April 10, 2013

New Life


It's April already. That is crazy. I am unsure where March went but here we are heading into the middle of April. April is a busy month for birthdays, it seems every weekend is packed full of plans. I'm just struggling to keep my head above water.


 

New Life is springing up in the gardens around here. We are so far behind so many places and I'm jealous to see everyone blogging about their new flowers budding and cherry blossoms blooming. All I've got these days is some tulip fronds popping up through the mulch.  But yet, I am excited to see them. We just planted these bulbs in the Fall,  and there are about 10-12 popped up. Can't remember what color they are, so it will be a nice surprise.


Don't remember what these are but they have a distinct look of maybe a calla lily??  I'll be stoked if that's what it is. I swear my memory gets worse and worse each passing day. How can I not remember what I planted in my own garden just a few months ago??

 These days I haven't been able to really sit down and blog. If I'm not scooping poop, I'm tossing around an aluminum ball to distract the cats from getting into something they shouldn't. They don't let me sit at the computer for very long before they are into something. So I'm sorry I have't been very active here lately.

Been really contemplating a lot of business type things lately.  I am finding that dishing out Etsy fees each month PLUS my Shopify Fees, plus my paypal fees, plus my Jewelry accord shop fees, It''s too much!!  Somethings gotta give.  So then I start daydreaming about awesome it would be if i could sell cording, tin snippets, jewelry and tutorials all in ONE place with ONE fee (ok 2, with paypal) and have less maintenance a month.  I'm seeing my friends starting up shops at places like IndieMade.com and I get stars in my eyes at their beautiful new storefronts and how they have lower fees and no commission to pay. But then the idea of leaving etsy leaves me hyperventilating about losing traffic and I see my shop getting 18,000 views a month and wonder if I can really afford to ever leave.  And then I start seeing RED that Etsy has such control over me in this way! Gah!

Along with all of these thoughts is my head swimming about trying to brand myself a bit better. I have never had a logo. My look keeps changing, my websites keep changing, and I regret the fact that I chose my name as my business name instead of something catchy and fun like the Owl's Den or Hootie Hoot Jewelry. (I'm just playing around with ideas)


And so that battle (JOURNEY) continues to obtain a more solid jewelry selling foundation where I feel comfortable and happy and less broke. Any ideas?  please leave comments!



22 comments:

  1. OMG Mrs. Eurto. I was just contemplating asking you and some other bloggers if you use the Etsy ad service. As someone who is not selling much it breaks my heart every month when I have to pay and haven't sold a thing. At least you do sell--of course i'm no you creativity wise. I don't have an answer but will check back to see the comments you get. Frustrated!

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    1. I haven't used the ad service. Maybe I'll look into that. It's just a bitch to pay more and more money to etsy, really I hate it.

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  2. On the flowers - count your blessings, girl! My tulips are encased in a 1/4-inch coating of ice this morning!

    About Etsy - I'm having the same reservations. I've just started my shop, but I'm hoping that by the time I take early retirement in 3 or 4 years, it'll be bringing in a good income. At the same time, I'm well aware that my fate is in the hands of a company that not only charges substantial fees, but is very capricious when it comes to closing down shops with very little good reason. I'm thinking seriously about diversifying now, before I get too entrenched, but like you am unsure of where I want to go, and how I want to get there. I feel your pain!

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  3. Hi Lorelei--
    Just wanted to say that I love your name and I think it is a great brand itself. It's unique to you and no one else can take it! Now if you have a name like mine (Kim White) then it's boring and there are 5 more people with it just when I go into town! You've worked hard to market yourself and your brand is definitely a piece to own. I think in your case, it was a smart move.....just sayin'....

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  4. Anonymous4/10/2013

    Totally agree with Kim on the brand name. And I thought I heard that it was a good idea to use your own name in your brand/shop name. I hope that's true, because I just changed mine for about the zillionth time! You are a known entity - I wouldn't change that aspect. Just come up with a cute little logo and that's one less thing you have to stress about! Pennie

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  5. I agree with Kim and "Anonymous" on your brand name. Would not change it.

    About your logo: I like that it changes once in a while. Your style is very recognizable and unique. Simply pairing an image with some of your jewelry designs absolutely works for me. To keep it consistent, avoid changing the fonts you use too much at once.

    Love what you do. Hope you'll find a way to market your products that will cost less, leave more in your pockets and leave you with more time for yourself:)

    Keep it up,

    Patricia

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  6. I am with you on fees! Etsy owns us! So frustrating. I am paying a professional company to rebuild my website, hoping to slowly switch people over to that. Of course, losing out on the Etsy traffic is painful, that is the end seems to be what we pay for, with or without sales!

