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#1 Sep 08 2012 at 4:47 PM Rating: Excellent
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In over the one year I had my etsy store, I've only gotten one sale and since she was local the transaction was completed offline, saving shipping cost for her and hassle for me. Big problem is my writing sucks and the camera I been using sucks even more. I had offers to let me borrow an digital SRL camera and with writing up better descriptions for my jewelry, so plans are on the way to revamp my store.

But since the offers are from close friends, I would like some honest criticism of the store and were else can I get it but from people who love to flame. Any hints you're willing to share are welcome too.

I'm a Big girl and can take criticism that honest, so give it.

If you do see something you like, I'm having a sale with everything 20% off. just use the coupon code "JUSTBECAUSE" without the quotation marks.
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"England needs, examples of people who, leaving Heaven to decide whether they are to rise in the world, decide for themselves that they will be happy in it, and have resolved to seek, not greater wealth, but simpler pleasures; not higher fortune, but deeper felicity; making the first of possessions self-possession, and honouring themselves in the harmless pride and calm pursuits of peace." - John Ruskin
#2 Sep 08 2012 at 5:50 PM Rating: Excellent
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I haven't browsed much, but immediately after opening, but you should re-do all the photos on that gray background with the items either on forms or just a plain black or white background, depending on what color will provide the most contrast. Some of the photos of product on forms is a bit out of focus. I don't know that I'd go with a contrasting background on those. I'd probably do a black form with a black background, personally. The bracelets would pop more on a black background, as well.

The items themselves look pretty nice. The biggest problem with Etsy is that it's far too easy to find comparable items, in my opinion. I don't know how their shopping basket works, or how coupons work, but you should really offer quantity discounts. Pick a price that you absolutely want to sell an item for at minimum. Say it's $20 for a necklace. Then you price your necklaces at $25/ea or two for $45, three for $60. Something along those lines. even if they were two for $40, you need to make people feel like they'll be saving money or getting a bargain for purchasing multiple items. If you can make a coupon for $5 off $40 or more, or something along those lines, that works too.

When you take pictures of your product, take as much time as it takes you to finish and be happy with a product. Take 20 pictures of each item if you have to. Don't be satisfied with just snapping a quick picture of each item; your presentation is every bit as important in selling the items as the products themselves are.

Where do you live, again? I don't remember and am too lazy to do a search. Try making some local-flavor items. Seaglass, if you live near a coastal area. Lie and say all the seaglass is collected from the local beach. Find a souvenir shop who will take the items on consignment . A retail store will need to make around 2x what they pay in order to stock an item. So, if a necklace will sell for $30, you'll need to sell it to a retailer for $15. Many small gift shops will be willing to give you a small amount of counter space.

Edited, Sep 8th 2012 7:57pm by Spoonless
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#3 Sep 08 2012 at 9:06 PM Rating: Good
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The photos and backgrounds are the biggest problems, that I am looking for ways to change, without breaking the bank. Until I can afford to buy more equipment, I'm making do with Fabric and Items I have at home. Thankfully my daughter didn't remember to get some of her displays from me after Balticon45, so with Gimp2 hopefully I can end up with photos I'm happy with.

I'm looking at making what has been a expensive hobby with occasional sales into a full time business that breaks even within 3 years and see profit in 5. Since I know I can get sales when I do events, I'm looking at vendor fees at local craft fairs also. This year wasn't prepared for to drop down cash needed to be able to set up a booth, that I would have to man by myself all day.

Then I been trying to hold off large purchases until after I get inheritance that been held up in probate, as siblings waited for housing market to improve.
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This Post is written in Elnese, If it was an actual Post, it would make sense.

"England needs, examples of people who, leaving Heaven to decide whether they are to rise in the world, decide for themselves that they will be happy in it, and have resolved to seek, not greater wealth, but simpler pleasures; not higher fortune, but deeper felicity; making the first of possessions self-possession, and honouring themselves in the harmless pride and calm pursuits of peace." - John Ruskin
#4 Sep 09 2012 at 8:43 PM Rating: Good
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Can you see how many hits you're getting on your Esty page?

There is SO much stuff on that site that unless someone is specifically looking for your stuff very few will chance upon it. Even with a search specific for hand-made jewelry they might not see your stuff.
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#5 Sep 09 2012 at 9:11 PM Rating: Good
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Charge more, go batsh*t crazy with descriptions. Your problem is you're stuck in a no mans land between Chinese resellers and absolutely insane people with an inflated sense of their work's value. It's not your store design.

You can't compete with this sh*t:

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/528053441/2012_latest_desig_necklaces_for_925.html?s=p

You probably CAN compete with this sh*t:

http://www.etsy.com/listing/56870449/whirlwind-tree-necklace-mixed-metal?ref=&sref=

In all honesty, Etsy is in a death spiral. It's a lottery at this point, so if you're going to win and sell a piece to the crazy @#%^er who still buys, you may as well go for the grand prize.

Good luck.

Edited, Sep 9th 2012 11:30pm by Smasharoo
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#6 Sep 09 2012 at 9:24 PM Rating: Excellent
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A couple of things I see immidiatly. You are using high quality materials for your wares, real copper, nice pieces of jade, etc. But your lighhting and preperation in the photos is really bad. Semi translucent gemstones need proper lighting when you are photographing them. First thing you can, get a lighting kit and a soft box similar to this one: http://www.ebay.com/itm/JS-Photo-Studio-in-a-Softbox-Tent-Light-Lighting-Cube-Photography-Kit-JTK103-/251095144664?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3a766fd8d8 for $35. Then read up on three point photography lighting. Also consider buying a really good flash for your camera with the ability to slave additional strobe lights so they go off when you take the picture. Sounds complicated, but it really isn't bad to set up or use, and you should be able to pick up some decent strobes with reflectors for around $50 or so, and a really good flash for around $200ish. Display semi-translucent stones on a black or dark blue matte background that doesn't reflect. Prefferably pick a fabric that doesn't pick up any dust. For the copper work, remember that the camera is going to pick up every little flaw there could possibly be. I'd reccommend taking one sample and polishing it with a dremel tool and some copper polish and a soft wheel until it gleams and has no visible scratches, and take a picture of that one. Also, it's a SLR camera, for Single Lense Reflex.

