Saturday, December 29, 2012

Keeping the Competiton Close

Did you know that is considered Spam to convo someone who simply put one of your items in to their favorites? This happens to me a lot-- I favorite an item and that shop owner convo's me to thank me and offers me 10%-20% of any item in their shop or off my total sale. I think it is nice and I generally ignore it. 

However-- there is another group out there in Etsyland that will report that
shop to the powers that be as Spam. It is written in the Etsy Rules that doing this
(contacting someone to thank them and/or offering them a sale) is a Big No-No. 

·           You must not use Conversations to send unsolicited advertising or promotions, requests for donations or "spam."
·           If someone hearts your shop/item to mark it as a Favorite, that is not an invitation to send a Conversation to that person.

I get that shop keepers want more sales- I do too. And most who do this, I am thinking consider this fair game in trying to reel in a potential customer. I do get it. 

Favorites, to me, are not so much about me loving your item. I do, for the most part, actually like the item that I have favorited. But sometimes, that is not the case. For me Favorites are a marketing tool. If I favorite your item-- then others will see that I did that and might come looking at my shop. I also am quick to see who likes your items- that might be similar to mine- and go like their shops. That helps me... because I do think that my similar items are nicer than yours and I want those people who liked your things to see mine too.  

All is fair when one is trying to get business. Circles work much the same. The saying about 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer' rings true here.. except I would say to keep your competition closer!
So, I would caution those of you who do feel the need to thank others for looking at your shop with or without an future discount to be careful.  As I said before- there is a group of Etsians who do police the place and feel it is their duty to report anyone who is not following the "code". It might be unfortunate if you accidentally contacted one of them with your discount thanks. (or even a thanks for the favorite). Etsy does not take Spam lightly.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

How to Package Your Sales

Everyone does it differently... this is what I do.

One of my fellow team members asked me to show her how I package up a quilt for shipping. This is what I do for not only Quilts, but for all my sales...with some variations.

Supplies needed... Zip Lock Bags, Tape, Tissue Paper, Thank You cards, Thank you stickers, Scissors.

I will show you with pictures and explanations as I go.

My Quilt--- Is "Quilted Lap Quilt in Hot Pink Batik and Black Floating Stars" (It measures 40"x47"). I call this a small Lap Quilt.

Next I fold it into a fairly small fold. I put it into a Zip Lock bag.. I keep a variety of sizes on hand.
(Now, don't go crazy about how much they cost.. I get mine at the Dollar Store. A bag of them-- like you find at the grocery store). I push out all the air that I can.
I like the zip lock bags or whatever brand you want.. to protect it from the weather. You could wrap it 1st and then put it into the bag. I just do it this way. I would rather not have my tissue paper bleed into the quilt-- IF my bag should get a hole and everything gets wet. For bigger items-- I have used new garbage bags to set the items in, and tape the bag shut. My goal is weather protection. Not pretty at this point. Pretty comes with the tissue.
After it is in the bag.. I wrap it in Tissue paper. (again-- the cost is minimal.. I buy it after the season at a discount... I buy it at the Dollar Store. I keep it in a plastic tote next to my PC. Think ahead and get pretty Seasonal paper to use). Last year, I found a clearance sale for Pink tissue at 10 cents a package... I bought Lots of it! So, my shop color this year and the next few will be Pink!! I use the pink for every day sales... not around a Holiday.
Sometimes instead of tape... I use pretty stickers. (again I buy them on clearance).
This is what my customer sees when they open the box... a Nice gift for them. Depending on the item.. I either enclose a Thank You card.. (again.. I either make them from scrapbook supplies, or get them on sale)...Or I attach a Thank You sticker to the package. A sticker that I print off my own printer and designed on my PC (I have Print Shop).

I think it is important for me to thank my customer for the sale. I am truly grateful for the sale.
I always include a card or thank you sticker! As I said above.. I have Lots of Scrapbook paper and stickers. (once I thought I would do more scrapbooking- which is not the these sheets make pretty Thank You notes).
And Sometimes I include a Thank You gift.
Thank you gifts are items that I don't sell in my shop for the most part... they are items that I sell at craft shows for like $2.50. I am okay with that. It depends on the sale. Not everyone gets a thank you gift. Repeat customers, customers who come to me with a custom order and customers that buy more than one item generally get a Thank you Gift. This is also declared as a business expense on my taxes. It is minimal to me.

Then I put the package into a box. I use a Lot of USPS boxes.. they are free. But I also use regular boxes that I have here. Just depends on what fits where.

For regular Boxes.. I have friends who have gift shops and I just ask them for their boxes.. I have a huge supply here of plain cardboard boxes here. They also give me their bubblewrap and peanuts. It is garbage to them and I can use it! Just ask-- you never know. I have stopped into just odd stores and asked.. they readily hand it over.

I think this is a no-brainer and simple and it works for me. I have lots of customers that Thank me for putting their item into a zip-lock bag to protect it from the weather. Like I said, you could wrap the item in the tissue and then put it into the bag. It just seems like a squished look for me to do it that way with fabric items. I think to wrap in tissue first would be good for wood or ceramics, jewelry etc. Do whatever works for you.

As far as costs for the Tape, Tissue, Stickers, etc. I don't add the extra onto each sale. I certainly count the costs of the items as a business expense and just add up all the costs into one lump sum. I save my receipts. My accountant is fine with how I do this. You have to do what your accountant is okay with... and what is right for you.

Hope this helps to explain....Please take my ideas and run with them.. and make them work for you!

Happy Holidays!!
Linda/The Homespun Loft

PS: This posting is a direct copy from one I did on my own personal blog.. I thought it might be useful here too.  (