If you follow me on social media you will probably have already seen this post but I wanted to give a little more context and have a more permanent record of my experience.
About a month ago I had a major wobble with my business. After an unexpectedly slow start to the year I was starting to doubt myself and what I was doing. Clarise Crafts has grown very consistently since I started in 2013 and I’ve been fortunate enough to not have any major setbacks. So when I was geared up for a crazy busy January; usually one of my busiest months of the year and the sales just fizzled out I started to panic.
Etsy is my primary income source, when I set it up I considered it just a bonus but when Facebook made some changes to their algorithm, my direct sales rapidly decreased as my Etsy sales rapidly increased. I’m fully aware that having all my eggs in one basket is not a good business structure so I am still building up my website traffic, mailing list and everything else that goes with it.
I have no idea why my Etsy sales experienced such a massive slump, I spent hours scouring forums and groups to see if there was anything going on. I came to the conclusion that there was not one reason but it was possibly a whole host of reasons.
- A large chunk of my orders are now wedding and baby related from individuals so I am at the mercy of the retail calendar which naturally slumps post Christmas.
- There was a drop in the exchange rates for USD and as nearly half my customers are outside of the UK, my products did not seem as good a value.
- Etsy have been working on lots of updates to the interface and the search functions. Products have started clumping again so this is a sign that things are going on behind the scenes we don’t fully understand.
- Probably lots of other things I haven’t considered yet.
I had a few days of comfort eating and Netflix binging (I watched all 10 seasons of Friends in 2 weeks, seriously!) and then I decided to do something about it. My head was still in such a negative space and I didn’t feel like staring a computer screen with my sparse order list so I went back to basics and took out my pens, notebooks and sketchbooks and just started doing. ⠀
In those quiet times over the past few weeks I’ve amazed myself with what I have achieved, I’ve created so many new designs, in fact I have redesigned and updated most of my major product ranges. I also had time to work and practise with my DSLR and feel I’ve made massive strides with my photography. I even honed my workflow for better productivity when hopefully the busier times return.
Being completely honest, at the time it felt like it had just dropped off a cliff when in reality I went from crazy busy to just steady and things have already started to pick back up. I’d like to think it was down to my persistence but in reality it is likely just down to the natural ebb and flow of business. I’m now longer as scared of having a quiet time because it means I get to work on those things on the more fun things on the to do list and get to have a bit more creativity.
I would like to thank each and every person who supports my small business as it really does make a huge impact on me. When I initially posted this on Instagram, it attracted over 300 likes and so many encouraging comments which means the world to me as I have feel so disconnected on social media recently. My hopes are to stay connected, be honest and authentic and keep on trucking.