Make Connections

Network, Get Answers, Find Members in Your Area, and More!

Forums » Sales

Why is it so hard to sell JUST ONE BAG A DAY????

    • 29 posts
    October 12, 2008 6:56 PM EDT
    I opened an online store on Etsy a year ago.  I design and handcraft trendy urban bags and journals.  I think my bags are nice, I offer great prices for handmade products, but I just can`t seem to keep consistent sells.  I only want to sell one bag a day consistently!!!  What could be so hard about that?
     
    This is a bit frustrating, especially when I research how other sellers are doing with their product and they sell 3 bags a day!  I think that my bags are of a better quality than some others that are selling like hotcakes.  What am I doing wrong?  I use a email marketing program and  I may buy like 500 email subscribers.  This company guarantees 500 visits to my site and I can track the number of unique visitors.  However nothing sells!  Out of 500 women, no one buys one single bag. 
     
    What can I do?  Please help me.  My sites are www.AnUrbanTwist.com and www.JournalJunky.com (On this site, I sell and design recycled journals.  They sell okay but how can I increase sells?)  I am open for suggestions.
     
    Thank you so much for reading this.  I appreciate your time and response.
     
    Enjoy your day.
     
    Nicole
    AnUrbanTwist10/18/2008 12:32 AM

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    October 13, 2008 5:28 AM EDT
    Thank you CraigL.  I chose Etsy because, I started with an Ebay store and they were taking just too much money.  I tried my own Yahoo store, but that was unsuccessful and too expensive for the monthly charge which did not reflect my selling.  I tried a Lycos store, and made one sell.  I designed these stores myself and that may have well been my downfall. 
     
    Etsy proved to be the most successful by far.  I love the community as well.  I agree with you the downfall for Etsy buyers is the whole registered thing.  Alot of people don`t want to go through the whole process of signing up just to buy a product.  BUT!  Others are doing well selling their stuff.  I attempted to ask them for suggestions, but I guess they were too busy making bags to respond! :)

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    October 13, 2008 5:40 AM EDT
    Thank you Stonesledge for your response.  That helps alot. Thanks for checking out my product for feedback.  I have found in my research, that is one of the largest challenges "artists" face when trying to sell their product.  How much to sell their product. If the prices are too cheap or rather inexpensive then the customer may question the quality of the handmade product.  If the prices are too expensive this also hinders other customers from buying.  I know that I have one of the least expensive Etsy shops when it comes to the type of bags that I sell, but others are selling by the boatloads at 50.00 and up.  And then there is the customer like yourself who has a "friend" or who "can make it myself."  I love the "handmade" industry and the community and I know how it feels to spend too much money on handmade products, so I decided to be sure, I had a variety of prices and not too expensive.  Oh well...I guess it really is a gamble of a sort, this business of selling stuff...
     
    Enjoy your day!

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    October 13, 2008 6:00 AM EDT
    Thank you so much Kathleenfasanella.  I was looking through your site last night.  I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my inquiry.  You were most helpful. (I don`t mind complete honesty.  This is what I need.)  I have been doing alot of thinking.  And you are completely right!  I do enjoy construction.  I also love to draw out the ideas that pop into my head and try to construct what I`ve drawn.  As far as making it into the industry I realize that these are my problems that I would like to share with you:
     
    1. I have no sewing training. 
    2. I don`t know how to even read a pattern.
    3. I make my own patterns out of cardboard or paper bags.
    4. I only enjoy making the bags that I create. 
    5. I don`t want to make bags full-time.
    6. I am satisfied with selling on Etsy, but could not figure out how to sell at least one bag a day consistently.  (I will read the articles you shared with me)
    7. I would be satisfied with selling two bags a day consistently.
    8. I want to continue having fun with what I do. 
    9. I am afraid that if I begin to take it to another level, the demand may be too great and it won`t be enjoyable anymore.
    10. I am a free spirit and thought that my bags should reflect that.  That`s why I didn`t want them to be stiff with interfacing.  But I will try that if it would make my product more professional.
     
    My customer is the woman with my personality.  A free spirit who enjoys comfort, relaxation, and just letting her hair down.  She enjoys the classic, simple bag but with a twist of uniqueness.
     
    I never considered the wisdom of creating products for the "level above woman"...I will have to think about that...
     
    Thank you and enjoy your day!
     
