My Adventure on Etsy

There really is no shortcut... and being right doesn't get you a good review

Etsy Advise

 

Lets start by saying that I have been selling on Etsy for seven years now. After few years I ended up in several discussion forums on that site and for a good while I was in mentor group mostly specializing in customer service counseling and photography. As a side note a lot of my jobs in my past have been deeply rooted in customer service. And I truly believe that the only way a business can flourish is by providing great service to customers and taking care of its employees.

 

What surprised me the most when I received the requests for mentoring or resolving the problem, how little did the shop owner valued their time and piece of mind. They were willing to exchange countless messages with the customer just not to issue a refund which often times was below twenty dollars. And when I advised issuing a refund, moving on and concentrating on customers that do like their products, they sometimes argued that the customer is wrong.

What can I say - being right is not going to get you a good review. And as we now, when it comes to business, online reviews carry a lot of weight. So at one point my responses became questions.

How much was your item?

How long did it take to make you?

How much time have you spent conversing to your customer? ( in my experience, when it comes to problem resolution - the quicker the process, the better the result. I have not come across problems that got better with time)

Is the refund worth your peace of mind?

 

I had come to realize that when someone answers these questions, the answers present themselves. What most small creative businesses failed to anticipate is - there will be unhappy customers.

 

While mentoring group dissolved, now and then I still get questions and mentoring requests, but lately they have been - so how can I get my shop to earn money quickly? Whats the secret? But there is no secret, there is no shortcut. The online business just like good old fashion brick and mortar business means hustle, means planning and taxes.

 

So here is my Etsy story. I started on Etsy by making every mistake there was to make. I came across a knit item and a light bulb came on - I can make it, I can make it cheaper, and I can make some extra money, and its a global market place so surely there are a lot of customers who will find me. Right?

Well …. at the end of that year when I was done with my taxes - the numbers hit me like the brick wall. There were few things I had not accounted for - the supplies, the listing fees, the commissions, the shipping, the shipping supplies....the taxes... well... the list goes on. But my lack of planning did not stop there I decided to keep on going - I had inventory of items I've made and it needed to me sold, so I made another year of mistakes and the income at the end of the year was less than that of a Chinese worker. What I had failed at the most was planning. In hindsight... this was business 101, but I was an artist and creative, and I didn't realize I was in business. But I kept on going. And what really changed things for me is education, my love for learning. I looked at the data, and I made a plan.

I still have an Etsy store, but it is digital items only. If something doesn’t sell, the item gets archived. If customer has a question it gets answered as soon as possible. Because the only way to stay in business is to have a plan and have great service. There is no shortcut

How to Paint a Photography Backdrop using Drop - Cloth

Hot to paint a backdrop? How to paint a backdrop on a budget? Few years ago I looked all over try and find a way to paint a photography backdrop, but I could not quite find something that spoke to me. I made some mistakes - learned a few lessons.

How to paint a Background

 

Number ONE -  use flat paint .... FLAT PAINT ( chalk paint works great as well)

Number TWO -  thin your house paint with water - otherwise your background will be really heavy

SO..... to start you will need tones of your choice in house paint in FLAT finish or Chalk Paint. Make sure to check out your stores OOPS section of paints people didnt like. I just used some left over from house work.

Also something to apply the paint with -  roller, sponge, or bunched up plastic bag.

I used 9x12 Canvas Drop Cloth - I have also have painted clearance furniture fabric

If you'd like to keep your hands somewhat clean -  vinyl gloves. you can get them in a pharmacy or Amazon

I also used plastic drop-cloth underneath my cotton drop-cloth that I will be painting

I wetted the canvas first, so the paint absorbs better.

For this backdrop, I did not want vignette, but using a bit darker tones around the edges can create vignetted look.

So Here is my quick video.

I used simple plastic shopping bag dipping in paint to create texture.

Your cost will differ based on what you have at home and what you can source.

And while I dream of some time in my life own an Oliphant backdrop, this budget version works great for me now.