What to do about cut sewing patterns

This is just one box!
This is just one box!

Did you ever pick up a used pattern and get ready to sew and find out that there is one lousy piece missing?  Sometimes it’s just a patch pocket and you can improvise, but sometimes it’s something more important.  Nobody likes that, so most shoppers like to buy uncut patterns. Cut patterns are hard to sell because a seller needs to count all the pieces first to make sure they are all there.  Counting means unfolding and re-folding and maybe getting out the iron…   And selling patterns on most marketplaces can have high overhead costs (listing fees, final value fees, shipping expenses), which is why many pattern sellers don’t even list them at all unless they can get a minimum price.

People don’t mind buying cut patterns if they are cheap enough to offset the risk of the pattern missing a piece.  But they want to be able to search for the pattern they want, not to buy a whole box of patterns (and pay to ship all that) to get the one pattern they are looking for.

I don’t know how I managed to acquire so many cut patterns, but they are taking over!  Sometimes I buy them by accident. I think they are uncut but when I get them home to take a better look, I find that they are not.  Sometimes I buy a big box of patterns and some of them are cut and some of them are not. Sometimes people just give them to me because they don’t know what to do with them.  I can’t just throw them away, but I can’t hoard them either!

I’ve opened another store (I know, I know…) on eCRATER because the only fees are the ones charged by my payment processor.  (I use Stripe, in case you want to know.)  I can list all I want, and I can send listings to Google and Pinterest.  If you follow my “Pattern Pieces” board on Pinterest, you will see patterns as I add them.

I am charging 50 cents a pattern to cover my payment processing costs.  $3.00 covers shipping in the USA with tracking and an envelope.  I’ve got it set up to combine shipping costs.  🙂  I hope to break even on the cut patterns, and to make sewists happy.  Plus, this finally gave me the kick in the rear that I needed to open my own web store.

I’ll be moving some other merchandise over there too at discounted prices.  I expect most of my customers to be people who already know me from my other stores, bargain shoppers, and other pattern sellers looking for missing pieces.

Here’s a screenshot:

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I’ll keep adding patterns and other stuff as I go along.

On a housekeeping note, I have changed my password so that Lucky can’t hijack my blog again.  And again.  And again.  Jeepers, that duck!

Duck hacking again

Lucky here again. Ha ha, she has no clue at all! She keeps messing around with her phone, babbling about authentication and asking the kids if anyone was messing around with her computer.

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Right now she’s outside hosing out the barrels again (I’ll explain), so I flew up to log in. Typing is a little hard with no fingers, but if she can get around with only her feet, I suppose I can figure this out. I’m so much smarter than she is!

Anyway, I’ve been thinking of opening my own Etsy shop. I’ll sell handmade stuff. I know what you’re thinking – I don’t even have any hands, so how can I handmake anything? And my answer is this: You don’t have to really handmake anything to sell it on Etsy. You can have some human with low self esteem or very little power do it for you. Then you just “style” it, whatever that means, and open your own shop. It’s the American way!

Now what can I sell, what can I sell? I’m looking for something people like, and something cheap to make. I don’t care if it’s labor intensive – it’s not MY labor making this stuff. My main human has very low self esteem, so I think I’ve got that thing nailed. I saw her fooling around with some wire and some beads so maybe that’s some stuff I can “style.” And here’s the main question I ask when I’m styling something: Can I make enough cha-ching to buy some mash by selling this junk? If the answer is yes, then that’s what I call style!

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There are probably some technicalities so I’d better make sure I cross my eyes and dot my tees.

In the mean time, why don’t you take a look at what my subjects have been doing around the back yard?

It was the big kid’s birthday a couple of weeks ago and let me tell you: That kid is hard to shop for! No, that kid is hard for who to shop. Hard for whom to shop. Yes, that kid is hard for whom to shop, or something. She was in a pickle. So she got him some pickle barrels.

