My insight on the “New” Etsy…

Hi everyone!

I’ve been away from the blog for quite some time and I felt that with Etsy’s new policies and guidelines that they have announced, it would be the perfect opportunity to come back and chat about it.

I watched and listened intently to the Town Hall Meeting anticipating their announcements and conversation. It was interesting to say the least. I have been on the forums for the past 48 hours, reading with fervor to piece together, understand and absorb as much as possible.

First and foremost, Etsy is an enterprise beast. I mean that in the nicest and most powerful sense of the word. I’ve appreciated and honored my place in the platform of Etsyland and continually grow our business ethically and responsibly based on their terms of use, guidelines and rules, of which have become a large part of my business plan and strategy.

This is highly contrary to popular opinion, however I believe in what I’m about to say. Etsy has essentially announced that they have “changed” the definition of “handmade”. They have morphed it into a (in my humble opinion) brilliant philosophy instead based on 3 principles:

Authorship . Responsibility . Transparency

You can view their definitions here: https://www.etsy.com/new-guidelines

While most feel that this new definition is solely created to fulfill their own agenda, I feel as though it’s riddled with glorious opportunity. I need to first say that I intend to NEVER under any circumstances, outsource Woo Woo Workshop to a manufacturer or factory. Every tag that we create will always be created with our own two hands. However, and it’s a BIG however…it’s an opportunity for the dream, to build and expand our brand to levels I never thought possible, while still being associated with Etsy. They have created this  philosophy and loosened their guidelines to open the door for independent designers/makers to broaden their product scope, and most importantly, think bigger!

Etsy’s role in my business is one of support. It’s simply a tool, just as my computer is a tool. It doesn’t create my revenue, it doesn’t magically put money in my bank account. Our work has done that, our research has done that. Our loyal and wonderful customers have done that. Our ethics and moral business standards have done that and frankly, our talent has done that. Not one single policy or guideline change will affect any of that. What they will do is allow us to grow. Growth and change within a business is inevitable and it’s exciting!

We have worked EXTREMELY hard to get where we are a year and half later. We have had a 336% increase in revenue this year from last. That is something that we’re very proud of, especially in a time where others have been very outspoken about this year being the worst they’ve had on Etsy.

You have to learn to grow and morph with the changes…it’s as simple as that. Think bigger and think with opportunity. If you don’t, and you get stuck and stymied by the new changes, you will get buried.

Keep doing what you’re doing, but do it better. If you learn to grow within change, your success will be something that you’ve never thought possible. Stop saying that Etsy controls your level of revenue. They don’t, believe me. YOU control your business vision, your talent and your product. Sadly, I’ve heard so many shop owners state that they should just “Give up” – what?!? That’ll be the day that a corporate policy change will force me to ever give up.

If you start to think of Etsy as a tool as opposed to an employer, you will then learn to take the reigns of what and always will be, solely yours.

Here’s to independent artisans, designers and makers creating businesses based on independent thinking, hard work and talented vision. It’s one of the most important things in my life that I truly and honestly believe in. It’s part of my soul, and no one can force that down and bury that, and most certainly, not any amount of mass produced products created unethically and immorally.

xo

melissa

Advertisements

All Hail the Handmade Lightbox

I’m confessing: I am forever the perfectionist. It’s a terrible, yet efficient quality to have. I have an incessant obsession with perfecting our photographs for the shop. It’s one of the most important aspects of selling online. I’m always happy with the way I photograph our work, composition wise…however, I always fight til the death when it comes to proper lighting.

When we first opened the shop back in April, it was the perfect weather to photograph outside, which is ultimately my favorite. We live in Erie, PA, right along Lake Erie and lets just say, our weather isn’t conducive to awesome outdoor photography all year long.  April through September was perfect, I loved the photographs, I didn’t have to take a hundred of one tag to be satisfied. Then came October, it was a hit or miss kind of month – chilly most of the time and downright cold toward the end. I ran outside all bundled up to take a few here and there, they were successful; I sighed with relief. Then came November, December, January, February, and now March – forget it, nope. I thought for sure that great photographs were out of my reach until Spring again. I felt like being experimental and took a few of our Winter Collection tags on a table, right next to the window, above the window sill. I liked them. I didn’t love them, and I wouldn’t call them successful, but acceptable. So, with the aid of the almighty Photoshop, I was able to breathe easy knowing that the photographs I was presenting were pretty good for being Winter photos.

Then just a couple of months ago, I relented and made a homemade lightbox. ALL HAIL THE LIGHTBOX! Who would have known that a cardboard box, duct tape, 3 utility lights and a couple yards of white muslin could transform my photography experience? I am a HUGE fan of Everything Etsy and through Kim’s ever so sound and solid advice, I was able to find a tutorial that she featured to make one. It took my husband and I about 40 min. to make…super easy and only cost me about $25.00 to purchase all of the materials needed.

The collage below features the three different lighting situations that I tackled so far. While I love and am totally satisfied with the lightbox photos, outside is still my all time favorite and while I curse the snow that is falling outside my window as I type, I look forward to warm summer days and once again, finding little spots throughout our gardens to photograph the tags. Click on the image below and tell me, which photos do you like best? Image

Spring is in the Air…

Spring is in the Air...

Seven new design releases are making their debut today for our Spring Collection . 2013 – This is The “Summer” Woo Woo Tag™ – copper oval with flower accents along with our signature aluminum backer that holds your phone number, perfect for your small breed dog or kitty! Watch throughout the day as I create and feature the newest photos for this fresh and springy collection!

Picture of the Day…

Picture of the Day...

We have immense love and respect for the process of handmade – the vision, the craft, the talent and the dedication…’love handmade’ is a mantra that I carry with me daily. Loving handmade and all that it stands for is not just about sitting down and creating, it’s about being part of a social movement. It’s about presenting the talents that are given to us to naturally express ourselves. It’s about being in tune with our creative souls and respecting what is born from that. What is it about handmade that you love?