Sunday, December 30, 2007

Three pointers about Starting on Etsy

A new Etsy seller asked me to give her a few pointers about starting on Etsy, and this is what I told her --

My experience of selling on Ebay and Etsy made me realize that customers on Etsy are willing to pay more for what they want compared to Ebay. If I have to give you 3 advices to start on Etsy,I would suggest that you

1. get a great digital camera (I just ordered a new Canon SD950 online because I think it will help my business.The pictures currently on my website were taken with my current camera, Sony cybershot T1 with 5.1 mp)
2. list items regularly and frequently: this is the easiest and also the most difficult part to run an Etsy business.Listing regularly,if not daily, will keep your shop at the top of Etsy's category search, so that customers can find your store. If you sell in a competitive category like jewelry,you need to list/relist/renew more frequently.
3. have a professional store set up: banner, shop announcement (if you have nothing to announce, you can always use it to greet buyers) store policy (under"profile") and some things about yourself(under "profile")

While there are other important factors that affect a seller's success on Etsy, I have found the above three points to be prerequisites for a successful Etsy shop.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

300 items sold

I'm excited to see that I have sold 300 items by this morning. As anticipated,I have been getting a lot of holiday sales since November -- I sold 37 items in October, 74 items in November, and from Dec 1~ this morning (Dec 16) alone I have sold 92 items!



My sales number and amount are not the only things that made me happy. I'm also glad to see a few customers collecting my jewerly, mostly my pearl hook earrings. I have customers who came back to my store whenever new items are listed. Well, I guess women always need one more pair of earrings :)



Other than the pearl hooks, my tiny pearl rings have also been doing very well since they were first introduced on 11/16. This design was actually inspired by a customer, who wanted a smaller pearl for her ring. She ended up buying a ring with a larger pearl, but I decided to try out new rings with smaller pearls anyway.


I love working with customers and am glad to see them sharing my enthusiasm about pearls. My new pearl supplies just came in two days ago, so I'm sure I'll have a lot of fun making new pearl jewelry after the New Year.

Happy Holiday!

Monday, December 10, 2007

I was on the Etsy Front Page!

I've been hoping to get on the front page ever since I started selling on Etsy, and it finally happened today! Yay!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Support Independent Artists

One seller on Etsy forum asked "will you keep creating if you don't make sales?" Many other sellers said they would still keep creating. Honestly, I don't know what I would do if I didn't make any sales on Etsy. I have been encouraged to develop my artistic talents since I was little, and every compliment I received in the past became the soil of my life and continues to nourish my art. While I have enough confidence as an artist, I don't know if I have enough motivation to make the outside world see it.

As crafters/artists, it's important our art sells. When I first started making jewelry, I used inexpensive glass beads and base metal wire and findings. To improve my skills I needed to buy more supplies to practice, and when I noticed how much money I spent on supplies I felt the need to start selling my jewelry. After I sold enough jewelry, I was able to upgrade the materials for my jewelry. After selling online for slightly over a year, I'm thrilled to see myself working with gemstones and stelring silver wire.

If my jewelry didn't sell, I probably would still keep making jewelry, but wouldn't have let myself experiment with different materials and styles. Whenever I think of this possibility, I feel extremely lucky and grateful. After selling hundreds of pieces, it still amazes me to see a new customer who likes my jewelry enough to pay for it, and it still makes my day whenever someone tells me "I love your work!" I know I have said this before, but I just can't say enough "thank you".

Monday, October 8, 2007

September "numbers" from my store

A few numbers from my September sales to share with you--

*Items sold: 35
-If we add the wedding order (in progress) in September to this number, I have sold close to 50 items in September. My total sales amount was close to July. Now I'm thinking perhaps I was just very very lucky in my first month (July) to have sold so much.
*Orders over $20: 4
-Most of my orders are small. While over half of my customers only purchased a 9.99 ring or earrings, I did sell a few expensive items in September. I think the wide price range in my store accommodates customers with different budgets and needs.
*Average daily listing: 4
-I listed everyday. During the 4 days of "renewing experiment" I listed 10 items a day, which didn't yield dramatic results. After that I listed 1-5 items a day. In most days I couldn't list new items so I either relisted my sold items or renewed existing items.

