Friday, September 21, 2012

Little bit of everything....

Guess who I got to meet yesterday?   Chelsea, from Pins & Bobbins!  It was really cool, and kind of strange I must say (and I think Chelsea would say so too!), to meet someone that otherwise only lives on the web.  Chelsea was great, she seems like a really fun person to be around and I'm looking forward to getting to know her better.  I'm planning to go to our local modern quilt guild for the first time in October and it will be sooooo nice to have at least one familiar face there, me being a bit of an introvert.  :)


I had brought this finished Cuzco baby quilt top along on our little quilty date yesterday, thinking I might find some backing fabric at the shop where Chelsea and I met up.  Unfortunately, it was just another over-priced Canadian retailer (why IS that?????) so all I did was browse.  It was a beautiful shop with lots of modern fabrics and cute stuff, but I'm not paying $19/m for fabric no matter what it is.  So on the way home I stopped in at Fabricland, which I have a love/hate relationship with, and found a perfect backing in the clearance section.  I'll show you soon, once the quilt is totally finished!!


Okay, now I'm looking for advice!  I am considering setting up an Etsy shop.  For a couple of reasons.  First, I have made SO many things for our own home and you can only give away so many unsolicited things to friends and family (at least in my opinion!), I obviously want to continue this hobby so I need to find other avenues for my creations.  Second, there is something that our family is saving up for that I would like to contribute to as much as possible.  I'm not looking to make a ton of stuff specifically to sell, more so just to list the many things I seem to make with no intended recipient, the above Cuzco quilt being a prime example!  So I just need the nerve to take the plunge!  I know that many of you have Etsy shops, and I'd love it if you'd help me with a few things I'm wondering about.....
  • I am having a difficult time finding a definitive answer of whether or not Canadian-based shops can accept direct credit card payment through Etsy.  Does anyone know?
  • How do you decide how much you will charge for an item?  for shipping?
  • Have you done anything in particular to promote your shop, or is word of mouth and through the blog a good way to start?
Finally, I need a shop name!!  I want to come up with something simple, but catchy and not too cute-sy.  I've thought of "My Quilted Home", which feels a bit 'country craft' to me, "Coastal Quilts", since I live on the Pacific Ocean, though I'm not sold on it, or something plain like "Heather's Quilts", but I'm not crazy about that either.  Also, probably not everything I list will be quilted so I'm wondering if I should go more along the lines of "handmade" something or other.  I don't know!!  Share your ideas with me!  And if I use your idea, there may be a little prize for you.  :)

Thanks all!  Time for some lunch for me.....

16 comments:

Debbie said...

wow - very fun to meet a bloggy buddy! And you know I'm excited to see Cuzco!
RE: the shop - exciting! Personally I'd use your blog name or a take off that, to expand your 'brand.' Are you a follow of Knotted-Thread? She has a new etsy shop to sell fabric etc. She might have some good advice. Also look on Pinterest. I just typed in 'starting an etsy shop' and alot of stuff came up. I hope you get some good advice from your followers too...

Katie said...

You and Chelsea must have had a blast! I love meeting blog friends, last Saturday I got to hang with Krista (Poppyprint) and Felicity (felicity Quilts) and Holly (Holly's Red Bike) ALL DAY!
Etsy uses Paypal, which you can set up through your bank account, to either pay or receive money. I like it that way because then I can spend as much as I want and my husband never knows! If I used my credit card through Paypal he'd be all over it, since he's the one who gets the statement.
As for shipping. Ugh. Since CanadaPost can be quite ridiculous with it's charges, I'd take my stuff to the post office before listing it to find out what it would cost to ship within Canada and also to the US. You really don't want to list and $8 shipping charge only to find out it's going to cost you $22! That would really stink.
What is the big thing you're saving for??? A vacation? An inground pool?

Laura said...

i also am thinking of starting an etsy shop. i read some where that you shouldn't put quilts or whatever your're making in the title (can't remember why:) maybe to make it sound more professional plus its kinda limiting to just quilts then. i also think that its not about being the cheapest cause it seems like that hurts every one on etsy. just some ramblings. (lauraddirks@gmail.com)

Jenelle said...

You guys sound like you had a good time! I hope I'll have the chance to meet you both sometime in the future. :)

I don't think Canadian shops can set-up direct checkout just yet based on what I have read. It most likely will be available in the future though.

Alisa said...

I would use your paypal account to accept payments. Customers can use their credit card through paypal. You can check for shipping rates on the Canada Post website. You can enter the weight and box size and come up with your price. For quilts I just price it with shipping included for Canada or USA.

Kate said...

Yay for an Etsy shop! I can't help on the Canadian thing, but for shipping, I check the prices on the USPS website and add $1 or so for the packaging and handling. I don't run a shop yet, but my Etsy name is Katie Mae Quilts - I thought it was more important to keep with my "brand" even though I sell non-quilty stuff. It's all fabric-y, though, so it works. I sell everything word-of-mouth on Facebook right now (which wouldn't work for you! ;) )

Jess said...

