Monday, September 17, 2007

Intro to marketing designer jewelry online at Etsy

Not knowing much about this whole blogging thing, its uses or value as a traffic generation tool, I'm just diving in blindly here. This past two weeks, I decided to make a serious attempt to take my designer jewellery line to market online. I'm fairly computer savvy, but this endeavour is much easier said than done. I'm not a fan of photo taking, photo editing, or item description composition. And like most artists I suppose, I'd far sooner devote what brain cells *are* firing on all cylinders today to the broader good of actually designing and producing fabulous jewelled items. But no such luck. My online research today revealed that I can't ever possibly hope to sell anything online unless I start a blog and use it regularly.... sooooooooo here we are.

Fortunately, the time spent on setting up my new store on Etsy has been rewarding. Some of my jewellery items look good in the Etsy showcase. Great photography is the key, and that too is easier said than done when it comes to jewelry. I love taking pictures, but have never delved into the world of commercial photography, so imagine my surprise when my husband informed me I needed to invest in a 'light box'. A what? Well, he actually bought a photography tent thingy with daylight type lights. It's an intricate and expensive setup but we're finally starting to get some quality photos of my gemstone pieces.

Years ago I tried selling my high end jewellery creations on eBay of all places. What a waste of time and money that turned out to be. Overcrowded now with mass produced jewelry from the orient and a sleugh of amateurish stuff from the craft store crowd, I didn't recoup even the cost of my quality materials through that venue. And I became totally offended that eBay buyers (in search of best bargains) couldn't appreciate the time and effort I spent to source materials, plan and execute fine designs.

I live in Oshawa, Ontario and the local 'bead stores' leave something to be desired. Years ago I made the mistake of buying gemstone items online only to regret that decision a great deal. Today, my buying trips take me to Chicago, Cleveland or Boston areas, a time consuming and costly jaunt, but hand picking my materials is fun, exciting and the only true way to ensure quality control. But at times I still need to rant about the costs incurred. And like all artists, sometimes I ruminate for days about a design, adding then taking away elements until I'm completely satisfied with the final product. So now I'm ranting about how little $$ per hour I make as a designer! Oh well, when my work is done I sit back and marvel at the fabulous outcome.

Months ago I started building one of my original jewellery sites Oracle Gem Designs, a site that I mistakenly chose solely on the basis of low cost hosting. Unfortunately my hosting package included such ugly templates that I got discouraged and gave up. I am experienced Dreamweaver developer but thought I would easily and quickly be able to churn out a classy jewellery site using the provided 'web builder' utilities. Anyhow, this week, I was delighted to discover that you can create a mini Etsy showcase in html code that you can add to webpages, so today I updated the homepage at http://www.oraclegemdesigns.com/ to reflect a mini showcase of the Etsy listings and it doesn't look too bad.

The cool thing about all this is that my overall link stategy is starting to come together and we all agree that linking our sites increases rankings. Whoopeee! Tomorrow I need to learn more about ROR and RSS and XML, etc., etc.... and oh yeah, I found out today I could set up a free store at eCrater.com! So I'll begin building my little eCrater store (likely to sell mostly supplies, studio overstock and casual designs) but with links to some of my other sites.... until next time...
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