An Interview

Question: How do you describe JerseyGypsy?

Answer: JerseyGypsy is a one stop gift shop. A handmade emporium of quality goods at a good price. A place to get custom things you wont find in the mall.

Question: What sets you apart from other gift shops?

Answer: Unlike many other shops, I am not a one hit wonder. For example someone that only makes bags, has mostly only bags or someone that only makes candles has mostly only candles. I not only offer everything from bags, and candles, to skirts and jewelry. I make it all myself, this makes me stand out from the rest and also keeps costs low as I’m not buying things and than marking them up.

Question: The term “Gypsy” is believed to be an offensive term to the Romany community. How do you feel about this?

Answer: We are decades away from that. Todays generation uses this word to describe a free spirited person, a wanderer. I myself am not of the Romany people today but I have roots there and I grew up very poor, going to craft shows with my mother to sell her “goods”. We collected cans to put gas in the car. I have been cast out and bullied for this type of lifestyle. I have struggled, so to be honest I understand more of what it is to be a Gypsy than anyone that tells me “Gypsy” is a “derogatory word.

Question: Where do you hope to be with your business in the next few years?

Answer: I really hope to have a brick and mortar store. My Esty shop does well, I have a following on Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook fans. I am building a website, I hope to have launched in a few months, and I am expanding into new things weekly. Most recently I’ve begun candle favors and after the 1st day of listing I have an order for a bride in California.

Question: What is your biggest challenge?

Answer: I’m am a very creative and driven person. I am very organized. I research and plan things out. Really my only challenge right now is funding. I started this out of pocket and still use sales to fund myself. So I’ve yet to see any real profit that I can bank away. If I had the funds to buy all the things I needed at once I would be able to list more and turn a faster bigger profit.

Question: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned so far?

Answer: (*sigh) In my pursuit to have more reach to the public and get my name and products out there. I allowed myself to be taken advantage of buy 4 different businesses/business people. By agreeing on “consignment” with them.  I was, to put it bluntly robbed blind. I estimate between them all I have lost over $5000.00. The lesson I learned was “Trust your gut. Speak up for yourself, and create a deal that works for you.” I’m not stupid I knew with one of them that I was getting the short end of the stick but the opportunity to reach more people was greater to me and so I allowed it,  until it became all to clear I was making less than $1 on my items and they were making $10. With the other 2 they just never paid me, flat out stole. And with 4th deal (again I should have listened to my gut it screamed not to do it) I was again flat out robbed.

Question: What is one thing you would like everyone to know?

Answer: I am a business women. I work 7 days a week. I work 60 plus hours a week. This is my job. What I do deserves the same amount of respect as anyone else that works.

 

 

 

 

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Things Ive Learned About Having An Etsy Shop

I am in no way an “expert”, but I’ve learned and know a thing or two about having an Etsy shop. I consider my shop to be “successful”. I consider it a job, my job. I take pride in it that way, and I present it that way when speaking to others about work. It doesn’t pay the bills exactly, but it  makes more than enough to make it worth the time, money, and work I put into it. It does put food on the table more often than not, shoes on my kids feet, and gas in the car.

On that note, first and foremost:

“If you want etsy to be your job, than your going to have to treat it like a job.” 

You are going to have to put forth an effort. Set aside time to “work” on your shop. Shop appearance, profile, policies, The pictures you upload and the information you provide about your product does make the difference between a sale or no sale.

“Be personable.”

One of the first things I realized I was doing wrong was being invisible and nameless. I did this not because I was embarrassed of what I make and sell, but because I had a fear of putting myself out there. Being invisible and nameless is, to be honest, how I go through life (mostly). And to look at me you’d never know I prefer it that way, with my purple hair and (so its been said) covered in tattoos. I’m just a private person, and I thought I could just hide in the background and make this work. Wrong! Most people want to know about you, they want to like you. They want to know who they’re buying from.

“Use social media! Its free!!!”

I can not say this enough. Though I consider my Etsy shop a success, I do not consider my Facebook page that way, and this is something I’m working hard on. 197 likes, I want more! But more than that I want followers. I want people to be engaged. Of the 197 likes, less than 50 follow and even less engage with my page. This I believe is because I have tried to remain invisible. I’m changing that and its making a difference, traffic to my Etsy shop is starting to come straight from my Facebook page and likes to my Facebook page are starting to come straight from my Etsy shop. I have much more success (right now) with Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and this Blog. Because I am putting myself out there.

ps: friends and family and their media pages can be a huge help too, don’t be afraid to ask them to share your page.

On that same note:

“Befriend a Blogger (or even more).”