Coupon redemption --
*Repeat customers: 4
-To celebrate the coming of my third month on Etsy, I sent out a bulk email with a 10% off coupon code to all of my past customers from Ebay (where I had a store for 1 year) and Etsy, and 4 customers redeemed the coupon. Two of them were from Ebay and two from Etsy.
* "Sales rep" referral: 1
-At the beginning of September, I sent out around 60 business cards to 4 other Etsy sellers, and at the end of September a customer placed an order of decent size because of the referral. When I sent out my business cards, I had a coupon code on the back, so when customers use the coupon code they will receive 5% off their first order and the seller who referred them to my store will receive 10% of the order total as store credit. I keep a chart with different coupon codes (usually the seller's etsy ID) and offer details.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Rough or Sweet ring

My newest design is this "Rough or Sweet" ring featuring a huge green garnet nugget bead surrounded by tiny tourmaline round beads.My first feeling about it was it's totally weird, but then I also loved the contrasting effects it produced. Chunky or teeny, green or pink,free form or perfectly round, Rough or Sweet.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Caroline

I don't have a child of my own, but when my friend June had her baby Caroline, I was the proud "support person" who went to the delivery room with her.Here's some picture of my goddaughter, who was born on 6/11 this year.
By the way, since June is a pianist, Caroline has been made to pose at the piano since she was one month old.




Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Add-a-Charm Interchangeable jewelry

After various attempts, I was finally able to create these versatile "Add-a-Charm" bracelets.The idea that one piece of jewelry can be worn many ways has always fascinated me. The charms and links can be added ore removed according to your desire, and no tool is required.
You can add many charms onto one link.or add one charm to one link....








































The one I'm modeling for is even more fun. It's convertible and interchangeable at the same time. Connect two bracelets to make them into a necklace.
Again, arrange your links and charms the way you like. Why not add your own charms as well?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Flower Song

This design has been in my store for a while and was first named "Pink Opal Flower" (I'm not creative at all when it comes to naming my jewelry..). I have first made it in sterling silver, and adorned the wire bezel with two different hill tribe silver beads.



Few months ago a customer requested have it made in gold. The result was even better than I expected that I had to offer it in my store. This one is made with gold filled wire and vermeil seed beads.



Last week, Brenda came back to ask me for a matching pendant. Seriously, I wonder why I never thought about that! I was so into making rings that I forgot the same design can be made into pendants. I emailed Brenda and asked her permission to have the designed named by her. So, here is the "Flower Song" pendant, my new arrival in the store...(I love Brenda's ideas!)

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I sold my showcase convertible jewelry




This morning, I turned on my computer as usual to check if I had any sales.I was very happy but wasn't too surprised to see an item sold in my store. I checked what was sold, and then I was surprised. No, I was shocked -- I just sold the most expensive work I've ever made. I thought I've been preparing for this day, and thought I would be excited, thrilled, and feel successful, but instead I felt scared, doubtful and uncertain.

-what if it's a scam? (but then why did she pay right away?)
-what if the jewelry break one week after she receives it? does it ruin my reputation as a seller?(well, I do offer warranty and free repair, but it's still not nice if it breaks so easily...)
-what if she doesn't like it and want to return? then I will feel worse and would rather it was not even sold from the beginning.
-what if she finds out I'm not an experienced jewelry designer who's been making jewelry for 20 years, and regret having bought from me? (does it mean I'm not good if I'm not experienced?)
-what if...

I've been very comfortable with selling lower end jewelry on Etsy, because they're easier to make, less time consuming, and therefore easier for me(at least that's what I believed) to maintain good customer service. If a $9.99 ring does not fit or gets lost in the mail, I can quickly send a replacement. However, when it comes to a $210(yes, that's the sold amount) purchase, things seem to get more complicated. I had forced myself to try out high end handcrafted jewelry just to show customers my capacity, as well as give the store a good price range. Although I "wished" someone would love it enough to pay what I asked for, I really wasn't confident enough about my worth.

