Oh My Gosh, I Have an Etsy Shop! -or- Now What?

So it’s confession time:  My Etsy shop has been open for a little while now and I haven’t formally announced it.  Have you ever noticed how sometimes a store will open and after a few weeks or so they’ll have a “grand opening?”  What’s up with that, anyway?  Why wouldn’t your grand opening be, oh I don’t know, the day your store is opening? :-p  Whatever the reason, I guess the fact that that’s not how things are done gives me an excuse to call this my shop’s grand opening, right?

It’s a little surreal to think that I now have a place to sell things I’ve made.  Especially Even after setting everything up, it’s a scary thing for me.  These are my creations.  These are things I’ve spent hours making.  Things I’ve agonized over.  Things I’ve scrutinized and been dissatisfied with, and re-made.  With a few exceptions, these are things I love.  Things I’m proud of.  Look what I made out of string!

And now I’m offering them up for people to accept or reject.  For people to love or hate.  It’s hard not to be personal about it.

I’ve put myself into these things.  My heart, my time, my restless fingers just itching to create.  My thoughts and hopes.  Memories of good days, stitching while laughing and having conversations.  Memories of bad days, needing to busy my hands and relieve stress.  Memories of the excitement I felt when I discovered that beautiful skein of yarn and its potential just waiting to be unleashed into a pretty new thing.  Frustration over difficult patterns and missed stitches.  Elation over removing a beautiful finished object from the blocking board.  The silly pictures that have to be taken, and the embarrassment I always feel while modeling for them.  The heart-in-my-throat feeling whenever I share the pictures on Facebook and people actually like them.

To load them up to an online store and offer them for sale feels like nothing I’ve ever really done before.  In my imagination it feels like approaching a stranger when you’ve got a broken wrist and holding out to them, not knowing if they’re going to ignore you and walk off, hurt you more and take advantage of your injury, or if they’re going to help you find a doctor.  Yeesh, that got really dark really fast…

So I’ve got the shop set up, and all the details I can work out for the moment.  How, now, shall I proceed?  Do I leave it be and hope that people stumble across it?  Do I share with all my friends and family?  Do I find ways to advertise?  How am I going to maintain good customer service?  As much as I don’t want this to be a “business,” and want to keep it a hobby, there are still business-like considerations to make.  After all, it is a “store.”

Etsy Emails

Etsy has been sending me emails and tips ever since I set up shop.  I haven’t had a lot of time to read them all, but I’m trying to wade through them now.  Some of what they share are things I’ve read about in preparation for opening up a shop.  Over some of my next posts in this series, I’m going to dive in and share some of my discoveries as I investigate all the options Etsy is offering me.  I hope it won’t bore y’all.  One of the things I’m really interested in is the new “Pattern” option that Etsy has started, where you can make your shop look more like a stand-alone website.  Figures, doesn’t it, that just as I get my shop all but ready, they come out with a completely new way of doing things. 😉  I guess there will always be something new to learn, and provided I can find the time to learn them, I’m just fine with that. 🙂

In the meantime, if y’all want to check out my December Butterfly shop, I’d love any feedback (be gentle!) and tips for improving my look, layout, or otherwise make my shop cooler.

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