Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Know You're Gettin' Old When....

...You can't see squat anymore without reading glasses.

Meet my good friend, my +3.25 magnification readers. They're my very, very best friend when I'm wire wrapping jewelry. These and my Opti-Visor combine for a pretty powerful magnification when wire wrapping! It also comes in handy when trying to get a splinter out of your finger or for seeing the flaws in those beads we all know and love.

I also have another pair of readers that are not as strong. They're maybe +1.5. I use them a lot too in combination with my visor so I can get up close and personal with the jewelry. If it wasn't for this, I wouldn't be making *anything* except a big mess! But thank goodness there are friends like this so I can see what the heck I'm doing.

I never wore glasses until college when I noticed I couldn't read the words on the blackboard very clearly or the signs above the interstate quite as well. And after I got them I never wore them for anything but driving for at least 15 years, not even reading. But then I had to start wearing them more and more often if I wanted to see far away clearly. Then I got pregnant and my eyesight really started to go. Coincidentally, I hit 40 at the same time, and we all know what they say about aging and the eyes: they are the first things to go. Well, I can attest to that fact!

An updated prescription of glasses and I could see the signs above the aisles in the grocery store! Wow! This seeing thing was really cool! Then I gave birth. The eyes deteriorated some more. Now I was wearing them a little bit more often. And then POW! I hit 45! And buddy, I can't see squat! Now it's bifocals, baby! (But bifocals aren't the best things to work on jewelry in.)

I now only wear my glasses/bifocals when I'm driving or watching a movie in the theater, or out somewhere that I really want to see clearly, like looking at the stars. At home, I don't wear my glasses at all except for my readers to make jewelry. Otherwise, I'm lens free. I just don't like my looks in glasses. (I sure look groovy in an Opti-Visor though!) And I can't get used to them. I tried contacts but my eyes were too sensitive for them, even the soft, flexible, wear them for three days and throw them away kind. So I just don't wear any until I have to.

The thing about readers is that the more I wear them, the more I need them. Sometimes I make jewelry for hours. When I do, I find that my eyes can't adjust back to normal viewing after being in them and the Opti-Visor. I think I'm killing my eyes even more so. I'm now in a quandary. What to do? Lasik? But as I understand it, you still need readers even with Lasik.

I miss being able to see well, like Kevin can. He can spot a fly on the wall at 50 paces! Once upon a time I could too. It feels like it was yesterday. And at the same time it feels like a lifetime ago. For now, it will be readers when I'm working and perhaps reading to Kevin, but for the most part I will remain lens free. I do ok without them. Can't read the road signs until I'm right up on them, but I can read a book and see the TV. It's not like I can't see. I just can't see as well anymore.

You know you're gettin' old when you can't see squat when it's right in front of you! Anyone else?

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Woohoo!! A First!!

Etsy Front Page, originally uploaded by msbellee.

I made the freakin' front page!!

I don't believe it!

Still in shock....

Celebrated with a strong glass of Carnation Instant Breakfast (at 2AM). Chocolate of course!

Who wudda thunk it?!

Thank you JulieGarland for including me in this list! I'm so grateful!

P.S. I sold 2 things!! :D

...happy dance...happy dance...happy dance!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Yay for Me and Kevin!!

I was nearing my goal of 100 sales but was afraid to say anything for fear of jinxing myself like I jinxed Kevin. I kept holding my breath and biting my tongue. I watched carefully as the hearts accumulated and the views went up on my items as I would list and relist. I was stuck on 99 for what seemed like days and days. I thought for sure I wasn't going to make my goal. My one year anniversary on Etsy (November 17th) was fast approaching and I would be stuck on 99!

Yay!, originally uploaded by msbellee.

Then this morning (after my bust of a Storque Showcase last night (more on that later)), I woke up to 101 sales!! Yay! I did it!! Talk about a happy camper! And almost even cooler than having broken 100 is the fact that the two pairs of earrings that sold will be traveling all the way to Spain!! I'm thrilled! That now makes seven countries I will have shipped to. MsBelle. Little ol' southern gal me. Who wudda thunk it?

Thanks to all my customers, wherever you may be. You make my day! And thanks to my family who make up a large part of my sales. I really appreciate your support. It means so very much to me that you all like what I create enough to want it for your own. I truly mean that. :)

And last but not least, thanks to all of my Etsy friends and family, and other moms who are all there to support me and let me rant and rave and bounce things off of. You have made a world of difference in my life, no matter where in the world you are. You are all dear to me.


