I’m sure I’ve mentioned, in previous posts, about my hand made jewellery and accessories ‘mini-business’, Treasures and Trinkets. This post is about the little highs, and the oh-so-many lows that I have suffered since starting crafting.
I was trawling through various pages on facebook one day, when I saw a page that a lady had made, showing off her creations ready to sell to the users of facebook. Although the items were impressive, I told myself that I could do that; I could make that; I’m sure I can make items better than that… And that is how I started.
I bought some beads, wire, fixing and findings, and then I made a page on facebook. I chose the name of the site immediately. Treasures would be the earrings, bracelets, anklets and necklaces; and the Trinkets would be any accessories that I would make, such as keyrings, bookmarks, mobile phone charms, etc.
The items that I had bought came through fairly quickly, although I was missing a few vital tools to handle the fiddly bits. I rushed out to our local DIY store, and bought a set of pliers! The set had three different types of pliers. One was a wire cutter, one was a flat-headed pair, and the other was a needle-nose pair. Just what I needed, and they were only £2.99!
I began with the basics. I made a pair of earrings, with parrot charms. The next pair I created had beads and a charm… The more I made, the more ideas I had. I then stretched out to created bracelets with wire, but I could never tie the knots to strength, so I tried my hand at using earring findings instead. All of my items were beautiful, and my husband, mum, and other family members agreed. However, the test was now to come.
I found a neutral coloured background, and I photographed all of my creations to put on facebook. Uploading, typing descriptions, sizes, working out costs, etc. for each item was painfully long and dull. It was wonderful to think that a pair of earrings that I had made, could be sold for £1.50. I thought I worked out the prices beautifully…
I joined several networking pages, and I started to promote my page. ‘Likes’ and fans started dotting here and there… Eventually, I had over 800 likes!
Then all of a sudden, I received a message… “I came on your page to wish you luck with your new venture, but I’ve seen that all you’ve done is copy my items…” Several messages, threats and nasty comments started appearing on my page over the next few weeks…
I had done nothing wrong. I hadn’t copied a single item of the questioning competitor. I had checked all of my items against all of hers, and what I saw astonished me. I had uploaded a photo of a pair of earrings two weeks before the messages started; on the page of my competitor was exactly the same pair of earrings (her own work), with a date stamp of just four days after I had uploaded mine. She had copied me!
I did not rise to the insult. I simply deleted all of her comments and messages, and I blocked her, and her page, from accessing me and my Treasures and Trinkets.
Right now, I’ve had my page open 20 months. How do I know it to be such an unusual amount of time? Well, I started it when my little man was a tiny tot.
Anyway, besides the torment of an envious person, how’s the business?
Two words. A nightmare.
I can honestly put my hand on my heart and say that, over the past 20 months, I have made two sales. One pair of earrings, and a ‘wish bottle’. The two came to a total of £3.50.
How much have I spent on my ‘mini-business’? Probably about £150 over the 20 months.
Personally, I think that it all depends on what you’re selling as to whether you will get your sales on facebook. I’ve seen other jewellery and accessory pages have less than a hundred fans, and yet there are comments after comments on their pictures, asking to buy their items… It’s not that their jewellery is any better than what I make, or that they’re selling it for cheaper than I am, it’s that their jewellery is so different to mine. They do ‘wire work’, fiddly beading, etc. And their prices are so much higher than mine!
So let’s stray away from the dreaded FB. I have been to three craft fairs with my items. Two fairs were a complete and utter flop, and one was highly successful. The two fairs that were a disaster were professionally organised by a craft / produce fete company. The successful fair was a church tabletop sale!
It really make me wonder why I bother. I’m feeling really let down that I have so many ‘likes’, yet so little sales… I know it’s quality, not quantity, and I know that out of the quantity of people who like my page, there are probably only one or two that are quality. It’s really sad to say.
Anyway, that’s Treasures and Trinkets. Or, that ‘was’ Treasures and Trinkets. I’m contemplating shutting the page down, but I have a few people tell me not too because my work is beautiful… If that were true, where are my buyers? *sigh*