Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Am I Relevant?

Recently etsy changed it's search to prioritise relevancy rather than recency when you search for a listing. I know this has been met with opposition in the forums... now I'm not interested too much in the debate... etsy have done this, now we have to adapt.

Now here's why I think the changes are a good thing... first off it's better for the shopper, they won't have to trawl thru a million listings to find what they really want. Secondly it means renewing your items doesn't guarantee you will get the top spot which levels the playing field for smaller sellers who can't afford to renew everyday.

Also the changes have made us all take a good look at how we tag our items and write our listings. I have been on etsy about 3 years now, some of my listings have been up for a long time being renewed and relisted when I sell them... it occurred to me that I hadn't read some of my listings for over a year! I saw the retagging process as a way to reconnect with my listings and revisit them all... this has taken me a little over 2 weeks. I was amazed to find how many spelling mistakes I had missed, how many dead links there were in there and how many mistaggings there were!

It's not that I am not careful about spellings etc when I list it's just sometimes we all make mistakes and over time with copying and pasting sections of listings into other listings they had multiplied unnoticed. Especially over the last year when I was working almost fulltime in another job and running my shops at the same time, too much stress makes for sloppy work... it's a fact... now I am full time self employed I can think about these things better and take the time to do it right.

The other thing I found in thinking about my tags and titles there was a shocking absence of certain words and phrases. I had a good think about how people might look for my shop... what do I make? I make needlfelted birds... how many of my listings actually had the phrase "needlefelted bird" in? About half I would say! This should be a no brainer... and yet I missed it... along with wedding cake toppers which weren't tagged, you guessed it, "wedding cake topper"!

What Etsy has done has forced me to take a closer look at my practices and I feel that this is a good thing and my shop will be better for it. I also took a good look at my pictures and I think alot of my photos need retaking as some aren't quite as good as I would like. This is a big job so I won't be doing it till after the wool weekend until I know which stock I still have.

My concern about relevancy is I don't think I am the kind of item people search out... how do you know you want a needlefelted crazy toucan until you see it? You don't... but once you see it don't you realise your life is incomplete without it? So what to do? How can I be relevant? Well, I reckon I shall need to step up my promoting and get some coverage that's what... but next month after I have recovered from Wool Weekend!

I still have my Inkmeup shop to edit... it's a daunting task and I am not looking forward to it but I know it's important and necessary... I'll be logging lots of editing time over the next few weeks! It's all about making my shops better tho so it's all good!

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Working the Plan... Update

I thought I would fill you all in on how that plan is progressing this week. The plan was:

100 designs on Inkmeup on Folksy by mid September
50 designs on feltmeup on Folksy by End of September
50 Feltanomicon designs by End of September

Feltmeup is coming along well... I now have 31 items on folksy and while sales are thin on the ground my views are up and I am hoping people will remember me for Christmas. I've started listing wedding cake toppers on Folksy on a made to order basis as an experiment to see how it goes and focus for this month is on new cake topper designs for Autumn and teeny toppers which as super cute! It's making me focus on what my best sellers are and making me think about what I need to be making so that's good!

Inkmeup is at 57 items, the plan is getting slightly scuppered by the fact that people keep buying things... well I'm not complaining! We passed the 100 sales mark on Inkmeup on Folksy which was a lovely feeling, I treated myself to some new supplies so with luck there will be new designs coming soon.

Feltanomicon hasn't had a look in unfortunately so languishes around the 20 items mark.... which I am fine with as I took on my first fair this month and am prepping for it... this also means my Gallery contacting has been put on the back burner too as I need to prep stock and focus on the fair.

My first real fair, since I have done local things but not had much joy, is at the Harrogate Showground 3rd and 4th September.... It's the Wool Weekend, it promises to be quite fun as I am sharing a stall with my felty mother (facebook fans and readers of the Feltmeup blog will already know this!) but I am not expecting amazing things as traditionally I don't sell very well in a craft fair atmosphere.

It's being my first real fair I am not sure what I should be making as I don't know how well the public will respond to my birds and things.... so long as we break even I'll be happy tho, it's more an experiment! I had a good think about what I need to do in preparation and have started making multiples of my best sellers working on the theory that if I don't sell very well I can at least start to stock up my much neglected Dawanda shop with all my faves!

I'm taking lots and lots of business cards and fliers to give out in hope that people will keep them and remember me, in short I am hoping for the best but planning for the worst! I really do think the Wool Weekend could be great if the weather stays nice for us... we're hoping that it will become kind of a Woolfest for Yorkshire and the fact that we are in right at the beginning is great too!

The whole thing has brought up some of my old insecurities but I am pushing them to the back of my mind and trying to be optimistic. Everything seems very big and scary at the moment but I need to move out of my comfort zone if I am going to make this business work so it's scary good!