    I think you need to have your own domain, you can separate the sections so each individual category stands out. With the amount of traffic you get from your blog, I have faith that in the end people will find you. I agree that your name is what people recognize you by. I don't think switching it to a funky company name will be beneficial to you. I would do the Logo like Pennie said. I may not sell much online, but shows are another matter for me. People recognize my logo, search me out or just plain recognize my brand. Branding yourself is very important. If you need a graphic designer for that my sister did my logo and she is amazing!! Logos done by a pro are not cheap though, so keep that in mind too.

    Good Luck!

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  7. Oh, to see something green! We just got dumped with 2 more inches of snow with more on the way. When will spring arrive? I have been absent cyberspace for the last two weeks. I am not sure that I haven anything to say that is worthwhile right now. And it is nose to the grindstone for a huge annual order this month that must be done in the next 10 days!

    After taking the Flourish & Thrive Academy I think I can say that the consensus is that a personal name as your business, especially if it is totally unique and very mellifluous, like yours, is a good idea. But that doesn't mean that a clever name can't work. But making it too narrow seems to be the problem for most. I quite like your name and think you should keep it! ;-)

    As for the website vs. Etsy... well, that was another session on F&T. I have always known that I needed to be on Etsy, but not sell everything there. This past year I tried several different website plans (like Squarespace and Weebly and Shopify) for trial runs. I found that IndieMade was pretty good. It is not as fully customizable as I would like, but it is a start. I haven't done much with mine, but it has a place for a gallery, embedding my blog from Blogger, my shop from Etsy and other contact pages. I think I need to find someone to pay to make it what it could be. I am contemplating having a Wordpress site made so that my blog and all my shops and branding can be under one roof. I just don't have time to do more than think about it. Big yes to the logo. That is the first thing I ever did. That might be the place for you to get your owl in and would make it easy to find things to brand with, like my key. I have stamps and stickers galore which makes it easy to brand, but I also have things that are specifically my logo, like ribbon and stickers and sig tag stamps.

    I have decided that I will keep a portion of my Simple Truths on Etsy (I haven't sold jewelry there for over a year - too flooded and the prices are far too low) probably just the basic ones. But I am transitioning to my IndieMade site for jewelry for sale. And for the new line that I am working on that will combine with the Simple Truths. So Etsy for the gateway drug and then my website for the hard stuff! ;-)

    You are your brand, Miss Lorelei, and you have great staying power. I know that you will do amazing things no matter what you choose.

    Enjoy the day.
    Erin

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  8. I am in the same quandary you are. It really feels like Etsy is biting the hand that feeds it sometimes. You could easily have a main website and keep the Etsy open. I've been thinking about moving my shop. It feels like etsy is just an open playground for others to harvest great ideas from. So, ditto to what Erin has said! Spring is time for growth and change! XO

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  9. P.S. Keep your name and maybe use those great names for a specific line of jewelry...

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  10. I am going to play devils's advocate here.....I don't sell jewellery on there in the quantity that you do, but I do sell, and my supplies shop hit 1000 sales a week ago.... and I don't think that etsy's fees are bad. Compare with selling in a shop, where that shop will take about 50% or more of the tag price of your jewellery....It is incredibly easy to set up (no need to pay anyone for help there), and looks as good and as professional as the photos you use. I know it's not perfect, but it is a recognisable format for people to shop with, and is incredibly easy. And whilst I would agree that it's not the ideal supplies selling venue, I would weigh that up against what I already said - it's a recognisable format which people are comfortable shopping on, and sellers are very often buyers too.....I would think long and hard before jumping ship. 3.5% plus 20c (plus paypal of course) really isn't that much per item, in my opinion. I know if folk were buying from your own shop front that would be different.....but calculate that 20c plus 3.5% fee into your sale price, as you would when selling wholesale to the shop. How much do the museum take when they sell your jewellery? How much do craft fairs charge? I think the only reason we get hacked off with etsy fees is that we pay them separately....if they were just taken from us when the customer paid, I don't think we'd all get so riled about them!

    That said, I think having your own domain and shop front as well is only sensible. I wish I had my own, and it's a project that is down the road for me, and not too far hopefully! But I know I would need serious help with that, and preferably from a professional. I can't see myself leaving etsy for my own domain with my supplies shop because I just love the ease of etsy, and for me right now that's really important.