Someone that is into what you do. Though not actually “free”. You could send 1 or 10, of what you make to them and they in turn blog about it, which will make it to their Twitter, Facebook, and other pages. Creating “reach”. And when it comes down to it the farther your reach the more traffic to your etsy shop. I happen to be lucky and had a wonderful blogger reach out to me last year. https://theglittermirror.wordpress.com/

She has become an assets to me, and as long as I do this I will continue to send her things to blog about. The way I see it, its win, win. She gets gifted things she likes, and I get free advertising.

“Etsy treasuries mean Etsy traffic.”

Another “tool” if you will, to help people find you. Now I know it asks you not to add your own items to your treasuries, but I add at least one every time. I wear my own stuff daily, I love it, and when I put a treasury together something always fits. This has, for me lead to others putting me in their treasuries which has gotten me many sales, followers, and likes. It is an unspoken “you scratch my back, Ill scratch yours.”

“Traffic but no sales.”

This can seem dis-heartening, but trust me traffic means people are finding you! This is great news!! People are finding you, they are liking what you have out there, among all the 100’s of others they found you!

Which leads me to this:

“Less means more.”

Okay, so imagine you’re just window shopping. You like something, there’s 10 of them. What are you gonna do? Me? I save it for later. There’s a bunch I can come back. Yup, we all do it. So, I now list 2 or 3 at a time. Deceitful? Maybe…But when  I like and want something and I’m afraid they’ll run out you know I just up and buy it right than before its gone. Yes, your going to have to pay the 20 cent relisting fee more often, but you just sold out of something the same week you listed it, is 20 cents really a big deal now?

“There’s no such thing as a stupid question.”

You get them and you’ll think, “it says in the listing (its a set, or what its made of, or whatever it is your possible customer is asking to know). Answer them, answer them all, in detail. Thank them for “looking” or “shopping” with you. Most people only what a verification, they just want to be really sure, that they’re getting what they want. And this is a job, customer service is a he part of that. The most important part. I don’t just want sales, I want repeat customers! The key to that is customer service.

“Do your homework!”

I want 2016 to be more successful than 2015. And to do that I need to know more. I need help. I find that help in research. Reading the 100’s of blogs and reports and articles out there about having a successful Etsy Shop. Yes there are tons out there, go read some. Retail, and lets be honest, this is retail is ever changing and many things effect your shop and sales. So make sure to take in some of what is openly out there for you as tools to use. Be open to the advice in these blogs, articles, and stories. Read this one to start it is really good…

https://anasdomain.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/how-to-optimize-your-online-shop-tips-and-tricks-to-boost-your-etsy-sales-masterpost/

Now, I know if I sat here and thought more on it I could write much more, but like I said “I’m no expert, but here’s a few things.” This blog reflects my personal experience, my personal opinion. I do hope you find the information helpful, or maybe you already know all this and can just relate.

https://www.facebook.com/jerseygypsypeddler/

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JerseyGypsyEtsyShop?ref=hdr_shop_menu

Regards!

More Than Wanting

Today I want my own store badly. More than yesterday, its a longing, a plaguing on my soul.

Its the kind of day where the want is not satisfied, by maybe, or hopefully in time.

It is not okay that it may not happen. I can see this shop of my hopes and dreams, I can feel it with my heart.

Its hard when you now all the aspects of something, when you’ve given into finding a place and picturing it before, the money to fund it. there is a store for sale just up the road, on a main highway, and old garden center, its been empty for years now, I want it I know its perfect (with a lil work of course). I ache when I pass it. I can see the windows filled like Id have them…

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Some days the dream is very heavy and consumes all of me, that’s today…

https://jerseygypsypeddler.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/having-a-dream/

https://www.facebook.com/jerseygypsypeddler

Regards!

Setting July Goals

I like to set goals. Real reachable goals.

I always have a plan. I am always making a plan.

But I’m not Clark Griswold…

I’m not stupid. Life has taught me a thing or two.

And I have become a “plan for the worst, hope for the best” kind of person.

As the month of June comes to an end. I start to set my goals for July. Knowing full well what I hope for and what I will get are two very different things and those unforeseen things almost always pop up. Hey, I’m a realist. I get it, retail is hit or miss. Even I don’t shop often. But I still have set a goal for myself, for my stores.

An average sales goal, broken down to a daily amount and a total for the month.

$20.00 a day. That simple. Average sales for the month of July totaling $20.00 a day.

There are 31 days in the month of July and this totals $$620.00 for the month. This amount, is double what I’ve been making.  This amount will make July my first bankable profit month. Covering all rental, fee, and supply costs and money left to put in the bank.

This shouldn’t be hard right. Between my Etsy shop and rental store front space? Well…again retail is tricky.

