I've opened an Etsy shop and I've started selling handmade thingies online. This holiday season, if you love me, don't buy anything for me. Buy something FROM me. Better yet, buy something from me and tell all your friends XD
I make lampwork bead cellphone/keychain/zipper charms. I have other handmade things planned, but so far, it's just these. I had to open it under my maiden name though. I can't go by my married name because it involves actual money transactions which needs the name that I use for banking. =P
It started out with just me wanting a cool new netsuke cellphone charm. And spiralled out of control from there. =) I fell for some really lovely handmade lampwork beads... and by "some", I mean "a boatload".
Yeah, well... they were PRETTY. It just HAPPENED. =D =D
I kept a few for myself and I'm always getting compliments on them. =)
It's been a fantastic experience. I've learned so much about things that I'd never given a second thought to before. Some things work exactly the way I envisioned. Some things are nothing like what I imagined. It's opened up a world of understanding.
There are a lot of interesting people in the community as well. There are some wonderful and very talented, amazing artisans - Binary Soul, for instance, who makes chainmail jewellery and cool stuff. There are fantastically helpful folks who are willing to help a n00btard like me. There are ones, to whom you just want to say: you're in the business of selling stuff that people don't need, it behooves you to cut the attitude.
You see all kinds.
I thought photography would be my downfall because I'm a First Class Photography Idiot Extraordinaire, but I have been complimented on my pics, so I guess they haven't turned out too badly. Those are all my own photos on the Cuteable.com feature and in the shop.
But no. Promoting or advertising (a.k.a pimping my wares) is my weakest point. I would have guessed this next after Photography =)
I'm a geek by nature and by profession, so I've never been one for marketing strategies. I buy the DVDs for TV shows specifically because I don't want to see commercials. I'm hardcore about blocking ads and spam - I redirect advertisement domains to 127.0.0.1 in my /etc/hosts and I run a tiny web server that serves me up a 1 pixel transparent image in the place of all the ad images.
Promoting my Etsy Shop has been a big struggle for me. I feel all ooky about it. I had to really try to get over myself and acknowledge that it has to be done.
And I tried to be very careful about it, only spamming places that allowed that kind of spamming, so to speak. =) Read all rules, follow instructions very carefully. I know how much I hate people promoting in places that they're not supposed to.
But when I got that sale, it felt so worth it!! =D =D =D
So, yeah... come check me out! =)