So today was a good day for that reason and for another reason. Kevin went back to school today!! But let me tell you, he had a time of it late last week:

  • Wednesday he missed Halloween because he had a fever of 102.3 after just having seen the doctor that afternoon after school (he went to sleep and slept 18 hours)
    (This is also the day we found out he has tonsillitis pretty bad and that's where his fever is coming from. They also did a finger stick for a blood count to test for mononucleosis (it was negative.)
  • Thursday I kept him out of school due to fever and sore throat
  • Thursday night he ran a temperature of 104.3 (scary)
  • Friday they switched his antibiotic yet again due to contining fever (did this over the phone--no doctor visit this time)
  • Saturday got another shot of Rocephin
  • Saturday developed fever blisters on his upper lip (blisters due to his high fever)
  • recuperated Sunday, but now is stricken with diarrhea from all the antibiotics he's been on
  • Monday (yesterday) follow-up to doctor where he had no temp, and another blood count from another finger stick came back normal once more

He was cleared to go back to school even though he still has tonsillitis and fluid behind the left eardrum. He has a lingering cough, a sore finger and a sore left 'cheek', but no more temperature and he's eating well again. He still has to take his meds. He still has the blisters on his lip although Carmex is doing the trick on those. But now he is playing and eating and coloring and drawing and reading and writing and spelling and he's my Kevin again! (I pray I don't jinx him.)

So this morning I did a happy dance for both of us. This afternoon I picked him up from school and learned that he got a smiley face for the day. Yay! Then I went to vote and Kevin got to 'vote' too. He skipped into the polling place and I felt like skipping too! (I was so happy to see him skipping.) Then we came home and celebrated by eating some of his 'trunk or treat' candy since he didn't get to go trick or treating on Halloween, poor baby.

We had a good time and a good day. Both of us.

It's like I can breathe again....


Storque Showcase

I did my own little experiment of sorts with the Storque Showcase I had on Monday, October 5th. In the 24 hours I was in that showcase I received 3 hearts for the entire day that I suspect came as a result of the showcase. Another heart was in response to my hearting them first, so I am not going to count that one. I received 12 and 15 hearts while I was in the Main Showcase October 26 and 28. Also, my views from the Storque Showcase were next to none. Almost non-existent. I'd watched when I changed the ranking of my items to see if it got viewed or not. Not much. Not many AT ALL. Truly disheartening.

So today I relisted 4 items at different times throughout the day. I received many, many more views. Even received views up into tonight while I'm writing this. I received 4 hearts today, the same amount as yesterday and today I have no showcase, only relisting items. (So you can't tell me that being in the Storque Showcase is going to get you noticed.) I also don't believe I received many hearts on items from this Showcase because I got practically no views. One can't get hearts if there are no views. Another thing I didn't do on the day of my Storque Showcase was relist any items. I wanted to see just what kind of attention the Storque Showcase brought in and I did not want any interference with that. Well, I certainly found out it was negligible. I don't know what might have happened had I relisted while being in the Storque Showcase, but I feel I would have received hearts and views from the relisting, not from the buried showcase. I believe it is now evident (to me at least) from my test that our money is not well spent on the Storque Showcase. But $15 for the Main Showcase???? Hmmmm.....

The sale that pushed me over 100 the day after the Storque Showcase was a heart from a while back. It was not a newly received heart, nor a heart from the Storque Showcase. However, of the items that were bought, one was relatively new and one was older. One happened to be in the Showcase and one was not, but it was on sale. I'm not sure if the customer purchased as a result of the Storque Showcase or not. The newer piece was in the Showcase as my top ranked item for a big part of the day. I'm not sure what to make of it when I think about that. I suppose I could ask if it was bought because it was seen in the Storque Showcase or because it was a newer item in my shop that she just found. Perhaps that would be the thing to do. Ask.

It's interesting to watch the views mount up after listing or relisting an item. It's also sad to watch in horror as your showcase ends in a dismal failure. I'm just glad it was only $7 I threw away instead of $15. Who knows? Either one can probably end either way on any given day, depending on who you are and what you sell I suppose. Right? Right???

