I have thought of writing a post about Etsy for quite a while now, but something odd today really triggered me to write. First, Etsy is a web site. It is a place where handmade items, art supplies, vintage items, etc are sold. Mass marketers are not encouraged to be there, so it is a wonderful place to find something unique!
I have had a shop on Etsy for three or so years now, since I make jewelry and I like to sell it, so I can justify buying more beads and jewelry supplies. Jewelry creation is my real passion. I do strung work, off-loom bead weaving (my greatest love), chain maille, wirework and metal work. Everything I create is one of a kind – I’d get bored making the same thing over and over again.
Etsy is fairly affordable. It costs nothing to create and open a shop. What costs you money is posting photographs and info about each individual piece for sale. Etsy charges you 0.20 for each item you place on sale, and this lasts for three months. When items expire, you need to renew them, if you still want them sold, and they will cost you 0.20 apiece to renew. I currently have 130 items for sale, so I guess that adds up. My Etsy bill is probably about 5-8 dollars a month; you can pay with Paypal.
People can shop on Etsy with all major credit cards, Paypal, and Etsy gift cards. Etsy sets the whole thing up for you and makes it really easy. They have recently added the coolest feature EVAH. From your home computer, you can type in the weight and dimensions of the package of merchandise that you wish to ship to the purchaser, and you can print out a USPS mailing label right on your home printer and attach it to the package. For most small items, all you have to do is walk down the sidewalk and put the labelled package in your mailbox. SWEET! Etsy deducts the postage cost from your Paypal account.
I check Etsy every few days, to check merchandise and check if there are purchases. Etsy automatically emails you if there are any purchases or communication, but it also seems wise to check. Also, you need to manually check and make sure there is no merchandise you need to renew. You can check your shop stats and see how many people looked at your site each day or week, which items they looked at, and whether anyone has favorited or “liked” your shop or a particular piece.
Here’s the weird thing. When I checked on my Etsy shop today, there had been a MASSIVE amount of traffic in the last few days. I had dozens of favorites of my shop and of items. The really odd thing was, it seemed to be the same 2 or 3 items that were favorited, over and over again. One of those pieces is the piece shown above. Now the Etsy Home Page features selected items (I’m not sure how they select them) and it is said that you will have a massive surge in traffic if one of your items is featured on their home page. The thing is, I checked the home page and none of my stuff is on it. Maybe it was there a few days ago? I can’t quite figure it out.
You can also pay extra money to advertise items through Etsy, either through paying to have little ads posted, or paying for a bump in their search engine. Thing is, I’ve only tried advertising once, it was a long time ago, it didn’t do squat, and I’ve never done it again. So, weirdness. It would be kind of like posting a blog and suddenly having traffic leap up by a factor of ten on one post, without being featured on something like Freshly Pressed. I did notice that 40 hits came through the Etsy search engine, but I don’t know why.
I will of course have to make a plug for my Etsy shop here. I also want to make a plug for my friend Diana, because she does the most amazing Shibori tie dye EVER and I’ve bought like a million of her gorgeous pieces. She uses the best quality shirt material, including bamboo, and you can machine wash without losing your color. You can check her out here. She has no idea I am doing this, so she may be similarly bewildered by a sudden increase in traffic.
If you create something you’re proud of, and you want to try to sell it, Etsy is a great place to get your feet wet. And no, I don’t work for or with Etsy, and they haven’t paid me any money to write about this (although I think they should). I have had very good experiences with Etsy, both buying and selling (and, yes, I have bought quite a number of amazing things off this site over the years). I have yet to get ripped off or deceived, which is a pretty cool thing. So check it out! Surf! Run a search! And hold on to your wallet, because those cards are gonna be jumping right out of there!
I have succeeded in addicting my daughter to shopping and clothes. I agree, this is probably very irresponsible of me. However, shopping, and clothes, and shopping for clothes are three of my favorite things, in no particular order. I get to buy my daughter more clothes than I get to buy for me, because I have way too damn many clothes already, and yet my husband still recognizes when I have bought something new. Damn him. I get to buy my daughter clothes because she is growing, and ergo requires new clothes nearly all the time. According to me.
