New website, new blog! Etsy-Big Cartel- Shopify Platform Switching!

Posted by Amber Vonhofen on

Holllllaaa friends!  So some of my old time best customers and friends may have noticed I just switched over here to the Shopify platform from Big Cartel, and prior to that, over at Etsy!  And I can tell you although it has only been a few weeks, Shopify is where it's at!  
I previously wrote a blog post awhile ago about the change, and I will re-port that here today if you are curious about why I switched and maybe it will help you if you are trying to start your own business!  I will re-post the first blog post, but check the bottom for the most recent 2019 update!

I do want to also mention that I will be transferring over some older blog posts to keep the content here, so some dates may be different, but I think that is ok!  I would rather have my journey all documented in one place!  Have a great weekend!  Hug your kids, dogs and make something crafty!!!

****************************************************************

Hello beautiful friends!

As most of you know, I have been creating and selling my beautiful handmade goodies for several years.  I am so blessed to use my crafting addiction to create cherished items for you all!  Most of the profits I make go right back into supplies to create more stuff!

In the past year, I have really turned my focus on using those profits to give back to our Law Enforcement and Public Safety community.  As many of you know, I am a 911 Dispatcher, so the LE community is my second family.  We are tight.  We are united, and we help our communities and each other.

Selling goods over the past several years has been a huge learning curve!  Money spent, money wasted and money earned.  It is about learning to grow in the most effective, proficient and cost saving ways.  And since I love giving back so much, all those pennies matter to me.  Whether its saving money on shipping costs, supplies, advertising or your platform, it all adds up.  So in an effort to continue to grow and give back more, I have decided to ditch the Etsy platform.  Here is why.

Etsy has been a phenomenal platform for small creators, like myself, giving them the platform to start launching their dreams in selling their goods.  I love what Etsy has done for me.  A lot of my growth has been word of mouth and social media, as well as Farmer's Markets.  It does help to have a legitimate storefront so people don't think that you are a scam!  And everyone almost always asks, are you on Etsy?!

But over the years, Etsy has changed.  There are so many sellers on there, and in my opinion, the sad part is that not all of those are handmade crafters.  It has gone so mainstream that there are other sellers on there that are larger businesses and sellers that drown out the little guys.  Sad. Right?!

Etsy has advised us that as of the middle of July, it will be increasing it's fee from 3.5% to FIVE percent.  Doesn't sound like a lot, right?  Well here is how Etsy works for the sellers side.

 

  • It costs 0.20 cents to just list your product.  Per listing, and that is charged back to you every month that that listing is up in your shop.  Doesn't sound like much, but if you have a lot of things to list that does add up.  You will notice that some sellers have a lot of the same items double or triple posted.  Why?  Because how the algorithm works is the more listings you have posted, the more views you POTENTIALLY will get.  Same with the tags.  The more you have, the more you pay, the more potential you will have your item to pop up on the first few pages when they search what they are looking for.  So that is a reoccurring fee that will be recharged every month that it doesn't sell, and there is always adding new product that will cost you again.  Most shops will add these costs back in to their products to cover these costs or just eat the costs depending on their business model.
  • There are also ad's that you can pay extra for to have your items pushed to the top of the search page.  For a lot of people, the competition is so high that if you need sales, you may find this option a necessity.
  • Paypal.  Love me some Paypal.  No way of getting around their fees no matter which platform you are using. Paypal charges us 2.9% + 0.30 cents per transaction.  So for a $100 order, that would be $3.20 per transaction.  If you have several of those, these fees also add up depending on your sales.
  • And finally....the new Etsy fee hike.  Eek and barf.  On top of the 0.20 per listing fee, we have been paying them 3.5% of that orders sale price.  So we have the $0.20 listing fee + $3.20 Paypal + $3.50 Etsy percentage.  So $6.90 of every $100 sale goes away.  As of mid July, they will start taking 5% of every transaction, bumping from $106.90 to $108.40.  If you have a small hobby business, these all add up.  They are stating that it is to cover something with shipping, but most of us don't believe that, as most of us use the cheapest method to ship and refund any overages.

So although it has been a great start to my growth, I am saying BYE FELICIA to Etsy!  Some months I sell more than others, so having a flat fee would be better for me.  So where am I off to?  I recently was reading a post on my Instagram feed from a sweet crafter friend, Kim at Robot Mom Sews.  I had seen the recent email about the fee increase, and I was pissed off but said, well, if that is the only option we have, then that is what it has to be.  Kim posted that she was ditching Etsy and switching to Big Cartel.  I had heard of them before, but didn't think that I wanted to pay that monthly cost, and I didn't believe in myself enough at the time that those monthly rates would be worth it.

Last year I took the leap and got my own web domain as www.theblushingboston.com  Looks really official haha!  That will direct you, of course to here, the blog.

If you would like to purchase anything now, you will simply go to shop.theblushingboston.com .  Easy!

As always, you can message me on social media or email, or on the shops contact tab.

