Category Archives: Selling

New Year Plans 2020

Well, we all know I haven’t really blogged much in 2019. It’s hard to do long-term, as anyone who has a blog will know. I struggled with coming up with posts and also the time to write properly so didn’t write many at all. I suspect this year will be similar, but I will try!

I am making big changes to my little handmade business this year. I’ve seen so many businesses come and go on Etsy and on Facebook. People think, oh, I can make that, and charge less, all these businesses are ripping people off! So they start off with knit baby hats or buying in cheap glasses and pre-cut vinyls or MDF shapes, and charge materials x 2. They don’t factor in all their expenses – electricity, packaging, paypal fees (if they aren’t insisting on being paid by Friends & Family), insurance (if they even have it), doing accounts, time spent packaging and going to the PO… the list is almost endless.

But what they really don’t factor in is their time and wear & tear on their bodies. This is a huge issue to take into account – if someone is working every hour they are awake just to sell £4 items that take 30 minutes to make, they will be wrecking their health, relationships with significant others, children, other family and friends. When they finally sit down to do their taxes they’ll spend hours sorting them out to realise that they’ve made very little for 40+ hour weeks and could have made more flipping burgers at McDonalds 16 hours a week. So they disappear after a few months or a year. And then more take their place. It’s a whole other blog post on people valuing handmade items and being willing to pay properly for someone’s time and skills…

These “pop-up” handmade businesses who often aren’t trading legally anyway, underprice and undercut other handmade businesses instead of figuring out that long-term businesses charge what they do to be sustainable and are not ripping people off – handmade items should cost more than mass-produced! So I have been getting fewer and fewer orders for keepsake cushions, knit scarves & cowls as well as photo props which used to be my best sellers – the last are boobs, uteruses and placentas and they still sell pretty well.

Ever since I made 150 uteruses & placentas for a wholesale order in 3.5 months, I knew it would only be a matter of time before I would have to slow down because my hands wouldn’t put up with knitting 10 hours a day anymore. And that time is now. If you have been reading my Facebook business page over the past year, you’ll see there are lots of posts of me saying “my hands are bothering me again today, so I have to take it easy” or similar.

I have made fewer items this year, and it’s frustrating when you are used to making a certain amount and you just can’t anymore. I am phasing out items in all my shops on Etsy – Green Living Co Looking Glass Design, and Anatomical Knits by LGD, Ebay and Amazon. I will be focusing on items I like to make, using up my current craft supplies for other items and once they are made and sold, that’s it. I will be doing more sewing and the knitting will be less of a focus. I’d like to knit for me and my family more.

I will also be starting a job working for someone else for the first time in 8 years. Partly because of the changes in the handmade industry but also other factors like politics and the environment – we need to make do and mend, reuse already made materials and items much more and pushing newly made items that aren’t eco-friendly or aren’t environmentally consciously made in some way doesn’t feel like the right thing to do anymore.

One thing that will be staying open is the Green Living Co Etsy shop and more upcycled and more items made from repurposed materials will be available this year. I’ll keep you posted as much as I can about what items are being phased out and what will be added to all my shops. Below are some of the items still available!

Blue Scrubbies
Peach Scarf Strap
Buckwheat Hulls

Mustard & Black Drawstring Bag

Ebay, Ebay, Ebay

I’ve been selling on Ebay for almost 15 years now – both as a private seller and as a business. I’ve had great transactions and bad ones. I’ve left glowing feedback and not-so-glowing feedback.

But I can only leave FB as a seller if my items on my business account are being seen and ordered. I had a ‘basic shop’ as a free 2 month promotion for July & August. I ended up in the hospital on Aug 27 so I shut my shop on Ebay so I didn’t get orders I couldn’t fulfill. I had no idea that this would cause a lot of wasted time and grief for me because the shop shut on Aug 31, there was no way to turn the listings back ‘on’.

Basketweave Cowl

I thought that as the shop has shut that the listings had been active on Ebay and I was just lucky not to get any orders. I was wrong. The listings were still invisible – and I didn’t realise for almost 2 weeks when I couldn’t find one of my listings in search, I can’t remember what I was doing at the time. Even brand new listings weren’t being seen! I then got on ebay webchat and was told that she had ‘blank revised’ all my listings and give it up to 24 hours to ‘re-index’ the listings. I know when I edit a listing the listing changes immediately and I’ve never had one disappear for 24 hours. But I waited.