My daughter has already developed quite the fashion sense. I won’t say it is mine, exactly, but that’s OK. I’ve seen weirder stuff than she picks out coming down the runways. In fact, with her wild use of color, and trademark boots with every outfit, she will probably be a designer one of these days. The clashing prints are a bit too much for me. We are working on that.
Wednesday night, we had a girl’s night out. I am leaving to go work on Sunday, and will not be back until June 1, and then for only one day. I asked her to choose what she would like to do on our night out, and she chose shopping over a movie. Yay me! I have always hated wasting a beautiful day sitting in a movie theater. Movies are for dark, or rain, when you can’t be out doing anything else.
Of course we had to run around the fountain about a hundred times. At least, she did. I took pictures of her doing that, and then pictures of her climbing up the big giant horse out in front of PF Chang’s, and then pictures of her dangling from a lamp pole she had shimmied up. Might I note that she performed all these activities in a smocked front lilac cotton dress, a white hoodie, and a pair of studded white cowboy boots. Perfection. We then had to ride the escalator down and then up, just because we could.
Of course we had to work some shopping in there. We went to H&M, and lo and behold, the same scarf she had picked up and begged for was sitting right there. Except now it was marked down from twenty-some dollars to $3.50. How could I not? We found a bikini on sale, cute nautical design, because she said she was outgrowing her last season’s one. It was a bit skimpy for my taste, but she’s in great shape and has no stomach at all, so I guess she’s entitled to wear it. It wasn’t slutty. Just a bit skimpy.
We went to the Gap and the Great Gap Saga began. She begged for various things in the store, and I variously refused. She denied a need for underwear or socks. We found a cute romper on sale and I told her she could have that. The store manager told us we would get an additional 30% off if we used our Gap card. Well, I just happened to have one. When I paid it was declined. And declined again. We looked into it, and it turns out that the Gap automatically cancels your card if it hasn’t been used in 6 months. Seriously? I refused to renew it. I resent that.
Then we went to the men’s side, because the Gap is one of the stores that carries a true men’s small. We found some cute v-neck t-shirts in nice colors on sale, but I wasn’t sure if my husband would wear v-necks. So I texted him. No answer. “To heck with this,” I told my daughter. “We’ll go back and get them if he texts back.”
She wanted to go to Justice, which is a little girl’s store that is just a bit too T & A for my taste. Rather adult looking clothes. And the colors are so bright it looks like Walt Disney threw up in there. Not to mention the little notebooks, and diaries, and pillows, and erasers, and stuffed animals – ridiculous swag that will cause you to be begged to death, because you are not letting any of that crap in your house. Every now and then I’ll pick her up a little skirt there – Justice is one of the few places that adds built-in shorts to its skirts for older girls. That beats having to wear a regular pair of shorts under the skirt to school, since seven year-olds aren’t exactly cautious about waving their legs in the air.
My husband texted back. He wanted the v-necks. He didn’t want the long-sleeved ones. So back to the Gap we went, but no longer armed with a Gap card. While we were back in the store, hubby wanted to know if they had white socks and underwear. We’ve had a devil of a time finding stuff that fits that doesn’t have horrid colors and logos all over it. They had the underwear, but I wasn’t sure about the right size. I texted him back. He didn’t answer, didn’t answer, didn’t answer, didn’t answer. Meanwhile, my daughter, bored, had begun crawling under the racks of clothes. She took a shelf of hats for sale and piled every last one on her head. I actually got a pretty cute picture of that. “Forget this,” I told her. “We’ll come back if he answers.”
Then we found a train and of course had to ride it. It went around and around the outdoor mall. She waved her new scarf at passers-by. We stopped for yogurt – one of those ridiculously expensive places that lets you serve your own yogurt and then put toppings on it. My daughter’s usual MO is to start with very little yogurt and pile a BUNCH of crap up on top. Juice balls, cookie dough bits, Andes mint pieces, gummy worms, chocolate sauce, sprinkles, M&Ms, whipped cream. Yak! Yet another pile of Technicolor grossness.
My husband never answered, so I went back and got the underwear and the socks. The third trip to the Gap. I was heartily sick of the Gap by then. I think they were heartily sick of us as well, as my daughter was not liking the Gap anymore and was distinctly antsy.
