Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Etsy meet in Japan + social networking + shop update

As most of you probably know I sell thimbles and pin cushions I made at my Etsy shop as well as "first thimble kit" and silk thread, plus occasional floss silk wadding.  Etsy is an on-line market place concentrated on hand made products and supplies.  I started selling at Etsy shortly after I had started this blog and of course have not made much sales.  I do not make much sales when compared to other more active sellers but I cannot complain as my merchandise is not very popular items.  My sales have been heavily depended on the "word of the mouth" as you call it.  Someone mentioned Japanese silk thimble in their blog post and put a link to my blog for tutorials and I got quite a few visitors and consequently a part of the visitors also visited my Etsy shop and some of them actually made purchase.  I believe this is the way most of my sales were made.

I may have alarmed some of you by my previous post about statistics but I can assure you that I do not have any interest in what you view on-line.  I received about 20 or so unique visitors daily with total 40 to 50 page views according to stats application I installed here and when the number of visitors hit over 100, then it is certain that someone mentioned my blog or Japanese silk thimble with the link to my blog somewhere.  I try to track the source and leave a thank you comment there and that's that and nothing more.  Checking key words sometimes tells me what the visitors wanted to know.  A little while ago the keywords analysis shows "backward" along with my name.  It made me wonder if some of you might have been wondering how to make backstitches.

Then late last month I received a message from Etsy International Team (which I did not even know existed) that a representative would come visit Japan and would like to have a meet with the sellers in Japan.  And so I went the other night to meet other fellow sellers and Etsy people.  We had about twelve participants and it was more than I expected as the venue being not very convenient for most.  I am not sure what I was expected from the meet but I found it quite interesting.  That to know that Etsy would like to expand Japanese market.  Not Japanese customers buy from the sellers overseas, but domestic sales.  At the moment most of the sellers (at least the ones, including myself, who were there at the meet) only sells to overseas.  Not that we do not wish to sell to people in Japan, but simply we do not have Japanese customers.  The language is a huge barrier as well as payment options but the biggest impediment is most people never even heard of a hand made craft marketplace called Etsy, ever.  Etsy has been trying to be multilingual and a few of the European languages have already introduced we were told, but that multilingual features only applies to the public space like top page and help pages and not individual listings.  I myself would not call it being multilingual.  As a customer I find it quite annoying when the language option only available on top page.  Not having a very high expectation about Japanese domestic market but anything to increase sales is welcome was consensus at the meet among the sellers it looked. 

What I really found interesting was that the majority of the people at the meet did say they facilitated Twitter.  Earlier last month, another craft market place called ArtFire with which I have created an account with but never listed anything, sent me a newsletter that they were having a boot camp for social networking and asking me if I would like to join.  As a matter of fact I had opened the account at Twitter about several month ago but immediately after I got myself an account I had realized that I had not had anything worthy to Tweet.  Did you really want to know what I was going to prepare for dinner?  Perhaps you might have been interested in what TV programme I watched the other night.  What do people actually tweet about?  So after creating an account I had put Twitter aside without tweeting anything at all.  So the newsletter last month from ArtFire about incorporating the social network tool with sales intrigued me, intrigued me enough to sign up.  It turned out the boot camp is a kind of on-line discussion.  How to sign up the social network such as Facebook, Twitter, and blog and how to maintain them.  It is actually quite informative for the very beginner such as myself but may not be so for those of people who already had a fundamental knowledge about how they work.

I am still not sure how it works, but I made my first Tweet on my latest listing at Etsy.  It appeared on my account page and there is a link to my shop as well as two photos I uploaded there.  It is actually quite nice and it could be nicer if someone besides myself could have seen it, too.

These four fabrics and a new thimble are now on the shelf at my shop at Etsy.  Please come and have a look at here.

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