Nothing happened. I webchatted again & was told the same thing. On day 4 I got Ebay to call me. The Rep (Rep 1) on the phone decided to pass the issue onto Tech support and it would be 48-72 hours but she would call me back. She didn’t. I got them to call me again 72 hours later.

Oval Scrubbies

That rep said that she couldn’t see what Tech told Rep 1 and that the other rep must be on a day off and that she would have Rep 1 call me the next day and if that didn’t happen, Rep 2 would. Neither did. Another call the day after that and again, no Rep 1. Rep 3 told me he could send in another ticket but it would be another 48-72 hour wait. Lovely.

Rectangular Jute Scrubber
Rectangular Jute Scrubber

Yesterday Rep 1 emailed me a form email. Even lovelier. But it turns out that she was sick, Ebay customer support have no way of passing on issues with accounts if the rep dealing with it is sick for a week, and there was a very simple way to sort out my account – open a basic shop again. Why this wasn’t done behind the scenes and sorted last week, I don’t know. It’s not as if they actually gave me the free shop for another month as they removed it off my account as soon as the shop was taken out of holiday mode by the webchat rep. BTW, never use ‘as a courtesy, we won’t charge you £30 to fix XXX’ when XXX isn’t the customer’s fault…

Peach Scarf Strap
Mustard & Black Drawstring Bag

So, my ebay listings are now available to buy and I’ve put as many as I can on sale for 1 week, do take a look! All the items in the photos are on sale!

More Little Zipped Bags

Yup, here you go, more zipped bags. I have 24 made now made and 13 more to go… I said before I had a lot! lol

Each one will be listed on Etsy, Amazon & Ebay so you can use whichever platform you prefer if you want one – I’d love it if you did! Even after almost 8 years in business I still give a little excited ‘ooh’ when I get an order notification on my phone. At least when my phone decides to give a notification; it’s rather temperamental… (As an update, although these bags have all been listed on Ebay, there is a glitch of some kind and none of my ebay listings can be seen right now. I’m on ‘webchat’ with them daily to try to sort it… with no luck.)

Some are in new fabrics, and others aren’t. Because I have resewn these from some I purchased from a business that was shutting down for health reasons, but that weren’t made to my exacting standards, I decided to remake them – they were and are – different sizes. All are now lined with white polycotton or polyester fabrics, and some have a keyring attached (some I forgot to add it, oops!).

I’ll add links as they get listed – yes, there are lots of bags! Even if there are 2 of the same fabric, they will be different sizes and most likely have a different colour zip – the last ones will all have white zips. Which is your favourite?

Pink Stars Bags available here – Amazon & Etsy

Cupcakes Bags available here – Amazon and Etsy

Christmas Bags are available here –Amazon and Etsy

Scottie Dog Bag is available here – Amazon & Etsy

Yellow Dotty Bags are here – Amazon & Etsy

Animal Print Bags are here – amazon & Etsy

Dachshunds Bags are here – Amazon & Etsy

Orange Dotty Bags are available here – Amazon and Etsy

Yup, more Camera Scarf Straps…

I have no idea if anyone’s out there anymore reading this blog, so I guess I’ll just post these camera scarf straps and if you’ve read this, let me know!

I made these 3 new (well, 4 actually, as there are 2 of 1 scarf) scarf camera straps last week. One is a pink scarf,the 2nd a peach and the other 2 are from a turquoise pashmina scarf that’s great for winter outside photo shoots as it’s quite a thick scarf!

Here’s the Pink Scarf Camera Strap – it’s made from a viscose scarf in a pretty baby pink.

Pink Scarf Strap
Attachment for the pink scarf strap

And then the Turquoise Scarf Strap . This one (there are actually 2) I made from a pashmina scarf – a real one, in a goat and silk blend wool. The colour is fabulous!

Turquoise Pashmina Strap
Attachment for Turquoise Strap

This Peach Scarf Camera Strap and the colour is more peach than in the photos.

