Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Facebook's Boost Post Promote Feature Review

If you own a business it is imperative that you have a Facebook page dedicated to it.  You can find the BeBe Babies and Friends Facebook page here in case you are unfamiliar with what I'm talking about.  Some artists use a Facebook personal page as their business page, but I wouldn't recommend it.  The reason is because Facebook offers many tools that you can utilize on your business page that you can't on a personal page.

Right now I only pay attention to my "likes" statistics page, as well as how many people each of my posts reach.  I also pay attention to comments and likes of each post of course.  I am hoping to do some research over the following weeks to find out how I can use the Facebook statistics in a more productive way.  Because while I understand that more "likes" and more people "reached" means something, I don't really know how to analyze the data to tell me something useful.  I'll let you know what I discover along the way.

For today though I would like to share with you my experience and results using the Facebook promote tool for the first time.  While I was in the US I was working hard to re-open and stock the BeBe Babies USA shop as well as get the word out that the shop had re-opened.  I had noticed that when I posted on Facebook in the past it would ask me if I would like to "boost my post".  I had clicked on it previously but realized that it was a paid service, and I generally don't like to pay for things I'm not sure will produce profitable results.

However seeing as I wouldn't be in the US long, and not very often at that, I decided to give it a go.  There are several options you can chose to target your audience as well as limit the cost and days your "boost" is running.  I chose to target people who like my page and their friends, as well as the countries USA, United Kingdom and Australia, because that is where the majority of my customers live.

It looks like this.

Next you chose your price.  I went with $20 for 2 days.

Each selection that you change tells you the amount of people you should reach with that configuration.  I believe my reach was estimated at 3,500-9,200 people.  The post I chose to "boost" was a group of photos of brand new and available dolls.  I had four different dolls available.  The important thing to note here is that you are paying to promote one post, not your entire page.  Here are the statistical results of my boost via Facebook.

I "reached" 5,466 people which is pretty amazing considering on average I reach about 300 people per post.  I also had 141 likes on the post, and, while it varies, I have never had more than 100.  I also added nearly 100 new page likes in 2 days.

Now who cares about all these statistics?  Like me you are probably thinking, did anything sell as a result of this advertisement?  Did you make any money??

Well let me tell you friends I most certainly did.  I sold every doll in the post as well as added 4 orders on top of that.  For me that was several hundred dollars profit.  Well worth the $20 investment.

Now obviously this tool could get expensive if you wanted to use it all the time.  Also there might be different configurations to try to maximize the results.  I would recommend only boosting posts that could lead to direct sales.  For example, posts of available dolls, preferably when you have more than one doll.  I am hoping to try this tool again in the near future, once I have something really good to share.  

Another thing on my mind is the results after the boost.  I have noticed that my traffic has increased overall, but only slightly.  For the most part my stats have returned to their normal rate.  I haven't noticed an increase in sales since the boost, and posts after the boost haven't increased much in likes or "reaches".  So while I'm thrilled with the results of the paid advertisement, I would like to see a much larger sustained increase.  This will be something to seriously consider before making the decision to pay for this service again.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Etsy Wholesale Review Update and Pricing Your Products for Wholesale

Remember my last update on my Etsy wholesale account?  Well I got a lovely message from a lady on Etsy who said she found my blog when she googled "etsy wholesale reviews".  See, I told you there wasn't a lot of real info out there.  Also it feels so great that people are finding and reading my blog!  Well her and I got into quite a long conversation as she had a bunch of questions, so I thought it might be nice to give you a little update as well as address her questions publicly.  I figured some of you might have the same questions.  But please keep in mind that I am no expert.  I am just sharing with you my results and what I have been doing so far.  I know there is a lot more for me to learn as well.

Ok first my results...

I was accepted by Etsy wholesale in November 2014.  I immediately had a sale and a total of 4 wholesale purchases in November.  I averaged one a week in November.  I was very happy with the immediate results.  However I was a little suspicious that these sales were probably a result of the Christmas holiday that was coming up.

December I had no wholesale orders but on January 1 I got one order as well as one more in that month.  February I had no sales and in March I had one.  This month I have had nothing so far.  To summarize:

November: 4
December: 0
January: 2
February: 0
March: 1

Now I can't say that I am unhappy.  I think these are good sales, and one was a repeat buyer, so that is great.  However I need a lot more than this to turn this into a full-time job.  I did a lot of fabric buying while I was in the US so I will be working over the next few weeks to update my wholesale line sheet with new patterns and hopefully new designs as well.  I will keep you posted.  But for now I will share with you the questions and answers by the lovely lady on Etsy who contacted me.  I am going to post parts of the actual conversation to make it easier to follow along.

Hi Casie! 
I just read your blog post from back in 2014. I've also been looking into etsy wholesale and haven't been able to find "real" reviews! Do you still recommend it? I opened my shop back in November and have been turning it into a full time gig. I am very interested, but want to hear first hand from an etsy seller. 
Thank you sooo much for your time! Im sure you are beyond busy!

