Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Originality, My Etsyversary
Meep by Schmooks
Yesterday was my One Year Etsyversey (for my jewelry shop, Jeweled Ambrosia) I recently had a two year Etsyversery in my Little Lovables shop. This has been such a whirlwind and adventure for me, I am so happy to have found Etsy, and am so thankful for my customers and all who have helped me out along the way! I am going to share some thoughts with you on success on Etsy throughout the course of my blog, but today, I am going to focus on originality.
Cracker Jacks Recycled Notebook by Ivy Lane Designs
As a kid, I thought Original meant "mundane, commonplace, boring." How did I come up with these assumptions? Because on cereal and snacks boxes, The Original always had the giant words "plain" right under it. It was the new versions of the same cereal that had all the fun stuff, the extra rainbow shaped marshmallows, new cinnamon flavor, more scoops of raisins, honey nut Cheerios... you can see why I was confused.
Embarrassingly, I held these same assumptions until I was an adult. Why would a company claim an item to be their original, but then call it "plain" and release the "New and Improved" right next to the (frownyface) "The Original" ?
I think a lot of crafters/hobbyists/artisans are like that. We take an original idea, add to it and make it ours. I think, one reason my shop has had the success that is does, is because I do create interesting, beautiful and original pieces of work.
Colorful Royal Polymer Clay Cross by Labor of Love
However, I also follow trends. A lot of designers think following trends is a bad thing, that your "originality" is what sets you apart. I find this true, but false.
According to my Google Analytics, people find my shop through my Twilight jewelry. Original? No. I did not come up with the Twilight idea. But, I did create a line to compliment the story in my own fantastic world of jewelry and romance. By producing a line of "Inspired pieces", I stretched my mind on new designs that have improved me as a designer.
Also, by providing a popular and trendy concept into my shop, I have been able to come in search engines a little better than before, and I have invited those interested in Twilight jewelry, to my other jewels that are non Twilight related.
Sweet Vintage Ivory Rose Earrings by Jeweled Ambrosia
I didn't come up with the vintage flower cab earrings, or the vintage flower cab rings either. There are so many on Etsy, but they are beautiful, inexpensive and fun to make and wear. By having trendy and popular items in your online shop, you are inviting fun, trendy customers into your shop and they will find something unique and become trendsetters! Remember, that what may be popular on Etsy (like the octopus and love note necklaces) are not neccesarily popular outside of Etsy, so all of our customers are trendsetters! By also having lower costing trendy items in your shop, you will find that they can become add on items to multi purchase sells and introduce new customers to you.
Recycled Poppy Bobbypin Set by Foundling
Please, I am not telling you to find a popular artist and copy their original idea (this has happened to the lovely Foundling and her poppy pins!) I mean say, owls or babushkas are popular, perhaps have a few of those incorporated in your designs. I am telling you it is okay to run with a trend for a while, so long as you don't count on that trend to sustain you, because it will pass. You need to always be evolving as a designer.
Another note. Treat your customers kindly! They deserve it. They have chosen you out of THOUSANDS of others to entrust their money and time on your product and delivery promise. If a problem arises, take care of your customer. Resize the bracelet, exchange a charm, repay for shipping if you need to have it shipped back, answer convos!
Policies are a MUST have for shop owners, but there are times when you can bend your shop policies to help a customer out. There is a selller, that I absolutely love to go and read the feedback she leaves for her buyers when I need a chuckle. It is so rude and abrupt and scary, that I am amazed she gets the sales she does. If she would help a few of her buyers out, who are new to Etsy and maybe don't understand the checkout process, then she would have wonderful return customers.
Just a thought, return customers are the best! I love them, every single one. They are all so unique with custom design requests and loyalty to me, as well as the other sellers they are loyal too. I know, that I as a buyer become loyal to a seller when I find one I love.
Cardboard Blue and Gold Charlie Brooch by Poaplum Bags Jewelry