I won't be spending much more of my money on showcases, at least not the Storque. And certainly not two a month at $15 a pop. I do better listing and relisting. The Storque is so hidden away. It's like in a dark dungeon that nobody bothers to frequent unless they have to. I'll spend my money on the listing.


Until later....

Friday, November 2, 2007

Higher Prices for Etsy Showcase

So did you hear? Etsy raised their prices for the Showcase from $7 to $15. That's more than double the amount for something that is not guaranteed to bring in a sale equal to $15. (I really wish Etsy would send out a newsletter or at the very least an email to sellers with news like this. I almost missed seeing it. If I hadn't been scrolled down to the very bottom of the home page to see the Storque news scroll by I would have missed it completely. Why can't they just send out an email with important updates?? Instead, we have to glue ourselves to Etsy to find out things like this. Some of us just can't do that.)

Anyway, I'm not good at advertising or marketing. I don't really do either one other than my business cards, having my name out there on things like Indie Public, etc., and the Etsy Showcase. But as for buying advertising banners on websites or indie blogs, I haven't done it. Number one, I don't usually have the money. Number two, I'm afraid that I don't have enough really good inventory in my shop. And thirdly, I wouldn't really know where to start.

I must admit, I had recently become more enthusiastic about buying a spot in the Showcase since the last two I participated in were actually fruitful. I had spots for October 26th and October 28th, and I had one sale from the first and three sales from the second. Needless to say I was thrilled because that has never happened before with any of my prior Showcases. Of course, I always got hearts and faves on some items, but up until these two Showcases, no sales. However, it's never going to be a sure thing. So is it worth forking over $15 to buy a spot when you're not guaranteed you will even make a sale? What do you think? It might be different it the Main Showcase were actually linked to some kind of outside Etsy advertising, but it's not. (That's another thing that irks me about it.)

It just hit me as greedy that Etsy would increase their price for the Showcase. Up to this point it seemed that Etsy was a fairly reasonably priced site to list on and advertise in their Showcase. I mean, every little fee does add up mind you. But with the listing and renewal fees they rake in from supplies alone, Etsy is making a killing! (Let's hope they don't increase their listing fees too!! Knock on wood!) Now, little people like me with next to no money will now have to think twice before going for a spot in the Main Showcase. I don't believe the Storque Showcase price went up. And since I missed purchasing a Main Showcase spot when they went on sale this last time, I opted for two spots in the Storque Showcase. Lots less traffic to the Storque, I'm sure. Probably will not get a sale from either day, but I can see risking $14 to try twice before I can fork over $15 to try once when neither of them is guaranteed. I don't know. Maybe $15 for the Main Showcase is a better deal since people might actually find you there as opposed to the buried Storque Showcase. Perhaps $15 really is a good deal and I just got spoiled with $7 and don't really know better anyway. It seemed fairly cheap. Since I know nothing about advertising I am assuming not many things were out there for $7 that exposed you like Etsy's Main Showcase.

I'd also love to hear your thoughts on the new "Category Showcase" spots being offered for sale. I don't know about you, but I almost never use the categories to find what I'm looking for on Etsy. I always use the search bar. Do you use categories to surf Etsy? It seems to me that Etsy is beginning to look very much like the other "E" place. When I sold things on the other "E" place years ago (Kevin's used cloth diapers) there was an option to pay extra to have the item either highlighted in bold inside the category, or showcased in a featured spot in a gallery at the top of the category. That seems similar to what Etsy is now trying to do which I guess is ok. It's just that I don't use categories and wonder how many people out there do. So would buying a spot in the Category Showcase be worth it?

I'll let ya'll know what happens with my Storque Showcases (and with the Category Showcase spot I just went and purchased!). That will make three spots for me in November, none of them being the Main Showcase, but still cheaper than two of the main ones. But as an experiment, I'll try to buy one of the main ones as well (if I can get one) just to put a cherry on top of my growing little Etsy bill (full of showcase spots and relisting fees, not many sales fees). I've hardly made anything on Etsy, yet I keep relisting my items to keep them at the top of the categories. And I keep spending money on these Showcases. What's wrong with me????

Someone needs to teach me about advertising and marketing. I'd like to know what I need to be doing and how to do it right. I'd also like to know what I need to do besides take good pictures (which I'm really trying to work hard on) that might help with sales. Any suggestions?