I am really, really enjoying the new set up.  It feels fresh and official, modern and looks so professional.  With a very affordable flat fee of $9.99 a month for up to 25 listings at Big Cartel and the Paypal fees, this is a way more viable option for me and my shop.  More money comes straight back to me, and therefore straight back to my heroes.  Payment methods will still be Paypal, and now you can also checkout with any credit card, without having a Paypal account.

So big changes, but I am still easy to reach and it is very much still easy to order!

If you have any questions please reach out! You know I love to chat!

 

 

******2019 UPDATE WITH SHOPIFY*******

So, here is a brief update on the additional change to Shopify.  Since this is my THIRD (eek) platform change, I thought I would tell you my opinion on the third, Shopify.  

So Big Cartel was great, I really liked it.  The ease of listing products was great, and although there isn't a lot of customization with the free themes, you can do some cool stuff in there.  You are also limited to how many photos you can have per post.  You pay based on how many products you want to list, but the pricing is pretty fair for what you get!  Overall, it is easy to set up and operate and worth it in my opinion.

But here's what I didn't like about it. 

The main thing was how many photos you could list per item.  That makes it hard for different variations of products.

* The shipping platform that I love, GoShippo, isn't supported directly to Big Cartel, at least not now.  They have several things that are "in the works or coming soon" category.  So everytime, I would have to weigh my items, and log in to GoShippo and do it the long way.  Not the end of the world, but that takes time.

* SEO and Facebook/Instagram integration.  HUGE.  Most of my business comes from social media.  I really wished I could have my customers just click on an image on Insta or FB and have them check out right there.  Again, that was another thing that Big Cartel was  working on and never came.  

* Shop.theblushingboston  I hated telling people that.  I like now, you can just go the the dot com.  Maybe there was a way to do that on BC but I couldn't figure it out.  BC is so simple that sometimes you just really wish you could do something but can't.  If you are super new to the game, I think Etsy and BC are great, but once you learn what you can do, it is kinda limiting.  

* I could never, I mean never, get my product photos to look right on my home screen.  They were always cut off and that drove me nuts.  

So what is the big deal about Shopify?  Here is what was appealing to me and why I made the switch, again!

* SEO and social media integration.  BAM.  Worth its weight in gold.  It is taking awhile to get all this together, but the fact that all of these platforms are so integrated and I will have better SEO is golden.  Once you get it all set up it is easy and everything talks to each other and links up.  It does take awhile.  It took me about three weeks of scattered hours and days to switch all of my products over and get the layouts right.  But once I figured it out it was super easy. Plus the support is great and there are a lot of help videos which explain things!  I love that now, you can shop from my FB or Instagram pages/feeds.  How easy is that?  If it is easy, more people are probably gonna buy those items opposed to just looking!  

* The photos are awesome, all the time, and you can have a lot!

* Integration with my shipping platform!  Plus it calculates shipping on my items!  I just weigh everything before I list it and it will calculate it all.  No more refunding for shipping!

* I can have my blog and shop in one place.  AMAZING!  

* Unlimited items to list

* Themes that are free and paid.  The free ones are great and you can still customize them a lot!

* Analytics are amazing, I haven't even really tapped into that and the marketing aspects yet!

* Easy to add discounts and coupon codes

* Keep track of customers and send newsletters!

* Easy app integration and overall pretty easy to set up with all the support that they have.

 

So what is the cost difference and what is best for you?  Obviously you need to determine that, but here is what I think.  

Etsy was taking too much money and I was getting swallowed in all the millions of things that were on there.   Wasn't great for my SEO and people organically discovering my products that had no idea who I am prior or my social media.  I was sick of paying money for little sales that were coming from Etsy.  Plus the fees were going up. Cost always varied. Bye Felicia.

Big Cartel had some features that I loved, but were missing more that I really wanted and needed.  The SEO wasn't great, the way the products were showcased and were cut off drove me nuts and it was harder to see and shop.  The lack of options for shipping integration I wasn't a fan of either.  With my plan, I could list up to 100 items with 5 photos each for a flat fee of $19.95 a month.  

Shopify has several different plans, but I have a basic plan which has everything I need.  I am paying a little more per month now, $29, so $9 more.  I typically always have some sales so this gets covered no problem, but it has been awesome so far.  It did take awhile to set up like I said before.  I had a two week trial to play around and list some items to see how it would look.  I did change a bunch of stuff to get it to how I wanted it, and it did take some time!  Once I figured out how all the variants and collections worked and where those end up on my page (sounds lame but that was the hardest thing!) I was able to get rolling.  Then the task of transferring all my photos, item descriptions, weighing items etc.  That is what took a long time.  I had a good amount of products and variants so it took me about 12 hours total to get all my products over.  But I really love the way it came out.  I will still have to go back and lighten up some photos with my new Lightroom app which I LOOOOVE, but that is for another day.  There is a lot more to Shopify, but once it's set up, it will really help you grow, and I have seen it already and I really dig it.  I will write another review in a few months!

BYYEEE!!!!

 

XO amber