Jewelry Supply Shop: Lesson Learned

Sometimes the hardest lessons learned can be like a train that’s coming right at you, but you continue to stand there on the track thinking you can keep it from running you down.  I’ve had an experience like this.  It’s something I’ve been trying to avoid for a while now, but it always seemed inevitable.

This month, I couldn’t afford to pay my Etsy fees for Markalino Charms and Supplies and anyone who visits the shop, will see that it no longer exists.  It still exists, but Etsy has deactivated it, so it appears to have disappeared off the face of the earth.  This isn’t a stab at Etsy…they were providing the service and in the end, I wasn’t able to pay my dues in time.  Granted, I was still able to pay for my Etsy fees for Markalino Swanheart Jewelry, which is my primary business and I will always make sure that stays open.

For several months, I’ve had to jump through hoops trying to keep the supply shop open, but not through the wisest means.  One mistake I’ve made in running the supply shop is when sales were slow, I’d offer previous customers insanely good coupon codes for 40-50% off their total order.  My prices have always already been very competitive and even too low at times.  It got to the point where my customers never shopped in the supply shop until I offered another big discount.  Of course, why pay full price when they know they’ll eventually get another coupon code knocking half off the bill?   I always had this hope that eventually more people would find my shop through my efforts to stay on top of my listing SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and that sooner or later business would pick up on its own and I wouldn’t have to offer big coupon codes.

There’s a ton of competition out there when it comes to offering jewelry making supplies on Etsy and I wonder how they stay in business with some of the prices I’ve seen, or even paid for supplies to make my own jewelry pieces.  Is it a struggle for them?  Are they barely able to pay their shop fees?  I know that yes, $0.20 per listing is cheap, but when you have a multitude of items to list in your shop, it can really add up…especially when you’re combining it with fees from sales, plus the shipping for orders that is added to the monthly bill because of using Etsy’s shipping service.

It got to the point where I couldn’t buy supplies to add to the shop and my inventory was becoming less and less, until all that was left was what people apparently didn’t have a need for.

So, at this point I plan on just paying off the fees for the supply shop, but after that I’m going to be closing the account down altogether.  What I will do, however, is add listings for my custom, handmade charms to the Markalino Swanheart Jewelry shop, because it’s not a huge amount of listings to pay fees on and they do pretty well, sales-wise.  This way my existing charm customers can still order custom charms, but I won’t have to maintain two shops.

So, lesson learned…if you are currently running a supply shop on Etsy, or any other selling platform, or if you’re planning on opening one, don’t be foolish and offer big discount coupon codes just to make sales.  In the end, you’ll end up with nothing and it’ll all have been pointless.