     

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    October 17, 2008 7:27 PM EDT

    Hi Barose,

    Thank you for your response.  Etsy has a "feedback" system set up for customers to rate the seller`s products.  That`s one of the reasons I like selling on Etsy.  So far I have a rating of 100% after selling about 50 bags over the last year online.  I do think that the downfall of Etsy sellers is that the customer has to be a member in order to purchase something off of the site.  I have found much better luck selling my "green" recycled journals on Etsy and I just opened the new store.  I really think I am on to something there, and besides I really love to make them and my customers love them and always come back for more!
     
    I guess I found my niche selling journals instead of bags...
     
    I was looking at your site.  I really liked it! Is this your business?  Do you make the products?
     
    Thanks and enjoy your evening,
     
    Nicole Annette

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    October 19, 2008 3:10 PM EDT
    Erin!
     
    That is so funny that you would mention that!  I was talking to my husband last night about how feasible it would be to use my own website even my blog and use Etsy as my shopping cart.  I wasn`t sure I would be able to do that without a person still having to sign in on Etsy.  Is this possible to bypass the signup membership page?
     
    I look forward to hearing from you! Thank you so much for your advice.
     
    Nicole Annette

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    November 4, 2008 10:11 AM EST
    Thanks for your suggestions Ann, and thanks for visiting my site.  I will take your advice and update my picts!
     
    I appreciate your wisdom.
     
    Nicole
    www.AnUrbanTwist.com
     
    "To inspire all to embrace the calming, empowering, and healing properties of writing"

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    November 4, 2008 10:12 AM EST

    Thanks for your business and support Erin!  I appreciate you.  Glad you are enjoying the journal.

    Nicole

    www.JournalJunky.com

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    November 12, 2008 6:41 PM EST
    Such excitement!  But PLEASE HELP!!!
     
    www.JournalJunky.com has exploded!!! When I began to make the earth-friendly journals in August, I never expected the business to boom so fast.  I have now landed an account with a small chain of General Stores.  The chain includes seven stores in the mid to southwest east region of the U.S. 
     
    The buyer asked me to fill out a vendor`s application which asked questions like what is my "required minimum order amount and reorder amount?"  I really have no idea on what to set as minimums.  I am afraid to set it too high or too low.  I was thinking about 30 per store as an opening order and 20 as reorder minimums.  Is there some kind of formula to come to this answer or do I just make up a number?
     
    Also the buyer would like me to make custom journals for the company.  She stated that her marketing department has to initiate the images, but if they came up with something, could they send the images to me for paper production or would they need to find a producer to supply the paper to me?  This is an exciting opportunity, but what are the legal ramifications?  That`s my largest concern.  (I am thinking that they need to supply me with the paper with their logo on it.  This keeps down my costs, or I would have to charge them more...)
     
    The last thing I am wondering about is payment terms.  The buyer told me that the terms were up to me.  This is how she explained it:
     
    "We typically are asked to set up net/30 day terms by the majority of our vendors.  We pay your invoice 30 days after receiving the goods.  However, we have also gotten 2%/15 day terms which gives us a 2% discount if we pay in 15 days, etc., etc." 
     
    How far can I go with this?  "50% off if you pay me tomorrow?"-Good Grief!!
     
    (I use the net/30 day terms with another account (a bookstore) that I have.  A third account (a clothing store) paid upfront.)
     
    How do I set up payment terms, and does this sort of agreement need a legal contract to draw up these terms?
     
    I`m asking because you all (StartUpNation Entrepreneurs) have really been a great encouragement to me since I first started.  Please share any advice.  I appreciate it.
     
    Enjoy your day!
     
    Nicole Annette
    Earth-Friendly Paper Fun

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    July 9, 2009 10:12 AM EDT
    Hi thank you for your comment teepetals!  I shall check out your shop.
     
    Nicole

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    July 21, 2009 7:35 AM EDT
    Hi Tessimal!
     
    Thank you for your advice.  I relist items everyday with my other shops www.journaljunky.com and www.journaljunky.etsy.com but for the bags, it was not working, and I felt that I was just losing money.  But I am motivated to try again!
     
    Thank you,
     
    Nicole Annette
     

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    July 30, 2009 8:18 AM EDT
    This is something new!!! Can somebody please help?!
     
    On Tuesday,  I received correspondance through my website from a purchasing rep in Japan.  He was interested in buying my bags wholesale.  I sell my handcrafted bags at very economical prices compared to others.  I visited the website he provided and compared my bags to some that were listed for sale.  Many of these bags seemed very expensive.  I know my bags can sell for these prices but the Rep wants me to sell them lower than my listed price.
     
