Thursday, January 29, 2009

What Am I Doing Right?

Here I am sitting on top of a large and shiny bubble. Below me I hear the familiar sound of popping as people are unceremoniously thrown to the ground. All around and above I see other bubbles resisting the urge to burst. Some of their riders seem terribly confident while others appear to be bracing for an inevitable fall. I don't know why or how my bubble maintains its shape and I too am preparing for an unannounced tumble. Normally I wouldn't question my luck, but as it often happens, I am a slave to my own curiosity.

It is fairly easy to see why the smaller bubbles are bursting. To abandon the metaphor for a bit and speak a bit clearer, the smaller handmade sellers are not selling for the simple reasons. They have bad pictures or descriptions. The objects they make are generic or poorly made. They do not network, list often or price their items well. It is always easy to point out the things one is doing very wrong. What is not as easy is pinpointing what someone is doing right and replicating that.

There are tons of people that do all those thing right and they are still not selling. Sure, you could blame the economy for a lack of sales. It is simple to put the responsibility outside your sphere of influence, throw up your hands and say there is nothing that can be done about it. The only problem with that, is there are people selling. I'm been very lucky to maintain fairly regular sales even after the holidays, even in this economy. The big question is of course, why? What am I doing right that someone just as skilled as me is doing wrong? Is it dumb luck? I am also aware that by asking the question I am more than likely jinxing myself, but I must ask.

I don't visit the etsy forums much anymore, unless someone on twitter links to something interesting, but I still see all the I'm not selling threads. I see all the complaints about not getting any views when listing new items and I see people blaming the growing size of the venue for their lack of exposure. So again, what am I doing that is different? I seem to get plenty of views when I list new pieces. I see the growth of the site as a what good for the whole is good for the individual. I don't get a sale everyday, but often enough that I'm keeping busy.

I know you were thinking that I had answer to all these questions, I don't. I really have no idea what I'm doing, though I wish I did so that I could help people out. I don't advertise. I don't run sales. I network a bit, mostly on twitter these days, but other than keeping my "face" out there I don't see that as a huge boon. I write in the blog regularly, but I barely get any traffic from the blog to my shop. I try to list something everyday, but I generally don't renew unless something is about to expire. If someone else out there sees the secret formula that I'm missing, please share. I'd really love to know what's keeping my bubble afloat so I can make sure it continues to float on.


Little Quirky Shoppe said...

First off, this is very well written. Great job.

I'm not sure why there is such a funk out there. I am very new at this ETSY thing, but we made our first sale less than a week after opening shop. I keep up with the blog, my wife creates the products, we share the photography.

There really is no one set thing that drives traffic to seller stores, but a positive attitude will help. I too have seen the complaints of no sales...possibly they aren't marketing themselves or if they are...maybe not enough. The growing number of people selling on Etsy is a positive thing, more people means eventually more traffic.

Do what comes naturally is what I say. Driving traffic to your store - your ONLINE store can be challenging...I say use a "stick with it" mentality and sooner or later sales will come and you'll be busy.

SarahKelley said...

I wish I could figure out what I'm doing right so I could focus on other things that need more help-- but like you, I'm just not sure . . .
But I can tell you this-- you have a unique product that you present uniquely. You do that quite right!

Gina said...

You have a unique product - probably a limited audience, but word spreads fast within that audience. It's like you have a specialty that isn't duplicated elsewhere.

I don't go etsy shopping much at all but when I do, I'm overwhelmed by the "sameness", even in things I really like. I am also put off by obviously poor quality items and often quit looking for that very reason.

Just keep doing what you enjoy doing and stop worrying about why. You'll branch out naturally if you that's what you want to do.