nstarleather

Selling on Etsy- clue me in? Please.

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I'm sure it will pick up.  I have a nice Horween Dopp kit I'm soon to add.  

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7 hours ago, nstarleather said:

I'm sure it will pick up.  I have a nice Horween Dopp kit I'm soon to add.  

I would suggest improving your pics. The tote on the carpet makes one think Walmart. The wallet cutouts in the gradient background look like they are floating. The actual products look good but the presentation is lacking Imo. 

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Thanks, Yes I think the tote needs a better background too...

We're slowly getting "real" backgrounds for our items.

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Etsy shops takes time to get established. It took me 3 months to get my first sale. After you get a few sales and some feedback, it gives the customer confidence in buying from you. Your products look great, just give it time. This time of year is slow for me. Come fall etsy is a good place to be selling.

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Just had my first contact from someone via Etsy.  Just wanted more details on the inside of the wallet, but it lets me know I've being seen.

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My problem with Etsy is I only make a few things a month and most of them are sold before they are finished, but now and again I have a single item to sell. But no one buys from a site with only one listing. I thought about putting my head down and making say 50 items as stock  then listing them all at once, but I cannot face it. I like making things where I learn something new. I would be great if there was a supplier that made great items that I could buy $200 -$300 worth items and sell on my shop just to keep it ticking over. SO that my single items had a better chance of selling.

Mick

  

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Anyone ever been banned from cutesy, or am i going to be the guinea pig? ;)

 

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What is cutesy, a place to sell things ?

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11 hours ago, mickthedig said:

I would be great if there was a supplier that made great items that I could buy $200 -$300 worth items and sell on my shop just to keep it ticking over. SO that my single items had a better chance of selling.

Mick

  

Mick, I wholesale over 150 different "great items"....$85 minimum wholesale order.  Just FYI.

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Just remember that you need to state on Etsy that you outsource the products you're selling.

While companies like Nstar is running a successful business model, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I personally think companies like that and the services they offer (for other makers to resell as their own stuff) shouldn't belong on marketplaces like Etsy as the truth is that small independent craftmakers there struggle because of practices like this. Anyway, as I said, it's only business and I can recognize that. Just remember next time you see people blaming Asian makers for the cheap stuff that the lone craft person never can compete with, that there are plenty of companies from the West, Canada, US, and Europe that does exactly the same, offering volume, low cost, low quality stuff made with machinery to be sold as 'handmade'.

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37 minutes ago, ConradPark said:

Just remember that you need to state on Etsy that you outsource the products you're selling.

While companies like Nstar is running a successful business model, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I personally think companies like that and the services they offer (for other makers to resell as their own stuff) shouldn't belong on marketplaces like Etsy as the truth is that small independent craftmakers there struggle because of practices like this. Anyway, as I said, it's only business and I can recognize that. Just remember next time you see people blaming Asian makers for the cheap stuff that the lone craft person never can compete with, that there are plenty of companies from the West, Canada, US, and Europe that does exactly the same, offering volume, low cost, low quality stuff made with machinery to be sold as 'handmade'.

Believe it or not I 100% agree with you.  I think Etsy allowing people to sell things they don't make fundamentally changes the spirit of the site.

I used to get really mad when I saw people as "Jurored" craft shows selling things they clearly couldn't have made (felt hats were one example)...

 

The vast majority of my customers don't pass the items off as their own, I certainly don't encourage them to.  Though I also don't try to control anything as far as how our products are sold.  People ask me all the time, how much to sell things for how to sell them etc... my point of view is "we'll sell it but it's up to you from there."  As long as we get paid I don't care if they mark it up 20x or give it away.

Most of my customers who are crafters themselves are just supplementing their line with things that are either a little cheaper than what they do or they they sell my stuff to cover items that the don't or aren't willing to make.   I have a dude who make super-expensive Alligator or croc belts, he sends me skins and I make wallets that he sells.  As you probably know- belts, saddles and holsters are a completely different animal (machines, techniques, tools, etc) from small accessories.  A good friend of mine was selling Moccasins and the "entry point" to buy something in her booth was $40, that meant that a large percentage of customers who entered her retail space just weren't willing or able to buy something from her.   She added a few smaller items and did really really well without hurting her Moccasin sales.

