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Worth the Wait

Last year, I got this crazy idea to make tutus. Then, I realized that they are expensive to make, time consuming, shed glitter all over my house, and I hate them. Then, on top of that, they didn’t sell well.

Well, sometimes I get angry and frustrated and end up doing whatever I can to get rid of a piece I hate. Now, I don’t hate these tutus for any other reason than the fact that I am still picking glitter out of my couch and they didn’t sell. I am so sick of looking at them! So sick!

So, I had made a decision that for these next couple of craft fairs I was doing, I was going to GREATLY reduce the cost of these tutus, to just barely cover the cost of materials. I was that sick of looking at them.

Then…today…chaching. I actually sold the first one I made. The adorable fluffy green monster that I made my kid go out and model practically barefoot. For it’s normal price. To a lady on the other side of the world.

And that…that made it worth it…that is why you don’t give up…even when you are so sick of looking at something.

 

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Whoops

So, Etsy has been experiencing some interesting issues over the last several weeks. It is making it nigh impossible to run a shop there.

At the beginning of the month, there was a massive payment processing delay that went on for about 10 days before being “resolved.” Customers were placing orders, paying with direct checkout (Etsy’s payment processor), their cards were being charged, but the sellers did not have orders going through. They were in this pending status and the sellers had no money and no way of knowing if the payment would ever go through. So, they were not shipping until payments cleared. Oh, and payments not clearing meant refunds couldn’t be given either…because there was no money to refund.

Etsy kept blaming Worldpay, but Worldpay kept denying it. Now, it has all come out that Worldpay is having tons of issues and it isn’t just Etsy being affected.

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So, they finally get orders to process and all of a sudden some new issues pops up…customers are being double charged for their orders! And sellers are being double charged for their automatic billing on what was owed to Etsy! And refunds aren’t processing in a timely fashion!

I imagine this is how they all feel…

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So, for now, I have my direct checkout turned off. And I am lucky, because I was not forced to integrate my direct checkout with my PayPal, like new sellers are now. So, customers to my Etsy shop can still pay via PayPal. However, these issues just remind me yet again how much I need to be focused on moving customers to my stand alone site.

 

This craziness is getting to be beyond what I can deal with. Oh Etsy, please act like a big company and get a reliable payment processor.

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The Struggle Between Motivation and Giving Up — Mommy Is An Introvert

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Sometimes, I think Mary and I are very close to being two pieces of the same soul. We struggle through a lot of the same issues. And I feel that we are constantly stating each other’s feelings in our own writings.

This post is really relevant right now.

 

 

Depression, anxiety, stress and small business.

via The Struggle Between Motivation and Giving Up — Mommy Is An Introvert

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Change is Scary

There have been some recent changes to Etsy, and I am not a huge fan of them. I am normally a roll with the punches kind of girl when it comes to things that I don’t totally own. I mean, I basically rent space from Etsy, and that is all, so I have very little say in the way they run their business. However, this newest shop look is not a good change to me. I think that it looks good on mobile, but customers are far less likely to actually get to reviews or policies this way. And I think that on the desktop version, it looks like crap. I just don’t like it. It is big, gaudy, in your face.

So, Etsy also released another option…Pattern by Etsy…a “custom” site you can use to have your own standalone website! I have looked into this, pretty thoroughly, and agree that these sites look much better (for the most part) than the new Etsy face. However, here is my break down with Pattern…

-You pay $15 a month for this site. (which is a great price considering what other sites charge to have a shop!)

-You pay Etsy a 3.5% transaction fee on the purchase price of anything you sell. (I’m sorry, how is this standalone?)

-Everything you list has to already be listed in your Etsy shop. See, your Pattern store is a mirror store, the listings are identical…when you update your etsy shop, it updates your pattern store.
-So, you pay a single $0.20 listing fee to put an item in both shops.
-You have to follow all of Etsy’s listing requirements (handmade, vintage, craft supply)
-If your shop gets suspended or shut down, you lose your Pattern store as well.

-You have to accept Direct Checkout to have a Pattern store…and your Paypal will integrate with DC…and it integrates for both Pattern and your regular store, so no more stand alone Paypal.

