Saturday, February 19, 2011

QUESTION : Making it Work

This one's from Brooke. I, for one, am struggling with some of the same problems and want to see what everyone has to say.

K, so Alison commented on my blog and let me know that I could have something critiqued and as I looked over your site I see that you also answer questions ala the Wizard of Oz!? So, here goes, and it may be a long one.

I have been a graphic designer for more than twelve years and for the most part, feel pretty confident in what I can and cannot do and feel like I have an eye for good design.
I have a million ideas as far as products to sell at places like Etsy, Zazzle and where ever, but I just don't know how best to get my name/links out there so that people can see what I do and want to buy. I have had an Etsy shop for a few weeks, haven't sold anything yet, I have a decent amount of views and am even included in some treasuries there, but it's not enough for me. I NEED to know how to I sell myself better, am I pricing correctly, do people really want what I have to sell? I also have a shop on Society 6 for whatever it's worth. I so desperately want to be a success, and while thinking about all of this, I am struggling to find a job so that my family and I do not lose our home, it's been scary and I'm getting really depressed, not every day, but enough ya know?

I'd even be willing to partner with up with a site or a person if I sell my products that they've promoted we could work out a commission thing. I'm just at this point in my life where I need to see a payoff, is that wrong to say? lol Alright, I warned you it was long. I will include links to all my places I have started.
Brooke Rochon


  1. I think this is a problem a lot of us have, thus the lack of replies. We're all just struggling through together, hoping to make it work.

    That said, I don't think it's that abysmal- there's a real resurgence of demand for goods that people can connect with. I think this is a lot of the popularity of "local" and "handmade"; it's only natural for that popularity to extend to people who are willing to put their own touch on designing.

    Basically, you are a person, not an agency, and that should get you some cred.

    Working in a little shop has been an eye-opener. A lot of the things we sell are from local artists (mostly mass produced goods featuring their illustrations) and the second most people hear that, they get excited. We sell a lot of original work from a local artist. The customers here jump at the chance to have an original (adorable) piece from someone, and know that their money is going right where it ought to– the artist's pocket.

    On a personal note, as I am about to be out of work again, I've been thinking about ways to further my shop and work. A real weak spot in my attack has been face-to-face interactions. It's silly, really. I go to craft shows, and I am a heck of a lot more likely to buy from a vendor there than some anonymous person on etsy. So, the goal is to get my things out in front of people's faces. I have already started canvassing local shops and thinking about craft shows and faires.

  2. There are a lot of resources online for beginner Etsy sellers. Here's a few links:

    I would start by doing a lot of research. Find out how other successful etsy sellers got started.

    Recommended book:

    Here Are Some Basic Etsy Tips:
    - Update your shop often
    - Relist items often (so they don't get buried)
    - Good photography is SO important

    Getting involved in the blogging community also helps direct people to your shop. If you visit another person's shop or blog they will usually return the favor.

    Though there are some people out there who become over-night successes, for most of us it takes years to start and develop our own business. I am coming up on my second year since opening my own Etsy shop (Camp Smartypants) and I have 70 online sales. I try to add new items to my shop every month. I relist items a few times every week. I have my own blog ( where I post every day. I've done tons of local craft shows and become very involved in my local craft-community.

    I feel like only now (after 2 years) things are starting to catch on. People are starting to remember me and Camp Smartypants. I now sell my product on consignment in 5 local retail stores and I even got my very first wholesale order in January from a store in Ohio!

    My advice to you would be to get out there. It's a lot harder to make yourself stand out online, as there are millions of other people trying to do the same. Start with your local community.

    I hope this info helps. As much as we all want immediate results from our hard work, things usually take time and more hard work before big results happen.


Thank for the help!