 Actually I'm in the same situation, I buy belts from Ceder Creek  because I don't have the time or know-how to do them as well as I'd like.  I have them in my retail section here at the shop because people kept coming in asking for belts, so instead of wasting time saying "No" and explaining (and sometimes having to really insist that I don't/won't make something), I now get to sell a belt or two.

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I'm all about "mine" in this -- cutesy or elsewhere don't matter.  If it's yours, that means you can do what you want with it.  I agree that once I sell something it now belongs to the buyer, and THEY can do with it what THEY want.

I'm not in for cheap manufactured stuff.  I do think that "a fool and his money are soon parted", and I aim at not being one of them.  But I see low-rent stuff bought and sold ALL the time.  I don't sell it, and I don't buy it, therefore I leave all that in the "none of my business" pile.

I could make more money than I do.  Know who makes more money than me?  Spongebob.  I'm not likely to EVER make as much money as him,.... and he's a stinkin' cartoon !@#!@#$!@#~!! :crazy:

But if I wouldn't buy it, then I won't sell it.  Simple.  Some of these simple little patterns I've been uploading and passing out free of charge .... are simply NOT worth paying money for.  I wouldn't pay - even a few dollars -- for a "pattern" of a big piece with two smaller "pockets" pieces sewn on.  Nope.  So I don't ask anybody else to pay for it.  I understand that the guy doing the work should be the one getting paid... but honestly it never occurred to me that people even WANTED help with things this simple.

Even local sales... guy come to estimate the hail damage to my roof, and I ask him who would be doing the work.  Since it was NOT him, then he should just leave my lawn... since I'm paying the GUY WHO DOES THE WORK (only).  Some roofing "company" gonna hire these boys, send 'em to my house, let the boys do the work, and then take a big cut.  Nah... wrong house.  I pay the guy who does the work.

I have bought things on cutesy before.. usually nonsensical useless crap that my wife thought was 'cute'.  You guys know.. all that junk you pass on the way to the dining table but you don't know why you have it.  Still, it's not ALL junk.   Think I otta buy that turned wood bowl over there.. no doubt my big sister would like that. 

The "rules" over there say that if I buy.. for example ... a leather bracelet from northstar, and I put the snap on it, then that "counts" as "handmade" by me.  IN fact, if I buy it from nstar (or anybody) already 'ready', if I write your name on it with a sharpie.. you guessed it.. STILL 'handmade' by ME.

I dont debate if that's "right" or not.. just like I don't debate that the sun comes up in the east... Don't matter if I like it... just the way it is.

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I am a very small fish but for years I tried to make my web page work for me and it was a no go. Maintaining a website is real work unless you have the software to quickly update. I know godaddy and the like try and make it easy to set up a store front but unless you know enough or are willing to commit the time to learning enough about SEO and how to drive traffic then its a bust. I keep a website just as kind of an online portfolio of some past projects.

I dont make a great deal of sales on etsy and sell about 4 holsters on ebay to every 1 item on etsy. What is cool is its stupid easy to add new items for sale and the listing at 20 cents is well worth it when you see how you quickly show up in google searches. Where etsy has been good to me is that exposure. The site doesnt indicate it but I have gotten alot of custom requests based on things I put on etsy but the sales go over to me directly.

Basically they see something they like but they want it lefty or green and I get an email but it was initiated by them seeing my work on etsy. Between etsy, ebay, pinterest and a couple of other places I place work I get enough nibbles for my needs. I could never figure out how to drive that much interest if I had to do it on my own with my web site and admitted ignorance and in the end I just want to make cool stuff and not spend all my time as a web master.

Having said that ... I dont know how etsy works. Some days I get 50 hits and others 3.

I had thought it was a market for handcrafted only but they certainly allow mass produced stuff. I am not against mass produced and dont feel that something is better because it was anointed with my sweat but I cant sell a wallet at $45 if there are hundreds of obviously mass produced ones at $35. Some people would prefer ... myself included in most instances ... to support a craftsman and artists and I think etsy is a little misleading in that it purports to be about hand crafted and many times isnt.

Edited by Boriqua

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AMEN!!!!  Etsy has bamboozled the lot when it comes to promoting the handmade world and it is very true that the visits to the shops of the Etsians have dramatically decreased.  I do want to bring one thing up and that is that anyone who truly makes a purely handmade item has created something that is vastly superior to anything that is machine made or mass produced and I don't care what the source of it is.  I also am one who does not promote the concept of doing wholesale products for others to buy as in order to do it you would have to sell them at very low prices and the only way to get some of those prices that low is to use the cheapest materials you can find and we all know that cheap materials does not mean the price is cheap, the quality of the actual material is cheap and to say otherwise would be a lie.  So, with that out there, if anyone thinks that the business is to make stuff cheap and sell wholesale to others without caring what they do with YOUR work, you might be in the wrong room right now because real craftsmen don't think that way.

