"How Did You Start Selling"
I get asked this question all the time. Starting to sell on Etsy happened as sort of a progression in my life and in my business.
I began 35 years ago making my handmade crafts to sell at craft shows, the newest and greatest selling venue at the time. It was a lifeline to my battles with my health and Fibromyalgia. To be able to make something with my own two hands, and bring in a little extra income by selling it, began to open my eyes to what awaited me in the "handmade" world.
As one thing led to another, and then another as business opportunities changed and grew, I had the opportunity to purchase my own business. It was "The Straw Basket", a well-know, place to shop in Anderson, SC for unique, one-of-a-kind wreaths, floral arrangements and gifts. There was a different, natural & woodsy feel when you entered the doors of The Straw Basket. It was me. It was my style. I felt like I was in heaven!
I won't go through the ups & downs of our growth, but after 13 years we were located on main street in downtown Anderson surrounded by inviting restaurants and gift shops. It was the type of place where customers would get out of their cars and walk up and down the streets going from shop to shop.
By this time, everyone knew about the Straw Basket and most had spent many hours perusing the eclectic mix of cottage style hand-painted furniture, high end lamps, English country & rustic antiques, furniture and garden supplies. I certainly cannot leave out vases and pots filled with thousands of stems of flowers and designer wreaths and arrangements. I carried a huge selection of Buyers' Choice Carolers, ribbons, candles, and just about anything you might be looking for to spruce up or decorate your home.
The day finally came when my body got the best of me. I no longer could run a eight thousand square foot business with many partners and employees. We had to close.
My very last day as I finished sweeping up for the last time, I walked out with the door gently closing behind me. I found myself looking back through the glass smiling as my eyes were drawn to the only thing left; our big well-used antique checkout counter which had been painted like a stone wall by our "in-house" artist. There were tears in my eyes as I turned the key and walked down the street for the last time.
Walking past other establishments as I went to my car, I felt lost. I didn't know what I would do that afternoon, the next day or even the next. This business had filled up 6 days a week, 8 to 14 hours per day for thirteen years.
There was one thing I did know. God had blessed me with an awesome gift, one that He wouldn't let go to waste. That gift had grown and flourised in the midst of chronic illness, pain and turmoil. I couldn't give it up, I couldn't turn away from it. God knew what was next, and it wasn't long before he let me know.
"I Would Begin Selling Online!"
I knew in my heart that I should continue to use my God-given artistic talents. I had a few wreaths left that needed to be sold and I had one of my designers still working for me, so we brought my business home. We had built a new home with a nice, spacious studio across the breezeway. I could give my body a rest whenever necessary since I no longer had to keep regular store hours. The only way I could see to continue selling at that time, was to sell online in eBay.
Now, I knew absolutely NOTHING about sellin on the Internet, and I certainly knew nothing about eBay. There was a lot to read inside eBay itself, about setting up a store and selling online; I believe I read it all! I probably read it all more than once. 🙂
Finally the day came when I was ready to sell. I was so excited. My wreaths did sell – but they sold at $39.99 which was the price I started the bidding at. I though they would be bid up to higher prices just like all the others I had been watching. Well… I should have known better! No one knew me. My reputation from Anderson, SC didn't follow me online, but that's okay.
I began receiving awesome, glowing feedback. The more feedback I received, the more I was able to sell. The more I sold, the more well known I became. Soon, everyone who shopped for wreaths or florals on eBay knew exactly who Nancy Alexander of Ladybug Wreaths was.
It only took about 6 short months of selling until I became a Power Seller. I now had my own website, and was growing a mailing list. That's when I met Jim Cockrum after purchasing "Silent Sales Machine". That's another whole story that I'll tell you another day, but I was selling wreaths from $300 to $400, to $500 or more. I was selling in eBay's heyday!
Soon, the economy changed, eBay made changes trying to keep up. Sales slipped, prices tanked and sellers started leaving eBay. I was one of those sellers leaving the only place I had ever had any luck at selling online.
Here I was again, just as when I locked the door on my downtown business for the last time. I was removing every listing from eBay. I still knew I had this God given gift, and I knew that I would continue selling… but where??
"My Choice Was Etsy!"
I read, I studied, I researched. The best choice for me to begin selling online was Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/LadybugWreaths
In this series, I'll tell you more about Etsy as well as how I grew my Etsy business while growing my online business in many other directions.
Would you like to learn to sell on Etsy right beside me? You can with my Etsy Intensives Training Program!