Well finally I have ousted Spot from the blog and am here to tell you how life is and what I've been up to.
I've been a bit slack on the blog since the Crafters' Barn website went live. It's been a big task and I'd like to publicly thank KMS Web Solutions for all the hard work in getting my somewhat half baked idea up and running and knowing what I was thinking even tho' i often couldn't articulate it.
The Crafters' Barn was a really important project to me for a lot of reasons. As a few of my regular readers know, I lost a good friend to cancer last year and needed a project to keep me focussed and working in a creative way. (Strangely, book-keeping didn't really fit the bill?! - who knew?) I had originally thought that I would just sell my knitting, probably on Etsy or somewhere like that. But the more I looked into it and worked out the commission rates, the more I realised that it was a pretty complicated calculation to work out how I could make money selling that way, and the longer I thought about it, the more I thought I couldn't be the only one that found it hard.
The Crafters' Barn therefore became a passion of mine. To provide a site for crafters to sell where once they had paid their monthly fees there were no more surprises (well other than paypal fees but we can't help that) Margins, overheads, profit markups...... whatever you want to call it could easily be worked out based on getting stuff on a site to sell rather than a differing amount depending on whether you did sell.
The fee structure was worked out to be approximately equal to listing 10 items in a month on the other main selling sites (which roughly charge 20p per item to list) and that is that. No more fees. *phew*
The site would be easy to use, and safe and secure. It is aimed at all crafters, but particularly those that maybe sell via facebook but are finding that increasingly difficult to administrate and small businesses that are just testing the water in online selling. I aim to be a springboard to allow people to venture into the virtual world and build themselves a market, and then when they're all grown up, to watch them maybe go off and set up their own site when they are comfortable and have a good base clientèle.
The Junior and Senior school of online craft selling if you will?
The shops have a few customisable functions. Email contact, logo, and facebook and twitter ID's can all be added to superimpose the banner on each shop. So shops can begin to market themselves and gain interest with their own branding. Items can be put "on sale" at discounted prices, for ever, or for set periods of time to clear stocks. And whenever I can I put little guides on to help people sell their items. For example I have a guide about SEO and using metatags, which many sellers don't know about.
All products are submitted to google, and we are already doing quite well in the search rankings for some items, but the more sellers we get who use their titles and descriptions well, the better we will do - my aim is to be first page for many handmade items.
Sellers can also register their own domain and have it point straight to their shop bypassing the Crafters' barn homepage. http://noosknits.co.uk is an example (a little self plugging there!) So, if they are wanting to start building a business model they can do this, then move their domain off to their own website when they are ready.
The look of the site is young and vibrant. i love its quirkiness. Very different to most of the other craft sites, but fun for its uniqueness. That doesn't mean we are not working all the time to improve the look, usability and functionality. That will probably be a never ending task.
So all in all that's why i've been a bit lax here with my posting. We have around 70 shops now, of which I think 50 odd currently have stock in them. I am trying to fit in knitting too, I have finished a few items for sale in the barn, but they're not photographed yet. Plus I have a childs school cardigan on commission and a couple of cushion covers. The orders are racking up now for the chillier months. It's great.
In other news Chez Noo, there are five red silkie chicks that hatched last week - wanna see?????
The little one up top needed a couple of hours down my bra when it hatched as Mum let it get cold :( But it perked up and now I can't tell which it was as they all look the same size and nice and healthy. So fingers crossed. 5 hatched out of 6 eggs - my best hatch rate ever.
Right, I need to be off to cook my tea
T'il soon ♥