Starting to be way too many inexperienced "craftsmen" who are not really true to the trade of what we really do and that is a sad state of affairs.  Makes you want to find another home because all you are doing here, if you are one of the true experienced craftsmen, is sell your soul to everyone else who just wants to cheapen the final product.

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I remember when etsy started, far cry from what it is today. I also remember when ebay started, very far cry from what it is today. As is always the case ya start out one way, the money is found in a different direction and off it goes. Etsy will keep advertising the way it does and the owners of that business could give 2 Ss about what people are selling there. No way are they ever going to drop 5% in sales to say that cheap mass produced junk is not going to be sold on there site. 

 

 

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11 hours ago, MADMAX22 said:

I also remember when ebay started, very far cry from what it is today.

I remember the days when I mailed people a check and prayed they'd send the guitar I bought...crazy right?

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Guitars?  Uhh.. okay... that example works.  I think the boys here saying they would much rather have a hand made guitar (remember craftsmanship?) than a cookie-cutter POP (piece of poo) which someone made and sold... then marked up by that buyer and re-sold...  then marked up by that buyer and re-sold.... hen marked up by that buyer and re-sold.... until it's as much as the "real" one.  Usually accompanied by a long-winded story about how they had to walk to get it .. uphill both ways ....

I actually DARE to compare the ACTUAL ITEM - not the story attached to it.  As for "hand made", I'm adding an article about that to the site soon. Short version,  

  • if you use crap leather, no amount of 'hype' will allow you to sell it to me
  • if you hand stitch everything, that's okay.  But don't ask me to pay MORE when it could have been just as well not stitched by hand
  • I'm not opposed to the use of equipment in "hand made".  As long as you are using GOOD materials, I don't care if you cut it out with a knife, a die, or a band saw.  I also don't walk to get my leather, so ...

Okay, going back the bleachers in the "not my concern" section ...

 

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2 hours ago, JLSleather said:

Guitars?  Uhh.. okay... that example works.

 

I wasn't talking much about the actual art of selling on these sites... just the huge change... we're talking the year 2000 when I was still a teenager just buying on Ebay.

I just can't believe that back then the trust you had to have to use Ebay.

2 hours ago, JLSleather said:
  • if you use crap leather, no amount of 'hype' will allow you to sell it to me
  • if you hand stitch everything, that's okay.  But don't ask me to pay MORE when it could have been just as well not stitched by hand
  • I'm not opposed to the use of equipment in "hand made".  As long as you are using GOOD materials, I don't care if you cut it out with a knife, a die, or a band saw.  I also don't walk to get my leather, so ...

 

I totally agree with you as far as machines go...I don't think a machine exists yet that will suck in a cow and pop out wallets.  I think if the end product is the same there's no point in "labor for labor's sake"  For cutting this is especially true, there is absolute not advantage of hand cutting over die cutting or laser cutting.

I do use an automated stitcher for sewing velcro to the back of flight badges, and those are the only thing I'd not call "hand made" that I make, but even that's debatable.

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Yeah, cutesy isn't the only place misusing the 'handmade" labels.  See it all the time.  Holster makers are not the worst, but are among the most obvious.  I mean -

buy leather. Cut out pieces.  Edge, glue, etc.  Sew.  Form (press, vaccuum, bones, whatever). Burnish.  Dye (unless already done for you in the buying leather stage).  Apply finish (usually).

Now, exactly what part in that is so very different from what someone else does.. say, for example, Galco?  They buy drum dyed leather.  Cut out the pieces.  Edge and glue. Sew.  Form (press, vaccuum, bones, whatever).  Burnish.  Apply finish (and a logo stamp).

Now, the order may not be the same one to the next.  But, really, the only difference is Galco's "maker" stamp is different than yours, and they do it BETTER than you :rofl:

So unless you're offering something OTHER than what they're giving, then WHY would a sane person pay you MORE than they charge for theirs?  Yes, I know there will be some lining up to go on about a "sunburst" paint job (or other gender considerations).  And some customization is valid. But that's so simple to do that you can't really complain about "competition" when 10000 others do the SAME thing.

