Thursday, August 20, 2015

20 AUG 2015 :: Christmas planning -- start NOW!

I was reading through some of my saved articles to read and one was about planning your Christmas season in August.  During my first holiday sales season with Etsy last year, I discovered that Christmas online begins in September... so that has been my mantra, my goal, for future years.  As I have been watching things unfold online, and learning about the process of selling online, I realized why the brick-and-mortar retail stores have been setting up their displays earlier every year... their competition begins with online sales, which begin in September on the internet.

Another great bit of information I discovered today was that Christmas Clubs, where people have a special bank account set up for holiday spending, deliver the contents of their accounts around the first weekend of October.  Another reason for early holiday sales displays everywhere.

I have been trying to decide what to do with my own Etsy shop for the holidays.  We have certain options available to us...and figuring out which ones to use and which to leave for another time, or not use at all, is part of the shop owner's responsibility.  I still have one of my ten allotted shop sections available for use... I haven't decided if I want to name it "HOLIDAYS" or go for the "Wholesale" designation (I have products I plan to offer as wholesale purchases).  I don't have any holiday photos yet... but I am thinking about it.

Here are the questions the article suggested every business owner ask themselves ::

  • What products and/or services will you offer discounts on?
  • Will you have enough inventory to meet shopper demand?
  • Will you advertise a loss leader to help drive sales of more profitable products and/or services?
  • What are your holiday revenue goals, and do they differ from last year's results?
  • What is your holiday advertising budget, and what marketing channels will you be using to maximize sales?
  • If your company can't compete on pricing during the holidays, can you develop a winning strategy that focuses on quality and highly personalized customer service?
Very good questions to think about, aren't they!

The internet is changing life for everyone, including businesses.  We can't make it go away so, if we want to flourish in the future, we have to learn how to cope with it.  It takes time to learn the process, to build up your customers, work out your shipping supplies (and limitations), but I consider it a long-term investment  --  one that has to carry me through my "retirement!"   :-)  

I don't think I will look at those early Christmas displays the same now...

For your information ::

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

4 AUG 2015 :: Catching up with all that I have been discovering...

It has been so long since I entered a post.  It seems the once a week pattern hasn't been working, but I will find one that does.  Every time I discover new things that relate to crafts of some kind, I want to share it.  As I learn more about blogging, the link I am building here will get more organized and filled with great content.  I hope you can bear with me through this long process.  :-)

In my quest to overcome the problems I have with photos to upload, I have discovered that Microsoft software seems to work.  I must have tried it before and forgotten about it because when I went back to update my Etsy listings with non-lavender photos, I discovered there were photo versions already made.  It has been too long to remember all the details, but I am moving into a higher gear to get my writings available to purchase as digital and non-digital items.  This seems to be the month to focus on all my Christmas listing plans.

In the search for products to create, ones that matter to me, or seem achievable in my circumstances, I have been creating lists and gathering supplies and am working out a schedule to get them done and online.  I still haven't figured out my "studio" space, but it is getting a bit more functional. 

I was inspired today by an old magazine I found at the local recycled materials non-profit I go to here (SCRAP) in Portland (Oregon).  It is called STUDIOS, and it displays all kinds of artists and craftspeople in their studio spaces, and shares a little about their stories as people.  It helped me to be more motivated to find a workable solution to my housing and studio needs.  It looks like the magazine is only available in back issues, so I hope you find resources for your own quests under MAGAZINE tab. (link above)

When I look at the works of other people, I think about my own plans and the directions I want to go in.  I have never tried to earn a living with art or crafting, and never expected to be building a sales connection on the internet.  It is hard to decide whether you have enough talent to accomplish anything substantial.  When I look at other works, I see that they each have their own style and direction, and I can develop my own without worrying that it is good enough.  It is helping me to gather more courage and just get my works done and listed for people to see.  :-)   I suppose my style will change as I learn more and experiment and gather better supplies and equipment.

I hope so, anyway.

I rediscovered a free photo website I utilized for my main website a long while back.  I suppose there may be some of their photos still visible on my site, but I had trouble with the sizing last time I checked.  The other day I went ahead and saved the photos I wanted (again), and will try them again.  Maybe I will add one here, just to try it out.  :-)

This is a favorite photo of mine... I think they look like they are praying.  :-)
I love the design of this lion...  it is on a wall somewhere.  It reflects the "Lion of Judah" to me.

I decided to leave this photo at its original size.  I made the bottom one smaller.  Aren't they beautiful!   If I remember right, they are both from Glacier National Park. (They are.)

There is a lot to learn about posting, and just doing this text next to the photos I uploaded, and changing the size on two of them, has been another learning curve.  :-)   I think this will be a great activity for me as I keep going  --  I just have to live long enough to enjoy it and accomplish my goals for it.  :-)

This top mountain might be a great photo for my MOUNTAINS writing.  I need a good photo for it.  I may just play around with it.

"Mountains are rugged,
and difficult to climb,
but the strength you gain in the effort
will take you to placed that others will never see."
I can't seem to get the text to work next to the bottom photo, so we will have to learn that strategy soon.  I could get rid of the photo and never let you know what happened, but I like that photo and want you to see it.  I think being able to draw and paint nature is a great talent.  I don't know if I will ever get great at it, but I hope to find some way to incorporate nature into my creations.

I will try to post more regularly, but no promises.  I am busy with several issues and have blogs for all my topics of interest.  Food is a biggie right now, too.

As I create my Christmas products and new listings, I may go ahead and share them here.  It will help me figure out the photo and text problems.

I hope you are busy with all your dreams and crafts, too.