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When pickle companies buy peppers and cukes to sell from India or Greece or someplace else, they have them ship the veggies over to the US in giant plastic jars. Each jar holds about 55 gallons. These things are honking (get it?) enormous! Then the pickle company puts the pickles in smaller jars and “styles” them with more garlic or some crazy thing, and jacks up the price and sells them to the other humans. Freaky, right? But then they have these giant honking (!) jars sitting around. It would cost too much to ship them back to Greece or India or wherever, so they just trash them. But don’t worry, there are always smart humans around who organize themselves and find a way to make it good.

My particular human found some guy one of those internets that is semi-retired but has a side business selling these honking (!) huge pickle barrels. She gave him some cash and he gave her some barrels, and then she gave them to the big kid for his birthday.

The big kid had been talking about wanting a tunnel for my playground. He loves the tunnels at park playgrounds, but some of the other parents look at him funny because he’s such a big kid and they don’t understand why he wants to play with the little kid stuff. Duh, people, it’s fun. I mean, duh.

But before she could make him a tunnel, she had to clean out the barrels. I mean YUCK, even I noticed the smell. Probably because they’ve been sitting around in their unwashed state in this guys yard for almost a year.  So everybody’s been messing with the hose and the soap and other stuff to get the horrible smell out of here.  It’s really fun even though it’s pretty stinky.  And look what I found in one of the barrels:

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Ew, even I wouldn’t eat that thing.  I mean, of course I tried it, but it was gross.  It’s gone now, don’t worry your pretty head.  I have a pet raccoon that comes over sometimes.  He’s blind in one eye and he’s hungry all the time, so it’s good enough for him.  I know what you’re thinking because my humans tell me all the time.  “Raccoons carry all sorts of diseases.”  “Raccoons eat ducks.”  “The reason we built you that kennel is to protect you from the raccoons.”  But I ask you:  Who protected that raccoon when he got in the fight with the possum and couldn’t climb over the fence to get home?  Me, that’s who.  Plus, I’m impervious to all diseases, I just know it.  Just look at my majesty and you’ll see too.

Sounds like someone’s filling the bathtub, so I’d better go splash around.  Catch ya later!

Another gift bag – much easier than it looks!

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Perfect for shipping a pattern!

It was a tiny bit more work than my usual bags, which is still not much work at all.

I started out with a crib sized dust ruffle.  If I had used the hem for the top of the bag like I usually do, it would have been upside down.  So I had to roll a little hem.  SIGH, so much work, work, work.  It took about 4 minutes to hem 10 bags.  I did the hem before I cut the bags apart.  🙂

I also had to cut off a row of wide white rick rack at the bottom of the bag, which made me a little bit sad.  But the dust ruffle had been washed and dried, and the rick rack had shrunk and it just wasn’t adorbs anymore, so it had to go.  Okay, okay, it also looked like a dog or cat had chewed on part of it, so it really had to go.

I love that I was able to make a bunch of people smile with something that could have ended in the trash!

Here are a couple more recent gift bags:

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Sorry I haven’t posted.  I’ve been busy, which I know is no real excuse, but there it is.

My mom came to visit, which was awesome.  When we were driving her from the airport to our house, we had a tire blow out on a big huge bridge.  We managed to pull over safely and conveniently at Sonic.  Nobody screamed or cussed out loud.  Except for maybe the tow guy who changed our tire for us, but if he screamed and/or cussed out loud, it was after he left and we didn’t hear him.  He might have screamed and/or cussed out loud because we had a toilet there on the curb at Sonic.  I took the toilet out of the back of the van to get out the spare.  Then I realized the spare was not in back – that was our old van.  So I just looked like an idiot with a toilet sitting on the curb at Sonic.  Nobody tried to use the toilet, so I’ll count the whole event as a big, huge win.  Why did I tell you all of this?

A couple of new gift bags

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A little tiny ball of yarn gets a little tiny gift bag…

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…and a little bigger order needs a little bigger bag.

The second bag is made from a fancy designer (Laura Ashley) dust ruffle that had a tear in it.  I really enjoy working with such high-quality fabric!

New Etsy Shop, More Origami Yoda

Well, I’ve gone and done it.  I’ve opened an Etsy shop and I’m starting to move most of my merchandise over there.  eBay had a free listing spell that will hold me over on eBay for a bit, but any new patterns and fabric and yarn that I have will get listed on Etsy instead.  I’ll keep my eBay store for now, but I really think I’m going to have to move the bulk of my business elsewhere.  We’ll see how that goes.

