Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Black and White Fish

I do not like orders, especially very specific ones. It's OK to repeat some of my previous works so that's clear what we are talking about.But to make to order something different could be rather tricky indeed - not sure that a customer and myself have the same ideas. That's why I put aside one particular order for quite a while despite a few gentle reminders. I always play with colour and the order was to make black and white fish!
Here we are! Eventually:

Black and White felted Fish

 It's not completely black, more greyish, because despite all my efforts the white migrated through. I've put a layer of silk between black and white but it didn't help much. To soften very sombre appearance I added a little bit of red in slits and around eyes.

If I make it again I'll do it differently but the customer liked it and said that it was exactly as she wanted it! Hooray!

Friday, 13 March 2015

My ETSY experience

As you could guess I sell on ETSY. If you don't know what ETSY is you are a lucky person and better ignore this post!

OK, I sell on ETSY, i have some sales and it's about 14 months of this adventure - time to write memoire!

When I started to work in "wool watercolour" technique especially on Kindle cases - I wanted to make them but could not sell them in York shop, the target audience was not right for them.

So I opened the shop mid September 2013 and begun to wait for my first customer. And read, read and read all advice experienced ETSY sellers were sharing. You can't overestimate them! And still I was (and still is!) doubtful about some of advice which by many considered as absolute truth. Like these:

- you need to fill the shop with at least 50-70 items! 100 is a magic number! More viewing and more sale! I could not imagine a crafter who can produce (and sell!) so many true OOAK pieces to keep this number in a shop! It may be true for the shops selling a lot of similar (and easier to make) items, like jewelry assembly, but not for my stuff definitely. I prefer my shop to be more boutique style with a few but exclusive pieces than being overflowed with multiple identical items. Everyone to their own.

- you should work on your visibility on ETSY. - treasuries, teams, forums. I do practically nothing of this. Why? First, I am not very social person. Second, it's hard work, requiring a lot of time. And I don't enjoy it! From my experience if you are active in ETSY teams, forums, making treasuries you get more views, more favourites sometimes but not necessarily more sales. It could work for you if you sell small pieces, or some funny stuff, things which work perfect as an impulse buy. I sell quite specific items so I have to relay on search mainly.

 - social network - the same as above. I do nothing apart from blogging. And I've got two ETSY customers from  my blog! I need to do more blogging apparently!

So what I consider as important? To be relevant in search! There are plenty of papers and posts on "Search and Relevancy" subject and I'm not going into details here. What I do: try to find key words which work for my items properly, renew listings regularly, just try to keep up with new rules and changes on ETSY in general.
Now I'm coming to the very core of my "ETSY strategy"! Sorry it sounds too grand!

 The most important thing is To find a niche! Your own niche, the things you made that are very special, very specific. It's not easy! "Do things that are hard. Way less competition." (Eric August Johnson) It's funny but it's true! If you can produce smth which are not in abundance on the market you are guaranteed to get customers interested in your products. My "wool watercolours" are not the most beautiful or perfect or whatever, they just relatively rare. There are not that many items in this technique on ETSY. So competition is not that fierce as in traditional felting techniques. In my shop I've sold mostly cases&cosies decorated in "wool watercolour" but very few more traditional items like scarves or mittens unfortunately! I'd like to make and sell more scarves but alas!...

My point is - try to do smth different, which stands out in the very competitive market of handmade products.
 For those of you who've read this all - my new design, "spring hyacinths".

Felted Kindle Case with hyacinth image
Baby hyacinth!

In mid April our YFM group is going to hold an exhibition of members' works. The theme for collective display is "Spring" and I've made this case for this event. Wish us luck!