    While I feel that this could be a big step for my business, I do not want to down-play my product, my skills, and my time to create my product.  (I hope this all makes sense).
     
    I`m open for suggestions please!
     
    I appreciate StartupNation.  Thank you,
     
    Nicole Annette

    ---
    Nicole Annette


    • 130 posts
    October 18, 2008 12:01 PM EDT
    I also was on Etsy and found it to be a place for ex EBayers and hobbyists. I cannot compete with someone who sells their things in this manner...11.99/dozen. I gave up on Etsy.
     
    The forums were brutal. In comparison SuN forums are professional, informational and inviting.
     
    I agree that you should have your own internet site for your product and you may need to look into promoting yourself. 
     
    Good Luck!
     
    Colleen

    ---
    Colleen Dougherty Bronstein Designs
    Sun Safe Designer Clothing
    http://www.sunsafedesignerclothing.com
    http://www.bronsteinartwork.com

    • 130 posts
    November 15, 2008 6:14 AM EST
    Kathleen:
     
    You made some interesting points.
     
    Colleen

    ---
    Colleen Dougherty Bronstein Designs
    Sun Safe Designer Clothing
    http://www.sunsafedesignerclothing.com
    http://www.bronsteinartwork.com

  • October 13, 2008 5:16 AM EDT
    Okay...I don`t know how much I should say; I don`t know how honest you really want feedback to be. Let me qualify this by saying that this specifically is my industry. Iow, my business is helping people like you become successful at launching and running sewn product lines.

    I have seen people use Etsy effectively (based on their goals). That said, I think it`s a hard row to hoe and definitely my second to last choice for entrepreneurs (only ebay is worse imo). I haven`t written about Etsy specifically because I think it`s more for hobbyists but I have written about ebay and there are tips that cross over. Read How eBay can kill you and How eBay can kill you pt.2 on my site.

    What are your goals? I think the "one bag a day" is a stop gap measure. Assuming you were to make that goal, would that satisfy you? Does that represent your ultimate goal? If not, I think you should consider other options. For example, is Etsy, as an entity unto itself, something you want to have singly associated with your brand? Iow, are you satisfied with a product identity or brand that cannot stand without it? If you are, work on your landing page. When one lands, all they see is text. You have to scroll down to see product. When people are shopping for personal goods (as opposed to things like services or software), they don`t want to read a book. They want to see the goods; it`s a visual thing. Compare your landing page to the pages of those who are selling consistently.

    Then there`s the matter of product quality. Again, I work in sewn products, specifically in product development and production. Your bags are obviously constructed with a great deal of integrity. The stitching is even and straight, grommets are applied correctly etc. However, they still have the patina of hobby sewing. I think you could adopt some production quality standards (good ones, not junky sewing) to improve the look and performance of your bags. For example, I don`t think you`re using enough fusing; the bags sag. Another tell tale sign are the bag straps, they`re wilting. With rare exception and depending on styling, straps should always be top stitched 1/8 from each edge. Another matter is sourcing hardware. It seems that your hardware is the sort of items one would find at retail stores. You might want to consider sourcing professional grade products. If you`re not certain where to locate these sorts of products, maybe you should develop relationships with people who are at or above the level you would like to be. While the Etsy network is friendly and extensive, you won`t find producers of national or boutique brands there. That`s not their community.

    The sum is, who is your customer? Is it someone like you? Personally, I have always felt designers should go after a customer who is at least one level above them. Iow, don`t produce items that are within your discretionary spending budget but a level or two above that. If that is what you want to do, you have to know that customer. Do they shop on Etsy? I don`t think they`re bargain shopping or shopping there as a matter of course; only as a matter of coincidence. What are the quality and styling options they are accustomed to?

    Something else...frankly, you strike me as someone who loves to sew and would like to make a living at it. Altho it can be sometimes frustrating and challenging, you enjoy construction, the process is your relative strength. Maybe I`m full of crap and I would see that because that`s the way I am but still, I would suggest you think about that for a bit. Are you a designer or are you in love with the idea of being a designer? Are you a product developer? It`s not exactly the same as being a designer and can certainly be more profitable. Fwiw, I trained as a designer, I can do everything they do but that`s not what makes me happiest; I like greater challenges. There are other options in the sewing business. It`s not a situation of having to sew and sell your own stuff to make a nice living in the business.

    In any event, your products show demonstrable integrity and I wish you well in whatever direction you decide to go.

