Well, it was bound to happen. I have had my Etsy shop open for about 8 months now, and I had my first very bad learning experience. I’ve had a couple other learning curves, but all of them worked out, and I never really lost money, or had anything horrible happen. They were just tweaks that need to be made. This time, however, let me tell you! It was a doozy.
However, it’s a truly terrible situation that has absolutely no good come out of it, and this good is the fact that I have lots of information to share with you. If you’re an Etsy seller, an Ebay seller, or even a Trade-me participant, hopefully, you find some of this information relevant.
Today, I want to encourage you to Do Your Homework!
Ask questions. Beyond that, ask the right questions.
First of all, find out where your buyer is located. I was quoting a custom order, and rather than quote a price, and then add “plus shipping,” I just said the price included shipping. It wasn’t until later I discovered that she lived in Canada. Oops. I couldn’t go back and charge her extra, so I was left with extra shipping costs.
Check feedback. Currently, Etsy is set up so that you cannot see feedback that sellers leave for buyers. It’s a bit stink, because buyers can see feedback left for sellers. However, you can see what kind of feedback your buyer has left for others. This specific buyer had left some extremely bad feedback for a seller. Obviously, there may be bad sellers out there, but the tone of feedback can tell you a lot. You can say something negative about someone in a gracious way. I should have looked for the orange flag, there.
Know your deadline and how it may affect the price of your materials. I found patterns online for about $3. However, then, I found out that I needed to have the item done in a couple weeks, rather than the 4-6 weeks that I usually say for a custom item. I didn’t have time to have the patterns sent, so I had to buy them in the store. They were significantly more expensive.
I can not stress it enough. If you’re going to put time, thought and money into a project for someone, make sure you know as much about them as possible before you start. You’ll never really know “enough,” but if you keep your eyes open, hopefully, you’ll know more than I did.