Peach Scarf Strap
Over 1 shoulder

Which one do you prefer? And if you prefer to buy off Amazon, you can find all these scarf straps here .

Green Living Co. is Live!

My newest Etsy shop, Green Living Co. is finally live! I opened it about a week ago and have managed to get a few things listed. My timing wasn’t great as it’s Easter Holidays now, but I knew if I didn’t start listing, it would be another month before I got it going.

I have some more items almost ready to list – the weather here’s been alternately too windy to shoot outside or too dark to shoot inside. I gave up on taking photos on a few days as it just wasn’t working. I have Organic Buckwheat Hulls for sale as well as a couple of finished buckwheat hull heat packs – more to come for those, I think!

I need to adjust the logo a little, I decided I want the writing darker so I’m going to sort that out in the next day or 2.

I have the other 2 Etsy shops still up and running, so need to figure out how to juggle all 3; the Anatomical Knits by LGD shop ticks over and I don’t have any plans on updating items in that one. I have added other body parts in the past but they don’t sell so I’m leaving it as mostly ante-natal teaching aids.

Looking Glass Designs is still going to get new items, product lines and ideas – more high-end accessories and more items knit on my knitting machine as well as knitting bags and hopefully other knitting accessories. I will need to market it differently, so I think I’ll be researching more about that soon.

My Amazon shop will still carry a selection of products from all 3 Etsy shops so not much change there…

Here are a couple of listings from Green Living Co. on Etsy…

Buckwheat Hulls
Bowl of Buckwheat Hulls

You can get the buckwheat hulls in 500g packs here – Buckwheat Hulls These will come in plastic grip seal bags, wrapped in brown paper with recyclable tape.

Buckwheat Heat Pack
Sewn end of Heat Pack

And the Buckwheat Heat Packs here. All heat packs/wraps will be sent tied with twine, in brown paper, and taped with brown paper tape – all packaging is completely recyclable! I plan on moving as much of the packaging for all my items to be as reusable and recyclable as possible.

Keepsake Cushion Patches

I have to admit that I make mistakes when I craft. Usually because I haven’t been paying attention properly. So… I have some keepsake cushion patches that are RTS instead of made to order.

There are currently 5; but I suspect that the number may go up… lol

I priced them a little cheaper than the made-to-order keepsake patches; if you know someone that could use one of them, let them know! They are all available in my Etsy shop in this listing.

If you’d rather have one with a different name, colour, font or quote, you can find them in these listings: Block Font Listing, Small Font Listing, Script Font Listing Each one has the same thread colour options, as well as adding in up to 2 more lines.

“Love, Daddy”
“Love, Grandad”
5 Lines in Khaki
“Sam”
“Love, Bryan”

Photo Prop Sale!

I’ve been making a lot of decisions in the past few months about what I want to make, what I like to make and the materials I have on hand that I need to use up. As part of that, I also have to look at what’s been selling. Photo props are no longer selling well; and that’s not just mine, but a lot of prop sellers are finding that there has been a flood of people thinking that they can make props and make money at it — but they are undercharging. You can’t actually make a profit and stay in business if you are charging £5 for a lace bonnet and the yarn is £3.

So I am putting my photo props on sale in turn. Right now I have all layers in my Etsy shop on sale with Free UK postage until March 22 – that’s lace layers, knit & chunky layers & roving blankets as well.

If you see something you like, check out my Etsy Shop and see if you are able to grab it!

Some Lace Layers

Tatted Lace Layer
Lace Layer
Sunflower Lace Layer
Ecru Lace Layer
Rectangular Lace Layer

Roving Blankets

Pink roving Blanket

Grey Roving Blanket
Blue Roving Blanket

Garter Stitch & Chunky Blankets:

Garter Stitch mini-blankets
Garter stitch mini-blanket

Knit Layers

Bright Rainbow Blanket
Rainbow Blanket
Dove Grey Lace Layer

A little update…

Hello all 3 of you that are still reading my blog! I kinda got lost with it last year and stopped blogging regularly. It’s harder to do than it looks! I’ve had this blog since I started Looking Glass Designs over 7 years ago and it’s never really taken off. But that’s OK. I don’t want to be known as a blogger.