    ---
    ~Nurture people, not products~
    http://www.fashion-incubator.com

  • November 5, 2008 6:21 AM EST
    Hey Ann! Glad to see another veggie. However, I do use leather products :). I`m a vegetarian for sustainability reasons (doesn`t really matter how we get there imo).

    Nicole: I`m pleased to see you`re actively implementing suggestions. For example, I notice that perhaps (?) based on my comments from page one, you`ve dramatically reduced the text on the page load. Still, I return to my first queries...what are your goals? As Colleen said,
    "I also was on Etsy and found it to be a place for ex EBayers and hobbyists. I cannot compete with someone who sells their things in this manner..."
    I`ll say again, as kindly as I can, is Etsy a platform that you want to be associated with your image? Think about that, compare it to, say, Nordstrom`s. Which is better? Do you think there is any potential that a retailer like Nordstrom`s would carry your line if you were selling on Etsy? Now of course it is possible you don`t want to pursue that route (I get it!) but the analogy is useful. You are the sum of your associations -which I wrote about yesterday (how to find anything you need in the garment industry for nearly nothing). And, while I don`t deny SUN is nothing if not civil and well motivated, other than me, I don`t see any authorities in the garment industry hanging out here.That also speaks indirectly to the matters at hand as you resolve and refine your goals and challenges.

    Returning to Colleen`s comment about pricing, one of the leaders on our forum said (and I think this should be engraved on a brass plaque):
    You have to be careful about putting a lower priced customer into a higher priced item by catering to their price point because chances are they will not appreciate the differences in quality, they will feel that the sale price is the REAL and TRUE retail price point and thus you were actually overcharging to begin with AND they are unlikely to upgrade to paying full retail for your goods (because of the first two reasons).
    At this point, all anyone can do is make band-aid suggestions like, fix those photos, backgrounds are distracting etc but these are cursory and don`t address the heart of the matter of what your core strategies should be. In the meantime you can feel busy, that you`re proactive resolving issues applying band-aids when it is your over all direction that should be put to scrutiny. As I mentioned in my first comment, I think you should consider other ways you can fit into the mix of the industry or ways you can refine your position in it. I`d like to see you do that; your integrity is palpable.

    ---
    ~Nurture people, not products~
    http://www.fashion-incubator.com

    • 3 posts
    November 5, 2008 5:50 AM EST
    Urban, I understand what you`re going through.  I also sell on Etsy.  I haven`t had a sell since the last Holiday season.  I list and relist, I promote and still nothing.  I like you enjoy what I do, it`s time consuming but fun.  I`ve instituted a lay-a-way, half price and free shipping for certain pricing levels.  Still, no takers. 
     
    As far as setting up my own website, I`ve found it to be very time consuming and confusing but I`m still plugging away.

    ---
    http://newdaycrochet.etsy.com
    http://wwwnewdaycrochet.blogspot.com
    http://www.indiepublic.com/profile/SherrylDay#

    • 3 posts
    July 20, 2009 3:15 AM EDT
    Hi,i have a online store too,but i sell cigarettes.www chinanike123 com
    chinanike1237/21/2009 7:14 AM

    ---
    Sell Cigarettes online,website www.chinanike123.com. Email penny409696@gmail.com

    • 621 posts
    October 12, 2008 7:18 PM EDT
    I personally love shopping on etsy, I just ran an alchemy bid and am having my daughter`s Halloween costume custom made from head to toe, including shoes and tiara for 120.00.. and she can use for at least a couple of years and have her own look. I also bought her a new sock monkey and a felt turtle.. She loves these things. My favorite reason to buy at etsy is because I can find organic and other products at a more reasonable price offering than the stores. I like buying essential oils and handmade soaps as well as tinctures that I can`t find anywhere else. I think that your bags are gorgeous and I like the black urban one, but I can`t justify paying 40.00. I am by no means a cheapy but I feel I could buy the same bag from my friend who makes bags for 25.00 custom. These days people are thinking about their dollars and I think if you can try out a lesser price.. and I know that you don`t want to, this may help..even at like 34.99. Also, maybe you can customize them with their initials or name etc.. to make them stand out more. They are beautiful, don`t get me wrong.. but in order to keep them flying off the shelf, so to speak.. it has to say, quality that is affordable. OR add value...even just a little bit to help you make that question.. of should I buy, or shouldn`t be just YES!!
     
