Sunday, November 15, 2009

Floremark so far

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.

Stress level
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.


  1. I'm happy for you that this venture is working out. With every day life this could certainly become overwhelming but you do appear to have it all under control and enjoying it. Hoping you have many more successful weeks :)

  2. 8 garments in 6 weeks - what a marathon effort!

    I'm so pleased for you that this is working out. Your designs are really beautiful and you deserve the recognition.

  3. I was reading your blog and am very impressed with your tenacity and creativity. I noticed that you refer to yourself as a "sewer", which in English would be an unpleasant term (septic system). Based on viewing your garments and ideas, you are definitely a tailor in my book! Keep up the great work!

  4. >>Ann: Yes it feels good so far, but if you had asked med last week I might have sad it was crazy!

    >>Melinda: Oh, thank you!

    >>Noelle: Thank you and good point! I sometimes struggle with the meaning of certain English words, am not an anglosaxian linguistic in any way, I just have basic high school English and it's not always easy getting the nuances right.

  5. Hi Johanna-

    Your English is excellent and the term sewer (pronounced SEW-er) is perfectly acceptable to denote "someone who sews."

    A lot of people freely dispense advice on the internet, so please, don't just take my word for it. Check out definition #2 on the merriam-webster site.

    Yes, the word sewer when pronounced as SUE-er means something else. But many words in English (and in other languages) have different meanings depending on how they're pronounced or the context in which they are used.

    In conversational English the words sewer (someone who sews) and sewer (sewage system) are clearly distinct, since they sound completely different from one another. In written English the context dictates the meaning.

    Considering your blog is about sewing, it's quite evident that your intended meaning is definition #2, a person who sews. Therefore you are correct in using this word. Please keep using it with total confidence!

    Based on your lovely work I'd say the term tailor does not apply. This refers to a person who makes suits, traditionally for men. Tailoring is the art and craft of making rather stiff, highly fitted garments.

    The most accurate term to describe your work would be seamstress. But this term has fallen out of favor on the internet because it's gender specific, and thus considered sexist and old-fashioned. (Never mind that 99.9 percent of bloggers who write about sewing and sewing hobbyists are female.)

    In an effort to be modern and gender neutral, bloggers who sew like to refer to themselves as "sewists."

    This is a word that seems to exist only on the internet. I have not encountered it in real-life conversation yet.

    Technically, sewist is not standard English, because this term has not made it into the dictionary yet. But is commonly used. So you may want to refer to yourself as a sewist.

    I have to confess, "sewist" irritates me since it doesn’t follow convention.

    Someone who plays the violin [a noun]=violinist
    Someone who makes art [a noun]=artist
    Someone who rides a bicycle [a noun]=bicyclist

    Frankly, I think it’s time to take back “seamstress” as a point of pride. Of course, we already do have a gender neutral term for people who sew. It's called "sewer." As a bonus, this word is already in the dictionary and follows convention:

    Someone who farms [a verb]=farmer
    Someone who swims [a verb]=swimmer
    Someone who bakes [a verb]=baker
    Someone who knits [a verb]=knitter

    If all of this is too confusing, you might want to think about referring to yourself as a DE or design entrepreneur, a term popularized by Kathleen Fasanella of

    I think this fits you nicely and pretty much covers everything you're doing with your amazing etsy clothing line. Best wishes on all your endeavors!