when i first opened my etsy shop, http://www.bellamiabowsnthings.etsy.com/, i really thought i would open the virtual doors and the customers would flood in. i had grandiose visions of staying up all hours of the night, trying to complete orders on a table filled with ribbons, orders, and coffee-lots of hot glue burns, late night pizza orders, and money pouring into the paypal account. so when out of that list, the only things that actually happened were late night pizza orders (mainly bc my husband is a pizzaman and i get hungry at night) and hot glue gun burns (bc i am total clutz), i was more than bummed.
and then something happened...i discovered that success does not come without work. i know, a novel idea!
its funny...my entire life my family has owned pizzerias. my husband's family also owns a pizzeria. pizza is in my blood. and if you ask me how to create a successful business plan for a restaurant, i will tell you its all in the marketing. everyone says LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION...but as important as location might be, today, in a world of technology and more importantly delivery, location is not as imperative as it once was. its about getting your name out there, branding yourself, creating an exciting menu, adveristing, and networking. my husband and i would love to one day own our own pizzeria and we sit down at night and come up with new pizzas, menu ideas, names of businesses, ways to expand a customer base and a host of other plans for a business we do not own. yes--this is fun. for us, at least. depressing sometimes, but fun.
YET--when it came to my bows, i thought it would just happen.
but i've turned over a new leaf. after getting out there and "meeting" new people--like the girls on my etsy team, Knotties and Nesties on Etsy , chatting with other etsians in the chats, and exploring the etsy forums, i've decided that its time to treat this shop, just as i would my dream pizzeria - i have to market myself! and now that the government has granted a stay in third party lead testing for another year, i have at least that much time to keep making my clips!
i ordered business cards, pretty packagaing, and started telling anyone who would listen that i opened a shop. i created a facebook fan page and even began tweeting. i started participating in team threads and in team-organized promotions like this one, blogged by one of the KNETTEAM's founding members. i even did a craft show! i added new products like cards and tags in an effort to expand my customer base, since bows are not for everyone, and i even did a custom order for a doggie =) one of these days i will try to add more grown-up bows and clips, too (even tho i personally find the clippies to be great for keeping back bangs and fly-aways!).
and with these things, i have noticed a difference in sales. i am approaching 100 sales (23 more to reach my goal of 100 sales by march 1st), i have over 100 twitter followers (so there are some spammers in there, but hey, they are following!), and i have almost 100 fans on my facebook page. and while i am still not rich and i cant rely on my bow business to fund my daughter's future college education right now, i find that i am excited to have met new people, made a few kids happy with my bows (and one adorable dog), found a bunch of great etsy shops, and managed to really do something with my etsy shop. i have sales! i have good feedback! i have repeat customers! and altho the ideas that i set out with may not have come to fruition (yet), it has really made me reach into myself and find confidence in myself and my product, revitalized my marketing ideas, and reinvigorated the creative side of me that sometimes gets lost in the trials and tribulations of being a stay at home mom to a wonderful toddler.
etsy allowed me to find me again. and that makes me happy.
it also leaves me with a lot of ideas and no outlet for them. i discovered this this morning, when i realized that almost every night for the last 2 weeks, i have had shop-related dreams--whether it be a new idea for a clip or like last night, a dream about trying to get into a treasury. (i curse you, http://www.craftopolis.com/!)
and thus, the blog has been born - a way for me to channel all that energy and get my name out as well (and a chance to rediscover my insane love of writing!)
so bear with me as i try to find a real voice in this blog. i dont want it to always be about bows (but i will use it to pimp myself out...lol)...but it might take me a little while to really hone in on what the focus and tone will be. it might just be a hodge-podge of things (yes, i totally just said hodge-podge), but whatever it turns out to be, i hope you'll stick around to find out =)