Hi E!
Awesome to hear someone reads my blog other than my Mom ha ha. 
It definitely was worth it for me at first. You have to pay a $100 one-time membership fee and I earned that back pretty quickly. However I think because I joined right before Christmas I received quite a few orders right away(average one a week for 2 months). Since the first of the year, however, I have only had a handful (I would have to check but I think it's only been 2-3). 
I still would say it's definitely worth it, but I haven't exactly figured out the formula for consistent sales yet. I actually was in the US recently and bought a lot of new fabrics. Now that I'm home I'm hoping to get my wholesale page updated and refreshed.
Anyway feel free to ask me anything you like! I hope it helps. :)

Thank you sooo much for replying! So I've been making a wholesale sheet to take to local boutiques and I think the lowest I can do is between 25-30%.  Is that low enough that you think wholesale buyers will purchase?
What kind of buyers are buying from you? Boutiques? Conpanies? Local shops? I'm just so curious! 
Last question, is there a lot of competition or have a lot of shops not joined? 
Thank you thank you!

No problem!
I totally understand your pricing dilemma. In general you should be offering 50% off your retail price to wholesale accounts. I have offered 40% for consignment in the past although I don't do consignment anymore because in my opinion there is too much risk and too much work to follow up on.
Even though nearly every site or business model you see will tell you 50% minimum, I believe there is always leeway for handmade businesses. And also it is your business so you can determine your pricing any way you want. The business will accept or they won't. One thing to consider though is that I believe Etsy wholesale requires it to be at least 50% so if you apply to sell with them you won't be able to use your %20-30 pricing.
Also remember a couple of other things:
1. You pricing might work for local stores because they don't have to worry about shipping. However that isn't a very big margin for a shop that has to pay for shipping on top of the cost of your items. They might not be able to make enough for it to be worth it for them to buy.
2. If you have different pricing for different situations you might run into future problems. For example if you only give a local store a %20 discount and the store goes online and finds they can get %50 off from you through Etsy they might not like that. In general the advice is to always keep your pricing consistent in all venues. 
So what can you do? You have some options. You can go with the pricing you want and see what happens, or you can raise your prices so that you can bear a %50 wholesale price. Don't be scared to raise your prices to a reasonable price. Most people who are scared to do this find that after they do, they don't lose business and in most cases increase their sales.
All of my wholesale accounts have been small independent shops/boutiques in the USA and Australia.
There are a lot of shops on Etsy wholesale but the competition depends on your market. For example I make dolls for children and the market is really small which is a big benefit for me. If your market is something like jewelry supplies you will have a lot more competition. As I said I haven't figured Etsy wholesale out that well and I still need to do some more research on how to get noticed and stand out.

Casie Ohmgsh! Thank you for all of the wonderful advice!! I truly appreciate it! Many blessings to you, your shop, & blog!!! :)

If you have any of your own questions feel free to message me on Etsy, Facebook or send me an email at  I will continue to post updates as I learn more as well as all the other advice I can think of.  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Big Announcements

I have a lot of blog posts coming up I promise.  I know I have been neglecting the blog and that really must stop.  So on my real last night in the US before I return to my home in Mexico, I thought I would make the big announcement as well as tell you what's been happening.

Remember when I said I didn't know when I was going to be a mommy and I would sometimes panic about it?  Well my boyfriend and I are expecting!!  I am a little over 5 months pregnant and we are so excited.  There is going to be a real BeBe in the house very soon.  And it's a boy!  I have a new line of dolls coming up soon that I'm so excited to work on.  The line will be called BeBe Boys, or BeBes for Boys, I haven't decided yet.  I'm very inspired by my upcoming arrival.

I'm not the type of person who thinks boys can't have dolls, but most of my dolls are very girly or in very girly colors, and I don't want his life saturated with that.  Plus I love monsters and superheros which will be some of the BeBe Boys themes.

I'm in the US right now visiting my family and friends for the last time before the baby arrives.  We had my baby shower last weekend.  It was awesome!  Here's a little look at the food and festivities.

Homemade monster cupcakes

Pretty spring snack table

Onesie decorating

The shower was a family party because most of my friends are men.  Everyone brought their partners and children.  My Mom and I bought cheap outdoor toys for the kids and everyone had a blast.  It was perfect.

One of my nephews

The other big announcement is that the BeBe Babies USA shop has been reopened.  You can find it here.  I decided to reopen the USA shop because shipping from Mexico takes about 4 weeks and that can be very difficult for my customers.  I'm hoping to restock the USA shop periodically throughout the year, either when I visit, or by shipping large groups of dolls to my Mom.  She handles all of the shipping as the dolls sell, and she does a great job.  I've been working on a few dolls while I've been here but all of them have been adopted from Facebook.  Be sure to like BeBe Babies on Facebook to have first choice of available BeBes before they are listed on Etsy.  Many of my dolls are adopted on Facebook before they even get to my shop.

Just yesterday I bought a Facebook ad as I've been contemplating if it would be successful or not.  I can't wait to share the results with you in my next post...