Thursday, December 17, 2009

Etsy in the New York Times

An article was published on Etsy in the New York Times yesterday, and it portrays a very realistic view of the work involved in being a power seller.

Imagine knitting 13 hours a day, or starting work at 5am and working till 1am trying to get your orders out the door.

Most of us would like to be able to live off of our arts, but I know for me that's not a realistic dream. The wire wrapping is hard on my hands and wrists.

Carpal tunnel and tendonitis are a very real possibility for me, as well as various back and neck problems that I've worked through doing the sewing, especially of the parasols.

I had a small taste of this earlier this year, as Miss Victoria's Vintage had a flurry of activity, the source of which I have never determined. It was nowhere near the amount of sales that a featured seller might receive, but 24 sales in one month had me hopping nevertheless! Imagine having that many in one day.

I've currently got over 700 items listed between my two shops. Each item corresponds to at least a half an hour of taking and editing pictures, measuring and calculating, and doing the listing. So that's about 350 hours of work there, not even counting the time it took me to make things, or the hours I spend shopping around for vintage goods! Admittedly, relisting a hand made item is less work, but not everything in my dbvictoria shop can be reproduced. Even with the simpler necklaces and earrings, I'll run out of a particular style of beads, or, as happend a couple of years ago, my supplier discontinued a certain type of chain, then started carrying it again at twice the price! I'll find some beads or another bulk chain that are close but not exact, so have to retake pictures after I remake an item. And I'm always working to improve my pictures, and once or twice a year I'll redo the images in the listings of about 40-50 items.

So this article really does capture the work involved in running your own handmade business. It's a sobering thought, but reality checks like these are good.


Lady Miss Tiff said...

Thank you for sharing this. I was actually just thinking about this earlier - wondering if I could go back to being self supporting without relying on reselling items on ebay.

BTW - that bracelet is absolutely to die for!

Heather said...

Thanks for this, makes me realize hat I could be doing more for my shop - I'd be happy with a quarter of the sales some of those powersellers got!