Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Decisions Decisions

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about all of the online sites that I've been trying out, and if it really is worth spreading my stuff out all over the place or not.

Last year I tried madeitmyself, free to list, but very beta looking and no traffic. Then there was icraft, a pretty site, easy to use, but only 8 sales in 8 months. Then there was handmadefuzion, another startup site, the listing process was tedious and no buyers there, either. Dawanda has been around for a while and is doing pretty well, but you've got to list in euro dollars and if you don't speak german and french and list in those languages, you won't be seen by 3/4 of the buyers there. Artfire came along and I tried that out for 7.00 a month in listing fees-easy to use, but venomous forums and kind of a not so attractive look to the site. And then we have zibbet, which looks good, no listing fees, really easy to use, but again, no buyers. And last, we have Bonanzle, which is a spin-off of Ebay. Love the look of the site, the no listing fees, and the incredible ease of listing, but again, no buyers and I think any buyers that do come to the site are not going to be looking for handmades. So, do I keep trying all these start up Etsy and Ebay clones or just stick with Etsy? I don't like to have one of a kind items that could be selling on Etsy just sitting out there in cyberspace somewhere.

This post on etsy yesterday kind of put it all into perspective for me. I usually find this person's posts kind of annoying and try to avoid her, she's one of those 'know it all' types that is a little condescending in her posts, but this one hit home. I won't say her name, but I'm sure those of you familiar with the forums have run across her-she sells high end jewelry and her user name starts with an S and a T and rhymes with Perryfruitt.
Anyway, here is her post:
Don't put all your eggs in one basket means something different
to me, than it might to you.
During the two years I have been on etsy I've seen lots of ecommerce sites spring up: HandmadeFuzion, Lollishops, now Art Fire and 1000 Markets.

Not having all your eggs in one basket does not mean spreading yourself thin in the ecommerce world. It means diversification, your own shop, your own website, selling at craft fairs, in someone else's shop or if you are lucky enough, a gallery.

When I read that different venues are new and will have a different target market, I really don't think that is true.

I don't think that any handmade site will ever really compete with etsy, any more than the dozen or so auction sites tried to compete with ebay, and failed. Competition is good, but what it really does is make the best, better.

What etsy has done, by becoming professional (Maria, Chad, Sara and others I don't know) has insured their standing in the market place. If you are not selling here, why would you take your wares to another site with far far less traffic?

Yes, running your own business is hard work. I still spend many hours a week marketing on my own in addition to the exposure etsy provides. I'M NOT telling you not to sell on another site, but I'm wondering, if you only have a finite amount of time to spend, and there are only a finite amount of customers, don't you want to be where most of them are?

This is one of the few posts of hers that I totally agree with and find insightful. Etsy is the first and the best, and that's the first place a buyer is going to go looking for handmade. So, I think I'm going to stop wasting my time with start up sites and get all those eggs back on etsy where they belong and where the buyers are.

I also decided to clean out my supply boxes and get rid of stuff that I'm not going to use. I thought about re-opening a separate supply shop, but decided to just have a destash section in my shop. That way, everything is all in one place and someone who is looking for cheap supplies will also see my handmades. I listed a few things yesterday and have already had 5 sales from it, so that's what I'm going to work on the next few days.

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