headfirst into something else. Strive to keep the balance.

Because we do no rely on our art as livelihood, the commercial aspect and competition can sometimes feel confusing. You can't do everything at 200% balls-to-the-wall. Find your place, and be very happy in it.

I think you're doing a bangup job.

xox
Di

Rosebud Collection said...

I have to be truthful..When you expect things to sell, there is always disappointment. I think selling has its ups and downs, but the object is never let that get in the way of your enjoyment for creating. Too much pressure on you..and you lose the enjoyment, then it is no longer fun.

Sarah Dungan said...

I know how you feel. I'll be excited if Etsy just makes me enough money to buy more supplies, because otherwise I'd be doing it anyway and my friends were go "No really Sarah we don't need another necklace...its lovely...but seriously."

stilettoheights said...

last year, May was my worst month...this year it's not great but not as horrible as I thought it would be...definitely not as good as it should be to pay ALL the bills...

yeah...I COULD market myself more...like you said, but I am choosing not to.

:)

Taueret said...

Great post and great blog, I am happy I found you on the Etsy forums. I had the same thought the other day when I had a moment of "etsy panic". I was making stuff *anyway*. Now lots of people see it. before, no one saw it. What is my problem? I am going to go read more of your blog now.

Karen said...

Wow, love your work, don't give up! As I was looking through your shop, I thought, she really has a unique product. There is so much repetition on Etsy, but you really stand out. Just put a few little ads to jump start things.... I will definitely be back to buy when I have some cash.

Waterrose said...

Well, quite frankly, I enjoy you being here. I like your frankness and I love looking at your creations. I also create because I love it and am very excited when I make a sale, but it's not my reason for creating. I look at all of my supplies all of the skills I have acquired and think...how am I ever going to use all this stuff. But then I just laugh and say to myself..."I will certainly have fun trying to use it all." Some of it will be left for my children as memories and keepsakes. Like you, others will be given to relatives who may or may not have a clue. Etsy will be a place that I visit and enjoy at my leisure. I enjoy marketing as well and love to see what makes the market tick. Just have fun....but don't forget us!

Astrida Naturals said...

I am very much in awe of your work. I know how frustrating stressing about sales can be. But, I'm a firm believer that you should always do what you love, the money will follow.

earthtonesbath said...

It can all be frustrating considering how slow sales can be sometimes. I have never truly thought of closing shop. I figure slow sales are due to my just not being visible. I can say that letting it go and just making things and not obsessing over sales, marketing and whatnot, is the best advice.

LazyTcrochet said...

I agree and am in the same frame of mind to just do what we love and try not to stress over it! So many of my friends are shocked to hear that I'm not doing any shows this year. Maybe one or two in November. The last several shows just weren't worth the stress.

Kat Roman said...

Hang in there! Your work is beautiful. I feel your pain. I myself have been feeling a bit disgruntled. I think sometimes we all have to just sit back and enjoy. Not dwell on not selling. The more we say we're not selling. Somehow the universe hears that and we do not sell.

I wish all of you luck and fortune in the near future.

I sound like a fortune cookie. Heehee :)

Paper Girl Productions said...

Hang in there!

Marian said...

I feel so reflected in the feelings and thought your pour in this post. Precisely my thoughts. Do I have to stop creating just because my shop isnt doing well and I cant get noticed in a huuuuge platform with many and amany shops?? Or do i just keepo enjoying myself and if something sells, great. Otherwise...life goes on.

SimplyDenyse said...

good post, ill have to remind myself of this whenever i get bummed about my sells on etsy.