At last, it was time to stop by the Chocolate Crocodile and buy candy for home. My daughter selected her usual disgusting jelly wedge fruit gummies. I got sugar-free cappuccino truffles. We found some Key Lime bark with a gummy lime slice embedded in it and bought it as a joke for my husband, since he loves Key Lime Pie. And off we went, with my daughter all whacked out on sugar and clutching her new clothes. Girl’s night out, by any standards, was a raging success! Except for maybe the Great Gap Saga. Home just in time for shower and bed.
I will start with the disclaimer that I know nothing about dolls. Never had them as a kid (except for one much maligned Barbie). Never wanted them. I was a tomboy with a love for animals, and I was going to be a vet. But now I have a daughter. And now I have to learn about dolls. We started a few months before Christmas with the “but everyone in my class has one” discussion. American Girl Dolls.
As near as I can tell, the American Girl Doll racket is one of the shrewdest, savviest marketers out there. Not only have they been out for years and maintained market share, but they sell an amazing number of dolls and accessories, at the highest possible price. My mom ordered my daughter one of those blasted dolls for Christmas after she begged and whined and wheedled. Let me just say that my daughter has never played much with dolls and this is probably all peer pressure. $129 for something she probably won’t play with for two minutes.
The choice of dolls is stunning. They have a doll of the year, every year since I don’t know when. You can special order a doll that looks just like you. With freckles even. My daughter wanted McKenna, the doll of the year who is a gymnast, supposedly. McKenna does not exactly look like her. She doesn’t have freckles. But McKenna is what she wanted, and McKenna is what she got.
You can get matching outfits for the girl and her doll, so they are both wearing the same thing. You can buy pets for your dolls. You can buy schoolhouses and books for your dolls. Along with getting that doll for Christmas, my daughter got one of the girl/doll matching outfits as well. And let me tell you what else she got. This is where the story gets ridiculous.
There are several American Girl stores around the country, in major cities. But these are not just shops, oh, no. They are full immersion ripoff centers. I guess peer pressure never ends, because my mom heard her best friend tell about taking her granddaughter on one of these pilgrimages to the American Girl Doll store. She decided that she would bring my daughter after Christmas during New Year’s break to Atlanta where the nearest doll center is.
So here’s the deal. This trip is a full package. You check into a hotel within walking distance of the store that has the American Girl Doll package. There is a separate special check-in area for families with their girls with these dolls. When you get to your special American Girl Doll room, the walls are printed bright pink and there is a special bed for the doll that you get to keep. They bring pink lemonade and cookies to the room at night. Then the doll fun begins. You go to the American Girl Doll store, which has a bistro where you can dine. They have special high chairs at the tables where the dolls can sit. Once you go into the
Death Star shop area, anything is possible. You can go to a special salon and have your doll’s hair styled and curled. You can go to a special area and get the doll’s ears pierced, for an exorbitant fee no doubt. They sell all the American Girl Doll accessories, and when I say all, I mean all. They have special movie nights with American Girl Doll movies. These people are marketing geniuses. And I can’t believe this child talked my mom into something like this, because it wouldn’t have even been considered when I was a kid. Not that I would have wanted to go, being as I hated dolls and all.
So hats off to the American Girl Doll empire! They have developed the most immense marketing racket of all time, practically. And this has been going on now for about two generations. When I told a nurse at work about my daughter’s little trip, instead of being horrified as she properly should, the nurse merely remarked, “Oh, I have five of those dolls.” FIVE??? What the hell do you do with five $129 dolls (and that’s on Amazon, which is pretty reasonable)? I guess you buy matching outfits, and books, and movies, and classrooms, and on, and on, and on. And of course now there are myriad American Girl ripoffs – dolls about the same size and look as the originals, with cheaper accessories and such that will fit the real dolls. Everyone wants a piece of that pie. My daughter’s friends carry their American Girl catalogues to school with them, and sit and compare dolls and accessories and what they are going to ask their mommy for next. Each tries to outdo the other.
