Concrete Making, Grandma's Corner, Organisation

Just a Review

I started following the “Just a Card” campaign when I saw Gemma mention it. The campaign aims to get people to support small independent business such as Gem’s Concrete Gems, and to realise that every little purchase makes a difference.

The other night we were talking at our crochet group about the various businesses people are involved in. The conversation went like this:

“I saw X, she and her friend went on one of your courses and they loved it.”

“I wish they would write a review.”

Followed by a collective sigh, as everyone knew of people who love their products and services but don’t post positive reviews.

I came home and posted reviews on recent Etsy purchases that I had liked but never got round to writing. I would have posted reviews on NuMonday purchases but they don’t seem to have a review mechanism…

However I have a caveat to my recommendation to post a review. If the service or product you get from a small business is not what you would expect don’t immediately post a negative review, contact the supplier and explain why you are unhappy and maybe suggest how they could improve. I bought something that was a long time coming and what was delivered wasn’t quite what I ordered; when I contacted the supplier it turned out she was a young mum, on jury service for something lengthy, and she had sent my order out in a hurry when distracted. A negative review would do no good in this case, jury service only lasts a short time and hopefully her experience with me was a prompt to be careful in checking orders.

So when you buy something from an independent business take the time to give them a 5 star review. If they are not up to scratch don’t post a negative review unless they are dreadful and you feel strongly that fellow buyers need warning off.

If you have bought from Gem’s Concrete Gems, please consider leaving a review on Etsy or Facebook.

Concrete Making, learning, My Products

Etsy, Artibus and nuMonday

For a craft seller, Etsy is the go-to platform, but there has been much debate on social media about their recent increase in fees and it appears that many sellers have decided to leave Etsy and join other platforms.

I have a few thoughts on this.

Etsy has been going for years and is a well established site with millions of sellers and buyers, so they know what they are doing and they bring in the traffic. However sellers are competing against maybe too many other sellers and their products can get lost. That said, if you have good photographs and good SEO, then your products will get seen and sales happen. Some cynics say that Etsy’s prices are just going to go up and up and up, but we will just have to wait and see on that one.

nuMonday is newer, only a year or two old, with around 8000 sellers. The layman out there probably will not have heard of it, but it is great in that there is a fixed monthly fee and no other transaction, listing, or shipping fees, unlike Etsy. At the moment they only have UK sellers but buyers can be worldwide. This platform seems to be growing quickly.

Artibus is brand new, only a few weeks old and I have signed up with them after winning a sneaky free month! Their website seems quite clunky and I think there are a few teething issues they need to resolve, but, like nuMonday it has a fixed monthly fee. Artibus is based in the US, but sellers and buyers are worldwide.

I see them as having different uses. Etsy for the complete stranger who happens across your product whilst browsing and loves it enough to buy. And then nuMonday and Artibus can be used more to direct people to from social media and, hopefully, google search. Obviously nuMonday will be more focussed on the UK and Artibus on the US.

I am signed up with all 3 at the moment, almost as a trial to see which works best for me. Let me know your thoughts on the issue.

My Products

Packaging

I’ve thought a lot about packaging over the past couple of months, as it is something that really resonates with me and there are lots of different angles to consider.

Firstly, there’s the environmental issues to think about. I try to only use either recycled or recyclable materials in my packaging. In an ideal world, I would use products that are both recycled and recyclable but that then can cost more than I can afford in some cases. I’ve been reading and thinking about our plastic impact on the earth and am consciously trying to slowly reduce my plastic waste and replace items with more sustainable options. As well as being something I want to try to mitigate myself personally as much as possible, it is also definitely something that many people consider now when making purchases.

Secondly there’s the cost angle. When starting out as a small business, there are so many start up costs and spending a fortune on packaging is not really an option, so I have been looking for something relatively cheap but also environmentally friendly.

Thirdly, aesthetics have to play a big part. As an Etsy seller, I’m well aware that receiving a beautifully packaged handmade gift is one of things that can really make a buyer remember you and come back to you again and again, and obviously this is super important.

Gem's Concrete Gems product packaged in orange tissue paper in cardboard postage box
Gem’s Concrete Gems packaging

I wrap all my products in tissue paper, secured with string, before packaging them safely in brown cardboard boxes for postage. I think it looks pretty and I love the orange colour against the brown card.