I think its a good goal, whether I reach it or not. Ill give it my all. Ill promote and push, and even pray.

It’s only a hat a day! Or any other number of ways you can break it down.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/JerseyGypsyEtsyShop?ref=hdr_shop_menu

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https://www.facebook.com/jerseygypsypeddler

Regards!

Its a Wash

Jersey Summers.

You never know what you’re going to get.

Not technically summer yet till tomorrow.

Today June 20th 2015. Gloomy and Gross.

 This weekend will be “A Wash”.

There will be no going out to the lake, or BBQ’s, or canoeing, or even yard work.

The threat of rain at any moment makes all that un-doable.

For me there is always tons to do.

I am after all the end all, be all of this household.

The Queen and Keeper. The Warden and Prisoner.

I am Mom. I am Wife.

But I am also the creator, designer, and owner of my own small business. To which I am the only employee.

And I have a few orders to fill.

Today its Hostess Gift Sets. Handmade Soaps and

my handmade 100% US grown cotton shower/bath puffs. Lovingly crocheted by me.

Part taught to crochet by my grandmother and grandfather and part self taught.

These take me about an hour and half, if I’m left uninterrupted.

Always starting out the same. A pile of yarn, I pray doesn’t knot up on me.

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Soon a beautiful, full, soft shower puff.

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And finally packaged with the soap.

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https://www.facebook.com/jerseygypsypeddler

Regards!

How Did I Not Know?

Nearly everyday I light a candle.

A beauty ritual I started just over a year ago.

When I came to meet Ashley, a stunning, young, self made women. And she is a Candle Marker.

Owner of The Candlewyck Cottage

https://jerseygypsypeddler.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/the-candlewyck-cottage/

But these candles are not what you may think!

These are in fact lotion. Warmed by the light of the wick. Heaven on your hands, and feet.

I must admit. I am addicted.

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Here’s how it goes for me…

Light Candle before shower. Blow out candle after shower. After drying off, indulge in this soft as butter, silky and sweet, warm lotion. There is NO greasy after feel, and I dress before or after using it. The scent is light and clean. Jersey Girl here is my 1st favorite as I just love the Pineapple Mix scent to it.

 Each candle is hand poured by Ashley, in small batches, combining 100% cosmetic grade soy wax, body safe fragrance/essential oils & NOW infused with organic coconut oil & a touch a vitamin E oil!!

One “dip” & you will be in love!  These candles are designed to soften hands, elbows & heels! But I use it everywhere!

This is heaven sent in the winter.

  Warm lotion? I mean come on! Dry winter skin? Gone!

I’m a barefoot girl myself (year round), this makes for rough feet, or at least it did before I started to treat myself to this process.

So again…how did I not know about these? And if you didn’t either and

your looking for a new way to pamper yourself, or an amazing gift, or you are a shop owner that would love to carry these (yup she’s a wholesale supplier as well). Reach out to Ashley at the Candlewyck Cottage. She will ship…

https://www.facebook.com/CandlewyckCottage?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/jerseygypsypeddler

Regards!

Having A Dream…

I have never known who or what I wanted to be or to do with my life.

I pretty much let life rule over me, take me down whatever path she saw fit.

Well…That no longer works for me.

And I now have a dream. Ultimately to own my own store,  but currently to create a mobile store.

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These large step vans converted into rolling boutiques are amazing.

Well..at least I think so.

The idea that you can bring a real store to your customers, to have a dry, clean, even heated and/or cooled shop

standing out among the pop-up tents and tables at any festival, fair, or show makes me giddy!

Weather damage to my products a thing of the past, theft cut down, and set up and break down time nearly gone.

The Gypsy Wanderer in me see’s this as her future, her legacy, something to have and hold with my children, to have continued after Im gone. To one day look back and see. You did that. You made and had that.

Now the banks don’t see it this way. They of course see me as a high risk loan, a crafter with a dream, and nothing more.

I see myself as Owner/Operator/Designer. A Hand Crafted Artist. Creator of unique and one of a kind things.

This led me to a GoFundMe campaign.

And Ill admit, this process is online panhandling and very little more. Ive had it set up for about 3 months and raised nothing, but than again Ive put about that into it as it makes me uncomfortable. But I still check in with it “dreaming”. Even today I will update it and share it with fingers crossed.

gofund.me/khge44

For now I remain contently not content with my etsy shop and rental space in a small shop.

Don’t get me wrong these are great but I still make next to nothing Ive lost more money in the last 2 months than I could ever explain yet I still must pay my rent and fees, and it seems every one is making money off me but me.

And so here’s to the “Dream”.

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https://www.facebook.com/jerseygypsypeddler

Regards!