Friday, January 1, 2010

Small Items Paradox

I'm still working on my personal New Year's resolution list, but it certainly includes spending more time trying to figure out how to make modestambition work. I know that I need to treat it more like a business than just an extension of my hobby. For example, I can make all kinds of things and often I choose the things that are the most exciting and most challenging to me. But as a business, I am often confused about what to make and who my customer is.

I have learned a very clear lesson from the craft shows that I participated in this last year, all five of them (two in the Spring, one in the fall, and two closer to Christmas). In person, different items sell than online, for many reasons I'm sure including how the product looks in person, how long the customer wants to spend shopping, and who that audience is. Smaller, lower priced items sell better at craft shows. I've sold hundreds of crocheted button pins in person, received 2,614 views on that item at this date, and sold just a handful online. I've tweaked the listing, played with the price and even taken it down for awhile, but it continues to draw traffic, so it's back. I've included them in samplers, team giveaways, craft show goody bags, etc. Sometimes I get really tired of that item, but then I find myself eager to make more - new color combinations, more scraps of yarn to use, new button finds!

The Heidi Bobby Pin was developed as a craft show (in person) item. I made just a few bobby pins in the spring and they did pretty well. By fall, I decided to re-merchandise them and I developed the elaborate collaged card with a paint sample front, my business card info, and scenes and text from a vintage children's book "Heidi" on the back. They were a big hit! I almost sold out at the Etsy Jinglebash. So here they are, online now.

I took my time figuring out how to photograph them. I found tutorials, built a light box, and finally posted a big batch of them.
I think they are an adorable small item and a good gift. Domestic shipping is free, so that won't be the issue. So, the question is how does this sell in person vs. online? I'm going to start making larger crocheted button pins that will be photographed and listed individually. Let's see how this goes.

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