I sell my crochet and knit items online. It is a way for me to earn extra money outside of my day job as a paralegal. I enjoy knitting and crocheting - it is my stress reliever. I am always working with yarn, whether at home after a stressful day or I'm at the dance studio while my son takes class. I am at the studio 4 nights a week. That is a lot of down time. And I'm not the type of person to sit still. I have to be doing something.
One day, not long ago, I decided not to take my yarn with me to the studio. I sat there with a friend of mine and I was so bored!!!!! Not from talking to my friend, which is always fun, but because I wasn't doing anything productive. Never again, let me tell you.
I also crochet and knit at home while watching tv. I watch a lot of tv and movies. But, again, I can't sit still. I have to be doing something. I am a multitasker. It is even difficult for me to just sit and eat a meal without doing something else, even watching tv. So I use my meal time as a way to catch up on my social media, chat with friends all around the world. Look for new patterns.
So I make a lot of stuff. My apartment is full of finished products, half finished products, yarn, patterns, etc. You name it, I probably have it somewhere tucked away. I do sell at craft shows and I do relatively well. But I can't do craft shows every weekend, as much as I would like to. I just don't have the time to do that, and work, and raise my son. That and I don't have products that are good to sell all year, unless you count my ruffle scarves. I'm slowly getting there. Branching out, if you will.
So, I sell online. After all, there is always cold weather somewhere, right?
I started off on E, and I started many, many years ago. At first I sold my Aes Sedai shawls. Or at least, I attempted to. None of them sold and I was wasting my money on listing fees. So I took a break and experimented with yarn and patterns. After awhile I came up with my Flip-Furs and started selling those, which actually sold to a certain extent. I started making more things and listing them and I was selling sporadically. I had my busy times and slow times. No biggie, right? I was happy to a certain extent.
Then E started to change policy. Resellers have always been a problem on E. They pop up all over the place, all of a sudden with a ton of sales. How are they doing this? I have yet to figure that out. And we, as a community, are supposed to police for E and report such shops. Sometimes they get shut down, sometimes not.
Then E got the bright idea to allow shops to grow and hire manufacturers to help make a part of their product. Okay, not bad. After all, as a seller online, you often are working 20 hours a day if you are successful. Filling orders instead of spending time with family. Some sellers just have that luck in business. And they deserve it. I'm not saying they don't. And they hire help on the side for invoicing, packaging, product descriptions, etc. Anything but creating the actual product. Well, this policy allows them to outsource some of their work. Great! Yay! I have no problem with this. Allow your sellers to grow. Because if you don't, they will leave E and set up their own shops and hire help anyway. Keep the money flowing in.
But now they are allowing straight up manufacturers to come in and sell their products. Products made in sweat shops. And you are allowing them to categorize their products as "handmade". This is what I have a problem with. This is what many sellers have a problem with and they, like myself, start looking for other venues. I do not want to sell my handcrafted products that I am very proud of next to cheap, foreign manufacturer made junk that sells for pennies compared to my prices. My prices are not that high to begin with, but I still price my stuff to take into account supply costs, the difficulty of the product to make and my time spent. And I am certainly not going to stay at a place that calls these cheap products handmade. Because they aren't.
So I moved to Zibbet. Zibbet is certainly smaller than E, but it is growing. There is a great community of people who are willing to help you, talk to you, share their own trials and mistakes. There is a chat room where I am often hanging out in while crocheting or knitting. And I have made sales. Sales where I did not have to play games to earn like I did on E. I let my products speak for themselves. I promote on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter. Half of my sales so far have come from people who have signed up for a Zibbet account the day they purchased from me. My products are getting found.
Comparing E to Z. E charges a 20 cent listing fee for every listing. Each listing is only good for 3 months. Then you have to relist your item, and that's another 20 cents. Then, for ever product you sell, they take a commission. If you have Direct Checkout where customers can use their credit card instead of Paypal, that's another commission. If the customer uses Paypal, that is another commission out of your listing price.
Zibbet - no commission off what you sell. Zibbet has 2 options - a free account or a paid premier account. With the free account, you can list up to 50 items. Still, no commission except for Paypal. A great way to see if Zibbet is the right venue for you. I have a premier account. Right now you can lock in a yearly fee of $79 for a year for life. Your membership fee will never go up. But there are only a few of these memberships left. With the premier account, you can list as many products as you want. You get more options with the premier account, as well, such as more pictures, the ability to put a section or your whole shop on sale, create coupons. And you have your CEOs/founders who are always in the forums answering your questions. They have a support guru in Vicki, who answers your questions about glitches within 24 hours.
With Zibbet, if you ask people what you can do to get sales, they will tell you to work on your pictures, work on your SEO (search engine optimization), work on product descriptions, add more products. They won't tell you to join groups and promote within your groups. After all, are you trying to sell to people who make the exact thing you do? No. You are looking for the customer out there who will find you using Bing or Google or any number of other search engines. Yes, it is nice to sell to a fellow crafter. But with Zibbet, you don't have to play the heart game or the favorite game or have other people promote for you (if they feel like it). You promote yourself. After all, you made it. Who knows your product better than you?
Yes, Zibbet isn't as big as E. But it is growing. Every day new sellers come on board and open shops. Every day, new listings go up, which increases the amount of times Zibbet appears in search engines. There is a wonderful gal name Kristin from Bellagems61 who has a listing challenge. She tells us how many listings there are and how many sellers are active. Yes, there are groups you can join who can help you with your questions, but you don't have to join them. You don't even have to join the community (although, why wouldn't you - it is a great place!)
Yes, there are other venues that I haven't explored. I even thought about having my own stand alone website. But they weren't the right fit for me. Zibbet is wonderful and I am happy to say I am a premier shop owner.
You can find me and my products at http://www.jenstangledthreads.com. Yes, it opens to my Zibbet page. If you have any questions on Zibbet, let me know.