But there are still deals to be had on my Etsy shop for those willing to place a larger order. Right now until end of July, the following rules apply shop wide:
10% off all orders over $20.
15% off all orders over $30.
Free shipping on all orders over $35 (this has been true for years and will remain true after July)
20% off all orders over $45.
25% off orders over $60
30% off orders over $75.
If you want to buy a ton of items – custom print orders of large scale, etc, this is a good opportunity to do so.
When this July opportunity is over, we’ll head into August and throughout August the deal shifts into a similarly experimental ‘flash deal mode’ – daily deals become the norm – with a random number generator picking five really random listings to discount by equally random amounts anywhere in the range from 5-55%. Every night at midnight the set of discounted listings will change. Could be fun and if you time it right it’s entirely possible you could nab a ridiculous deal on an item you want at some point that month!
Finally, early September is Labor Day sale time, and *everything* will be over 15% off. Exact numbers TBD but… certain listings that have gone nowhere for a long time will see drastic discounts of up to 70%. That is pretty nuts!
My Etsy shop was supposed to be leveling off and headed into the background, supposedly.
I raised pricing noticeably… to the extent that the shop is not only profitable but that margin is nearly doubled.
I also pretty much stopped promoting it with paid ad campaigns outside of Etsy.
Figured that would hold onto some of the existing, happy customer base, but not all of it, and limit the flow of new buyers, who in some cases are unpredictable, maybe difficult to deal with.
Well, what happened wasn’t a decline or a leveling off but a boom. The existing customers pretty much all kept ordering. And the new customers kept showing up despite my removal of ads leading into Etsy, but now the customers were arriving passively through Etsy itself at increasing rates. I realized that the reason was a temporary spike in the percentage of visitors who were buying, and apparently that metric spiking led Etsy as a platform to boost my listings and their visibility, including through the Etsy search ads you cannot opt out of. Beyond all this, my revenue has almost quadrupled, hitting $50-60/week in gains due to the pricing change, the lack of ad costs, and an uptick in buyers and to a lesser extent traffic generally. And… I’m just gonna roll with it now.
Yes, I’ve gotten a Cricut. Yes, I’m releasing a line of mini floral bouquets soon and they’ll start off at $4.49 each, then probably go up a bit once there are some reviews of them piled up. Most things on my Etsy are like that – the most underpriced stuff is almost always the stuff nobody is buying or reviewing yet.
I also have a ‘Greek architecture’ papercraft kit on the way, plus extension of all existing papercraft sets to O scale and T scale in about a month, and an upcoming option for precut kits at least with N, Z scale by June.
Yes, a few new paintings are being made. That’s not high priority but it’s still going on.
Yes, there was a Cinco De Mayo sale and everything was 15% off.
Yes, there’s a Mother’s Day sale coming up really soon (May 7-15) and everything will be at least 23% off throughout it. Some items are going to be over 30% off.
No, most sales in the future won’t have discounts quite that good.
Yes, I’m seeing 60 visitors daily on the shop lately. About half of them on any given day are probably new visitors.
Yes, I’ve had 75 people favorite the shop, up from 50 at the end of 2022.
And yes, I do have big plans elsewhere too. I’m working on some major stock media updates, for example, and a revised HornbostelVideos.com site design with a ton of additional video material, which goes live soon.
Thanks everybody, really excited about this actually and figure it’ll be a big deal in terms of overhauling and improving existing content and adding a lot of new things too.
I’ve been so swamped with Etsy orders some of them have been sent out pathetically late. So… of $600+ in sales this month, roughly $200 of that total will be refunded, more with orders that were over a day or two later than estimated.
This of course means all pay and profit for the month is now gone, in my attempts to resolve all the piled up complaints. The month has had well over 100 hours of Etsy work involved and I’ve earned nothing.
Upside: the buyers are generally all getting the items they ordered, even if later than is acceptable. And they get usually anywhere from 30-55% of their order value refunded in problem cases.
Downside: This consumed a lot of time and cash on my end so that now I cannot reasonably give family members a decent Christmas this year AND realistically release a debugged version of Vivid Minigolf in 2022, so that little indie game is being delayed. It is being pushed back to a projected release on Feb. 23, 2023. This lets me get that launch done right even if it is later than everyone was hoping.
I can still pledge this: HornbostelVideos.com and TriumphantArtists.com will be nicely overhauled before the end of 2022, among several other sites. And yes, I know, they were supposed to be ready in mid October. But the Etsy chaos has delayed a lot of things.
