It's Shameless Commerce Tuesday, but instead of promoting my Etsy wares, today I'm going to reflect on my Etsy slump.
My sales have been way off pace compared to last year ever since February. I know I am not completely alone, but the stats don't lie.
If I knew how to turn it around, I would. Seriously. But I don't know how to turn it around.
So --- it is what it is.
I don't know, really. I started the year with optimism, coming off an unexpectedly busy holiday season with a huge spike in sales from November 2013 through January 2014. I expected to hit 1000 sales this year, because I naively expected to see the same steady growth in 2014 that I'd experienced the prior two years.
Maybe I rode the chevron wave of popularity, and now it has ebbed. And I haven't tapped into the next big thing.
Maybe the cheap factory-made goods that have taken over a bigger share of the Etsy marketplace make my handmade products appear to be overpriced.
Maybe I've wasted so much time trying to promote via social media, that I sapped the energy I need to keep creating new things that people might want to buy.
Maybe my titles and tags and product descriptions aren't good enough.
My photos suck. But they are no worse than the photos that produced increased sales last year and the year before that.
Maybe people can't find my stuff with the new Etsy search -- however that works.
I miss the old Etsy --- but the reality is, it's gone for good.
ETSY HAS EVOLVED.
And evolution means
SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST.
ADAPT OR DIE.
My "fittest" teammates are surviving and thriving despite the Etsy changes -- the hideous and hard-to-navigate front page, all the changes in formats, and "relevancy" searches. So I can't lay all the blame on Etsy changes. I am truly happy to see them succeed, and I wish them continued good fortune.
I've tried to adapt. I've promoted. I've spammed my friends and teammates with Facebook posts, Tweets, and Pins. I've Liked and Shared and Pinned and Tweeted until I'm blue in the face.
I've tried to be a good Team player. I've made treasuries. I've commented. I've chatted. I've made some great cyber friends, and I'm grateful for that. But the Stats don't lie. I get very few views or likes from teams, blogs or treasuries, and very, very, very few sales.
I've listened to dozens of hours of webinars and I've read Etsy Success posts. I've tried to learn more about SEO (search engine optimization), branding, marketing, photography, finding your "ideal customer" and your "target market." I've tried to diversify my product line.
But the crowd gets bigger and bigger -- and my little shop is getting lost in that crowd.
This old gray dinosaur is not able to effectively compete in the "new Etsy" environment.
I'M NOT THE FITTEST, SO I MAY NOT SURVIVE.
I'll limp through this holiday season and then I'll regroup --- possibly revamping my shop by creating product lines with items made only from fabric and scraps I have on hand. I'd consider having a going out of business sale - -but who would know? Maybe I'll just close up shop and donate the inventory to charity -- or maybe not.
Maybe I'll just sew, and stop chasing after sales.
I don't know. I haven't figured that out yet. Maybe I need to take a sabbatical -- to clear my head, sharpen my focus, and muster up the courage to forge ahead---or not.