Suddenly, "handmade" means less, since much of the handmade isn't.  Like that old oil commercial years back.. "if you can't TELL the difference, then why PAY the difference?"

And then, have to question if genuine QUALITY handmade leather goods really belong over there in the middle of acres of dime-store "stuff" (I chose that word to be nice).  And IF you really have quality stuff, and do the work yourself, the WHY give cutesy (or anybody) a 'cut' ? 

 

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I know for a fact that the motorcycle bags I make KILL most of the high priced store bought brands in terms of quality of construction, materials and durability. I know this the same way I know I am right handed. In addition I usually come in at half the price of say something someone paid a lot more money for because it came with an orange eagle on it and said HD. How Harley gets to sell some of that junk at a premium is a testament to marketing genius. My holsters .. eh .. I will put them up against galco construction and fit wise and I think mine are prettier and I charge less. Of course I dont have their overhead.

All that aside ... from a consumer standpoint it is about who you chose to support with your hard earned money. I try and give to charity when I can and I can give to the Kids in a wheelchair fund or disabled vets or monsters without borders. Its the same money and they may all be equally valuable programs but I want to choose since its my money. Where I get a little .. tiny little .. bit annoyed with say etsy is that if a consumer wants to support a small crafts person or artist instead of a guy whose sole responsibility is to sew the liner on wallets with the super sewer 800 then it is kind of disingenuous when you refer to your site as products by artisans and chuck in factory stuff. Granted the guy in the factory needs to make a living and buying the factories products is just as important to me as buying from "that leather dude" but I want to pick and chose my spots. In the same way if I give money to disabled vets that is where I want my money to go and if you tell me your charity supports vets and I give and you really support something else .. I feel mislead.

Recently I saw page after page of cheap Pakistani knives on etsy ... bad form and each page said hand made.

When I had it like that and was still working and making fair money I would seek out those small time Craftsman and artist guys and if I paid an extra 10 bucks it was alright with me because I was not just buying a product but supporting an individual craftsman. Blemishes or idiosyncrasies to some extent add charm. I watched a group of old polish craftsman hand carving head boards. Unfortunately they themselves made very little but the work was amazing and every carve line was a thing of beauty a cnc will never get right. I will pay extra just so that art form still lives and someone is alive that knows how to do it.

Having said all that ... I try not to think so hard. My wife and I have a thing we call a "Non Dilemma."  As I am sure most here have .. we have been through hard times and had real problems. Cant spend half a century or more on the planet and not have experienced some real butt clinchers. Sink is clogged .. sucks but non dilemma.  So things like this fall under non dilemma .. Its ever so mildly irritating and amusing to talk about but in the greater scheme .. it dont mean a  thing.

Im going to have to check out some of the other sales outlets posted in this thread. :)

 

I think I would really enjoy selling from a table. I spent a lot of time on both sides of trade show booths and enjoy the banter and talking with people. While my stuff sells briskly my pictures dont do my work any justice and I would love more people to see them in person. Table rent is expensive though and you have to sign into a contract for X amount of days and then it becomes like work.

Edited by Boriqua

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The HD stuff IS funny.  "Buy American"....is a bit silly when you IMPORT parts. Truth is, unless you are Cheyenne, Souix, Navajo, or other "native" american, then you are an immigrant.

People go on about "made in China crap (junk, whatever)" ... but truth is the Chinese are some INCREDIBLY talented people.  Unlike "americans" (who are in fact just European, Asian, and African immigrants) who are basically not used to having to work at all.  In fact, through history - like now -- in most cases of things worth doing, you'll likely find some "american" (immigrant, as described) was merely taking credit for what was largely Chinese-made.  Necessity really IS the mother of invention, and those who have had to work are usually the best at it.  I've seen a little gal from China using a sewing machine at ROCKET pace.  ZIP ZIP ZIP and DONE.  Stitch up and down a lined belt ... maybe a whole minute.. with most of the time taken in the turns.  Tight stitch, using 207 bonded thread, as  well as any.  Because she's FAST doesn't mean it's not done well.  In fact, she didn't think of it as all that fast -- normal to her.  She deem 'americans' who take half an hour to do this as lazy-slash-stupid!

Not just China, though.  Listen to the stories (and innuendo) and you'd think that guns were invented in the 13 colonies (along with Amendment II) and that leather craft originated and is being perfected in Texas :rofl:  But gun powder was a Chinese invention and leather craft was made popular (and brought to the states) by the Spanish.

