I’ve been giving quite a bit of thought as to how I will launch my new website. Yes, if you haven’t heard I am going to relaunch ittybittybag.com
My existing site has worked very well for me for the past five years. So much has changed during this time. I still receive a ton of traffic through Etsy, though not very many sales because more than 1/2 of my items are listed as custom or made to order.
So it begets the question, why even have an Etsy shop? I am not sure. My husband and I had quite a debate about it last night and even after the debate was over, I don’t know that we came to a resolution. Here are the facts and maybe you have some advice for me?
In the past 5 years, I have seen a steady decline in my sales on Etsy but the majority of visitors that come to my shop come directly from Etsy.com. So this is a huge stumbling block for my brain. How do I give up the Etsy sales?
When people come to Etsy. I think they are looking for something well made, not expensive and ready to ship. I don’t think people are browsing and looking for designers to make items for them. This will happen but the number I think is very small.
What many don’t realize when they come to my Etsy shop is that doing custom order work is a huge time suck but I love doing it. It takes time to find the right fabrics, there are many emails back and forth and then there is designing a new pattern. All of this could take me several days for one order. In some cases it may take weeks. This is the true life of a designer. So only making “production” salary is like going several days without pay.
When I first started on Etsy. There was no “you might also like” so when an item sold out…the customer contacted me to see if I could make another one. This trend has completely disappeared. It just doesn’t happen anymore.
My husband argues that some may not want to go to two places to shop. And I don’t disagree with that statement but I just don’t see how closing my Etsy shop helps me but also my Etsy shop doesn’t help me with custom work. The biggest problem is that my work brings in clients to Etsy and then Etsy says well you might also like this…and well that item is cheaper & ready to ship. Sold. Again, these people are not familiar with my work or the quality of my items. Most often this was their first time on Etsy. They have no idea how fast I create custom items compared to big stores that take 4-6 weeks to turn around custom items.
This is why you will see over time…I am going to remove my custom listings from Etsy. Etsy and I have both suggested that it is a great idea to offer custom items to increase your sales. This may be true if you only have 10 or so items listed in your shop but once you get up to 100 or so items…I am not sure this is the case. I can’t turn my items around in 24 hours so this doesn’t work for me.
Most of the custom work I receive these days come from friends or people that I’ve met on social media. They follow me so they see how much custom work I actually do. They have no problem with waiting 10 days to receive it for the pure joy of having something one of a kind.
So I am at a crossroads with what to do but I think it is clear that I need to separate my business. What do you think? What has your experience been? Have you seen a huge shift in how your sales have changed?
I look forward to hearing your responses!