The funny thing is, I never knew it could be so scary to be successful (if this is considered success), because no one ever told me about it..I don't know what will happen after my customer
receives her order, I don't know if my jewelry will break or be returned, but if I don't go through this whole transaction, I will never know.
And I'm very very grateful I have a chance to see whatever that might happen.






Tuesday, September 18, 2007

September progress

I had a great weekend, and by today I've made 20 sales on Etsy this month. I also have a custom wedding order in progress, that will probably be 5-10 items. I'm excited because it looks like I may get at least close to my September goal, if the current sales flow continue. (keep finger crossed) I've been really promoting a lot, including sending out coupons to repeat customers and to other Etsy sellers who swapped promo items with me.
I'm really hoping to blog at least twice a week, at least to announce new arrivals in my store, but I've been so lazy and tired and the only thing I want to do after a whole day of teaching is to sit at the computer and browse my store and Etsy forum for the rest of the night...

New arrivals -- ear hooks

Just listed a few days ago are these cute "pearl on a hook" earrings. They're short, easy to wear and very cute. Since they're well received, I'm thinking about adding more of the same style in different colors.
i love making these.i love hammering the wire flat. : D






Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fall...

Both yesterday and today, there's this chill in the air and I had to put on long sleeves. It's only midway through Sepetember. When it starts to turn cold, my apartment also seems bigger, and I feel lonely.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Art Jewelry by KeelyB



You can find jewelry of different media and styles on etsy. While beaders, wire workers and metal workers are the main streams in the jewelry industry, many pretty wearable arts are yet to be discovered by us discerning shoppers!


KeelyB makes her pendants by
first setting a small piece of artwork(which she often creates herself) between two pieces of glass, which she cuts and grinds herself, and then wrapping them with sterling silver wire. Each pendant is unique and is photographed individually. While she does great photos, the pendant I phrchased from her is even prettier in person.

Keely is among the first few jewelry artists I noticed on Etsy. When I found her, she had a whole store full of great pendants and no sales. I have always hoped her great success and am very very happy to see that this young artist (she's only 22!) is doing better and better recently.

If you find something you love in her store because of this post, mention "muyinmolly" at checkout to receive 5% off your first order from her!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Renewing and Showcase experiment

Studio94 convod me yesterday and said she wants to try showcase. She also suggested that I should post 3-5 items a day to get more sales. I thought I'm a big fan of renewing already, because I've been posting 1-3 items a day throughout August, but the sales weren't really that great.

Then it suddenly came to me that I DID list more(3-5 items) when I first opened my store, including new,renewed and relisted items. And I DID get more sales then. So perhaps it really does matter.

So, If studio92 is going to pay $7 for showcase, I decide I'm going to post 10 items a day for four days, starting today.

And let's see what happens after that!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

September goal

It's now officially my third month on Etsy, so I'm not a newbie anymore (somehow when I wrote this it made me feel old...).There're quite a few things I'd like to achieve this month, and if I write it down I feel I'll try harder to accomplish them.

1. I'd like to reach 50 sales this month.
I was lucky enought to have had slightly over 40 sales one month after I opened the store (8/4). Then I wasn't so lucky for the rest of August (less than 30 sales), which is probably normal for all businesses. Since I've been consciously working on the store, and since holiday season is coming, I feel 50 sales is reasonable for my third month.
2. I'd like to add some Etsy selling tips to my blog
That is,if I reach 50 sales this month.Otherwise, let's wait a little bit. If I can't even help myself, how can I help others?
3. I'd like to start promoting more
I had a store opening sale and one Saturday Night Sale in July, and I 've also been pretty active on the forum.
In August, I started listing (mostly renewing) 1-3 items everyday even if I didn't make any sales, and I also started my blog.
In September, I'll send out promotion materials(coupon code) to a few "sales reps". I will also start a PIF.

At the beginning of October, I will write a follow-up about this post, and let's see how it turns out!

