Monday, June 28, 2010

When the alarms go off in your head, listen.


Yesterday I received an email from a potential customer on Etsy, but as I read the request to buy my box my stomach started to churn. No it wasn't the coffee or the bagel I had eaten. First there was a request to verify if I was trustworthy, then I needed to supply complete name personal info (which all pertinent info can be found on my site and shop), and my final price for the box which I was running on a special. This customer was not finished though. I now had to send all my info to another email. I also was to use their shipper? with the additional money they would send (certified transfer) but I would have to set it all up. I guess they would determine the cost of shipping? Mind you this is for a sale for under $100 on Etsy with $1 shipping to anyone in the US. Again the stomach churned but I thought it is a sale and this is all part of working online. Wrong.

When you take the emotional aspect away and look at the facts you can see there were many problems with this order. My greatest concern is the security issues of releasing info to an unknown buyer. Simply put do not give anyone information above and beyond what is necessary for your business. Think about the information you would find if shopping at a favorite brick and mortar storefront. You have location, the shop name, telephone and that is about it. Because you have a virtual shop don't fall into the trap of overcompensating for a brick and mortar location because there is one, your studio. You can still accept credit/debit cards, checks and money orders and people can come and visit your studio. The plus side of an online shop/site is you can also check the customer out. On Etsy you join to either buy or sell or both and you register to do so. When you receive an email it is referred to as a convo (conversation) and you can click on the person to see their profile. I found this person was not found within Etsy. I decided to send an email explaining how I do business through a convo and also to the other email address and found that address would not go through. Was this a scam? I do not know. Or was it an order from outside the US which for now I do not ship outside the US.

This experience has opened up many issues but they are for another time.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Things happen.


Over the weekend I received a sale for my Vintage Picnic Basket which is in my Etsy shop. I was very grateful for the order but when preparing to get the packaging and shipping labels together I noticed it was being shipped to Canada. I also did not have a valid telephone number which is very important for an International shipment. Yes shipping to Canada is now an International confusing with paperwork and tripled in pricing shipment. I have discovered that in Jan 2010 the shipping guidelines for Canada had changed. The charges for a 6lb package from NC to Alberta Canada was now $28.00 + customs charges bringing it to the sum of $41.00. I was shocked and now I had to decide to keep the sale or tell the customer that I would have to issue a surcharge. I opted to tell the customer what had happened and offered to cancel the order. The order was canceled.

I believe things always turn out the way they were meant to so what I discovered is to keep things simple for now and ship to only my neighbors here in the US. I would not have come to this conclusion if it wasn't for the listing error in my Etsy shop that allowed shipping to Canada (now corrected). Secondly my customer was in hot water with her hubby for spending money on the basket and she was grateful I offered her a way out. All in all we basically got what we wanted from the experience and although I lost the sale I gained a little more knowledge about my business. You just have to look for the good in all situations and most of the time it isn't the bottom line,or money.

So anyone shipping to areas outside your country be careful because the shipping charges might drastically eat into your profit. Please be cautious and offer to who you can.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

What is new at Laurie Rohner Studio


Today I have spent much of the day researching an assortment of marketing options and have found some very creative ideas to promote your art business. Etsy has a number of handmade links where you can feature your shop such as Handmade Sparks (http://www.handmadespark.com/blog/newsletter/). I also discovered that maybe a web site isn't the absolute answer and that utilizing a blog, such TypePad or WordPress to name a few might actually work better for people who have an online shop such as Etsy. These are questions I am in the process of figuring out and will get back to later.

What is new is we at LRStudio.etsy.com or Laurie Rohner Studio are now offering $1 shipping on almost everything in the shop to our neighbors in the States only. The exception to this are the original fine art paintings and the vintage glassware. I hope you will take advantage of this change.

Also on this blog you may have noticed the sidebar has changed and we are adding some new features that link you easily to some other sites. Please take the time to discover not only what we offer but some amazing artists.

More to come....

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Buy it at Etsy


After much consideration and the advise from a few knowledgeable people I have decided to streamline how you purchase my things. It was getting to the point that every time I made a change in shipping (certain items now ship for $1) I would go through hours of updating my main site and then matching the information to the other venues. Too much wasted time on trivial mind numbing computer work which meant less time being creative. I chose to emphasize my Etsy Shop which is at www.LRStudio.etsy.com to be the best way to purchase my Painted Cottage Art and whatever else I have created along the way.

Why I went with my Etsy shop simply came down to common sense. It is where I have the most traffic. Traffic is important but combine it with the very helpful and friendly community at Etsy is a winning combo. I have had my things featured in Treasury showcases which are put together by other sellers on Etsy. On my Facebook wall there is a tab that connects you directly to my Shop and it is on my Facebook Fan Page www.facebook.com/pages/Laurie-Rohner-Studio/314782958056?ref=mf. Yes I haven't forgotten about my main site at www.laurierohner.com. I prominently added links to my Etsy Shop through a separate links page and also explained how to purchase on my home page.

For me I took what was working well and made it the center of the hub. Think of it as an octopus with many legs all working in conjunction to feed the body your work in this case. Etsy the body and all the venues feeding back to the body. In this new changing art business world I feel you have to keep thinking outside the box and hopefully I have made some smart choices.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Something changed...


I have expanded my Etsy shop to include antiques and vintage pieces. It all came about from my recent downtime. I was finding myself feeling heavy and stagnant and instinctively knew I better step back and renew myself. So I packed up Tuck and off we went to visit with nature and a friend who always has a special way of getting me back on track. We all need to step back and look at our lives to see what direction we need to go or to see if we are even heading down the right path. What I found for myself was a new perspective and saw life with a fresh set of eyes.

What I am doing now is simply this...life is exactly what you put into it so don't sit on the sidelines and complain why things aren't going your way. If you do, life is going to give you what you are giving, nothing. So stop and start doing. I found that my life had become weighted down with things from a past that no longer suited me. So I am giving away, donating, selling or recycling everything that doesn't enhance my life. By doing this I have found I am releasing my strangle hold on my past and feel lighter and more open to my present. Plus by getting rid of the baggage and organizing my life allows my self to start focusing on what I need to accomplish here and now. And finally when I put all this together I have discovered that the old self, the genuine person that I thought had long ago disappeared is starting to show up and I am looking pretty good.

So that is why I have expanded my Etsy shop and if you have the time I think you might find something to enhance your life in the shop. Hum I guess my clutter becomes your clutter then....oh well.

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