Monday, January 29, 2018

New Popcorn Flavor Red Velvet Cake with White Chocolate Drizzles Damn Good Popcorn

It took a lot of trial and error but we finally came up with the perfect Red Velvet Cake popcorn recipe!

Tastes just like Red Velvet cake and drizzled with white chocolate. Perfect Valentines gift for the Red Velvet Cake lovers! And we offer it in a pretty red popcorn tin. See our website at www.damngoodpopcorn.com to order today!


Saturday, January 27, 2018

Selling with Free Shipping on Amazon Handmade

I see a lot of crafter's refuse to do free shipping on Amazon Handmade. This is okay for Etsy but on Amazon free shipping is well worth it.

Amazon like Ebay, knows that customers want free shipping. Customers know it isn't really free. They know they are paying the shipping. But they prefer it combined in the price. This has been proven over and over for years.

Another benefit to free shipping on Amazon is the Amazon postage reimbursement never gives you the correct amount for your postage. If you use their shipping settings and Amazon postage; I can about guarantee that you will lose money on postage. Especially if you sell heavier items.

The biggest benefit to offering free shipping on Amazon is you get a boost in search. Amazon will always show listings with free shipping first. This is huge. Ebay does the same thing. And I suspect Etsy will start doing this in the future.

The search for any online venue wants to give the customer what they want to see. And that is free shipping. This is why all listings with fee shipping will rank higher in search. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

Never Buy Google Ads for Your Etsy Shop

I see many people buying Google ads for their Etsy store. In my opinion this is a huge mistake and waste of money.

First, Etsy gives us all Google ads for free, so why on earth would you pay for them? Second, Etsy shows every visitor your competition. So you are paying for ads that will also show your competitors items to your buyer. To me that is not money well spent.

If you are going to buy Google ads only buy them for your own website or blog. Never to direct to a venue like Etsy or Ebay.

Google ads can be effective but they don't come cheap. And there is a huge learning curve to using them. Its foolish to throw that money at a venue like Etsy.

As I have said for years; to get seen on Etsy just use good SEO. Specfically SEO geared to Google shopping. That way you can never go wrong .

Monday, January 15, 2018

Retro Chocolate Coconut Bundt Cake Recipe

Not sure how many remember those  cake mixes that were out in the70's? Back then they were all the rage. Everyone was making bundt cakes. My favorite was always the chocolate coconut tunnel cake. I found this recipe a few years back and its now a family favorite. So yummy.



Ingredients:

1 Devils Food Choc Cake Mix
1 Instant Choc pudding 4 serving size
2 Eggs
1 1/4 C Water
1/3 C oil

Coconut Filling

2 Egg whites
1/3 C sugar
2 Tbs flour
1 3/4 C flaked sweet coconut

Icing

1 C powdered Sugar
1 Tbs milk
1 tsp vanilla

Mix all ingredients for cake together.  Batter will be very thick do not add more water.  It has to be thick so that the coconut filling doesnt drop to the bottom.  Pour half of the cake batter into bundt pan.  (spray pan first)

For Coconut Filling:

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add sugar and beat until thick or stiff. Stir in flour and coconut by hand.Mix the filling and spoon into the bundt pan on top of the cake batter.  Be sure to spread evenly.  Pour remaining batter over the coconut filling.

Bake at 350 for 50-55 mins or until toothpick comes out clean.  Yes this cake bakes a long time!

Drizzle glaze over cake when turned out of bundt pan

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Selling Crafts on Amazon Handmade

I have been pleasantly surprised at how many sales I get on Amazon Handmade. But the more I thought about it; I really shouldn't be surprised. I think the biggest reason why I sell so much on Amazon Handmade is the lack of competition. Amazon Handmade is not flooded with crochet items like Etsy is. Or most craft handmade items. Not yet anyway.

I have read people post that AH just want cheap items that ship quickly. In my opinion that is not true at all. My most expensive items sell there with no problem. One of them is my crochet doily rugs that sell for 85-100.00 each. Just sold another one a couple days ago.



I will agree that Amazon customers want their items quickly. Its just what they are used to. I pretty much only list items that are made and ready to ship. The only items I don't do this on are my pink pussy hats as I can make them so quickly. I did have a stockpile of them but they have sold out

Amazon handmade search is so much easier to list for. AH has online webinars all the time where they will tell you how to list your items to get seen in search. There is no big mystery like there is at Etsy. Amazon pretty much goes by Google Shopping rules. No keyword stuffing in titles, only the description in the description area etc.

Do keep in mind that the customers are the number one importance on Amazon (as it should be) So do check your messages daily. I see many on AH Facebook groups that don't realize you have to answer messages within 24 hours of getting them. There are no days off when selling on Amazon Handmade. But its well worth it!

