Hand Crafted Writing Instruments
how to sell
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I've been on Etsy since December. I sold a pen early on, but that's been my only sale.
What are some tips to have better sales?
One thing I've observed is that my general feeling is some people are pricing too low. I've run into this issue at festivals. It's difficult to make an income on an art when there are a few retired folks who are undercutting the person who needs to pull a profit to keep the business going. I've talked to a few of the retired people to gain a better understanding of what's going on. What I've come up with is that they are bored and need a hobby to keep them going. I think that's great, however their pricing hurts everyone. One example is that I used to make decorative boxes until a retired guy showed up to one of my biggest festivals and started selling his for $35 each. I can't even come close to that with as many hours as I put into the work. He's making less than minimum wage, but he doesn't care so much because the hobby pays for itself and his trip to Florida every winter.
On Etsy, what are some good tactics to use? Do I need better variety? How do you bring more people into your online stores?
Posted at 11:40 am Feb 9, 2012 EST
That's a very good question. I've seen others selling for at times less than I could pay for the kit and the blank. I can only guess that they buy the kit and use found wood for the pen and only care to recover the kit cost to keep their hobby paying for itself.
I also believe for a large part that this is the difference between craft shows and art shows.
The problem is how to translate that into online selling. How do you prove your value over that of someone else when it's not tangible to the buyer until after the sale.
I don't have an answer for you. All of my sales to date have been in-person at higher prices than my Etsy listings yet my Etsy shop hasn't turned dime one for me...yet.
Posted at 11:47 am Feb 9, 2012 EST
I'm interested in these forums, but I get the impression that at least half of the people looking in my store are other sellers checking out the competition. That also seems true of many treasury lists.
Given the number of people selling kit pens and the reliance on photographs for selling your work online, I think either your items must be quite unique or you've got to write some pretty awesome copy.
Posted at 12:29 pm Jul 4, 2012 EDT
I am not sure really how much I should charge for my pens. I have a formula and spreadsheet that I use to help with this. I have also talked with others about price and some seem to really like the fact that their sales number are climbing. At the same time I don't want to charge too much. All of the sales that I have made to date have been to people that are happy with what they have gotten. What I do know is that you have to figure out how much labor you are worth. You have to decide what labor rate is appropriate at different levels too. Just because you can turn out a $200 pen doesn't make a slimline worth the same labor rate they don't require anywhere near the same skill level and cannot support the same type of pricing.
Posted at 6:37 pm Sep 22, 2012 EDT
Lee you need to get more product up on your site. You have to add to it all the time and promote your pens. If you don't properly describe and use the right key words over and over you won't get found. If your site seems like it is stagnant the search engines will not look it over as much either. When I post a pen I promote it all over etsy and anyplace on the web that it is fast and easy to post it. There is no magic bullet here you have to keep busy and keep adding. I have over 200 pens on my site now and will keep adding slowly.
Posted at 6:43 pm Sep 22, 2012 EDT