I am amazed at the excess of the American Girl Doll immersion phenomenon. It would never have occurred to me, did I not have a daughter, that this empire existed. Now that I know, I am disgusted and awed. I just hope that new McKenna doll doesn’t get tossed off to the wayside, with her newly pierced ears and styled hair, and special bed and Husky dog pet. I do know that my mom and dad and my daughter probably had a weekend that they will remember forever. It will be a great memory for my daughter. But I know my daughter. And we’ll see how long this phase lasts.
Normally, I will do anything to avoid WalMart. As in, I don’t think I’ve been in there for a year. But today, in the name of Christmas, I had to suck it up and go in there, because they have a Honey Baked Ham kiosk, and we have a gift card for Honey Baked Ham and a need for something to eat for Christmas dinner. So I bravely took my daughter with me, and despite some serious trepidation, off we went.
First we had to park. We drove up and down the vast parking lot, searching for anywhere to park. I wasn’t being choosy. Even a spot in the back would be fine. We were nearly smacked into by aggressive senior citizens seeking spots close to the building. There were bazillions of people milling through the crosswalks, so it was nearly impossible to progress to the next lane. We finally found a spot far, far to the back, and of course it started to rain. We walked a mile to the store and I was cursing my choice of footwear – boots with heels that looked very nice with my outfit but which felt not so good on such a hike.
We made it in the crowded doors and I began looking for the Honeybaked Ham kiosk. I couldn’t see it anywhere. I decided to go back and look for a Wii dance game I’d asked my husband for for Christmas – he told me to go get it myself and wrap it up. As soon as we got back to Electronics, my daughter began begging for Nintendo DS games, and Pokemon games and a new Nintendo DS3 and basically anything she could see within eyesight. It was annoying. She begged and tugged at my arm until I couldn’t even think. I told her to hush up and I got a kid’s version of the Wii dance game that came free with my version.
Off again we went to hunt Honeybaked Ham. We finally found the kiosk over by the produce – they had three people manning one little booth. They of course did not accept the gift card – those are only accepted by the real store. At least they took the coupons. I bought a boneless ham for Christmas dinner and a roast turkey for lunch the previous day.
Then we had to go stand in the checkout lane. And we stood, and we stood, and we stood. There were two girls in front of us who were so psyched about Christmas in the air that they were jumping up and down and bumping their chests into each other. At least I think that’s what they were excited about. I was holding two Honeybaked things and they were getting very heavy. My daughter did not want to help and hold the bag from Electronics.
Next we set off to Publix – parking lot, same scene. Awful. We finally found a spot and went in with our immense list. Little Bit threw a fit because she wanted a cart with a car on it – she is wayyyyy too big for those and I told her so. So she pouted and climbed into the cart and sat where I needed to put my groceries. The only thing that saved me was that she saw my Kindle and wanted to read a story on that. So I gave that to her and was allowed to get my groceries unmolested. Except for all the people trying to run me over. They were out of several things I needed. I had to call Mom and ask her to bring currants, because they didn’t have any.
The whole thing, needless to say, put me in a vile mood. I am in a vile mood right now. I feel a crash as hard as if the holidays were already over. Letdown like they are already gone. My husband managed to rip into the new lunch meat and sliced cheese that I had gotten for Christmas Eve lunch with the folks, and gave them to the babysitter instead, so now I will have used cheese and meat to offer when they come. He didn’t even think to ask. And he has burned up my new Christmas candle before Christmas is even here. I spent the day cleaning the house and it doesn’t even look like any of it was cleaned at all. And I’m on this stupid diet and I’ve missed eating all the good Christmas things and still have barely lost five pounds. I have about forty to go. And my daughter messed up the guest room bed by climbing on it even though I told her to leave it alone because I had fixed it up for my parents.
I’m about to go… batshit. And the day after Christmas I have to return to work, to a clinic that is so full that it will run until one o’clock and restart at one fifteen. And I am on call five days in a row for New Years. I am only getting one gift for Christmas. And I wrapped that myself, so it is hardly a surprise. So I am having one big old feeling sorry for myself fest right now. And I can’t get this album to play the songs in order on this stupid computer. I can only hope things will get better tomorrow when the folks get here, but I think I will just feel put upon and irritable to have to do all the cooking and dishwashing that goes in when you have people over for the holidays. So Merry f’ing Christmas. And a Happy damn New Year.