Friday, January 12, 2018

2017 Etsy Year in Review

Since I haven't been able to post about Etsy since my blog went down; I am going to do a year in review.

Lets start with the new Etsy headquarters Chad Dickerson built before he was fired. I was just appalled that he made this decision with the support of the Etsy BOD. Number one Etsy didn't buy the building that they spent millions renovating. They are leasing it. Bad decision 1. Then they spent millions making it the most incredible place to work. Bad decision 2. Which is really nice for employees. Yoga rooms, quiet rooms, craft rooms, free lunches, etc etc. I kept thinking to myself "how can Etsy afford all of this?" I mean come on Etsy is not Google. Not even close. Etsy has barely ever made any money. Then Chad announced 6 months paid leave for all employees that become parents. Which again is really nice; but can Etsy afford it? Chad thought so. Or maybe he didn't?

I got some grief on the Etsy forums for saying that all of this money being spent to make employees happy was ridiculous. My point is most employees would rather still have their job than state of the art offices that caused them to be laid off. Its a no brainer.

Apparently some investors started wondering if Etsy could afford it too. And the answer was a resounding no. So what do they do? They kick Chad out, lay off hundreds of employees and bring in Josh Silverman. Who just happened to be put on the board just months before. Coincidence? Not hardly.

I knew (and posted in the Etsy forums for the last 2 years) that all Chad wanted was to take Etsy public, make his millions and then leave with his golden parachute. And that is exactly what happened. Its almost as if he deliberately spent all this money that Etsy didn't have--to get kicked out. He had absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain. I honestly don't know how he could have made such horrible decisions unless this was his goal. He got to use Etsy as his own personal play toy, experiment with the code he loves so much (Code as Craft anyone?) then take his millions and retire.

Now he has announced that he going to start writing about his time at Etsy on his blog. Hes not stupid. He knows that will bring a ton of traffic to his blog. I for one could care less what he writes. In my opinion it will probably all be lies just like when he was CEO.

A lot of my friends have asked me what I think of Silverman. I think he is only marginally better than Chad. Unfortunately he got the horrible job of cleaning up Chad's mess (laying people off etc) But I don't think he is making good decisions either. Etsy Studio in my opinion was one of the smartest things Etsy has done in years. Well except for the idiotic name they gave it. And now Silverman squashed it. Like most Etsy projects it has been abandoned after only a few months of running. So much money thrown away and wasted.

Silverman has been doing a few Q&A to make sellers think he cares. But won't directly answer any question. I had one voted up to be answered and got the usual non answer. Really its better not to do Q&A's unless you are going to give direct answers. Silverman and other Etsy higher ups are big on corporate speak. I have never seen a company use it as much as Etsy does. All it does is alienate sellers more. Sellers aren't stupid. We know when we are being talked around or down to. 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

My Newest Online Business Damn Good Popcorn

I have always dreamed of owning a gourmet popcorn store and last July I finally made that dream a reality and opened Damn Good Popcorn! Its been a ton of hard work but so much fun too. 

We sell online at Etsy, Amazon, Ebay and my own website www.damngoodpopcorn.com Our retail store is located at 39 S Park Pl on the beautiful downtown Newark Ohio square. My son Kyle Baxter is my partner in crime and is the popcorn Chef and manager. I take care of all the online stores and online sales. A customer said to me the other day how unusual it is to see a mother and son business. I never thought of it that way but shes right! 

I have been surprised (and blessed) that our popcorn is selling so well online already. We have almost 200 sales on Etsy (since July) and sales on Ebay are doing well too. But the biggest boon for sure has been Amazon. It wasn't easy to get approved to sell food on Amazon (and I will be making a post about that) but I am stubborn and stuck with it and got it done. 

Our most popular flavor by far on Amazon is Dill Pickle Pocorn. Which I find so funny as when I first made it my husband said no one would ever buy it. He is eating his words now!! 

I used the same SEO methods I have used on all my online business's. Go by Google Shopping rules for listings and you can never go wrong! 


Etsy's New Search AI and SEO

I had been warning people for the last year that Etsy was already implementing AI without telling any of us (like they promised to do) It was very apparent to me and others that it was already going. But many refuse to believe. Finally Silverman admitted that AI has already been implemented. Not a surprise to me.

An admin had posted a few months before that that AI will work better with more "Google like" SEO. I have always used Google SEO since I started selling on Etsy in 2011. I have never subscribed to the keyword stuffing madness that others use on Etsy. But still many people refuse to believe it and continue to make listings that violate every Google Shopping rule there is. And they they wonder why their sales have plummeted. Most of the people complaining on the Etsy forums have keyword stuffed titles, shipping info in the description etc etc. I feel so bad for them as I know simply cleaning up their listings would probably bring their sales back. But the old saying "you can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink" is so true in this case.