Monday, September 3, 2007

new gemstone earrings


I will be starting a new line of earrings in my store recently, using gemstone briolettes. These stones
are also used for my interchangeable gemstone earrings. Instead of selling 7 dangles all together, this new "daily basics" line will have only one briolette drop on each earring, and the price is of course considerably lower.
It is not that I cannot make more "complicated" jewelry,but when i think of what I would wear everyday(as a girl who doesn't party), simple really is the best. It looks like many people agree with me, becuase I sold three pairs of my peridot earrings within three days since it was first listed.

Breakfast at 4pm


I'm in a pretty good mood today, for no apparent reason.(oh, well, perhaps because it's holiday and I don't have to work?) I got up in the morning, had a cup of tea with biscotti, watched a DVD I rented from Kroger, went to the bank, and then got some kitchen and bathroom stuff from Walmart.I got home close to 4 in the afternoon,and decided to make myslef some breakfast!

Isn't it strange that it takes so long to cook but just a few minutes to finish the food?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

my Etsy store on you tube

My Etsy store is now on You Tube!!
I'm the jeweller, as well as the pianist you see/hear on this little slide show.

check it out..

Saturday, August 18, 2007

listen to radio online

I have a Master's degree in piano performance from Indiana University. i love my school, and am proud to be a musician. In the second year when I was at IU,I started teaching for a company (see their website here) and have been driving from Bloomington to Indianapolis twice a week (150 miles round trip) to students' homes to give piano lessons ever since.
Indiana University has a great music program, and we also have a great local radio station called WFIU. When I was on the road, I always listened to their channel until there's no reception anymore(in Indianapolis).
Two weeks after I moved to Indianapolis by myself to teach the piano full-time,I started to feel lonely. I've no friends around here, I've decided not to get cable tv, and also cancelled my blockbuster subscription, and, I don't even get to listen to my favorite radio channel! Then, one day, it suddenly occured to me that I can listen to WFIU online!
I played it for the whole night and imagined I was still in Bloomington...

Monday, August 13, 2007

Relocating

Two weeks after moving, I finally had proper, stable internet connection at my new apartment.

Since I was just starting my Etsy store and was still receiving orders from customers during the time I moved, my computer and the modem were the very last item to come to Indianapolis with me. I didn't have internet hooked up in my apartment,but I was lucky that some neighbor didn't secure their wireless internet, so I "borrowed" it for the first few days. The signal was pretty weak, and I was disconnected from the web half of the time, so one night I used Panera's internet, and the other night I used Starbucks'. That's how I found out Starbucks doesn't offer free Wi-Fi. I signed up for Starbuck's 24 hr "free trial" while I was there;it was very fast, but the server suddenly went down an hour after I signed up. Very disappointed!!!!

I signed up with Comcast one week after moving, only because the salesperson gave me a great deal. He came and turned on the switch for the cable, and left me to do the rest myself. For some reason it wouldn't connect, so I called customer service many times to discuss the problem. Eventually they decided to send a technician at no charge, because none of the sales rep could figre out why my modem wasn't communicating with them. However, their technicians were so busy that I had to wait for another week(during when I had to borrow my neighbor's internet again) , and the only appointment time available was 7-9 am. My goodness...Of course the technician came at 7.00am and woke me up...It only took him a few minutes to decide my old modem, which I used for a different cable service in Bloomington, "got confused" when it was moved here, and "it probably won't work again either even if you take it back to Bloomington". Machines are apparently not more reasonable than human.

Apart from the internet problem and the super weak cell phone reception, everything at my apartment was pretty good. I probably shouldn't disclose the following pictures when I'm just starting my blog and new website, but this is exactly how I've been working on my jewelry since moving...

I probably should be embarrased.Well, maybe I am a little bit; that's why I only inserted a small picture. I haven't got a proper chair for my table yet. so currently the whole floor is my table.









The truth is, I have not finished unpacking all my boxes after two weeks. Although I've been moving every year since coming to the US four years ago, this has been the most exhausting and scary move for me ever. I've never had a whole two bedroom apartment to myself, and of course have never had a craft room. I was so overwhelmed that I just scattered everything everywhere..