I think that might be the title of a book that I heard of, but it is a very good question, and as the mother of a seven year-old it affects me a lot, as I am horrified every time we go shopping at the selection of clothes for little girls. Let me just preface this by saying that I am not a prude, I wear miniskirts and legging and four inch heels and love a sexy look, and I know this makes me sound just like my mom, but really, people. We went shopping the other day, and this is what we found:
Justice – a shop ostensibly for children but really for pint sized streetwalkers that plays loud rock music and has some of the loudest, ugliest clothes I’ve ever seen. Dresses with sequins, miniskirts everywhere, made of mesh and tulle and glitter and more sequins, little hootchie mama knee boots, t-shirts with glitter that say SEXY and MY BFF and other, more tastless slogans, and fur. Fake fur. In all colors. Lime green. Fluorescent pink. Colored camouflage that looks like Walt Disney threw up. There are also slutty accessories, like huge hoop earrings (For little kids? Their ears will fall off.), furry backpacks, fuzzy notepads, and lip gloss that lights up when you turn the cap. I was amazed at all the cheap sleazy decadence. They don’t have stuff that tacky in adult stores! Victoria’s Secret is more tasteful. All the skirts were short, all the shirts were short, and there were tiny camisoles everywhere. And little bras that would fit six year-olds. That my daughter wanted. A lot. I told her she was not getting any bras until she had something visible to put in them. And then I realized I sounded exactly like my mother. Except I never wanted bras. Never even when I actually needed them. Bras for six year-olds! Ridiculous!
We went into Gap Kids, which I thought would be a little more conservative. First thing in the door, my daughter picked up a cheetah print miniskirt, the kind with no shorts underneath. Cheetah print? In a size six? Really? She begged for the cheetah print. Then she saw knee high furry boots, the kind that the older girls wear with soccer shorts, which is ridiculous enough to be the subject of a whole other essay, and wanted to put them on and buy them immediately. Boots. Not. Happening. They had super short tutu skirts, which they were touting as back-to-school wear. Tutus? With what? Pigtails and a lollypop in their mouth? They had knee-high cheetah print socks (presumably to wear with the Slut Boots and the Naughty Schoolgirl Skirts. I dragged her out of there under protest. She complained that I “never buy her anything.” As I had just bought her a pair of Toms and a new miniskirt at the first Slut Kids place (The miniskirt with the built in shorts. I mean, please, at least wear shorts underneath.), I found this particularly unfair.
We then went to H&M. They have an entire children’s department, full of slut wear and horrid furry impulse items. She found a scarf (for six year-olds, people) with a unicorn and glitter and little fake gems on it, which she begged and begged for. They had racks of cat-eye sunglasses (for little kids), well above-the-knee minidresses, little plastic containers of LOUD neon-colored earrings as big as raspberries (for little, newly pierced ears, great) and super short-shorts with low waists. Exactly what a seven year-old needs for daily wear. And shoes, with high heels. In toddler sizes. After being bombarded by sexed-up baby clothes for several hours, I quit shopping in shock and took my daughter out to dinner. I just don’t know if I can handle another shopping expedition like that one. If I were of a Victorian frame of mind, I would have had the vapors, fanned myself vigorously with my fan, and collapsed onto a fainting couch at the sight of those clothes. I may just not take her shopping again until she is eighteen. Of course by then, the big fad will be to not wear any clothes to school at all. Because that is where this is going.
There are few things I hate in life more than going to the grocery store. OK, well, there are lots of things I hate worse, but I am writing about the grocery store right now. First off, I hate PARKING at the grocery store. I always seem to go at the wrong time. I don’t wait to go on payday, but for some reason it’s always payday when I go. Or church is just getting out. Then there is always some person blocking the very beginning of the aisle waiting for someone halfway down to back out so they can get a closer spot. Then there is the whole waiting for pedestrian shoppers in the crosswalk to get the heck out of the way. I swear half of them slow down when they see you waiting. And then here comes another wave by the time that one’s gotten out of the way. When you finally find a spot, it is miles away. And it is either next to the cart corral, so shoppers will hurl their carts unhesitatingly into your car, or it is eight miles from the cart corral, so you have to walk eight miles to put the damn cart away, and all the while your door is unlocked and you’re sure someone is about to steal your car, and your purse, and the cheese bear claws you’ve sneaked into the front seat to eat on your way home.
