April Studio Update
April Showers bring…spring snowstorms. As I sit here and type this, there is 10cm of snow outside and the wind has picked up. I’m confused if it is April or December! Therefore, it’s good day to pour a cup of tea and write my April Update.
I wanted to share this feedback I received via the contact form on the website:
“Hello there! Last week I received a gift that a friend bought for me from your store – 2 glorious skeins of green merino-silk-angelina, along with 2 charming stitch markers. I just wanted to let you know that it is a complete dream to crochet with, and has kick-started a creative drive in me that I thought was asleep for good. Many many thanks for all your beautiful work!”
I cannot stress enough how much this message made my day! Yes, we always like to hear positive feedback about our work, but this means so much more to me. Because this customer has been *inspired* to create again with something *I* created. I feel privileged to know my purpose in life: live an inspired life, and inspire others. Needless to say this comment has inspired *me* to continue to keep creating. Truly, what goes around, comes around…
The Trouble with Shipping, and the Hindrance it places on a Positive Shopping Experience
I’ve written several times about the shipping conundrum. If you are a small business you really rely on the mail to get your goods where they need to go. If you are in Canada, like me, you rely heavily, if not exclusively, on Canada Post. Cost of shipping with Canada post has been rapidly increasing over the past few years. Plus the strain that the lockdowns created in 2020 threw delivery standards out the window.
Although Canada Post is reliable in the sense that packages eventually get to where they go, higher volumes mean that it can take longer for packages to reach their destination. In an Amazon Prime world, people aren’t as patient to wait for the goods they paid for. For cheaper items, I have no choice but to send the padded envelopes via regular mail, and when they are taking longer than usual to arrive, customers get anxious as there is no tracking number.
A Shipping Example
Why not send everything with tracking? Let’s take that order for yarn, quoted above. The order sold for $43. Of that $43 dollars, $21.43 was spent on shipping. It was going to Ontario, which is in Eastern Canada. I am located in this region as well (Maritime provinces). As it is a bulky item, the tracking option is the only way to ship, there is nothing cheaper. And this rate is with me squishing the yarn into a mailer envelope, which I really dislike, but have to do in order to keep the shipping costs as minimal as possible.
So $21.43 for a bulky envelope of yarn, leaves me with $21.57 for two skeins of yarn that I made from scratch. Nevermind the packaging and little extras I also include. And the Etsy fees I pay as this order was purchased via Etsy. If you think makers sell their goods to make money, you might want to think again…
So let’s say someone buys a stitch marker set for $17. If I were to send this with tracking, the price would be the SAME as the bulky envelop of yarn. $21 to send a $17 item. I instead, purchase an oversized stamp for just under $2. The item ships regular mail with no tracking, but you can understand why.
Understanding and Patience is Key
A platform like Etsy would say, just increase your prices. But how much is one willing to pay for a stitch marker set? How do I stay competitive on the platform when there are US makers whose shipping costs are considerably less?
I’m not looking to gouge people, I want them to enjoy my creations! I want my customers to feel that they paid a fair price. If I wanted to become rich I would have stopped making ages ago.
I’m also not trying to complain, just to educate. I make it a point to turn around my orders as quickly as possible, usually in 1 business day. If you waited a little longer to receive your handmade package from an artist or maker, please be patient, and don’t give them less than a 5 star review if you truly loved your item. Trust me, if I could hand deliver all my orders, to say thanks in person, I would.
Also, you can trust that if your package ever goes missing I will honor your order with either a refund or replacement. Simply contact me by hitting reply on your order confirmation email. I always get back to people right away so if there is a delay, please email me directly.
An Etsy Strike is A-Brewing
A few weeks ago, I received an email from Etsy corporate stating that there would be a fee increase, 30% higher starting April 11th. To be honest, I’m pretty low key on Etsy, and not up with the politics within the community. Not since the last mass exodus of sellers in 2012. I’ve been on Etsy since 2008, and I started selling on the platform about a year later. I’ve been around with all the ebb and flow of change as it has evolved as a company. I would not exactly call the platform exclusively handmade anymore, since it is full or re-sellers. Buyer beware is certainly warranted.
Recently I learned that several Etsy Shops will be going on strike starting April 11th. Their demands are as follows:
- Cancel the fee increase.
- Crack down on resellers with a comprehensive plan that is transparent, so sellers can hold Etsy accountable.
- Give ‘Golden’ support tickets to sellers affected by extreme AI actions (account termination, 45/90 day holds, etc.)
- End the Star Seller Program.
- Give all sellers the ability to opt out of off site ads.
Etsy and Me
I stay there because I really like the customers. For the most part, Etsy buyers get the handmade maker philosophy. I keep it as a low-key avenue for customers. I don’t make enough $$ there to be forced into paying for advertising, like some sellers who use Etsy as their primary income.
So when I got the email about a price increase, I shrugged it off as, what can you do? Until I happened to stumble on info on the strike via Twitter. Although I am small beans on Etsy, I’m going to participate in the Etsy strike in solidarity of the makers who rely on Etsy to make a living. I agree whole heartedly with their demands, though I’m very pessimistic that Etsy would ever listen to their sellers.
So I will be putting my Etsy Shop in vacation mode on April 11th, until at least the 18th. I may go a little longer, and take the month to research other avenues to get my work front and center to customers. You can come here to my website to purchase my items, or to contact me for any reason.
The Future is Unknown and What I’d love to Happen Going Forward
If I were to put it out there, what would I want to see for my little handmade endeavour going forward? Obviously, affordable shipping would be high on my list! But past that, I’d love to expand to reach more Canadians, and not just singular item orders, but bulk and wholesale to small retail shops that cater to handmade, or local yarn stores. I can give such a better price if I work and ship in bulk.
I’d love to streamline my sales to come through this website and discontinue using 3rd party platforms. But with a receptive audience built in and me wanting more time to create I simply don’t see myself leaving Etsy anytime soon. In fact, the answer may be to go back and diversify the platforms I use. I stopped doing that for simplicity, but here I sit again wondering how to reach more customers without being glued to my computer hours on end. I already dropped social networking for that reason: too much time taken up when I could be making fantastic things!
This Month’s New Products
April is my birthday month! Despite rising costs with shipping and supplies, I wanted to offer a discount to say thanks! Creating literally saved my life over 2 decades ago. I am grateful to be here today to share my gifts with you all.
Save 18% on your order of $50+ for the month of April* with code: BIRTHDAYMONTH
*excludes sale items
It would be my pleasure to also include an additional small gift with your purchase.