My Blog

Whatever rings Mel's bells

Posts Tagged ‘new shop’

Sale Fail

Have you ever had a marvelous idea?  Have you ever implemented said marvelous idea, and been on the eve of pushing the button to make it happen – only to realize IT CAN’T?

Yeah.  Turns out I’ve screwed the proverbial pooch on the fancy Grand Opening of my shiny new Zibbet store, The Bead and Bean.  The sale was to be BOGO free over the weekend, plus free or discounted shipping rates.  Then Monday it would go to 30% off the whole store, and be that way all next week.

Unfortunately…  Zibbet’s sale function doesn’t accommodate BOGO sales.  And while I can do free shipping, I can’t unless I do a percentage-off sale.  So I changed my welcome message to explain why I’ll have to credit back those amounts via PayPal after the sale, and prepared to go through a lot of hassle.

Then I looked at it from the customer’s perspective.  And immediately decided that as much hassle as it was for me, it’d be more for them!  (Or, perhaps, for you…?)  So I said, screw it, I’m just going to do 50% off the whole store with discounted shipping.  And if I get a bunch of people who each buy one item for 50c and I have to pay $3 to ship them out…  Well, maybe they’ll be happy enough to come back later and buy again.

More importantly, I’ll sleep well tonight knowing I’m not making my customers jump through hoops in an attempt to get them to give me more of their money.  Because, pardon the language, but f&@k that.

Shocking news

Today is a red-letter day, my friends.  Today I’m going to tell you about…  Making jewelry!  Or at least, my jewelry business activities.

Yes, I know!  Unprecedented, isn’t it?  I’m pretty sure I talk about everything *but* jewelry on this blog.  But I figure, hey, why not?  And since I’ve lately been devoting a lot more time to building up my business, I figure I ought to take a crack at it.

What have I been doing, you may ask.  (Or you may not.  But I’m going to tell you anyway.)  Well, first, when I moved the bulk of my item listings to Zibbet, I also started cruising the fora (plural of forum, for those of you who prefer your Latin without the standard American twist) and found a thriving, warm community.  I got involved with a group that does weekly “flash attacks,” trading links and promoting each others’ shops and items.

The best time for me to do this work turned out to be on my morning and afternoon commute, so I ponied up the cash for wifi service on the ferry and signed up for a Hootsuite account to manage all my posts.  And it’s been working brilliantly!

I sign on in the morning and schedule tweets to go out all day while I’m at work.  Generally, I do half of them for the “flashee” at the time, and the other half are divided between my own items and other random things like Seahawks news or current events or useful articles.  I really enjoy finding the twitter handle of someone affiliated with whatever I’m posting and tagging them.  ;-D

One thing I’m really trying to do is provide more content than just sales pitches.  I mean, who’s going to follow me – and pay attention – if all I do is advertise all day?  No, I need to have more to attract people than just that.  So after I schedule out a dozen or so messages (more if the mood strikes) I look at what’s trending and find a discussion to contribute to.  Like the #YesAllWomen, for example, though I wasn’t doing this yet when that got started.

Basically, I’m trying to interact with others in the Twitterverse in a way that encourages them to pay attention.  Thus far I’m meeting with some results.  Pretty much every day something that’s come out of my feed gets attention from outside our flash attack group.  Which is the mark of success for what I’m doing – we’re all very attentive to each other, so when these ladies share my tweets it’s awesome, but doesn’t show the same results that I’m looking for in my other posts.

It’s a slow process, but I think it’s working.  At least a bit.  Which is really all I can ask for!  As my darling HSO is fond of saying, “Progress is.”

Time to be moving on

I have some unpleasant news folks; due to some recent policy changes, I’m going to shut down my Etsy shop.  A few days ago I got an email sent out by the CEO of Etsy discussing these new “clarified” policies, and frankly I was appalled.  Etsy bills itself as a marketplace for handmade goods, but over the past years the “handmade” section has been taken over by mass producers pretending to be crafters.  By checking sites like CraftCount that track the top sellers, this becomes obvious.  The top several sellers are from Far East countries well known for large numbers of sweatshops, and with average daily sales in the hundreds for each of these shops it’s obvious these aren’t individual sellers.