The weirdest note though here is that it seems the economy is tanking fast or something. I saw the sale activity was frenzied for the first 2/3 of October and after that just kind of… drop off a cliff the past week starting Oct. 23… which is very weird. Possibly ominous. Especially given that the Etsy shop is now set with everything 15% off or more, and yet I went full 180 from insanely overloaded with orders to suddenly wondering where everyone went as soon as the sale began.
And it isn’t like there have been a pile of bad reviews so far. I managed to resolve most complaints at least passably, and the total number of ratings has gone up 18% since the month began. They’ve been still all positive somehow.
I am really unsure what is going on here.
And if you’re wondering, delays were NOT just me overloaded with orders.
At one point the printer flat out stopped working for a while, and only printed the cyan and yellow. I tried a ton of easy, then increasingly weird long shot fixes until hitting on one that (thankfully) worked, involving temporarily dismantling some parts in the printer and using Q tips dipped in distilled water to scrub specific areas in the printer. That printer malfunction delayed a bunch of orders and is responsible for a substantial chunk of the current delays.
Otherwise, nothing extremely odd. Just a few shipping and packaging issues, including a damp package that had to be redone/reprinted at one point (got wet because USPS didn’t pick it up in a timely manner, it just sat there for hours on end and was damaged) occasional lag and freezes in Photoshop, and a ton of stress trying to clear out the (still partially present) backlog of orders.
Yes, I am pulling two all nighters this week and yes, I am finally almost caught up with every order that has been placed.
I’m really sorry about how all this has played out for everyone. I tried to handle this well but things did not work out in anything close to an ideal way and I apologize for all the terrible missteps I have made here.
Thanksgiving to Christmas:
15-20% off all printing services
40-50% off papercraft and handmade art on canvas
60-70% off digital products.
PLUS – extra 10% off orders above $35 WITH free shipping included too!
Or if the order is over $50 in value, the extra 10% savings grows to 15% (!) making this the best pricing on large orders in a LONG time. 35% off big print orders potentially!
I’ve run through a few tough challenges in October, order pileups and scattered delays, refunds, even fully replacing my printer. But now things are finally running smoothly again and I am so excited about how the future looks here. 🙂
My Etsy shop from 2011-2018, zero sales. 2019, one sale and a positive review which I was quite grateful for. 2020, nine sales. 2021 prior to November, 16 sales. Then came this month, seven sales just this month! And ten reviews now too, all of them glowing five-star reviews!
Now, given enough time it could still unravel due to unreasonable behavior by enough buyers like my eBay shop has. On eBay circa 2020 I pretty much gave up on that… eBay by 2020 I spent hundreds of hours working and was losing money doing so, due to a combination of a flawed and overly generous and too trusting, business model and an alarmingly high proportion of unreasonable customers who were essentially trying to scam me. They would order a personalized artwork, when it arrived they would claim it was damaged or that it was not what they wanted, and threaten to give a scathing review unless there was a full refund. I kept my 100% positive feedback score but only because I was caving to all of these people. It sucked and it has caused me to make three clear determinations – one being no more time consuming personalized art for buyers in most cases unless the buyer has proven exceptionally reasonable through a series of previous orders. Two, is that eBay’s become too much of a cesspool and I don’t want to be an art seller there anymore, though occasionally I still use the platform to buy and sell other things. Three, that I need to enact refund policies that are not excessively trusting and generous, and price just enough profit margin in to survive and still profit despite the few who do still somehow manage to exploit me.
I still believe most buyers are genuine. I still charge less than a typical vendor, and my effective pay per hour remains well below minimum wage doing this. But it’s now not so low that it can be entirely cancelled out for the entire year if a few sales go sideways!
I was not convinced to set the current boundaries because of my own greed or any such thing. Actually, what finally convinced me to do it was the well being of the customers, who wanted timely response and delivery, wanted a growing roster of promising new products from me, wanted my venue to survive and grow because that was good not just for me but for them! And if the shops don’t remain viable that all goes down the tubes so… there is good reason to do what I need to do to make this all sustainable and able to expand.
I have a TON of new things I want to do in the near future. Not all of them make sense as Etsy products but many do. Some – digital games and gamedev asset packs, mainly – are going to be launched mainly on Itch.IO instead, or even Steam. But Itch.IO, despite longstanding efforts to gain reviews and sales there, has yet to really be viable. My Itch.IO profile still lacks the key first review or reviews which is perhaps necessary to get momentum going there.
So here is the plan for late 2021:
-games, a few of my small or midsized projects, will launch on Itch and Steam by end of year. That will likely drive activity to my Itch profile more than asset packs ever could. And it is something I’ve been working towards for an awfully long time regardless.
