Friday, July 29, 2016

An Etsy Alternative - Handmade at Amazon!

Since a ton of Etsy sellers are having issues getting views and sales since the big April 2016 format change, I've decided to go into detail about the other platforms Etsy sellers can branch out on.

One option is Handmade at Amazon.

Handmade at Amazon provides artisans with something that Etsy cannot - an absolutely enormous buyer base. About 244 million of them!

Like any platform, there are going to be pros and cons to selling here. We just added our jewelry shop, Caravan of Beads, to Amazon.

As of right now, we have about 55 items listed and have the majority of those shipping through Fulfilled by Amazon (which will give you a boost in search, as Prime customers typically buy FBA only items).

So what are the pros and cons?

As you can see in the above screenshot, H@A has a VERY different store layout in comparison to Etsy. It doesn't leave as much room for customization. It has a plainer, "cleaner" look.

I really do love having the large cover photo at the top - I chose to use an image of raw purple amethyst crystals. It contrasts beautifully against the clean, crisp white background.

Listing is also drastically different, and the inventory layout is not nearly as user friendly as Etsy. As you can see in the example below (this is not my personal inventory list), it's not as eloquent of a layout compared to Etsy's listing management page.

An example of Amazon's inventory management page

Another one of the cons about Amazon is that it's encouraged that you use a plain white background. It's also required that the item be a certain percentage of the image, and the picture itself must be of a certain size.

You can certainly use other types of photography of your choosing, but Amazon does warn that by not using the recommended background type, you could possibly be pushed down in search.

If you want to read about their photo requirements in detail, just click here to read the full article by Amazon.

Etsy Photo vs Amazon Photo

Due to Amazon's photography requirements, I've had to retake all of my product pictures, since I use a stone background for Etsy. Other than the higher transaction fees, this is probably the biggest con I've encountered so far.


Overall, despite the fact that Amazon has more stringent rules and expectations regarding listings, products and customer service, I truly believe it is worth the hassle. With Etsy views and sales dipping drastically with no relief in sight, it's important to branch out into every platform possible!

I will be adding more articles about Etsy alternatives soon. I think it's super important that established shops, like myself, who have relied solely on Etsy for their shop income, be aware that there ARE other viable options. New post soon!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

No Sales on Etsy? You're Not Alone!

Are you having issues selling on Etsy? Have your sales and views drastically dropped since around November 2015? Or perhaps your issues started in April 2016 when the new format was introduced? Today, we're going to be discussing why so many sellers (established and new) are having this extremely disturbing and upsetting problem.

First, I want to greet all my readers again since I've taken a very long hiatus from blogging. My last post was in September of 2014, just a few months after my mother passed away. I typically do a lot of promotions for Etsy shops that I find fun or interesting, but I would like to focus more on discussions like this, jewelry tutorials, and more for my future posts. This long break has given me a lot to discuss, especially regarding the big E - Etsy.

So, what has happened?

If you've been selling on Etsy for any reasonable length of time, you'll often find threads in the forums titled "No Sales?", "No views!", and "What happened to the sales??".

This is pretty common year round, as there are always slow downs for particular shops, and often times these shops have few items listed (usually 50 or under), have poor SEO and/or poor item photography. But lately this, has not been the case.

Starting around November 2015 (but more commonly, right after the format change in April 2016), shops have experienced dramatic view and sale loss. Let me make this clear, this is NOT your typical retail "ebb and flow" issue, this is a HUGE, DRASTIC fall in revenue and views in Etsy search, specifically.

In the past, Etsy has admitted to placing sellers into various "buckets", which you can read here in this fireside chat with Alex. If you have any confusion on this reference, I'd highly recommend you click the link and read the interview through before continuing here.

There is a heavy debate regarding this phrase among sellers. There are going to be some Etsy sellers who will vehemently defend Etsy regardless of what they say or do. That's just the way the world works - some people cannot fathom the thought that a selling platform would purposefully mess with their livelihood without a care in the world. Personally, I am not that positive or trusting.

Although I have no proof from Etsy personally (which I doubt anyone will be able to get their hands on legally), my gut tells me that OF COURSE Etsy has us grouped like this for search, without a doubt. There are so many examples of shops that never experience a lowering in organic Etsy search, and thus they never experience a lack in sales. 

A lot of shops also have the benefit of getting a lot of their views from social media (which is a very smart move on their part, but takes a seller a long time to achieve, and is never guaranteed).

A Change in Etsy Algorithm?

Other than buckets, there is a huge suspicion that Etsy has made very drastic changes to their search algorithm without informing sellers what those changes are, and how to improve their position in this new, changed search algorithm. 

Obviously, Etsy has neither denied nor confirmed this, but there are dozens of shops on the forums alone who have given their detailed sales and view loss numbers. As far as view and sale loss, it tends to hover somewhere between a 50 - 75 percent loss for the majority of these sellers coming to the forums for answers.