Well, as of January 1st, the rules allow these sellers to hire employees, use fulfillment services, and even involve outside manufacturers – as long as they’ve designed the product.  By redefining the term “handmade” to include work that CLEARLY is not handmade, it puts the nail in the coffin of small, indie sellers like myself who not only design but also create all our own goods with our own hands.

So I’m leaving.  This is not a decision I’m making lightly; I’ve spent nearly five years on Etsy.  This change will affect every aspect of my business.  But I can’t compete with that demographic and I don’t want to.  That’s why I went to Etsy in the first place – because I want to be part of a community of small sellers like myself.

To make a long story short, I’ve started migrating my listings over to Zibbet.com as of this week.  To where, you say?  I know, I hadn’t heard of them before either.  But they have the potential to compete very strongly with Etsy in time.  The costs are lower to start up, they actively police listings and flag (and even remove!) shops that are out of compliance, and they have a firm reputation for fast and personal responses.

I hope you’ll come visit me at my new web home http://www.zibbet.com/MelsBellsJewelry which will be (slowly) filling up with all the same goodies from my Etsy site, as well as a bunch of new stuff you haven’t even seen yet!  Thanks for all your support, as always.  I’m trusting that this change, though frustrating for me, will lead me to a better community that I’ll truly fit into.

New shop naming contest

So the first of May came and went, and I got distracted.  But the first thing I did when logging on today was to hit up a random number generator website which picked AL EAKIN as the winner of the shop name contest.  Al suggested the name “CountYourBlessings.”

I haven’t actually settled on a name for sure yet, but as soon as I do I’ll make sure and let you all know.  Thanks to all the entrants for your interest and for your suggestions.  😀

Tell me my name!

As you may know if you followed a link to get here, I’ve decided to remove my prayer beads from my Etsy shop MelsBellsJewelry and create a separate shop specifically for the spiritually-related items.  So I need to come up with a name for the new shop.

My first shop takes its name from my business, which got its name thanks to my friend Ed Houser.  We were at karaoke one night in 2008 and I was telling some friends that I planed to open an actual business.  Problem was, I needed a name.  Without hesitation, Ed replied “Call it Mel’s Bells!” and I knew that was perfect.

My second shop got named for the store I plan to open (said plans have been pushed back until the economy improves and opening a new business makes sense, FYI), which will be a combined bead store and coffee bar, called The Bead and Bean.  It’s going to be a fun place to shop with a welcoming atmosphere where you can get a latte and bead very fast.

My third shop needs to have a name that’s just as fun, just as exciting.  And I’ll be honest with you, I’m stuck. So I’d like to enlist your help, internet friends.  Register on this blog and leave a post here with your name suggestion for my new prayer bead shop.   It needs to somehow convey that I sell prayer beads for many different faiths (Catholic, Protestant, Pagan, Buddhist, Muslim) so the name can’t be specific to one faith, like Jesus Beads or anything.  Imaginary bonus points if you search Etsy for the name and nobody’s using it yet!

On May 1 I’ll choose one of the entrants at random to receive a crystal birthstone rosary of your choice.  These beautiful strands make fantastic gifts, or you might want one for yourself.  I’ll email the winner to get a shipping address, so make sure your contact info is complete when you register.  You will also be added to my email list and will get one message about every 3-4 months talking about specials and news.

I look forward to seeing your suggestions, and to notifying the lucky winner!

Obnoxious Legal Statement Designed to Keep My Butt Out of Hot Water:
No purchase necessary to enter.  No age limit.  One entry per person.  Contest ends on April 30, 2012; any entries timestamped after 12:00 AM May 1, 2012 may be disqualified.  One prize will be awarded; no cash equivalent.  Odds of winning will depend on number of entries.  Void where prohibited.  Winner will be chosen on May 1, 2012 and notified by email.  Winner’s name will be announced in social media content published by Mel’s Bells and/or The Bead and Bean, including but not limited to Facebook, blogs, newsletter, and Etsy shops.  Contest is run by Mel’s Bells, 811 Hayward Ave. #5, Bremerton, WA  98310.