Sabbatical Adventures begin . . .

Sabbatical Adventures begin . . .

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

My Business Year

What I learned in 2014: Vol. 1

Wall art and yo yo, one of my passions!

So difficult  to put into words what has been going on in my mind.  You too?  But since it is the time of year to reflect, I will try.

First, I need to divide my comments into categories.  I have learned quite a bit this year; some of it about business, some of it about myself and some of it . . . well . . . you get the idea.

This post will be about business, online business that I have engaged in for six years,  I will be very frank and honest about what I have learned.  If it will help you in your business, well, then, it will have been worth it to write it down in this way. (And it serves as a diary entry to me to look back on reminding myself!)

sold many coasters at PruittCreations 

Online Business has not been great this year. It's not that I didn't try.  I had lots of new items and promoted them.  I was happy with my promotion efforts.  Some of them included:

1) joining and participating with new teams to increase my friends base.  I met some new friends and that was good.
2) increased participation with my beloved team, Blogging Business Artisans.  Some great friends there! Other Etsy sellers who helped me promote and we love to encourage each other! Thanks team!
3) Lots of twitter posts.  I found this to beneficial. Got views from nearly every post!  That's great! but the down side is that I didn't get any sales from this promotion.
4) did a couple of Facebook promotions, and they were a dud. Got a few lookers, but again, no sales.

Love Christmas ornies!
So what was the reason for low sales:
I believe there were two reasons.
One is my fault--my product.  I love to make my products. I love to create! But the fact seems to be that there is no demand for my products.  Oh I've had plenty of 'high fives' called 'favorites' online, by that didn't translate into sales.  So, I must conclude that my products do not leave a 'must have' taste in the appetite of potential customers.  Some might say that maybe my promotion didn't reach my target audience, but after six years on the net, I doubt that is true.   (Even my supplemental show sales have born out 'low customer demand'.)

Outdoor show
Reason number two for low sales:
I believe, is Etsy.  Etsy has changed its focus, its look and its values over the six years that I have been there.  Originally they promoted themselves as a  'handmade' or 'handcrafted' marketplace.  They have shifted that focus to a more hip, modern, sleek look, that doesn't feature items that look handmade.  Oh there are many items to be found on Etsy that have the unique handmade look, but if you could compare the sales, I bet you would see more items that have a manufactured look.  (Items are still billed as handmade because they are made by individuals.) This value shift is also seen in their focus change toward wholesale.
I, personally tend to like items that are not slick, but have a unique handcrafted look--that includes imperfections!

When Etsy had a sales feed, I could keep up on trends.  (BTW--they removed their sales feed some time ago from the site.) Now you have to trust their say-so as to what is trending (selling).  Sometimes I feel like they are telling us what they would prefer to be trending, like run-way items!

Well, enough of the rant!  Suffice it to say, I will be closing two shops on Etsy.  They just are not worth my time and the money invested.  (I know, I did that before, and frankly, I chickened out after a few months and went back to selling on Etsy because I enjoyed it so much!)   In 2015, I can shift my creative efforts into my writing, watercolor, art quilts, quilts for my large family and maybe even, cute outfits for my grands! Anyway, that will be an audience that will appreciate handcrafted!

NOTE:  Please do not take all this as negative, as it is honest and has lead me to a good conclusion.
P.S.  Watch for closing sale pricing after the New Year.  
P.S.S.  Volume 2 tomorrow . . . see you then!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

This year . . .

This year seems to have just buzzed on by me!  It's nearly over.  I even forgot to wish you a happy holiday!  Hope yours was an awesome celebration, like ours was!

Originally in this blog, which I started last March, I  set out to chronicle my sabbatical adventure. And although this year has not totally been a sabbatical,  it has, indeed, been a year of change. Sometimes sabbaticals do that.  They provide time to reflect and allow for course corrections.

In the coming days, I want to share some of what I have been experiencing in the last few months and the course corrections that I am making.

In the meantime, I hope you a have a great New Year celebration!