Posts Tagged 'etsy shop'

By special request…

Historically, The Tragic Whale has been my creative outlet. And while I’ve entertained suggestions and occasionally taken on special orders, I’m mostly in this for me. I make what I want, when I want. I develop new items that I think are a good idea and at my own pace. And it’s worked out overall. But if I’m going to continue to grow as a business as well as a person, I need to be open to more of a push than just what I can give myself.

I started with a baby step earlier this year when I introduced PUL-lined bags to the shop. People have been asking for them for AGES, and in true-Kerry fashion, I waited until I was fully ready to explore this new and wild material. Why did I wait so long? I have no idea. It hadn’t previously worked into my “bigger picture plans” and didn’t seem like a good way to spend my time. That was 100% WRONG! The snack-size bags I’m making are selling excellent at events, and multiple people have asked to special order a print they loved in person but with the easy-to-clean PUL as a lining instead of cotton.

Another baby step is to buy fabric with the customer in mind. Why? Because they are the people buying things from me! This is a “Duh, Kerry!” moment, I know. A lot of people are asking about bee fabric, so I started scooping up every one I come across. They don’t last long in the shop and sell even faster in person, so instead of buying more bees after I sell out of all my bee bags, I’m actively seeking it out and consciously picking designs that I haven’t see elsewhere. The idea is that 1) I won’t run out and 2) I’ll have especially fun bees to offer.

My last baby step is to make more in prints I already have / self designed. My shark print is pretty popular and people ask for more size options. And I’m over here like, “Well I *had* that in a small and I sold it. So I don’t anymore.” But it’s MY fabric and the whole idea is to buy more when I need it. Why am I waiting to sell out before thinking about the next bag? I made some shark bags last week, and some sheep bags (which is another frequent request)! And I’m currently working on a restocking list for the designs I’m running low on.

What’s next? Well, these baby steps all come together to form a shift in focus for me. I’m planning to add a Made to Order section to the shop within the next year (probably sooner) where people will be able to select bag size, outside fabric, zipper color, and lining. I’ll only offer them in my own prints, because I can restock on fabric when I run low. I still have to work out some details, such as turnaround time and pricing, but it feels like a natural next step and I’m excited about it!

Have any suggestions? Noticed a change in focus in your life recently? Leave a comment below and let me know!

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Inventory on Fair Days

Last year, I started deactivating the bags in my shop that I was bringing with me to events. I liked that there were still items in my shop to view, but that nothing could be double sold. But the process of deactivating 100 or so listings every week is time consuming, and then there is the matter of getting the unsold inventory back in the shop quickly. Sometimes I would removed sold bags throughout the day and reactive everything else right from my phone at the end of the event, but other times I wouldn’t get to it until the following Monday.

For this year, I’m going to test shutting down the whole shop just prior to the start of the event. I’ll hopefully have time during the event to delete sold items form inventory, and then reopen the full shop at the end of the day.

I’m thinking I’ll save time during the week on “Fair Prep” and will have more time for sewing and fabric design. It also takes significantly less time to press one button and reactive a shop than it does to reactive 75ish listings individually.

To combat people thinking that my shop is on a permanent vacation, I’ll add a note to the shop announcement explaining what fair I’m at, how long it is, and when to expect the shop to reopen with full inventory.

My first fair of the year is THIS SATURDAY! So I’ll have the first wave of research in less than a week from now.

How do you handle Etsy shop inventory when you have a fair or a market?

Moving to Monday Updates

For years, I’ve made bags throughout the week and then put everything on pause when I had a sunny day (love that natural light) to take pictures, edit, create listings, and then decide when I would add what into the shop. The process is good in that adding new items multiple times a week boosts your search analytics, but in all honesty it’s time consuming. On top of that, I share my work space with my husband and there are a couple of times a week where I will pause sewing so he can make phone calls.