    Erin

    ---
    Our Goal Is Your Success!
    Founder Girls with Goals

    • 621 posts
    October 19, 2008 12:08 PM EDT
    Barose,
     
    I like your products BTW, I signed up for your newsletter to remind me to go back and shop. I love using essential oils and the lavender one sounds great! Anyway After spending my night last night awake( having health issues and can`t sleep) and shoppinbg at etsy, I agree and take back that you should lower your prices. I think no mater what your product is and the price, you have to market it. What ways have you been marketing your purses? I think that you are selling at a great price and if you break that down by the time it takes you to create a bag...you have a great price offering and may even want to add a bit. How about adding something..like a series with different themes and even a bag the is custom and if you do a bag that sponsors a cause, that will be a neat way to not only help a cause by donating some of the profits, but is a way to get some press. Have you ever heard of butlet bags? This is a bag that adds a hard shell 6 shelf type of compartment in the bag to keep someone organized..what about adding that inside if the bags to help you stand out? Or a pocket system. I love your bags and the only thing is that I woild loose everything being so deep. Just a thought.
     
    I love shopping st etsy because it is so nice to shop for chemical free, organic items that are hard to usually find. And to be able to order custom is such a plus. A regular stand alone website, may be great for you , even if you still use the etsy part as your shopping cart. If you need help with this, i would be glad to tell you how3 to do this easily and affordably all by yourself.
     
    Erin

    ---
    Our Goal Is Your Success!
    Founder Girls with Goals

    • 621 posts
    October 19, 2008 3:45 PM EDT
    Hi Nicole,
     
    I have yet to see your journals so I am going to check them out too! Yes, if you use etsy still as shopping cart, then it will have to work as etsy does..but I don`t think it is a big deal for folks to sign up. There Are fre shoppingcarts and also since you are already using paypal, you can easily build a cart on your site using paypals buttons and cart. Then people can buy without having to sign in or sign up.Let me know if you need help!
     
    Erin

    ---
    Our Goal Is Your Success!
    Founder Girls with Goals

    • 621 posts
    October 19, 2008 4:00 PM EDT
    Love the journals!! I purchased one with the colors I love and a fan..just cute as can be..and the price is really great. I may come back and buy the pack of 10 for gifts. Thanks Nicole!!
     
    Erin

    ---
    Our Goal Is Your Success!
    Founder Girls with Goals

    • 621 posts
    October 23, 2008 3:07 PM EDT
    Nicole,
     
    I just got my journal, It is so beautiful!! I Love it!! thank you so much.
     
    Erin

    ---
    Our Goal Is Your Success!
    Founder Girls with Goals

    • 6 posts
    July 9, 2009 7:50 AM EDT
    anUrbantwist,
    I would say that I think etsy is going to be what you make it. I know the whole set up account thing kinda sucks but Etsy allows you to leave feedback for an item you purchase. What if you sell your item buyer says they didn`t get it when you have dc confirmation to prove it. They leave you bad feedback. They have no account where you can leave feedback on their end explaining situation. How would any other seller know that maybe they have done this in the past  to other sellers too. On etsy since there are sooooo many shops you really have to promote hard to get your name out there. But i think you will do fine.

    ---
    Visit http://www.teepetals.etsy.com Indie crafts
    http://www.teepetals.net

    • 1 posts
    July 20, 2009 12:38 PM EDT
    Hi Nicole I just checked out your shop. You have 2 pages of items.
    If you want to sell a bag a day you must list at least 1 item a day.
    My Etsy Motto for Success "The More You List The More You Sell!"

    Think About it, When you list a Bag, the point of time you enter it
    into the listing category it moves from the top of the list down to the bottom.
    As the days go by it goes down page after page of listings.

    Your item is no longer at the top. So if you list a new item everyday people can find you when they  do a search for bags and the most recently listed items come up.

    You can check this yourself look at the sellers that list 5-10 aprons a day.

    You can look at the date their items were listed and see how many sales they have per day.

    You might say well "I can not make a bag a day." But you could list other items,
    like supplies,grommets, zippers, binding, trim, fabric or even vintage items. Your shop does not have to be limited to handbags. List daily, or at least 2 times a week and your sales will increase.

    The secret to successful sales is "Keep Listing" then people will find you.
    People that sell 2-10 or more items a day have 200-6000 items listed in their shops.
    Or if they just do hand made they list daily and have over 50 items.

    I hope this helped if you have any more questions convo me Tessimal

    ---
    My Etsy shop