I have been busy in many ways both personally and professionally in the past year. My son is getting older – he’s 10 now (not sure where that time went) and he’s getting so grown up (sometimes). I knit a shawl for his housemaster who left in December, she decided to move on after almost 22 years at the school as a parent, chorister parent, staff and housemaster. The photos in this post are of that shawl. (and yes,the pronouns are correct!)

Business was OK last year; it didn’t grow as it has for the previous 6 years — but I think that’s down to outside influences like Brexit and a lot of uncertainty in the world right now. It was steady and while I’d have liked my Christmas Rush to have started before Dec 1 I managed even with going away to York for 4 days before Christmas.

I will be starting up another Etsy shop in the next few weeks (see, now that I’ve told you I’ll have to, won’t I?) for reusable, recycled, and upcycled products. I am setting up a new Facebook page for it as well but will still use this blog to show you those items.

Personally, I’m sure you’ve noticed that I am very good at procrastinating – it sometimes feels like it’s my one true talent. I always hesitate to offer new items because I don’t know how well they will do and I don’t like going out of my comfort zone. However I decided to start this new Etsy shop as I have fabric and supplies coming out of my ears and need to use them! I have been looking for testers and have found a couple while making new items for them to test out for me; some will be redundant as they are items others sell, others will be slightly different so I want to get them tested by others as well as me. I plan on having 10 products ready to go when I open up – so keep an eye out as I’ll be running an opening sale!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I hope you have had – or are having – a wonderful Christmas. We had our usual Christmas morning – waiting for son to wake up and then doing stockings and presents before breakfast.

I haven’t been blogging recently; I haven’t had much to say, I guess. I have had a slower year than usual in my online shops; I think people are being more careful with their money and aren’t buying as many ‘wants’ as before. I have had some issues with my arms, shoulders and wrists at times through the year with spending a lot of time knitting and crocheting for orders; I need to increase the time I spend sewing and doing other things or I will have to cut back permanently on the time I spend playing with yarn…

I am opening up a new Etsy shop in the new year, and will be putting one or both of my current Etsy shops on vacation mode to get the new one up and running – I’ll let you know what’s happening soon! Anatomical Knits, Looking Glass Designs ,
Amazon

I do appreciate each and every one of my customers – some will never know how much their reviews, emails and happy comments have uplifted me. This isn’t something I do as a ‘side hustle’, a hobby or to keep me occupied while my husband brings in a paycheque. I craft for many reasons, one of which is my mental health. The joke is ‘I knit so I don’t stab people’ but for many people, crafting helps them with managing their well-being.

Some of the most popular items I sold this year have been my ante-natal teaching aids, camera scarf straps, camera buddies and photo props. Do keep an eye out for more styles and patterns of scarf straps!

Green Daisies Camera Scarf Strap
Blackcurrant dyed Wrap (sold out)
Wrap showing the variations in colour
Tied up as a scarf
Alpaca Chunky Blankets
Tweed Chunky Mini-blanket
Standard Sharp 5″ Interchangeable Gift Set
Pastel Rainbow Breast
Green Stripes

All 3 colours
Rainbow 1
Rocky the Penguin Camera Buddy
Boobs – each one is different….
Happy Caterpillar Camera Buddy
Large Octopus Camera Buddy

Another Batch of Camera Scarf Straps

Here’s another batch of camera scarf straps – I’ve made another since but haven’t managed to get photos done yet. I think the cat print one is my favourite, which is yours? I still can’t decide which design is better – the nylon straps or the adjustable style with keyrings.

Duck Print Scarf Strap – available on Etsy, and Amazon and Ebay.

Duck Print Camera Scarf Strap
Close-up

Cat Print Camera Scarf Strap: available on Etsy, and Amazon and Ebay.

Cat Print Camera Scarf Strap
Close-up

Green Daisies Scarf Camera Strap: available on Etsy, and Amazon and Ebay.

Green Daisies Camera Scarf Strap
Close-up

Hot Pink Floral Scarf Strap: available on Etsy, and Amazon and Ebay.

Pink Floral Scarf Strap
Close up