Well, like most businesses, this has been the busiest time of the year for me so far. Having only been a fully functioning business since the 1st September 2012, this is our first experience of the Christmas rush. I’ve finished all my handmade orders now so just fulfilling ready made items. So, it’s just Etsy and eBay and The Pop Up Boutique at the moment.
So, I’ve finally had a bit of time to buy the final pressies and put the tree up!
In between ‘normal’ Christmas activities, I’ve been reflecting a little bit on the first 2-3 months of trading and what worked well and what’s maybe a ‘development opportunity’ (to quote an old company of mine that didn’t like to mention negatives).
GOOD – Clearly setting up this website and the eBay site has brought in business. I’m also starting to see repeat business on eBay, which means people must be liking what they buy! Also, I managed to set up the shebang on a shoestring…
GOOD – Etsy has been cheaper to maintain but has been a bit of a slow burner and not brought in as many sales. But, it’s a great community and I’ve connected with a lot of like-minded people. That’s a good success in my books!
GOOD – Doing a few markets has been great. It’s been interesting seeing what people picking up and liking in person and the questions that they ask. The Sunday markets at Barton’s have brought in quite a few orders for me. It’s been a really nice atmosphere there too and I’ve been able to meet and network with a lot of other stallholders.
GOOD – I’ve also took park in my first pop up boutique. This has been another interesting experience. Sales there have not been as high as I would have hoped but the learning experience and the ability to meet and network with other people in the same industries has been invaluable!
MIXED – Google Adwords hasn’t driven the right traffic to me and I stopped the experiment quite quickly. Facebook ads have driven up my ‘likes’ but how do I know it’s driving any real traffic to my shops and ultimately converting that traffic into sales? So, a bit more experimenting is needed here on what works for Quirky Purple and what doesn’t. Just because something has worked for one brand/company doesn’t mean it works the same for all…
BAD – At first I focussed on eBay auctions. This was actually an expensive option for me and drove traffic that wanted something cheap, rather than a quality item. I’ve moved over to mainly fixed price listing now.
BAD – I’ve struggled a bit with getting stuff together for the Christmas rush as I should have been planning, buying and making things a lot earlier.
So, this has led me to start to focus on what I want to do next year to try to build on success:
- Look to take part in more events – markets, fairs, pop ups. Get a good set of events listed.
- Get networking and collaborating more.
- Get a calendar together so that I can plan ahead and make sure I have enough stock and variety in place for certain events such as markets or Valentine’s Day etc.
- Get a new base so that I don’t keep filling up the spare room and the dining room!
Also in the New Year I’ll be starting up a sister business to set up websites and social media for small businesses. This will see me actually using some of the skills I’ve gained over 15 or so years, in doing similar things for large businesses such as Capital One, Alliance & Leicester, Punch Taverns and Nottingham Trent University. These joined up online places will be easy to maintain and won’t cost a fortune!
P.S. Just realised that I haven’t really finished my orders as I still have a couple of things to make for family….