As of yesterday, I’ve managed to get my first sale at Kitty Mine Crafts! The buyer purchased these two batts:
I honestly expected the Watermelon batt to go first, but I’m happy to have sold anything. It’s thrilling to think that someone else wants something that I made.
I’ve also spent time updating the shop – it turns out that I can work a 19 hour day if there are no distractions. I doubt that I can keep that up long, but it’s great that I can do it even once in a while. Just a few months ago this would have been inconceivable.
I joined a group on Ravelry that advises owners of Etsy shops on pretty much any relevant topic. I asked for a review of my store, and the suggestions were that I needed to have my name on my banner (a task I was considering anyway) and that I needed to improve my photography. I edited the banner, but the photos are another matter entirely. I have a point and shoot camera – I am a yarn crafter after all, not a professional photographer. One of the reviewers said my banner was out of focus, so I sharpened it in Photoshop. She still didn’t think it was in focus even after I fixed it, so I sought out the opinion of Vickie, my friend who does professional photography. She didn’t agree with the critics. I guess it’s really subjective. I value her opinion more because she is a good friend of mine and I like her work a great deal.
In any case, I wanted to consider a better camera because I have foster kittens to photograph, and they’re hard to capture. I’ve wanted something with burst mode so I can catch them running. A friend of mine caught pictures of a bird in flight that way, and they were so cool. It’s just that SLR cameras that can do that are so expensive. I can justify the cost a bit more now because I have a business to run, so I got an entry level SLR (Canon Rebel T3). It should come in the mail next week.
I’m still working out the idea of the pictures themselves. I generally take pictures in daylight because I want to the colors to be as accurate as possible. The flash on the camera seems to distort them. The critics on Ravelry tell me this is not the way to go because it creates “harsh shadows.” They also didn’t like that I had a sheet with soft folds (they referred to them as wrinkles) as the backdrop for my pictures. I experimented in Photoshop again, cutting out just the picture of the fiber I have for sale (it’s not listed yet, but I may do so tonight) and dropping it on a nearly white backdrop to simulate what it would be like in a light box.
It’s not a perfect comparison, but I do see a difference in the pictures. The thing is, I think I like the backdrop better. The shadows make it seem more real (maybe there would be some in the light box) and the gentle folds in the sheet lend a softness to the picture. I want people to get the impression of softness when they see my stuff, so I’m not actually sure that I want to change that. Again, Vickie said that “not every product photo needs to look like it doesn’t have a background.” I think she’s right. I wonder if the problem they are having is that I chose white as the sheet color. It kind of straddles the line between “no background” and “artistic background.” There is something called the “uncanny valley” in which a robotic humanoid looks and acts almost exactly like a human, but not quite. Apparently, that freaks people out – they either want something completely real or obviously fake. I think my background problem might be like that.
I’m thinking there has to be something I can do with creative cropping as well. Hmm…
If you ever wonder how I spend my time these days, now that I’ve significantly improved health-wise, this is pretty much it. I like that I can generally do this stuff even when my head is on fire from soy contamination because it’s happened a few times this week. It turns out I am so sensitive that I can’t even eat things made in a factory that processes soy. Good to know, but really hard to avoid.
The next thing I really have to work on is my packaging. I printed a band with my banner and relevant fiber care/weight/fiber contents and wrapped it around the fiber that I sent, but I’m not thrilled with it. I think I want to tie it up with yarn and have cute tags that convey the information I want the buyer to have. Stay tuned for that process!