Selling Online - a Leap into the Void
As a crocheter I love nearly everything I make so much I want to keep it forever.
This leads to a problem though. We can really only use so many blankets, sweaters, cup cozies, coasters, doilies, and so on. Everyone I know has received one or maybe two as a gift, and I have donated a great many and randomly gifted more blankets to complete strangers. Somehow I am still left with a stack of finished items.
My husband now makes eyes at me, though filled with pride occasionally, accuses me of hoarding my projects and maybe some yarn, though I assure him it could be far worse and show him Facebook posts to prove it. I have seen whole rooms of yarn on Facebook and living rurally, as we do, I could only dream of having so many choices.
I actually do have the same choices they are just tagged with shipping costs and 8 weeks of waiting for arrival; It keeps me in check. There is also a definite problem with the fact that my favorite thing to make is baby blankets and other little things for youngsters to carry around with them for a feeling of security.
My oldest daughter has provided me with three beautiful grandchildren and says nope, no more. My youngest daughter is still not old enough to even contemplate having babies of her own. So with my arms filled with a stack of blankets I stepped out into that unknown space of online sales a few weeks ago. I have blogged before but not quite like this, nothing with a such fancy page setup, nor so many tools, and toys. I hardly know where to start. I feel like Indiana Jones, as he is trying to reach the holy grail and has to step out onto the path he can’t see.
It is of course an optical illusion and the path is there the whole time, strong, willing and able to support his efforts. I stepped off on a similar path this week opening my store here on iCraft. It’s a scary thing to do, to put your work out there openly for judgment and you want to do so where you will be supported and encouraged.
To this end I chose a marketplace that I feel suits me, one that supports my over all goals and my own abilities while encouraging new ones. It is also a place I feel I can more readily meet the needs of the consumer. It’s not overflowing with stuff like Etsy and absolutely everything is handmade. There are no manufactured items.
I still have the control and freedom over my creations though. I can use previously unused but well cared for vintage yarns to make new items and everything on iCraft is newly handmade. However I feel that most of all it could truly help people in my situation; Individual crafters who aren’t merely looking to sell you something.
I live in a small rural town of 600-650 people and every year jobs move further and further away, unless you’re a rancher, ranch hand, or drill wells you don’t work and live in town. Our teachers, preachers, town council, nearly everyone works two jobs. The ones who work more locally do so at minimum wage in service jobs because that’s all that are left. We can and have tried opening little stores, farmers markets, etc...only the butchers has held on. Festivals do much better but they are inconsistent, depend largely on people who are usually in a hurry wanting to slow down for a day in the country. Seems they are still always in a hurry. Many don’t even take the time to stop for the picnics or parades. Instead they sit in their car fuming about how traffic is being delayed while our small town celebrates home coming or its founders anniversary in the park.
Small town America is consistently passed by and becoming obsolete, little spots of nowhere, but the people here they still count, they’re still learning and perhaps best of all they still know the old ways. They can and do craft a mean candle, handmade cards, prayer shawls, baby blankets and king sized quilts. Many reminisce about how long those candles lasted, or how much care went into grandma’s homemade soap or think to themselves, I’d Love a quilt like my grandma had.
Many think No one does that anymore and run down to some big named box store or click into their favorite brand name merchandiser online. They don’t even slow down to shop, not for groceries... Wal-Mart picks them, packs them, bags them and even loads them when you pick them up...nope no sir no slowing down, not for groceries, dog toys, kitty litter, clothes, electronics, or even gifts.
For this I am grateful because it allows me the opportunity to provide the children of all these very busy people the love filled handmade baby blankets and lovey’s like their Parents or grandparents took the time and care to make for them.