22 Nov 2010

How did it get to 3 years already?! Sale to celebrate.

I noticed this morning that later this week I will have my third Etsyversary – the anniversary of opening my shop on US-based selling site Etsy. I can hardly believe that it’s 3 years already.

It’s clearly true when they say that it takes 2 years to establish a business – it’s only really been in the last year that I feel truly confident in the work I’m doing and the way my site is set up, my photographs, presentation, service etc. I still have a very long way to go and so very much still to learn, but I feel comfortable in saying that I’m now at least doing it properly – it now feels more ‘professional’ than ‘hobby’. I’m sure that I’ll look back in a year and scoff at these comments and their naivety.

At Christmas I sell more small items for gifts, so have made up some more Sterling silver earrings at lower price points for stocking filler gifts. For some time I’ve done a range of earrings between £11 and £12.50 that I offer as 2 for £20 which has been popular at this time of year.

I can’t recall the exact date I set up my own on-line shop – but I know that it was around the same time, as I faffed on for some considerable time trying to set up my own shop (which I’m equally confident in saying was pretty atrocious in the first incarnation), approaching it from different angles and never quite getting it to work how I wanted. At that point I then accepted defeat and just embedded my Etsy shop on my own site and set about doing it properly behind the scenes.

It took some time to decide quite what would constitute ‘properly’ and in the end, after a lot of research and trail and error, I settled on a pre-made shopping cart called CubeCart. There are many other cart systems available and I did try several and since that time, there are now many more even easier options to choose from.

This design, my copper raindrops necklace, has been a consistent seller over time – I sold my first one off my neck at a craft fair. I made some more this week so that I can put them back on sale.

At the time I liked CubeCart because it was the only one that would let me make my own skin based on one of the defaults available just by tweaking style sheets and making new graphics (both easily within my skillsets at the time) and had multiple photos per item for sale. That seems a tad daft now, but at the time – three years ago – it was the only one easily available to me (i.e. free, included in my hosting package) that allowed multiple photographs, which for jewellery bought un-seen, I thought was absolutely vital.

My decision was heavily swayed by a site for an Australian jewellery seller that had a gorgeous on-line shop – just what I was striving for in my mind and which used Cubecart as its cart engine. It soon became evident that their site was heavily modded and way beyond my capabilities, but it proved to be a catalyst I was appreciative of – I needed to at least make some decision and get moving. And having something to aim towards was the nudge I needed.

I made an alternative style of earrings to match the copper raindrops necklace this week – as I’ve added a chain extension to the necklace back with a little dangle and this is the same principle, to match.

I also liked its simplicity. It’s certainly less feature-rich than other systems, but with the purchase and self-installation of a few commercial mods and the addition of a few free ones too – I added in many of the features I felt I missed and would improve the site and this is still very much a work in progress. It is easy to use under the hood and I’m still very happy with it and now have well over 400 items featured on the site.

I added an articulated variant of my Sterling silver leaf spiral one piece earrings this week too – for those that like a little movement in their earwear.

It’s now using an older version of the cart and would no doubt benefit from the upgrade to a newer version, but it’s rather a case of “if it ain’t broke . . .” I rather like its clean simplicity and customers say they find it easy to use and find things, so I’m leaving it be for now.

So, to celebrate my third on-line trading anniversary I’m holding a one week sale with 15% off everything in both my shops. The discounts are automatic and displayed in red in my own shop and if you apply Coupon code ETSYVERSARY15 during the checkout process (a welcome and long-awaited brand new feature from Etsy) from my shop on Etsy to secure the 15% discount.

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