I'm writing this three hours before the new shop goes live with product. The listings are done and on a timer to appear in the shop at exactly 4:00 pm. The first email newsletter is written and ready to go for the same time. I've read and re-read the instructions on how to set up flat-rate shipping, double, triple checking and hoping that everything goes smoothly.
Just as it is for an owner of a brick-and-mortar shop, the biggest questions on opening day are: will anyone show up? Will they buy anything?
I sold on my first pieces for Blythe on April 17, 2013, in my Etsy shop. It was an order for a pair of sweet, fifties' style sleeveless Middie dresses with full skirts, made of dotted Swiss cotton and vintage lace. That day, I was thrilled with my first sale, but the idea that seven years later I'd still be sewing for Blythe, let alone opening a standalone store would not have crossed my mind.
I knew it was time to leave Etsy at least a year ago. The drop-shippers crowding the platform with junk, the constant and sometimes nonsensical changes, and the ever-growing fees, made staying hard to stomach. When it was announced that certain shops would be required to participate in Etsy's latest advertising scheme, there was no way I could justify staying.
They've added an extra 12 per cent fee to any sale derived from a customer who bought any of my products within 30 days of clicking on an ad I had no say about, making the potential fee on a sale about 20 per cent.
So here we are, with a brand new shop and a renewed enthusiasm for making and sharing.
Putting this site together over the past month has made me think a lot about what I want to do going forward, and how I want to expand beyond dollywear, to develop a vintage fabric and haberdashery section, sell curated vintage, and use my real world career skills in writing and photography to create new books and prints. There may even be shirts and bags, this time for humans.
There's a lot to consider and try. Not everything will work, but some things will, and I want to give it a go. I hope you'll follow along as I take things — as the ubiquitous they often say — to the next level.