For me personally, I concur with these findings. I used to received somewhere around 20,000+ search hits a month, the majority of those coming from Etsy search directly. During November and December, these numbers would grow even higher. Since my shop opening in 2013 and until April 2016, this was completely consistent for me. The more items I added and the more I improved SEO, my views climbed until I hit a 20,000+ monthly view plateau. By this time, I had around 1,000 items in my shop.

Yes, there is always an ebb and flow to retail, but generally, Etsy was a reliable platform, and gave positive results. My business grew so great that I was able to go part time at my regular job when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. 

Sales and views were consistent for almost three years (even as a newbie I had pretty good views starting out), and then I noticed an abnormally low drop in views and sales around November  2015, which is unusual for the Christmas rush. 

It was a slight hit to our business, but at the time I brushed it off as the "flow and ebb" of retail. But then, April 2016 came and the format of the site changed. It's suspected that the search algorithm was altered dramatically as well, as this is when shops began to see a tragic drop in their revenues and sales. 

Personally, I went from 20,000+ views to 10,000 views or less, depending on the month.

The Downfall of Business

Soon after the April 2016 changes, sellers flooded the forums with desperate pleas regarding their loss in business. 

Many were greeted with stern remarks from sellers who had yet to experience any issues, because obviously, if 100% of sellers aren't having problems, there's obviously not an issue, right?

As of July 2016, these search issues have yet to be resolved. Many sellers have come to the Etsy forums, either announcing that they are closing their shops down, or that they have had to abandon Etsy as a full time endeavor, and get a regular full time job (which is difficult enough in the U.S.). 

A lot of sellers who have successfully sold on Etsy for years are now not making enough revenue to even pay their bills, much less have enough money to pour back into maintaining their business.

A Resolution?

At this point, Etsy is firm on not admitting that any changes have been made to search, and whatever "drop in views" that people are experiencing can be attributed to poor SEO, bad photography, the weather, the election, etc. The excuses are endless, and are weak at best.

There is no telling if Etsy will remedy this. If they won't even admit that there is an issue, it's very unlikely that anything will change or improve for sellers.

If you want a super detailed breakdown of the search algorithm issue, I highly recommend reading this article from Sparrow Salvage.

So what can you do?

My personal suggestion is to sell your wares elsewhere. You can keep your Etsy site maintained (this is my current method), but apply for other venues.

Sell on Amazon Handmade if possible. The format is not nearly as user friendly as Etsy, but the possible traffic is worth the headache in my opinion.

Open your own website. There are many ways to do this, but you can work with Shopify, Wix, Weebly, or GoDaddy. These are just a few of the possible options.

Get on Social Media and find what works best for you. There are many social media tutorials that you can google, which will suggest and instruct the best way to interact with your customer base through social media. 

NOTE: When working with social media, be sure to NOT to advertise your Etsy shop. I would personally set up your own website, then work on directing traffic to that standalone site. Until Etsy can manage to fix whatever they have done, directing traffic to Etsy only benefits them and does nothing for you.

Sell at local craft fairs and festivals. A lot of Etsy sellers do outside selling on a regular basis. Before committing to a table fee/seller's fee, make sure that your location is within the realm of your target customer, otherwise you may not make the sales you desire.

Hope this article resonates with many of the struggling Etsy sellers. Remember, control is in your hands. Take your business and create a security blanket by selling on multiple platforms. Don't make the same mistake I did by relying on Etsy alone, even IF you are making amazing sales. 

Because when those sales stop, for whatever arbitrary reason, so does your income.

Be self reliant and stay positive!

Monday, September 29, 2014

The 3D Printing Outlet - Amazing 3D Printing on Etsy!

Today, we have an amazing Etsy store spotlight for The 3D Printing Outlet!

This shop, run by Yoni from Cambridge, Massachusetts, offers spectacular 3D art using the latest 3D printing technology.

Meet Yoni, the owner and creator of The 3D Printing Outlet!

Yoni decided to open his Etsy shop in order to show the world that beautiful art can come from the most advanced technology - one of my favorite items in his shop is the 3D Ohm Lamp!

This lamp is truly a one of a kind 3D printed art piece - a shrine to an ancient religion and developed by the most advanced technology, the sculpture brings the past and future into the present day!

Looking to add something super neat and custom to your wedding? Check out Yoni's 3D wedding cake toppers! With your picture, Yoni can create a 1.2 inch tall figurine of you and your life partner out of a lasting plastic composite.

Donation boxes are typically perceived by most to be static objects to hold change. Yoni's design reimagines the future of giving as a global effort done by individual actions. 

