SEO’s, linked domains, tiered accounts…. Just to name a few new things I’m learning about. Silly me, I thought you just wrote about what you loved and people found and followed you, then bought something.
Here’s how it all started: We moved to Italy for 7 months. I quit my “real” job to become a professional art photographer, blogger and wife. I started with a Blogger site @jaxcattravel and I still go there for travel exclusive posts. I joined the @etsy team and created my store there Still Life with Cat/Etsy since they have such a great reputation. I juggled these for awhile along with my personal Instagram account, posting photo after photo and adding items to the Etsy store.
Eventually I figured out that I really wanted my own website, not just one attached to my Etsy store. I went with @wordpress to start a photography blog and a business website. I did some research and settled on @shopify. Again a great reputation for support, an easy to use interface and the ability to link my website to my @wordpress blog. Another day working on domain linkages and I had it up and running. Each step I hope getting me closer to my goal.
I decide to follow my dream full time, not go back to the “real world” when we get back to the states.
I have a great first outing at a Ladies Night event with local artisans selling product. I sold out of a number of pieces and certainly went home happy in my wallet. I’m thinking this is not so bad. I can do this! I start looking for art markets and craft fairs. I get invited to a charity Art Walk so I give it a whirl. Here’s what I learned- you have to ask a lot of questions about the other vendors, and the demographics of the people attending. I was not prepared with less expensive items to offer and needed them. I didn’t sell anything except to a neighboring vendor and I think she just felt sorry for me.
Next I signed up for the weekly farmers/art market; Riverside Arts Market in my area. It’s pretty hard to get into so I was stoked when they accepted me. Now, I have to make a different kind of investment. I need tables, a tent, display pieces, lots of portable inventory and lighting. I get my husband and a neighbor’s kid to help me set up everything in the driveway as a dry run before the actual event. It was pretty hilarious and I wish I had it on video. We ran through it all three times and I felt I was ready for the main event. It went smooth the first weekend and I had a few customers; enough to pay to be there and take home a little extra. I learned a lot about managing the tent (see the post about wind). The following weekend it was really cold and I was happy I had bought extra weights. The coffee vendor ran out of coffee by noon. There wasn’t much traffic so I was surprised that I had my best day in sales so far! After that I have had multiple events, mostly good and I feel like I have my “chops” about this market biz. I’m doing a big two day event in April and a Seafood Festival in June. I’m trying to pace myself, because it’s hard work and when the tent is involved I have to have help.
Now that I am secure in my physical market sense, I have turned once again to my online presence. My Etsy store has really only been a special order platform and my own website has only been a platform for market credit card sales (thanks to the nifty credit card swiper Shopify sent me). I am studying adverts now and SEO’s and how to describe product offerings. But I am pretty sure it boils down to followers. How many you have and how many shares and likes you can get. That plus online reviews. It’s an up hill climb but I’m in it for the long haul.