I’ll be the first to say that I don’t always manage my time well and it’s something I’m working on. So it would make sense for me to save the photo uploading, editing, and creating listings for those times when I’m respectfully not sewing. Making them live takes about the same amount of time for 5 listings as it does for 30, so I can save a little bit of time throughout the week if I do it all on one day. Enter in: Monday Updates.

I’ll take pictures when I have good light, work on the boring part during quiet time, and spend some time on Monday mornings renewing expired listings and sharing all the new ones. I’m not concerned with where my shop falls into search analytics right now because the “new and improved” system seems to only benefit shops offering free shipping. I tried it last week and actually was able to turn out more bags than usual!

Running your own business is a constant learning process. I know I make quality products, and now is the time to focus on quality time management.

Makeup Bag Re-branding

I’m calling them Flat Bottom Bags now!

I ran into some makeup bag related confusion last market season, such as:

Boy- “Dad! Can I get this bag! It has dinosaurs on it!”
Adult- “No, makeup bags are for women.”

Woman- “Oh I just love this bag! But I really don’t need anymore makeup bags…”
Me- “You can use it for other things, like-”
Woman-“Its says makeup bag.”

Woman- “This is a pretty big pencil case.”
Me- “Oh, that’s a makeup bag.”
Woman-“Never mind.”

This was totally new for me, and I changed them to “Toiletry Bags” about halfway through the season. It opened them up but still left them in a niche category that most people couldn’t see past.

So I’ve changed them across the board- in my Etsy shop and will make new in-person signs. In each Etsy listing, I started by listing 5ish things that the bags can be used for, and went on to update every bag listing in the shop to start with the same information. It will probably be beneficial to make larger price signs for markets, and include the “can be used for” list on them as well.

I’m hoping this will convert more sales and allow people to see the bags for what they are: bags with almost endless uses.

Year End Clearance Event

Oh shoot, it’s a sale!

I’m calling this the “First Ever Year End Clearance Event,” but in actuality I have no idea if I’ve done this before. I certainly haven’t offered 70% off of anything ever, so that part is confirmed new. Anyway, please enjoy 70% off select items (bags, sweater pins, magnets) now through December 31st.

Here’s a not-great group picture of some of the things on sale:

$2.55 for sweater pins? $4.65 for a small makeup bag? $3 for a zipper pouch?! What is this?!

It’s the Year End Clearance Event, that’s what.

Find everything here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTragicWhale/items?section_id=1

 

New in the Shop: Magnet Sets

I recently added magnet sets to the shop! I’ve been making wooden button magnets for a few years but I usually give them as gifts or keep them for personal use.

I used E6000 glue (the best glue) to secure 10mm neodymium magnets to the backs of wooden buttons. The magnets have a rounded edges so they are not supposed to scratch away surfaces or leave residue behind.

They come lightly taped to card stock and sleeved in a little zip-lock bag.

They can hold at least 4 sheets of paper and a greeting card. I use my own sets to hang takeout menus and invitations!

I haven’t decided if I’ll bring them to fairs and markets with me yet, so for now they can only be found online.

Find them in the housewares section! https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTragicWhale?section_id=16516425

New in the Shop: XL Makeup / Project Bags

When I first introduced makeup bags to my shop, I made the bag patterns for 5 sizes: XS to XL. My original idea was to sell them as a nesting set (bet you didn’t know these were nesting bags!) but it seemed easier to categorize them by size and the Extra Large never made it to the shop. Until now!

I’m making them EXCLUSIVELY in my own fabric designs! I know this will limit the variety of them at first, but eventually the section will grow as my design library increases.

They can hold a full can of dry shampoo and a standing bottle of contact solution. They comfortably fit a skein of yarn with supplies. With that much room, there’s so much you can use them for!

Find them in the XL Makeup / Project Bag section here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheTragicWhale?section_id=24823650


Hello, I’m Kerry! Maker. Sewist. Fan of all things bright.

October 2019
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It's Fluff! Curious, master napper, likes to try new veggies.

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