I quit doing "table dances" (shows) a while back.  Last one I did the big sellers were some gal painting Iowa State trademark infringements on used bricks, and the hot dog cart ;)  So, what you end up with is a bunch of people who showed up to spend a LITTLE money, don't care what they're getting (since it's the fun of "getting" they want, not the goods), and a bunch of their kids, who want to come look at your "cool leather stuff" with mustard on their fingers ... :rofl:

Some things defy sense.  I don't have any idea why someone would pay good money for a piece of pre-dyed leather (horween seems to be the "buzz word" lately) folded a couple of times and stitched up the side.  I personally think that would be a good project for the local girl scouts... click em out and let the little girls sew the edge.  But in the end, if it aint my money being spent, then it's neither my business nor my problem....

 

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I am reminded of the author's debate on quality in "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance."

some of the thousands of thoughts in the book:

“For every fact there is an infinity of hypotheses. ”

“If someone's ungrateful and you tell him he's ungrateful, okay, you've called him a name. You haven't solved anything.”

“Absence of Quality is the essence of squareness. ”

“We have artists with no scientific knowledge and scientists with no
artistic knowledge and both with no spiritual sense of gravity at all,
and the result is not just bad, it is ghastly.”

"Of the value traps, the most widespread and pernicious is value rigidity. This is an inability to revalue what one sees because of commitment to previous values."

“And what is good, Phaedrus,
And what is not good—
Need we ask anyone to tell us these things?” 


― Robert M. PirsigZen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values

 

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3 hours ago, JLSleather said:

The HD stuff IS funny.  "Buy American"....is a bit silly when you IMPORT parts. Truth is, unless you are Cheyenne, Souix, Navajo, or other "native" american, then you are an immigrant.

People go on about "made in China crap (junk, whatever)" ... but truth is the Chinese are some INCREDIBLY talented people.  Unlike "americans" (who are in fact just European, Asian, and African immigrants) who are basically not used to having to work at all.  In fact, through history - like now -- in most cases of things worth doing, you'll likely find some "american" (immigrant, as described) was merely taking credit for what was largely Chinese-made.  Necessity really IS the mother of invention, and those who have had to work are usually the best at it.  I've seen a little gal from China using a sewing machine at ROCKET pace.  ZIP ZIP ZIP and DONE.  Stitch up and down a lined belt ... maybe a whole minute.. with most of the time taken in the turns.  Tight stitch, using 207 bonded thread, as  well as any.  Because she's FAST doesn't mean it's not done well.  In fact, she didn't think of it as all that fast -- normal to her.  She deem 'americans' who take half an hour to do this as lazy-slash-stupid!

Not just China, though.  Listen to the stories (and innuendo) and you'd think that guns were invented in the 13 colonies (along with Amendment II) and that leather craft originated and is being perfected in Texas :rofl:  But gun powder was a Chinese invention and leather craft was made popular (and brought to the states) by the Spanish.

I quit doing "table dances" (shows) a while back.  Last one I did the big sellers were some gal painting Iowa State trademark infringements on used bricks, and the hot dog cart ;)  So, what you end up with is a bunch of people who showed up to spend a LITTLE money, don't care what they're getting (since it's the fun of "getting" they want, not the goods), and a bunch of their kids, who want to come look at your "cool leather stuff" with mustard on their fingers ... :rofl:

Some things defy sense.  I don't have any idea why someone would pay good money for a piece of pre-dyed leather (horween seems to be the "buzz word" lately) folded a couple of times and stitched up the side.  I personally think that would be a good project for the local girl scouts... click em out and let the little girls sew the edge.  But in the end, if it aint my money being spent, then it's neither my business nor my problem....

 

Well ya can go screw yourself if you say I am not American or hard working (just MHO). Ive worked my butt off my whole life and I was born here in America and have defended it for many years. I am not a immigrant by the way, nor were my parents, nor grandparents. My great grandparents were most of them (some "Native American"). 

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Oh and another thing JS, while I am at it. Yeah I will pay more for a custom holster that is dual 5oz leather on each side, nicely done using WC or HO leather with 207 or 277 thread  vs mexican imported cheap single 5oz leather and 138 thread if your lucky. Oh and yeah Ill pay more for it. 

Edited by MADMAX22

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