Heather that's so exciting! I agree with Debbie about expanding on your blog name for your shop name. I actually think Crafting dot dot dot is a cool shop name :o)
Being in Aus makes postage calculations a nightmare - I overestimate and refund any overcharge. Goodluck :o)

Jennifer said...

how exciting!! I say go with the blog name too - you've already developed that and have a following so that will help -- as for shipping, i'm still figuring that out and i've been eating a bit of my profits because of it, who knew fabric was so expensive! So thats definitely teh hardest/trial and error part..

If I can answer any questions, just ask!! Sorry I don't know anything about the Canadian based shop..

Suz said...

"Crafting... Handmade by Heather" would be my vote... that way you cover all the points mentioned so far (links with blog but not making it soley quilting, plus you get a nice bit of alliteration going). Don't ever try buying fabric in NZ - we are up around $28 - $30. Makes the whole quilting experience a labour of love!

Fran said...

Love your Cuzco quilt! Exciting news about setting up an Etsy shop, I'm not able to offer any practical advice but I'd agree with the shop name being similar to (or even the same) as your blog - that's your existing brand after all. Good luck with it all.

felicity said...

Meeting bloggy friends is fuuun! You'll have to come over for a Quilt By The Bay retreat soon.

Yes, I agree that going with a name similar to your blog is a good idea. I have a Paypal account and it can receive credit card payments. I had to "upgrade" to do that and there's a fee per transaction but I don't recall there being any restrictions because I'm Canadian.

For shipping I use Canada Post.ca - Ship in a click is great since you don't have to go to the PO! I added $1 to $3 for shipping materials and handling. Canada Post is pricey though so that definitely impacts your competitiveness.

As for pricing your product, that's a really thorny issue. If you charge for materials plus a resonable hourly rate for your time that would be fair.

Kristan said...

Congrats on taking it to the next level with a shop. I actually have an Etsy shop currently, but it has nothing to do with sewing and I've put it on vacation mode for a while because I'm not sure I want to continue in that direction as of right now. But as for pricing, check out what others are charging for same/similar items. And then look to see how many sales they have. Look at their detail photos to see the level of craftsmanship they have if possible. Then rate your work based on what you're finding. If a shop has a lot of sales and great items that aren't shabbily made, and their prices seem fairly in line with the rest of the shops, I'd say that would be a good price. But don't UNDER price your items. If things don't sell after a while, maybe you could re-evaluate, but don't undercut the competition for the sake of sales because that just drives prices down (I could go on about this, but I think there's a good Etsy blog post about it). Speaking of the Etsy blog, definitely follow that! There are so many great tips there, including how to price your items. :)

I don't have any Canada experience for you as I am in the USA.

I like Coastal Quilts because it's personal, it says something about you. Will you only be selling quilts though?

Initially I got a lot of business from friends/word of mouth. But then I looked at all the people that added one of my items to their favorites and sent them a "secret sale" Etsy message saying that if they liked my shop page on Facebook, and then messaged me back with their Facebook name, then I'd send them a coupon code. That really got me A LOT of business. However, the items I was/am selling weren't as time consuming to make as a quilt! So I could afford to take a hit on the profits to get my business going.

Okay, I could go on, but email me if you want to talk more about Etsy!

Teje Karjalainen said...

Hi Heather! Great news and good luck to your new shop! I use Paypal as a seller and buyer. Shipping coast I put approximately as I see from the post office's pricelist (I don't add any packing costs). Thinking the the price for your items is the most difficult - you just have to find reasonable price for yourself to feel that you get enough for your work and materials. (If I would count all the materials, working hours and tools etc. my items would be totally too expensive).
What is 'dotdotdot' in your blog address? - could you use that or mix it with something else?
I think good name is unique and easy to remember (mine is not the best TejeSarita = my both names).
Happy weekend! x Teje

CityHouseStudio said...

Hi Heather!
I agree with the above posts - definitely incorporate your blog name into the Etsy name.
I started an Etsy store earlier this year - but I haven't sold very many of my extra quilts - I think 2? And 2 bags. But I've sold a lot of patterns and fabric through Etsy - it's a nice place to "destash" when you need to.
So I'd say definitely go for it, but don't count on a lot of income. Although maybe if you're better at promoting your shop than I am, you'll sell more (if you do, let me know)!

Patti said...

Hi Heather! So great that you are thinking of an Etsy shop! Names are fun and I agree you should continue with a name associated with your already familiar blog. Coastal Crafting... could be a possibility. Too bad shipping costs are so ridiculous here. Boy, do I ever hear ya on the cost of fabrics!! Even with the increase in shipping costs, its still cheaper to order from the States. Love/hate is exactly how I feel about Fabricland too! Good luck with your decisions, Heather!

Holly said...

Go for it, Heather! I like the suggestion of Crafting... Handmade by Heather. You could even have a subtitle of "coastal quilts and crafts". I always use PayPal for my Etsy purchases, so I don't know about the direct credit card question.

Great that you and Chelsea got to meet up! As Katie (There and Back) mentioned, I got to meet her at Krista's retreat and it was a blast to meet a blogging friend in person! I look forward to hearing how the October NMQG meeting goes and I hope to make it to a sewing day sometime!