-It is “standalone”, so you have to drive all of your own traffic there. (Plus pay a monthly fee and a listing fee and a transaction fee and a direct checkout fee!)

-You can purchase a custom domain for Pattern…but it isn’t really a custom domain. You purchase a domain that redirects to your pattern store, so it is more like a subdomain.

-Google search frowns on mirror sites, which is what Pattern is…

 

Basically, what Pattern is, is a $15 a month fee to customize the look of your Etsy shop, only without the benefit of the Etsy search engine and customers being driven to your shop. Needless to say, I said no thank you to that option.

I do, however, have a nagging fear that in the next year or so, this Pattern shop will not be optional. I have a feeling that Etsy is going the way of other sites, where they will limit how many items you can list for free (say 10 or 15) and if you want more, you have to upgrade to Pattern…

 

So…I have decided to put some eggs in another basket. I opened up an Indiemade shop. It is just a basic, low level, free one for now…I want to see if I can even drive traffic there. I have redirected my URL (sweetbabydesi.com) there, as opposed to directing it to Etsy as I did previously, and I am hoping that it goes well enough to justify upgrading to a higher level. Once I upgrade, my URL will become my indiemade URL, so no subdomains and redirecting. And that is exciting.

 

 

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Product Photos

If you list it, they will come. Haha. Seriously though, getting found in search is a ridiculously important part of listing things and having an online business. But, if your listing shows up and your picture sucks, it probably won’t do you much good. You need super amazing photos to go with your super awesome SEO.

Now, I’m definitely not tooting my own horn and saying my photos are amazing. But, hey, they are getting better.

I finally admitted that I desperately needed to do something about my terribly crappy photos. So, I spent some money on a few different backdrops that were on sale, went to Michaels and bought a few props, and spent Saturday taking some new pictures. I only made it through 3 items, but i got tons of photos and even more listings ready along with it. 🙂

So, here are my behind the scenes iPhone photos my husband took while I was shooting.


  
  
  

  

And here is my favorite of my final product photos! I am so excited!!

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Basic Life Lesson

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My blog the other day sparked some internet hate that actually led me to block people. Block people. On a crochet and craft based account. How sad and pathetic is that? The interesting part of what was said, is that I don’t even see how they got that from what I wrote. I am guessing that they did not read what I wrote, at all, looked at the picture, and made an assumption. And, well, you know what happens when you assume.

But, it really upset me. I mean, how hard of a concept is it? I guess it is quite difficult. I struggle in my real life to keep my mouth shut when it comes to certain people. For the most part, I can see the good, find the beautiful, love the soul for most people…there are a few that show what a work in progress I really am. But, I try, and I get a little bit better every day.

 

But seriously, grown men and women, not teenagers, not children, “grown ups”, resorting to twitter, instagram, facebook, whatever social media account you can imagine, to try and make someone feel badly about themselves? That is so far beyond insane to me. The purpose of social media is to connect with people. Old friends, new friends, new markets, new lands, new ideas…not to belittle and bash and hurt people. It isn’t supposed to be a safe way to bully someone (and yes, I watched The Social Network…I get it…), it is supposed to be a bridge, a building block! So why does it seem that when someone picks up their phone or sits behind a computer screen, they are suddenly so brave and so mean!

 

It isn’t hard to keep scrolling. If you don’t like someone, if you don’t approve of something, keep scrolling! No one is forcing you to look at my pictures, to read my blog, to re-tweet my status, or whatever. So why take the time to try and make me feel badly about myself? Does it truly make you feel like a better person?

 

It is absurd. And we are teaching our children to behave this way. Pre-teens on instagram calling girls fat and ugly. Teenagers on Facebook telling people they should kill themselves. Technology has been such a blessing. Without it, without social media, I wouldn’t be in touch with most of my family and friends. I wouldn’t still have my best friend of 25 years in my life on a daily basis, even though we live 3,000 miles apart. But it is also turning us into a really messed up, mean society.

We need to take it back. We need to spread kindness and compassion in our daily lives, instead of hatred and anger.

 

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.

 

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The Tell-Tale Scam

As I said the other day, it is never good to assume that your customer is trying to scam you. However, there are a lot of scam artists out there, and a lot of people fall for these scams. So, I am going to go through the tell-tale signs of a scam, and some of more common scams on Etsy.