The message at the bottom, “small change can make a world of difference”, reinforces the importance of individual actions. Although giving a few cents may seem like a tiny drop in the bucket, the change collected by millions of other individuals can have a meaningful impact!

This 3D donation box is perfect for any office or event!

For the future, Yoni plans to continue designing new models and sharing them with the world!

To check out more of his items, just click here to visit The 3D Printing Outlet!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Professional Product Photography for Etsy/Ebay/Amazon Sellers!

Are you looking to improve your product photography? 

As an Etsy store owner, I can admit first hand how incredibly time consuming and difficult it can be to photograph my handmade items. Especially for those who are not experienced photographers, this can be extremely stressful and possibly costly, with the additional purchases of the professional cameras and light boxes, it can easily eat into the profit of a fledgling business.

For those looking to bypass this feat, you can reach out to Dwain on Fiverr! He offers exquisite and professional product photography!

An example of Dwain's lovely photography!
Dwain has been a full-time photographer for 9 years - he will use his studio and specialized equipment to photograph your products and produce high-quality images for you to use on your website or with your own marketing material.

The best part is, not only are his prices beyond affordable, but Dwain has a very fast turn around! Also, for an additional fee, Dwain will even photograph your lovely item on a live model.

Dwain specializes in products less than 24x24x24"; but, he has worked with clients on everything from gemstones to motorcycles, so basically any item that you may sell will qualify for his services.

Not only are his photos above impressive, but the reviews of his gig on Fiverr are ALL positive - not only is this seller reliable but his work is high quality!

Just click here to order Dwain's photography service on Fiverr and improve the beauty of your online shop!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Amazing Discounts and Deals for Amazon!

Are you an avid Amazon shopper looking for discounts? Then check out NewVoucher!

This awesome Amazon discount website offers a plethora of voucher codes and deals. The offers range from free shipping on various items to 50 - 60% off video games, perfumes, shoes and more!

Come check out NewVoucher and make your Amazon purchase today!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Amazing Kids Clip Art on Etsy from Print&Fun!

Searching for cute clip art for your next project? Need Elsa from Frozen, Elmo, or perhaps an awesome Batman printable? Look no further than Print&Fun!

Run by Nats from Milan, Italy, this Etsy shop offers a wide range of fun printables and clip art all for your event or crafting needs.

Love The Little Mermaid? This awesome digital clip art pack comes with 14 printable digital papers that can be downloaded right after checkout. Here's a preview of some of the clip art that comes with this pack!

The owner of this shop, Nats, loves to create party printables for kids, but for the moment she loves experimenting with colors and patterns (digital papers & Clipart Images), to create party printables.

This is her amazing Frozen clip art pack, featuring Queen Elsa!

Nats likes to be helpful for the people who create these beautiful parties in the world. She follows a lot of her clients and truly enjoys seeing how they use her designs in their jobs. Each person always uses the same design in different ways, and she loves to see that!

Her super adorable Sesame Street clip art pack!

Perfect for your little boy's birthday party, this Batman clip art pack is a great choice!

For the future, Nats would like to add at least 20 new items each week, with new themes and a greater variety. She is also wanting to offer more party printables in the future, especially this upcoming winter.

Come check out this sweet Super Mario Brothers clip art pack!

Want to see MORE of what Print&Fun has to offer? Just click here to visit this amazing shop on Etsy!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Vintage Dresses, Purses and MORE on Etsy from Vintage4SteppinOut!

Looking for beautiful vintage dresses and purses from days gone by? Are you searching for a certain piece of jewelry from yesteryear that you thought you'd never see again? If so, then come check out my Etsy store of the day, Vintage4SteppinOut!

Wendy B, the owner of this Etsy shop, decided to open her store because of her passion for the romance of vintage, and celebrating things that pass by recycling and reusing them today.

A sneak peek of their last vintage clothing show in Toronto - another two are coming up this fall!

What inspires Wendy and her amazing vintage shop? 

 Playing "dress-up" with her mom's old slips and black and white circle skirt along with her treasure trove of jewellery instilled Wendy's love for vintage fashion at a young age. 

Her resplendent 1980's canary yellow gown by Carolyne Roehm!

Vintage 1960's black Tour of London dress!

Looking for something snazzy to hold your favorite lipstick? Check out her 1950's French poodle lipstick holder!

Wendy still loves to "dress-up" - a fall coat from the 60s, a Vera scarf and a rhinestone brooch keeps her connected to the past and celebrates her today! 

 Join Wendy - dare to stand out and express your style with vintage - people will notice and smile!

One of my personal favorites - this stunning gold rose vintage 1960's cocktail dress!

Love this vintage 1960's Isla Del Sol rattan purse!

For the future, Wendy hope to expand her shop to where she can quit her day job and run her Etsy store full time. 

Want to see more of her amazing vintage finds? Just click here to visit  Vintage4SteppinOut on Etsy!