I would also reccommend you get a largish rock tumbler and some plastic or ceramic tumbling pellets and experement with putting some of your finished metalwork pieces in there for 6 or so hours (metal, pellets, a bit of soapy water. Shouldn't need any grit for that. It should give you a nice even tumbled patina without detracting from the hand qrought quality of the work and will match the polished stones really well. Plus when you aren't using it for that you can tumble your own rocks.

The other thing that you need on your store is background. The About page is a good start, but it needs some better pictures. Though that one sphere pendant picture you have there is the best picture you have on the entire thing so far. Thats what you want for all of them. , maybe some pictures of people modeling the necklaces and pendants, possibly maybe target the traditional rennisance jewlry market and have a few ren fiare people wear them in period garb. I dunno. Something to show people Huh, that looks good with X, and it's about Y. big.

Also, you might want an "I will make you a custom piece" option of some sort. I don't know if it would work logistically with how the site is set up, but it would be a draw.

I dunno, some things to consider.
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#7 Sep 12 2012 at 3:01 PM Rating: Good
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Thanks everyone for your input.

new camera and other photography equipment are on the top of the list of items I need and will buy once my father's estate is settled. Hopefully my parents house will be sold and I'll get my share, by the end of this year. Thankfully the house is just 3 blocks away from Johns Hopkins Univ, and the housing market there has mostly recovered from the housing crash. Until then I may have use of futher s-i-l DiSLR

I talk with daughter about her wearing some of my jewelry at the Md Renn Faire, this season. Not a weekend has gone by this Renn faire Season that she hasn't had her photo taken by professional photographers. We may also go in together for a photo shoot by a friend whose work we greatly admire,

Rock tumbler is something I have consider getting someday, though I can get great polish finish on the copper with the Flex Shaft Rotary toolI have already invested in. I have taken a class on how to use it and my latest Copper piece is a tree I etch by hand using the flex shaft instead of cutting out the tree using jeweler's saw. I am going to make it into a bracelet once the copper and silver links I order today arrive. Daughter and I combined our orders for added discount.

Right now I debating trying to use the digital camera Jonwin got us, or wait unilt s-i-l and I can get together, so he can teach me to use his DiSLR. before he lends it to me.

And Smash the Esty site is mainly place I send anyone interested in my jewelry to, from facebook, or give my business card to. I realize my chances of completing their against the Chinese resellers and over inflated ego sellers are slim. Still it's there just in case someone does chance upon my jewelry and buys something, between shows. Daughter has inform me that there is an Goth event the day after Thanksgiving that doesn't have Vendor fee, I may try to sell some silver and garnet necklaces there.
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This Post is written in Elnese, If it was an actual Post, it would make sense.

"England needs, examples of people who, leaving Heaven to decide whether they are to rise in the world, decide for themselves that they will be happy in it, and have resolved to seek, not greater wealth, but simpler pleasures; not higher fortune, but deeper felicity; making the first of possessions self-possession, and honouring themselves in the harmless pride and calm pursuits of peace." - John Ruskin
#8 Sep 14 2012 at 4:19 PM Rating: Excellent
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I made my first Esty sale Smiley: yippeeSmiley: yippeeSmiley: yippee

The necklace Forest of Threes sold for $20 plus shipping. I ran the copper wire clasps and bail under my polishing cloth and have it in box with note on receipt thanking the buyer. First thing in the morning I'll walk around the corner and get it in the mail.

Smiley: yippeeSmiley: yippeeSmiley: yippee
can you see how happy I am?
Smiley: yippeeSmiley: yippeeSmiley: yippee
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This Post is written in Elnese, If it was an actual Post, it would make sense.

"England needs, examples of people who, leaving Heaven to decide whether they are to rise in the world, decide for themselves that they will be happy in it, and have resolved to seek, not greater wealth, but simpler pleasures; not higher fortune, but deeper felicity; making the first of possessions self-possession, and honouring themselves in the harmless pride and calm pursuits of peace." - John Ruskin
#9 Sep 19 2012 at 11:47 AM Rating: Good
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One thing that bugged me is that I couldn't really tell the scale of the tree cuttout medallions. I would have liked a picture of each medallion with a coin or something to depict the scale. Or a picture of one on a necklace for the same purpose.
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#10 Sep 20 2012 at 1:23 PM Rating: Excellent
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Using old photo set up the pictures I took next to a coin didn't turn out very well. I been reading up on the subject of jewelry photography and just got light box Kao suggested in the mail today so hope to have better photos up soon.

Not too soon though, as I just spent 2 days in the hospital due to bad reaction to medication and dehydration. They also found that I have UTI infection so I plan on taking care of my self for the next few days.
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This Post is written in Elnese, If it was an actual Post, it would make sense.

"England needs, examples of people who, leaving Heaven to decide whether they are to rise in the world, decide for themselves that they will be happy in it, and have resolved to seek, not greater wealth, but simpler pleasures; not higher fortune, but deeper felicity; making the first of possessions self-possession, and honouring themselves in the harmless pride and calm pursuits of peace." - John Ruskin
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