Blog & Site Updates

10.11.17 Well, that was an epic fail. My sojourn with Etsy has been a disappointment, since in order to be visible on their catalog I would have had to renew my listings several times. Since I had no sales with them since early May, I concluded that they were not going to stop testing and experimenting, and I discovered yesterday that (to my horror) my remaining listings, with expirations up through January of 2018, had been deactivated as soon as I paid my last batch of listing fees. I mean, you could have knocked me down with a feather. So I close that account, too.
     I doubt if I will ever return, because they have changed their entire focus from Handmade, Vintage and Supplies to mass produced crafts, and people have also been disappointed with their Studio. The Studio platform was meant to segregate shoppers between those looking for actual supplies and those looking for other products. In any case, Handmade was no longer being handled the way it was before. Since people's products were being shoved into a space under a rock between two twigs, once their listings slid off the 250 page limit on the catalog, they were rendered invisible for the rest of the 4 month period of a listing. As I said before, I would have had to renew my listings far more often, and sooner than the 4 month period. This means it would not have been economically wise to continue in that fashion.
     I have listed my products on eCrater, which has no expiration dates on the listings and a lower final value fee for selling. I have also started listing again on ArtYah, which is a site started by other ex-Etsy users who were tired of the nonsense. I am again restricted to Handmade, Vintage, and Supplies, but at least it's cheaper to list and one can list for 120 days at a time.
     I have also switched to offering free shipping now through the holidays. I got tired of having to figure the best rates for shoppers, and the trend toward offering free shipping appears to be getting very popular.

7.05.17 My ArtYah shop is not doing well, but since they are a startup company I don't think there will be any results until maybe August or September, when the serious shopping period commences.
     I have been forced to charge Priority Mail rates along with my regular rates for shipping because of shipping issues associated with the USPS. I don't care what their commercial says, I have received nothing but complaints about missing packages, postage due, and "smashed" deliveries. That is the side of USPS that USPS does not want people to know. Some people expect "special" consideration and if they are willing to pay for it that's fine with me.
     On July 4th I took the day off and did nothing but watch marathons. That is about the extent of my vacations, as I do not take the week off. There is just too much to do. But it was interesting when I turned on the news, and the news chopper pilot showed a panorama of illegal fireworks going off across Los Angeles. There were also gunshots. There were 3 house fires and a group of bush fires caused by fireworks during the day. Fireworks are illegal across L.A. but people shoot them off anyway, and the surrounding cities tend to sell and use without such a restriction. It's a little like Prohibition. The law is there but it is not really enforced, and I suspect that it is so unpopular it will be rescinded one day. But otherwise the day was filled with celebrations and fireworks at controlled venues, with an attendant increase in security. I don't think there were any problems.
     That's it for now, and I'll be here to blog later. ♦

6.15.17 I have decided to diversify my jewelry design offerings beyond my Therri's Treasures site. You may ask why all this is necessary. Mostly it is because Etsy, that champion of all things hand made (or so it claims to be), is on a steady decline. At one point it had somewhere around 1.4 million shops or sellers in its vast catalog. Now, thanks to some misunderstanding on the sellers' part, there are about 950 thousand or so. The statistics are not easy to prove, because as one seller departs, two new shops arrive to take its place. So the numbers are really irrelevant. Shop owners have declared that sales are down drastically from last month to even last year. Visitors have become scarce, as loyal followers of departing shops go wherever they go. But what is especially disturbing is the fall off of outside viewers. So, less or non-existent sales as a result.
     As with some who discovered it, I have started listing with ArtYah.com, which has a set up similar to the old Etsy before it went public. I cannot sell books there, but at least I have more leeway with listing language and can dictate what kind of shipping charges I want to charge.
     On Etsy there was pressure to purchase shipping labels, which means I must load the printer with adhesive label paper and waste a lot of it printing one label. It was all part of Etsy trying to make money off the sellers, which I can understand; but it presented a problem if, for example, the calculation does not match what USPS has chosen for a particular type of package. I opt for First Class Mail for small items because a small flat rate box costs too much, and I don't use Priority Mail anyway. I use USPS.com to get my postage, so I can use my own envelopes and labels and charge accordingly. I truck things to my local post office and get a more accurate calculation based on the destination and distance.
     The other thing which is difficult to do is promotion. I try to post photos to my own Facebook page, and I have two: one for Antellus and the other for Therri's Treasures. I promote by spending to boost posts, and have begun to post videos on YouTube and Facebook. But even if I receive a bunch of "likes" for each page, that does not guarantee that people will migrate off Facebook to look at my books or my jewelry. I suspect that they don't want to, so I can only occasionaly whet their appetites and hope. ♦


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