Thursday, July 26, 2012

Graduating From Etsy

I can't remember exactly when I first started thinking about "graduating" from etsy. I think it might have been this article by Megan Auman. Or perhaps when my licensing Fairy Godmother suggested I find an agent who would allow me to keep selling on etsy until I'd "grown out of it." At the time it was a foreign concept. Why in the world would I ever want to leave etsy? After all, it had been pretty good to me. I'd been featured a couple of times (here and here); I'd been one of the top 10 handmade sellers for three years, racking up nearly 30,000 sales. And wasn't this everyone's dream? To make it big on etsy and quit your day job? I had this strange feeling of guilt about it. Like I'd been given a cupcake, but wanted a whole huge cake instead.

But the more I thought about it, the more the idea took root and grew. Etsy's been great, but could there be something bigger? Something that took less time (i.e., I could go to bed before 4 am), or less fees, or had more exposure? It was both frightening and exciting to think about.

My etsy experience has been a bit like high school. I came in as a wide-eyed Freshman almost four years ago, having just left my great non-profit job to pursue piddix full-time. I worked unbelievably hard, learned a ton, and made great friends. The sophomore slump hit when my husband was laid off from work and we had to reevaluate piddix. Could I really support my whole family with just the income from piddix? The answer was yes, with even more hard work, time, and excitement. Junior year exciting things started to take shape outside of etsy: printed collage sheets for bead and paper stores, an amazing licensing agent who placed my work in stores like Target and Trader Joes. To continue the high school analogy, I began visiting colleges and thinking about life past graduation.

Finally, I've made it to my senior year. Am I ready to get out of here? The answer--after some testing, happy accidents, and a bit of leaping and hoping a net will appear--is yes. I moved all my digital collage sheets over to my instant site and will slowly work on making that much more user friendly. I'm keeping a small presence on etsy of my digital collage sheet CDs for a while. And I'm having a quick one-week "closing shop" sale so that all my old etsy links will stay with me rather than directing folks to other stores. For those of you who may eventually outgrow your own etsy shop, this has worked well for me since--once my closing shop sale is over--I can sell different items on etsy and still direct people to my new store without violating etsy's terms of use. And I'm really, really fortunate in that I'll be able to take a lot of my etsy friends with me through the absolutely amazing community of piddix newsletter subscribers that's built up over the years.

I used to think I was the only one who was simultaneously afraid of success and failure at the same time. What if I made something too big, too wonderful? Or even worse, what if I didn't? But recently I've talked with a lot of other women and read posts from others who have similar misgivings (there's even a new Facebook group to tackle this fear of jumping in). We hold ourselves back for some reason when we don't need to.

So, with a deep breath and a moment of reflection about how great my years on etsy have been, it's time to head off to "college" and all the excitement and challenges it will bring. See you all there.

10 comments:

Katie at Tweed Editing said...

Collage college, you might say. Congrats!

Me Sweet said...

Your fans will always be your fans. Etsy or not!

Evelyn S. said...

Congratulations on your graduation!

RieAdore said...

Thank you for sharing your talent with us. And thank you for giving us quality links and information in your newsletters. We may have found you through Esty but we'll follow you through the web Corrina - how can we not?

karen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dani Perry said...

Congrats! I always check Target to see what they have of yours! So neat!

karen said...

You are such an inspiration to me - I'll be a fan and follower wherever you are. Congratulations on your graduation!
Warmest wishes old friend!

dsigns said...

Good for you!! Best of Luck and thanks for sharing your wonderful "finds" for collage.

Mandi said...

Congrats! Good for you! You did it and you should be proud! : ) Love your stuff!

Inger de Wild said...

Good luck in the future!! :-)

/Inger de Wild