I think if I just had to pick one favorite leather it would be this black horsehide. I really can't get enough of it - the texture, the feel, and the weight are all perfect. Available in three sizes in my shop. (The mini 4" size has a new zipper toggle style!)

I've been feeling a bit confused about where to find a "selling niche" lately. Sometimes I put things in my Etsy shop, sometimes in my Big Cartel shop - I bet this can be a bit confusing, and maybe even a bit annoying if you want to buy something from each but can't check out at the same time. I'm in the process of having my website re-designed (which I'm totally dragging my foot on - sorry about that, you know who you are :p) and hopefully when that is done I'll be able to build a shop right on that site and it will all be more streamlined. How do you prefer to shop? Off Etsy? Directly off a designers website? Big Cartel? It's tricky to figure it all out. I'd think three years after I started all this I'd have better grasp on everything, but some days I feel like I'm right back in square one!


Anonymous said...

I love the new zipper toggle on the smaller pouches. And the black leather does look scrumptious!

Laura said...

i use the pouch i got from renegade last year as a wallet and it makes me happy every time i see that bright blue. :)

i prefer to shop on a designer's personal site because it just feels more direct to me. i also like that all my $ goes to the designer, as opposed to the extra fees and stuff.

i'm on year 5 and still feel like i don't know what i'm doing sometimes. i don't think that feeling ever completely goes away!

anja louise verdugo said...

As a buyer I don't feel like my shopping experience is that drastically different on any site, but as a seller I know how complicated it can be to choose your platform! For my vintage shop (on etsy), I know that a lot of my sales come from people using the search, if I had a self-hosted site I'd be missing out on a lot of views and sales. You'd need to rely more on your customer base following your updates, without the random shoppers that stumble upon it through etsy. I dunno... man! It's tricky. Definitely make use of analytics/tracking so that you can see where your views are coming from. Fees obviously factor into it as well, I'd rather that the designer pays less fees to a hosting site, but it can be hard as a buyer to figure out which is best because we're obviously not seeing every little fee that you have to pay for each site, paypal, etc. On etsy I feel like we're paying for the traffic more than anything!

I've definitely had similar conversations with people who have been selling online for years... I don't think any of us have really truly figured out the "right" way to do it! There's too much change, too many options for anyone to really feel 100% confident about the way they're doing it. The most important part is that you keep making awesome stuff!

julia / rennes said...

Caroline - Thanks so much! I'm so glad you like the black leather, it's one of my favorites!!

Laura - I'm so glad you love your pouch! It was so nice to meet you - gosh that was almost a year ago now! And you shared your ice cream with me, which was so awesome of you!! :)

I also prefer to shop on a designers personal site for the exact same reasons - I like to know all the profit is going to them! But I don't know if that's just because as a seller I'm aware of fees, etc - and I wonder if a non seller/buyer only is as aware?

Glad to know the feeling never goes away, haha!! :p

Anja - Thank so much for sharing - all that was really helpful! It is so complicated choosing a platform - but I think you've definitely made etsy work well for you! So many people look for vintage items on there these days and your items are always so well presented! Etsy is definitely all about the traffic - it's hard unless you have a large customer basis to create your own traffic flow to your site. I think I'm just trying to branch out a little bit and try new things, but yes - it's like there are too many choices these days and that makes it all the more complicated, haha. :)

EvaForeva said...

This is such a hard and important decision. I would prefer to purchase from designer's website but from designer's perspective it's harder to keep up the traffic with their own website than with Etsy for example.

Ahhh, sweet pouches :-)

simple things said...

This is lovely, Julia. The new toggle is a nice addition. Definitely a keeper.

I would also prefer to buy things from someone's personal site if I know and trust them. If I don't know them and they don't have a blog or site where I can find out a bit about them, I would prefer to use etsy because it provides an additional level of security (although it is no guarantee - I can tell you from experience!)

I am sure that etsy opens up opportunities that a personal site cannot provide. It's a tricky one. Perhaps a more standard line on etsy and on your personal site (or (big cartel?), and your special and/or one off pieces could be just on your personal site (big cartel)? Just an idea.

Shirley said...

urgh! my new lappie and this firefox thing annoys me! totally deleted my long message.

anyway, gist of it is: time to evaluate where your business comes from and where it's going.

1. is the majority of your biz from repeat customers? 2. if you no longer had the random traffic from etsy would your income still be enough to sustain you and your biz? 3. what are you long term goals? as in, do you want to remain an independent designer selling piecemeal (which then definitely depends on a strong following/customer base) or do you hope to expand more to wholesale (where a strong fan base of your blog/sale announcements are less important)? or do you want to keep it real with the homies but move to a more professional look with big cartel or your own site?

i've seen it work in all ways. the black apple/emily martin still sells on etsy and it works for her. whereas wiksten/jenny gordy sold briefly on etsy and was able to attract such a strong following she can now sell on big cartel without the random traffic. just have to figure out what you prefer, what's realistic, and what you're going for in the long run. hope that helps!

stephanie renee said...

you are so productive, i love everything you have been coming out with lately! i always like shopping directly from designers.