Thursday, January 12, 2017

How to make a killing on Etsy. Or not.

Chicago Cubs winning the World Series?
Definitely a good thing in 2016!
I'm ready to put the year my husband had heart surgery (the second in one year's time) and the year my Mom died behind me. So, I'm more than ready to tidy up the loose ends of 2016. And that means the joy of paperwork. I just totaled up my Etsy earnings for 2016. Gulp.

I recently saw this very interesting list of factors that Etsy sellers should think about when analyzing their shops. It comes from the owner of a shop called Norwegian Wood. She's had 6905 sales on Etsy, so of course my envy meter is in the red. But being a fellow Northern California seller, I thought I'd give her advice a looksee.

Brand? I'm supposed to have a brand? Sounds painful. But I'll work on it.

Define need. And, I'm not supposed to "simply make stuff that I like making"? Oh, boy, I've got some thinking to do on this. 

Ha, Ha, Ha! "Do the math about the time and costs involved..." But that would just make me cry, and the goal for 2017 is less crying. 

Fortunately, in adding up my material costs for 2016, I did pretty well. So many friends have donated unused fabric to me, I've done all right with my expenses. I could purchase more things in bulk, such as my batting, but I just don't want to impact our home that much. So if it doesn't fit in my craft closet, it's not coming in the house.

Repeat laughing from above. Etsy is as saturated with quilts as California is from the Storm of 2017. The ground's wet, the rivers are rising and we're all trying to just tread water.

If I took better pictures, I might do better. Or should I say, if I actually made more quilts, and then took better pictures of them, I might do better. 

But with my particular product, I think I'm much better in person than over the Internet. At the close of my miserable 2016, I hauled in my quilts and hats to a little craft area at my job where a co-worker was selling her quilts. I sold a lot! But they didn't give me the money until 2017. Grr.

From what I've seen, no one else is taking only recycled, upcycled and/or repurposed fabric pieces and turning them into one-of-a-kind rag quilts with unique names and funky descriptions and selling them on Etsy. But since the quilt market on Etsy is so saturated, it's hard to stand out. Hence the need to find some in-person craft shows to do that don't cost more than a bolt of batting.

I just posted two new quilts, Willow and Calico. They took me too long to make and my profit margin is not that great, but I loved making them. Branding, time plus costs plus materials, market saturation, wants verses need, I can't think about that right now. I have some more quilts to plan. 

She never wants the Cubs to win again. Ever.