Friday, January 8, 2010

A New Idea for Etsy

You may I know I have a love/hate relationship with Etsy. I really love the idea, but hate the cult-like feeling in the forums (I know, I know, I could just stay out of them!), the time suck, and most of all, the lack of sales. I got a brainwave this morning, looking fondly at my husband's dark head on the pillow. You see, we met online, at to be exact. Though I am no raving beauty, I was in demand simply due to the ratio of men to women on dating sites, which is about 13:1. How would I choose to whom to respond? All of them seemed to enjoy romantic evenings at home and long walks on the beach, and also going out dancing. They were all interested in their pets and good friends and listening to music. Then I came to Doug's profile:

Hobbies: Jumping off things, & wondering why my car is suddenly really loud.
Favorite activities: Watching the wind push daisies around. Banging nails. 
Not interested in: Buying a bunch of stuff. Debt makes you old fast.

See what I mean? He stood out like a live man in a row of corpses. He wasn't too worried about scaring someone off to let his personality show. I answered him, and the rest is history. 

I decided to try and apply that lesson to online retailing. In the listings for which I don't have five photos to fill all the slots, I am putting in photos of something unrelated: a sheep from Straw's farm near Watershed, my cats looking out the window, a rusty gear. And a note saying, the sheep hasn't got anything to do with it, I just like the photo. Or something like that. 

I thought it was brilliant, so I posted it in the Etsy forums. Guess what? Everybody very very kindly said it was a stupid idea. Which only proves my point.

Well, no it doesn't. But there's this: I can't sell any less from my Etsy shop than I already am. Might as well try something different!


Laura Mayer said...

Sounds great to me... Be random. That is why we are artists. To shake it up a bit. I say go for it.

Brian said...

Love it!
In a crowded marketplace, it's good to stand out and show your personality.
I haven't joined the Etsy masses yet, but am considering it. Lots of talk about it recently. Ron Philbeck wrote a nice piece on his experiences recently.

Tracey Broome said...

I have been thinking about Etsy quite a bit lately, but when I first learned of it, and went to the website I was horrified. When I did a search for ceramics, there was something like 93,000 items and 90,000 were bad! I was reading along about your idea for the random photos and thinking wow what a great idea, and then read that the "forum" said it was stupid. I don't think so at all! I loved that, Etsy shops can be pretty boring I think. I'm still on the fence about it. Maybe potters should unite and start their own Etsy type shop! Did you read the NY Times article about the girl that was making $150,000 a year on Etsy selling her knit scarves? How did she do that!?!?

Betsy Mortinsen said...

I agree with Laura and Brian and Tracey - do your thing!

-Rob, Simple Circle Studios said...

First of all, "Jumping off things and wondering why my car is suddenly really loud." Priceless.
Second, People are pretty stupid. The huddled masses are usually wrong. Or worse; they know they are wrong but are just to scared to go their own way. Who cares what other folks think? Not I, said the cat. Commendations to you for not following the crowd; the crowd is big enough as it is.
Regarding the Etsy issue; it sounds like a good idea to start some kind of pottery only site, but you would still end up with 93,000 entries, 90,000 being of poor quality. You just wouldn't have the name recognition of Etsy. If a person is trying to get into online sales, Etsy is probably a good place to start (I haven't yet, but will be soon) as long as they realize that it is probably not going to be some get rich quick deal. Sales will undoubtedly start slow and may never pick up to the brisk pace they would like. I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade, but for the majority of people that is most likely the reality of it. The six figure Etsy incomes are the exceptions, not the rule. Just my 2 bits on the issue.

Tracey Broome said...

Rob, I guess you are right about the same number of pots on a clay only site, duh :) Math is not my best subject! and yes, I'm sure that 6 figures is a rarity for Etsy, probably why the NY Times did the story. I still like the photo idea, and if/when I decide to do Etsy, I may just insert some for spite haha!

Lori Watts said...

yes! Com join me, Tracey, we'll be Etsy subversives!

Felicia Kramer said...

Lori, I can totally relate to your love/hate with Etsy. My sales were totally dismal during the holidays. Two sales - count'em - two! It's amazing what we think up to generate traffic and attention to our shops. I say go for it!

FetishGhost said...

I liked the off topic shots in your Etsy posts, but I like the shots of your kiln much better! Photos showing you at work creating some of what you are selling would get attention. Include more shots of each item too. Customers usually need to feel comfortable with what they are purchasing before they plop down the $$$.

dominique said...

I stumbled upon your blog while being blown about the internet highway on a rainy sunday. I think you should write a book about your life and or etsy. I really like your imagination, creativity and way of expressing yourself!!

Lori Watts said...

Wow, thanks!