Etsy has also implemented "listing quality". For those of us selling on other venues we are used to this. But for a lot of Etsy sellers they don't have a clue what it is. So now search ranking on Etsy will go by favorites, sales, customer service, etc etc. I posted a few years ago that renewing non selling listings will eventually lower your search rank on Etsy. Well the time is now. Now if you continue to renew non selling listings; it will lower your search rank. I stopped doing it a couple years ago as I could see the writing on the wall. If you are still renewing those old non selling listings; better think again. Its costing you more than the .20 cent listing fee. Its causing your search rank to lower. Its always been like this on Ebay. And honestly it makes sense. Venues do not want non selling listings on their site. Amazon will send emails about "slow selling listings" encouraging you to lower the price.

I hope that people who are struggling can wake up and see that they have to change what they are doing. What used to work will no longer work. Like I always say the only constant on the internet is that things will change!!

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Is Amazon Handmade Fulfilled by Amazon FBA for You?

I see a lot of people rush into FBA (fulfilled by Amazon) way too quickly. I think some just like the prestige of saying they have items FBA to family and friends. Take it from me FBA can all go wrong very quickly. And most small handmade business's can't afford it when problems arise.

I have been selling on reg Amazon for years and Amazon Handmade since it opened. The first 3 years FBA was awesome. I loved it. Then it all quickly went wrong. I started noticing that the counts were not adding up. Inventory was disappearing. I asked for reconciliations. Amazon would always answer that I miss counted what I sent. I knew I didn't as hubby and I would count a box at least 3 times before we sent it. At first it was just a few so I continued on. Then it started being large amounts.

At the same time I noticed Amazon was refunding orders for no reason. And giving buyers a "bonus" refund. When I complained I got a couple of the bonus refunds back. But not all of them. Some of them were just customers asking questions so Amazon would just refund them and tell them to keep it. This is mostly due to the language barrier of Amazon customer service. Most of them don't have a clue what the item is and have a hard time with English. So they just refund it.

To make a very long story short I finally ended up with about 1000.00 of missing inventory. I fought, I filed claims etc. All to no avail. Amazon just kept telling me I was wrong. I had all of my FBA inventory that was left sent back and stopped doing FBA. I was so angry but what could I do? Nothing.

Lo and behold almost 9 months later I start getting extra Amazon payments for "found inventory" Apparently they finally did an audit and found most of my missing inventory. I got 3 payments over the next month as they found it. But remember I only got what Amazon deemed the value.  Not retail value. But I counted myself as lucky to get anything back.

Then I noticed that someone was selling against me on my own listing. How odd. Then I read it was "Amazon warehouse deals" Yep they were selling my found inventory against me at a low price. Not nice. Thankfully they sold out quickly,

While a 1000.00 loss really hurt me; I was able to continue on. Many small handmade shops would not be able to wait out a 1000.00 loss.

I never had issues until Amazon started opening so many new warehouses. When I first started I always shipped to the same 2 warehouses (for years) Then suddenly I was shipping to 4 warehouses and that is when the trouble started. I just think Amazon is growing way too fast and they really don't know exactly where FBA inventory is for the first few weeks after you ship it.

I also think many handmade shops don't take time to do the math and see the real cost of FBA. I have seen some do FBA that I know cannot be making a profit unless they get their supplies for free. Yes you will probably sell more; but if you aren't making a profit it doesn't matter. FBA fees quickly add up. Especially if you start getting charged storage fees.

The beauty of Amazon Handmade is you don't have people selling against you like you do on regular Amazon. So the benefit of doing FBA is not nearly as great as it is on regular Amazon. If you have something people want; they will buy it regardless of if its on FBA or not. I sell Pink Pussy hats on Amazon Handmade. I have sold almost 60 in the last 12 days. And all without FBA. Quality products sell

FBA might be a good fit for some handmade shops; but for the majority it doesn't make sense. Really run the numbers and know that at any time your inventory can disappear. And it may take months to get paid back. 

Monday, January 8, 2018

New Bernat Blanket Stripes Yarn Jan 2018

I am pretty excited about the new Bernat Blanket Stripes yarn coming this month. Its being made in both reg blanket yarn colors and baby blanket colors! I am hoping to have them in stock the last week of Jan. Love the baby colors! These skeins are the same put up weight as the regular 300 gram skeins


My Blog is Finally Back in 2018!!

Wow!! I have been trying to restore this blog since 2016. What a nightmare. Sometimes I hate Google. I am stunned that I have been able to get it back and get my domain back.

I am almost wary of getting too excited or making too many posts until I am sure this is going to stay up.

Yay I am back! What a way to start 2018!

Kay's Crochet Mystery Boxes/Bags Update

We have been getting a lot of questions on our Mystery boxes so here you go! First some have asked why we are now shipping in bags. USPS...