    As for your name/brand/logo....I think your name is just a fantastic one! Lorelei.....Ok, it seems a slightly more usual name on your side of the pond, but it is a fantastic one and absolutely right for your brand! Your jewellery is you; it's individual, constantly growing and changing....it's a personal extension of you and I would hang onto it! If you google Lorelei jewelry or Lorelei blog, you come up top with both! If I used my own name (which I'll be honest, I quite often wonder if I should have gone with Rebecca Anderson Designs or similar rather than Songbead) and googled Rebecca jewellery or blog, I do not come up!! So I am stuck with Songbead, like it or not. A logo is a great idea, and another one I've been toying with too. I just need to find someone here who would like to work on one with me......How about incorporating your gorgeous owl from D'Arsie? Then your tags would also embody your logo.....just an idea.

    Good luck with it all. You are stupendously talented and I just know you are going to (continue to) do incredibly well, whatever direction you take it all in :-) x x x

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  11. I think branding with your own name was/is a really wise choice. I changed my shop name from my name and now, boy do I regret it!

    As far as streamlining- why not streamline on etsy, then when you list an item make sure you tack on whatever the etsy/paypal fees so you don't feel like you're throwing away any money.
    Here's a calculator that I use that figures out all the math for you: http://www.rememberingrolbe.com/etsy.htm


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    1. Pamela, thanks for sharing this calculator! Very handy!

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  12. I agree your name as your shop name is good too. It is memorable and easily searched. I have both a website and an Etsy store and for me Etsy works better. It is hard to get that kind of traffic anywhere else. And the difference in website traffic and Etsy traffic is that more visitors are buyers on Etsy than on my website. That may also be because I focus more on my Etsy site now than I used to but it may be true as well. I think buyers feel more comfortable on Etsy. But that is just my thought not a fact. Etsy is a common experience for so many buyers that it feels good to shop there, I think. I know if I want to shop for something I would prefer to buy it from Etsy because it feels personal and reliable. And Just think of all those small town brick and mortar stores having at least $1000 in rental overhead a month. I can't imagine.
    Thanks Pamela for that cool calculator. Thanks for such a thought provoking post Lorelei. I am sure you will find a great solution!!

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  13. swopemelmel4/11/2013

    I do agree that your name has become fully recognizable !!! While we are on the subject... How do you choose a name for your Blog,Shop,Craft Fairs,business cards, Etc.and keep people from "stealing" it or how do you find out if someone else is already using a name so you don't infringe on them. I live in Maryland. I know laws vary from state to state. Any advice would be welcomed. Thanks, swopemelmel @ aol dot com

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  14. Lorelei, it's pretty much all been said, but to add my 2 cents worth...your name is TOTALLY your brand. And it's a very good one! :-)

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  15. I feel your pain and haven't read the comments but here's my .02. You stick with your name - it is your brand. As a reversal, I see so many artists, when they reach a certain status (which I certainly haven't reached but you, my dear, have) they ditch the cutesy name and go with their name because they want it to be recognizable. For example, Studio Waterstone - I love it but sometimes just want to go with my name. So there ya go, the grass is always greener, isn't it? I digress...stick with your name.

    As for the shops, of course you need to keep Etsy although you need to keep it somewhat active. I have slowed considerably because of my arm and taking time off and my views, sales, recognition, etc have suffered greatly. You may hate it, but it's where you originated and I see the most popular artisans keeping their etsy shop while maintaining a shop under their own website via Squarespace, Wordpress, etc.

    My .02 for what it's worth...about .01 in today's market. :) Good luck sista. And if you need help with a logo, I'd love to pitch in.
    XOXO

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  16. Oh, and as for the blog (was that this post or the next one???) I REALLY feel your pain. I've seen folks switch theirs over seamlessly as I'm redirected without even realizing it and commenting is a non-issue. I don't know which service they use, but I would certainly love it.

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  17. Maybe I'm not the target audience, but I worry a little for people like me if there is a move away from etsy. The only reason I found your jewelry (my favorite by the way) and found out what art beads are is because of etsy. If Indiemade or some other site becomes popular enough that someone like me would hear of it, that would be good. Now through various blogs I get links to other jewelry designers or bead artists even if they aren't on etsy. But I only found out about those blogs from etsy. I also like being able to leave appreciative feedback, make a list of favorites, go back to look at sold items I might not have seen from my favorite artists and go back to look at descriptions of things I've bought (to see who specific beads are by etc.) I haven't found that to be available on other sites. I buy something and it just disappears along with any information about it.

    That said, I do like the look of some of the non-etsy sales websites I've seen. And honestly I'm now hooked in enough to follow and find people anywhere they are. But new customers often come on board through the most widely known source like etsy. I used etsy long before I ever used blogs, Pnterest, flickr, etc. Of course, I don't know anything about the fees, so that has to be a consideration for those using it.

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