-asset packs shifting to become accessible outside Itch.IO, including Unity Asset Store submissions and a big complete asset pack collection on DVD and digital download, posted as a product on Etsy.
-Etsy things that are working will be built further if the prints continue to sell well, more print product options, like glossy photo prints, prints on normal weight copy paper, more size options, etc. Likewise, even more colorful and charming miniature papercraft kits based on even more architectural styles.
-sales will continue on Etsy. November 17-30 is now a planned sale range and all the papercraft items will be 40% off, all the other items 25% off, so should be pretty amazing. And there will be another sale leading into Christmas, if you want to cut shipment of things that close! (Dec. 10-18, 2021)
-sales also on Itch.Io. As in… Nov. 20-30, and Dec. 20-Jan. 2, 2022. So that is also going to happen.
I’m moving forward on a range of print products for sale on Etsy.
Art prints, posters, booklets, and – interestingly – papercraft miniature designs for use in model railroads and other scale models.
Related to that news, I’ve redesigned NScaleScenery.com, a long-dormant website, with a new layout and new content. Take a look at that if interested.
Some products, we’ll note, won’t be active until I have a high-quality large-format printer at home. So don’t expect big poster art or cardstock print sets above N scale until about a month or two from now.
The plan as it currently stands:
N, Z, T scale papercraft designs, the first British set anyway, will all be finalized and all listed – I’m pretty sure – within the next 48 hrs. The N scale listings already are viewable on Etsy.
I’m continuing to make some slight adjustments and these explain the occasional inconsistencies in the existing posted photos on Etsy. The clock on the ‘town hall’ building is now smaller, and not oversized. The church is being reworked to change the tower to a [more conventional looking] bell tower. And print contrast and sharpness has improved due to a few recent changes as well. Expect the showcase photos to be updated in the next day or two to reflect the last-minute improvements.
Posters and booklets are a ways off, but I can say that the booklets are VERY extensive and cover a vast range of my artworks over the past 20 years, in four volumes, and they’ll include a great deal of material not accessible to the public elsewhere. Some really cool and quirky stuff will be shown there. There was a cover design rendered in 3d for this, that incidentally is viewable and has been for some time, somewhere on one of my Pinterest boards. It’s the design titled ‘The Triumphant Artist’.
Posters – I noticed that creative maps are popular on Etsy and I’m well aware that the ‘cartoony’ stylized depictions of states, cities, and the landmarks within them, are perennial print sellers. I have been developing a concept of ‘3d-rendered’ versions of those sorts of things. The first one I’m doing? Texas, as it’s a huge state with a lot in it, and it’s a place that has a sort of independent state-pride streak that few other states have. So I’ve taken it upon myself to create a map graphic in 3d, complete with dozens of notable landmarks depicted in a somewhat stylized sort of 3d style, relatively prominent form all over the 3d, topographically realistic terrain. The map as a whole is very high quality, purely in pixel count terms we’re talking about a resolution of the source digital file, that is over 24k total image resolution. In other words, sharp and packed with details even though it’s covering an entire 13″ by 19″ poster surface!
More European building-set designs for papercrafters will arrive on Etsy in time for Valentine’s Day in February, potentially including some of the following:
-French city and rural buildings like those seen in Paris.
Amsterdam styled colorful buildings. And a windmill?
-Swiss Alps, architecture
-Venetian / Italian coastal town architecture
-Greek architecture as typical of places like Santorini, plus some ruins.
-Castles, with modular walls and drawbridges, of a generically Western-European sort, complete with banners and other medieval detailing.
If the miniatures sell decently out of the gate (even despite a few issues admittedly at the start) I might be able to justify expanding the product line to include HO and O scale by the end of February. I will also make an effort, in that event, to add other parts of the world beyond the European styles I’ve started this with. If you’re wondering what all this looks like, here’s one of the early diorama photos I’ve posted:
And maybe browse Etsy for cool new products this next month? There will be some interesting new things there, and yes, including a few new handmade original artworks soon as well. I haven’t given up painting!:
No, no sale for Valentine’s Day on Itch.IO – sorry. But I haven’t stopped work on the stock media or the indie game dev stuff. Far from it! Right now, in fact, I’m about to submit the first collection of my stock media content to the Unity Asset Store! And then on the game dev side, well, just know there’s a great deal going on there too, and while I failed to post much new in December-January there should be some major updates put online for all to see, by late February, including many new images, GIFs, and video content as well. There’s a ton of work going into those games but right now the public-facing focus is squarely on Etsy momentum and print products, and I’m really hoping that goes well.