Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Year In Review

Well my etsy anniversary has come and gone (it was the 12th) very quietly...actually that day broke a really great sales streak and I haven't had one since! Oh the irony.

I thought I might take a moment and reflect a little on the past year.

I learned about etsy through my good friend Jan who is the lovely lady behind SojournQuilts. We were at an open studio at the time, she was selling at the event and I worked for the studio putting on the show. I knew she sold of etsy before but we had never had an opportunity to really discuss it at length until then.

After that weekend I was really excited to have an outlet for my creativity in a way that might support my habit. I of course was timid though and needed a lot of pushing from my partner, Evan. In my mind I needed to have everything perfect... shop name, profile information, items, all the details needed to be worked out before I could get started. The funny part is that when I finally sat down and started, I really did think that I had all the kinks worked out and things were perfect!
I got my first sale within the first two weeks of selling. I was elated! Actually, I had to call Jan immediately to tell her, I remember spinning in circles in my computer chair. I was also really nervous. When I started packing the piece (immediately even though it was 8 o'clock in the evening) I started freaking out because I was scared that the woman who bought the bracelet was going to decide she hates it after seeing it. The woman ended up returning the wasn't because she thought I was terrible though, it was because it didn't fit. I think that was the best start to my selling on etsy! I quickly realized that it's not the end of the world if someone buys something and it turns out not to be what they wanted. I didn't get over the nervousness of selling for at least 6 months though.

And then there is waiting for feedback! After my first few sales I was obsessively checking my etsy page every five minutes waiting for feedback. I was (and still am a little) deathly afraid of negative feedback. It's been a year and I haven't gotten any yet, but I just can't let my guard down! This was my first feedback "These thin bangles are so fun! Each time I wear them, I am asked what they are made of and where I bought them. These have turned out to be a real hit! Thank you! I will be back!" It was from my mom! What a wonky set of bangles!

In the beginning, I found it harder to make the time to make things. I think a lot of it had to do with the anxiety I was experiencing when posting items. I also had a new baby and was nursing every five minutes. Now that I'm not nursing anymore I'm amazed at all the extra time that has appeared in my day! Also, when we decided to sell off all of our belongings and move to Montana I needed to get rid of things that I had been hording and make money for the trip. That really took the edge off of my fears, plus with all the posting the sales really started to roll in.

Then we came home from Montana and I felt a little crazy and a lotta lost so I really started poring myself into making. This was also right around when the Christmas sales started rolling in. Finally I was posting regularly, getting custom orders and repeat business and lots of sales. Also, all the time that I was putting in my shop really made things come together like my policies and figuring out how to photography my items in a way that would make them interesting.

I still have a lot to learn, but going into my second year I can't help but feel really confident. I no longer feel anxious when I get a sale or waiting for feedback because I know that my items are cool and made well. Finally, I'm taking the time to experiment and try new things confidently because I know that if it doesn't work out, I've still got a lot of good ideas!

Speaking of making....I better get to it!

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