Once you get inside you get into the whole key/purse/cart juggling routine where you try to consolidate your keys into your purse and put your sweater on and get the purse into the cart all while moving, so you don’t block the door on the way in. The carts are usually a) stuck together, b) wet, or c) sticky. Or worse yet, d) with one stuck wheel that squawks and skids and drags the cart sideways. Or all of the above.
Then of course they have the dreaded bakery area right at the entrance so you have to walk through a diet minefield while starving (hence the bear claws in the front seat). Then they have the wine, and that’s pretty tempting too. And then things have gotten just so specialized. My grocery store has a cooler just for tea and lemonade. If you pass through all this, you get to the produce area where they have the RIDICULOUS fake thunderstorms to make you forget that they are just dousing the produce in water to get the germs and the dirt off. I mean, fake thunder? Really? Where’s the lightening? Oh, right. That’s that flickering fluorescent light right over the onions and the bok choy.
In the deli section we have the famous singing stocker who smiles sunnily at you and sings some arcane unrecognizable show tune at the top of his lungs. He has been there forever. To be honest, he is actually one of the highlights of the grocery store trip.
Then we have cereal, another mine field if you are unlucky enough to have your kid with you. My daughter begs for Cap’N Crunch and Krave without shame. Since we have never, ever bought her either, where does she get this? How does she even know what they taste like? Actually, she tells me, they are given to them as a snack at aftercare. Thanks, aftercare. And why put the chocolate syrup and the peanut butter in the same aisle as the cereal? And coffee? In what way do these items go together? Oh well, I guess they have to put them somewhere.
Then there is the bleachy reek and chill of the fish department. The signs over the aisles are just too difficult to read unless I remember to bring in my driving glasses. Juice and Mexican food? Together? Then of course they are always out of whatever particular brand I am looking for. And the stockers dodge and run the other way if it looks like you have a question.
The bread aisle is scary. All the bags have been squeezed as if all the parents in the store gave them to their kids and told them they were Charmin. And there has always just been a run on the wheat kind that we always like. Thank goodness my husband got out of his “rounds” kick, where he bought those stupid little flat bread rounds that are a very unsatisfying half centimeter thick. They are like eating solid crust.
The freezer aisle – brrrrr. We always need popsicles for hubby, and they always have the wrong kind. The plain, not the tropical. Or they don’t have the sugar free. And I have to look at all the delicious pints of Haagen Daz and walk away. Then we need parmesan cheese. I like the shredded. The husband likes the powdered. I always lose.
By the time I reach the registers, the lines are a mile long. There is always some idiot with fifty-eight items in the express lane. I’ve been told the checkers are not allowed to correct people in the lane with too many items. They just have to smile and ring them all up. The customer is always right. Then I get the lane with a) no bagger so I have to bag all my own stuff or b) the world’s stupidest laziest bagger who puts a gallon of milk on top of my loaf of bread. The credit card reader never takes on the first swipe. Then there is the do-I-need-help dilemma, where you don’t really feel like having a stranger poke around in your car, but it would be nice to have someone take the cart away, versus loading your own groceries into the car and dispose of the cart but you don’t have to worry about making pleasantries with a weirdo bagger person who always appears to be memorizing the license plate on your car for a later home assault.
I never feel safe backing out. I have never felt safe backing that stupid minivan, even with the cute little backup cam that is designed to keep you from running over your own toddler in your own driveway. I just know some litigious freak is going to throw their body behind my van where they are just out of sight so that I will run over them and get sued for lots of money. Or someone with a cart will just pop out behind me. Or some other car will swoop up too close to me because they want my damn parking spot (I can’t think why, because I am usually parked somewhere out in lower east hell). Driving out of the lot is just as much fun because there are cars popping out from all the aisles and pulling across them so they are hurtling right at you. And it is very hard to manage this with one hand, while you are backing out and trying to eat your tasty bear claw. Very disruptive to bear claw enjoyment. That’s the worst part of the whole thing.