You probably don't need to see my living room. Well, it's getting there, that's all I can tell you.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Thank you

I want to say thank you to (in chronological order)

My parents - who supported me no matter what I choose to do

Ebay - my first jewelry selling venue, where I gained initial confidence as a "jewelry seller"

My customers -
i do not remember the name of my first customer, who bought two pairs of my earrings on ebay last June. They were made with sterling silver filled wire and sold for 0.99 each. I probabl didn't make any money on them after all the fees, but I was thrilled to see someone actually found my jewelry amongst tens of thousands of jewelry listings on ebay, and actually placed a bid and paid for it. Small things like this sound trivial, but you remember it vividly because it's your first.
i want to thank you to every single one of my customers, who found my ebay or etsy store and placed orders, whether they were big or small. It still makes my day whenever a customer tells me "i love your designs". Without you I would never dreamt of calling myself a "jewelry designer".

Eni Oken - who generously offers the most inspiring online jewelry tutorials at the most affordable prices. I learnt all my wirework techniques through reading, and very soon I couldn't find anything in bookstores wth more refreshing ideas and I once thought that was "it" for jewelry making. Eni's designs truly opened my horizons and made me understand there's endless ways to use my wire.

Studio 94- without her I wouldn't have been on Etsy now.

Etsy- without Etsy I wouldn't have been so happy today.

Etsy forum - this is the place I met other crafters and learnt lots about crafting and selling.

Also everyone along the way....thank you : ) for helping me become who I am today.

start fresh..

Sold my first pair of interchangeable gemstone earrings yesterday to a repeat customer (thank you Gigi!). the moment i saw the notification email of sale i started jumping and dancing from excitement.





My etsy store has been open for one month and five days by now, and it was a huge success in every way. i'm amazed to see myself making sales almost every day, getting involved in the community, working hard to improve pictures and promote, and already hoping to help other new sellers when i'm still new myself too!

Etsy is an amazing website. For people who love handcrafted items it's like the biggest craft fair you can ever imagine. There're so many sellers on the site with the most genuine and genious (!) creations. I never did hear about it until participating in Bead & Button forum, where I also learnt it's very difficult to sell jewelry on Etsy because of the competition(there're currently over 200000 jewelry items on etsy). At the time I learnt about Etsy, I was pretty satisfied with the little success from my ebay store, and never thought about starting a new venue to sell my jewelry. True, ebay fees are high, but all the tools the website developed for sellers made selling so easy for me. Besides, I had been on ebay for almost a year and sales seemed to be pretty acceptable considering the little effort I put in to maintain the store. (I will be closing my ebay store very soon. I will talk more about my ebay v.s. etsy experience in another post)

I didn't think about selling on etsy until a fellow jewelry designer studio94 I met on ebay emailed me about her new selling experience on etsy. I remember seeing her jewelry auctions on ebay a few months ago. I had really brief email conversations before, because I admired her jewelry, and she happened to be also from Taiwan, the country I was born and grew up in.


All Studio94 said to me was, she moved all her listings from ebay to etsy two months ago; it's a very friendly community, "you should check it out." I took a loot at her etsy store.It was just beautiful, and she was selling pretty well. I told myself, "well, she makes great jewelry and takes great photo, so her jewelry will sell there. That's probably not gonna happen to me." But I simply couldn't forget her words. I checked out the website once a while for a couple weeks, did some research on the jewelry on the site, checked out the forum about some selling tips, registered on 6/29, and then on 7/4 I felt I was ready. I listed one of my best selling pearl rings, and within an hour I could see many page views. "So there ARE people on this website,"I thought. I started listing more. Since I was a new seller on the site,I offered free US shipping to my first 10 orders. On 7/5 I sold my first ring while I was listing another new item.


" I CAN'T BELIEVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "



excuse my gesture, but that's basically how I felt. then within a few hours I sold another ring.

My first 10 orders were filled in three days. I was so excited that I hung in the forum all the time (just to release some energy...), and soon I realized how lucky I was. There's so many jewelry designers on etsy who do a superb job and deserve more sales. Check out some of them on the side bar, and support these wonderful designers as you support me!

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