Let me say, that I have tried several small business ideas. I haven’t been very successful. Let’s have a bit of transparency here. Yes, I have made money. I have made some sales. For a bit I was actually successful on Etsy selling soap.
Then the bottom dropped out.
I want to blame Etsy. It is when they went public and all their policies changed.
In truth it may have been that, but it could of been me too. I won’t place all the blame on them.
Running your own small business is no easy task. When you are just a startup, you do everything. Marketing, accounting, social media and making of the product to sell, all those tasks are up to you.
It’s a lot.
So finally after sales had dwindled to nothing, and I mean crickets. And I had soap stacked to the ceilings, I threw in the towel.
That was at least three Christmases ago. Most product based business can tell you what they were doing around major holidays, just saying.
I kept the Etsy site. I actually used it this past spring and summer to sell masks that I was making for the whole Covid thing. But I haven’t actually sold soap in a very long time. And about 2 weeks ago I deactivated all listings.
What happened this week?
This past week I got a convo on that site. “Where are all your pretty soaps?”
At first I was kinda flattered.
I sent her a message back, explaining that I hadn’t sold soap in a few years. There were other Etsy sellers with similar products that would be happy to help her.
She then replied that none of them were as pretty as mine. That she had always intended to buy, but never got around to it. She’d had several picked out.
I vented about this whole thing on FaceBook, I was a bit … put out?
There were a number of responses.
Some long time followers said “what pretty soaps, I would like some!” For starters, you knew I was selling soap back then, told me you wanted some and never followed through.
Others told me that maybe I should make some soaps and put them up on my new Etsy site for those just finding me.
Might be an excellent idea, but I am not going down that rabbit hole again. I got little to no support when I was selling soap. Doing multiple events and hearing, “I would never use that, it’s too pretty” and having them walk away.
Or my absolute favorite, “why would I buy that, when I can get it at the grocery store for $1?” as they walk away sipping on their Starbucks.
There is an influx of soap makers online, Etsy and their own websites. People start to make soap and a week later they are selling it. I have over 20 years experience, yup I am an old timer. I do not want to fight through all that again. Not to mention it is expensive and people don’t want to pay what it takes, unless you have a name like “Lush” attached to it.
OK, so what am I trying to say with this latest rant?
We need to support our small businesses.
Let’s just put that out there. Many small businesses are now online. Even before the pandemic. Let’s face it, on Etsy there are more vendors than shoppers!
There are websites and other shopping venues out there with people trying to sell their creative endeavors.
What can we do?
- You know, maybe, just maybe, you should like what they post on Facebook. Do you realize that tweaks the Facebook algorithms so that more people see their posts?
- Comment on their posts. Yup, that tweaks that dreaded Facebook or Twitter or whatever algorithms. Shows them that people are actually interested in what is going on in that post.
- Share their posts. Stop scrolling and hit that share button! It’s nothing but a thing. Walmart and Target pay big money to appear everywhere. Hard for a small business to compete, but by you sharing you are helping that small business reach people that they won’t otherwise.
- And here is the big one. Consider your purchases. How many small creative businesses out there have given up because of no sales?
That whole time you were intending to purchase, but never got around to it.
Your well intentions to buy someday does not help pay the bills. It does not help buy supplies to keep that small business going.
So who is to blame that the small business goes under?
It is Walmart? Target? Etsy?
As you walk around Wally World, scooping up deals and sipping your Starbucks with your Lush bag in your car, think about how that small business is struggling to stay afloat.
Maybe at that moment they are considering putting up that virtual “permanently closed” sign. Your purchase could make a difference.