I hate those square-y photos on Etsy because I sell so many patterns, which are rectangular.  So then I have the choice of either lopping off the top and bottom of the pattern, or filling in the background with some “background-y” thing.  Too much like Pinterest, which I also hate.  Except when I love it.  But eBay does the same thing with photos, so I guess all my conflicted feelings are really about more about change than about anything else.  Don’t worry.  I’ll grow up.  I’ll get over it.

Here’s the link to my Etsy store.

And here’s another of my son’s Origami Yoda projects:

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The book comes with a pull-out photo prop background.  Love it!

Need some justice over here. And some business advice, please!

My daughter is studying the industrial revolution in social studies right now. We are reading The Jungle together.  How awesome that there’s an audio book now, and even video versions! I was a kid when I first read it, and I couldn’t pronounce any of the names, so I substituted ordinary American names in my head just so that I could keep track of everyone.  But then I had to keep track of my substitutions, so I had a cheat sheet that I used as a bookmark. Plus I sometimes fell asleep while I was reading it…no wonder I couldn’t remember much of it.  Except for the yucky parts. Anyway.

From the eBay message boards: (until eBay removes it)

screenshot ebay 12-4-2014

 

Oops.  Looks like jaknox is going to be looking for a job soon.

This is one of the (many, many) reasons I prefer to meet you all over on Bonanza.  😡  Lookie lookie, actual evidence of big-time criminal behavior at eBay. There have been rumors for a long time but lots of denials and no proof. Go get ’em, DOJ. It will probably take awhile for this to hit the regular news, but this against the law, and this leaked list could be the foot in the door that is needed to go after evidence of other crimes.

I used to think many of the commenters on EcommerceBytes were bitter, cynical, frustrated, angry people in all aspects of their lives. Crackpots. But the more I learn about the business, the more I think those commenters were oracles.  Ming?  Yeah, he may look all bonkers and stuff, but he’s right about a lot of things. Or maybe I’m getting to be a crackpot too.  🙂

How many family businesses has eBay taken down to scratch the backs of their partners? How many customers have not been able to buy what they wanted, at the price they wanted, from whom they wanted, because of these collusions?  OK, enough ranting for now.  Time for some soothing music.

I’ve thought about moving over to Etsy, but their search engine gives me the heebie jeebies.  And their interface – it’s too much like Pinterest, which creeps me out.  Plus I don’t know how to list things.  I have a lot of vintage craft supplies, for instance.  Are they vintage?  Or are they craft supplies? And (significantly) I don’t want to spend hundreds of hours and lots of money to set up shop at Etsy to find the same problems happening all over again. They are becoming a big business too, and they must be feeling the pressure to act like a big business.

But…I need my competitors.  Nobody has ALL the craft supplies, so a marketplace is where we can all get together and customers looking for stuff can find what they need.

I like Bonanza because it’s really easy to list, and if I get enough sales over there, I can afford to go whole hog and open a store. (I just have a booth now.) I think lots of eBay sellers will make the move now just because Bonanza is glad to do the heavy lifting and import eBay listings. So for now, that is where I am going to park my store. Right now, Bonanza seems unusually honest and ethical. If they grow, are they going to turn into scuzzbags too? I guess we’ll find out.

I’ve been checking out some Facebook groups for selling and buying. They seem to be a little more “Wild West,” kind of like Craigslist, but some of them are fun. I sell a little bit on Amazon, but it’s not such a good fit for most of my merchandise.  Ecrater is very cheap, but an awful lot of work, and I’m not sure my technical skills are up to the challenge just yet.  I’ll be thinking and reading and testing over the next few weeks. As soon as I can afford it, I would love to dump my eBay store.

So…craft supply shoppers?  Where do you like to shop for patterns and yarn and fabric and kits? What do you think about Etsy? Sellers, where do you sell your things? If you’re in a good Facebook group, would you mind sharing that with me as well? Thanks, you’re awesome!