Thursday, July 21, 2011

I know I know I know

... a good Tegan and Sarah song AND what I say when someone tells me "you haven't blogged in a while."

Just since, like, April.

My trip to the coast was a success. I conquered my fear of approaching stores to sell my Goods and got into 4 new stores. That doubled the amount I was already in. Most of the books I've read say not to just show up to a store. That you should call first and set up an appointment. Well ... showing up worked for me. I suggest you try it too.

LATELY I have been getting organized to create an online wholesale shopping site. This has to start with awesome, catalog-like pictures and a solid inventory.  I had neither. I take good pictures, but they are often of what I have and not of everything I COULD make, which is what a picture inventory should look like. So check this out: all the colors available of my small hoop clusters.

Lapis lazuli - Turquoise - Angelite

Carnelian - Jade - Green Aventurine - Amazonite

Coral - White Glass - Black Glass

Bone - Riverstone - Crazy Horse Stone

Are you impressed?

Not only did I make them in every color, but also 3 pairs of each color so I can show all the different ear hooks available.

Between these small clusters and my medium clusters I spent over 8 hours just making jewelry the past 2 days. Around 60 pairs of clusters. Pictures like this are also great for your Etsy store. So in each item listing you show everything you are capable of making. Even if it isn't currently in your store, someone may contact you for a particular color and you get a sale anyway.

I started out putting up a picassa web album to use as inventory of what's available in my shop, but I think I will go another step and look for a template that's more professional. I would like to be able to have prices only viewable to people who sign up to the website. And also be able to easily update what quantities are available. I mean, I'm still just starting up! If someone wanted 20 pairs of one particular thing, I would be in trouble.

So, there's a lot of work to be done and things to think about. Here's what little advice I have to anyone else in the same position of wanting to start an online wholesale site: 1. JUST DO IT! Don't be afraid to not have enough or to have to much of something. You are bound to make mistakes in your start-up business so just make them! 2. Start with items you know you can make more of. For instance, I know I can make a lot of clusters, however I cannot make a lot of my stone necklaces because I only buy a few strands of the stones at one time (for now). (This is where it helps to be able to put limits on how much of something your wholesale buyers can buy). 3. REALLY REALLY REALLY organize your inventory. Make sure you have room in your coding to expand AND make sure the coding, once in a spreadsheet, is easy to run tasks on. I just organized mine for a 3rd time and I still don't have it in a computer ;) 4. Get really specific about how you price things. Your wholesale prices have to be able to cover your materials, your business expenses, and (if you want this to be your job) it has to cover your living expenses.

If anyone has suggestions for website templates that are good for wholesale selling, let me know. Fred says to check out Square Space. Anyone have comments on that one? And if you have an 'inventory fairy' I could borrow, call me!

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