 

The one you hear about the most…the Nigerian Prince. So, the Prince of Nigeria contacted you, through an Etsy convo, and wants to buy an obscene amount of your product…and he will even pay you more for it than you asked! But he needs it urgently and will send an agent to come pick it up from your home. That agent will have the check / cash for you. Sounds amazing, right? Well, here are a few things wrong with the scenerio…Nigeria is a democratic country. There were kingdoms, princes, kings, queens, but it has been a stable democracy since 1999.What is interesting is that some of the states, such as Lagos, still have kings, so they would still have princes. But, I imagine that the Prince of Lagos is called just that…the Prince of Lagos…not the Prince of Nigeria. Mind you, I am not a Nigeria expert. It is just what makes sense to me.Secondly…no offense to your work, I am sure it is amazing…but I am pretty sure that the Prince of any country isn’t trolling Etsy looking for things to buy urgently.

 

Okay, that’s an easy one…how about this guy…he is an oceanographer (or sailor, or astronomer, or pick a profession) and is out to sea. He really wants this item, but he can’t pay through Etsy because he is out to sea. Can he have his agent contact you with the money, and they will pick up the items. OR, can he wire you the money, more money than you are asking for, then he will have an agent pick up the order…and you give that agent part of the extra he sent you…to cover the pick up fees. So…what is wrong with this scenario? Oh yea…he can get online and get on Etsy in order to see your items and talk to you, but he magically can’t check out? He is paying you an extra $100 to pay the delivery guy? He is paying the delivery guy $500? That’s a crazy awesome day for the delivery guy. Oh…and ships can get mail. I used to get mail all the time, when I ordered from Etsy and Amazon and EBay while out to see for 7 months of the year…for 4 years…

 

My incredibly sick daughter/wife/sister/cousin/husband/dog only has been given a few months to live and s/he really loves this item. I can’t afford to purchase it because the medical bills have been so taxing. I am totally overwhelmed by my financial situation. But I really want to be able to give my dying loved one this item…can we work out a payment plan? $10 every other Friday for the next 6 months? But I really need you to send it right away, because they might not make it 6 more months. (Or better, could you donate this item?)  This is hard to say no to, because what if it is true. What if they are legit. That’s heartbreaking…but here’s the thing…it probably isn’t true. I have known parents of terminal kids…they are not normally going around begging for free stuff. And with this payment plan scenario, you may get $10 for the item, you may get $20…you may get nothing. The moment that the item arrives, they will stop paying.

 

I run suchandsuch charity. We are having an auction to raise money for suchandsuch cause. Would you like to donate an item to help? These people have real gall to me. It is absurd. Because when you say no, man oh man do they have terrible things to say to you about what an awful person you are! I do not support charities I am not familiar with, and I have not had a chance to look over their financials. Even if it is a legit charity, how do you know that 80% of donations don’t go towards “overhead” with only 20% actually going to the cause? That’s insane to me…and it happens, a lot, and you would be surprised by which HUGE charities that you have probably supported before are horrible and the money doesn’t go where you think it does. I really like Charity Navigator when researching charitable donations.

 

And you can read my rant about phony bloggers here

 

 

The biggest tell-tale signs of a scam…

  • They have made up some huge, amazing, awesome title for themselves
  • They ask to contact them outside of Etsy, exclusively (Now, some clients want to confirm on the phone, and that is fine, as long as all the details are followed up and agreed upon through Etsy. Some people just explain themselves better vocally.)
  • They want to complete the transaction outside of Etsy, to help save you the trouble and fees.
  • They want to use a payment method you have never heard of…
  • They want to pay cash.
  • They want to pay through a personal check and freak out when you say postal money order.
  • They want a third party to come pick the item up.
  • They need it urgently but aren’t ready to pay immediately for the super expedited shipping.
  • They offer you more money than you are asking for.
  • They are asking for something for free.
  • They live far, far, far away and have limited access to the internet…because let’s be honest, if you had limited internet access, would shopping on Etsy be your concern?

 

 

I have found that most people are decent and honest…so don’t go around accusing your customers of being cheats and swindlers! But, do keep a weather eye open and don’t fall into the trap. If it sounds way too good to be true, it probably is!