The last two Mariner sailor sweaters. I sent these away today. But I have ordered more fabric so I will continue selling this style and also add a dress with the same design.Today it's six weeks since I launched my Etsy shop for Floremark. During that period I have sold (and made!) 8 garments. It's been both fun and intense and I thought I'd share some reflections on this my first experience as an online seller and producer of garments.
Selling on Etsy
Being on Etsy does bring you a big (potential) consumer base. I have managed to sell my garments with very little marketing effort and that wouldn't had happen in the same time frame if I had gone for my own shop like Big Cartel. So for someone who is totally unestablished, Etsy can be a good starting point.
The Etsy fees does however add up. Apart from the listing fee and sales fee, you also have to renew your listings regularly to get noticed in searches and categories. When I renew every day, the interest in my store is much bigger, but it also cost me a lot more in the end.
As for the Etsy shop set-up, it's not without faults and sometimes Etsy seems to struggle with finding the right balance between being a craft community and a professional market place. But so far the pro's outweigh the con's for me.
As I mentioned above, I have not done much in the way of marketing yet. I have mailed a few blogs and tried to keep a certain online presence with Floremark (but not very intensely, there are no twitters and such). And that's about it. This is clearly an area where I could do some more work. But I have already got nice recognition in a Etsy find newsletter, in a blog feature and it also looks like I will have a cardigan included in a indie fashion fanzine soon.
Sewing for others
This can be nerve wrecking. I have very high standards and don't want to disappoint. So I fret quite a bit about everything from the fabric choice to the fit of the garment to the finishing. But on the bright side, I think that my obsessiveness also works in my favor, since a lot of thought goes into everything I do and hopefully this is something that buyers will notice. As for the burn out factor, I don't feel that yet. Rather it's nice to do something for others for a change, and that people appreciate what I do gives me a lot of motivation.
Right now it feels manageable, though I have felt overwhelmed at times, especially since orders seems to come in heaps with dry spells in between. The thing I currently feel most stressed about is that I want to include more designs, using the fabrics that I have, but in more ways. And I don't really have the time for that now. So I think I need to lower the bar for a while and just appreciate that I am in fact doing much better than I had expected.
I am very happy that I jumped the gun and actually did it! It did take me over a year going from thought to action, but in hindsight I think it was good, since I had plenty of time to process everything before I went live.