It’s currently 18th May and I finally have the opportunity to type up some results from April. I’ve had such a busy month and a half due to working abroad, then going straight on holiday to a different country, coming back and going to Uni, then working away again! I’m travelling on a train right now, so have a bit of time to provide an update.
Due to the severe lack of time I’ve had, I’ve pretty much neglected POD because my only spare time has been dedicated to the Passive Owls FB group and YouTube, which takes quite a lot of effort to manage, and has well over 1200 subscribers now, by the way!
Therefore, I’ve literally uploading no new designs to any POD site since well over a month ago. If you remember from my 2 month Etsy update, you’ll know that I decided to stop all adverts and see how it affected sales. My initial Etsy strategy was to utilise their paid adverts to get established as a reputable seller and hopefully getting positive reviews/sales ranking would boost visibility of my shop and I’d get organic sales.
I’m pleased to report that after turning off all adverts, I got 15 orders during April, which equates to $145.09 pure profit (roughly £106.67). I wasn’t expecting so many orders at this point. In fact, I wasn’t even planning on turning off adverts for another couple of months to try and get even more established on Etsy.
Feb: Views: 737 / Visits: 418 / Orders: 13 / Revenue: $294.44 <- $5 per day on ads
Mar: Views: 1280 / Visits: 708 / Orders 28 / Revenue: $520.59 <- $10 per day on ads
Apr: Views: 540 / Visits: 320 / Orders 15 / Revenue: $274.20 <- $0 per day on ads
This is great news because it shows that I’ve made almost as much organically as I did when I first started and had to use ads to get sales. Probably due to having a lot of 5 star reviews now and my products showing organically in the listings because of I’ve got lots of sales, too. I’m very grateful for the 5 star reviews because there have been times where mistakes happened and could’ve easily resulted in bad review. I just offered amazing customer service to try and resolve things which seems to have paid off. People have generally been understanding but if the event that they’re not, I’m more than happy to fully refund a customer for an issue. As I’ve said before, a bad review just isn’t worth it. I had no other people contact me in relation to the issue I had last month with the dodgy printing so I seem to be out of the woods by now.
I have, however, had a few issues with Printful which I’m not happy with. I’ve contacted their customer service now a few times, which was generally good historically, but there were 2 very annoying issues:
Firstly, Printful put a hold on one of my orders, but didn’t tell me this had happened. I only found out when a customer emailed me weeks after ordering asking where his item was. I contacted Printful to find out what had happened because they usually email. They were absolutely adamant that an email would have been sent to me and it must be a problem with my provider or I deleted it. I’ve received a number of these hold emails so I knew I definitely didn’t get one this time as they’ve always come through before. I had to persuade them to look into it further and the results were that their system failed and didn’t send an email. To their credit, Printful agreed to refund me for the shirt as an apology for getting it wrong, but what annoyed me was their refusal even consider they could’ve made a mistake when I first contacted them and it was only because of me pushing it that they looked into it further. I was very fortunate that the customer was totally cool with the delay and even refused a partial refund that I offered for the inconvenience.
Secondly, a customer ordered 2x mens shirts, but somehow the Printful system sent out 2x female shirts. The listings was mens/unisex and I actually have a completely separate listing for female shirts, so they couldn’t possibly get mixed up. Printful syncs to Etsy on their end so it’s all done automatically and I haven’t touched it since. When I contacted support about it, they were again adamant that it was my mistake rather than theirs and that I must’ve changed things. I definitely haven’t changed it and have no reason to, but they wouldn’t entertain that it could’ve been something wrong on their end. I asked them to look into it, as surely if I’d changed something there would be evidence on their end. Of course, they couldn’t provide any evidence that I’d done it and instead refused to take any responsibility, saying it wasn’t possible for their system to make such an error. Sort of like how their system couldn’t possibly make an error with emails before, but did? It wasn’t worth my time arguing with them further, but I had a lot of work to do with the customer to make up for it, and Printful refusing to accept any responsibility without investigating was beyond frustrating. I had to give a partial refund and do a lot of customer service to sort it out.
I’m going to leave adverts off during May and to be honest, it’s still a hectic month so I don’t think I’ll be developing Etsy much at this point. My future goal (June onwards) will be to add a hell of a lot more products because I currently only have roughly 35 uploads! Imagine if I had 10x that – my profit would be way healthier, it’s just having time to get on with it. I think this is a valuable lesson though that sometimes life does get in the way and you can’t get as much done as you’d like, but it doesn’t mean you should give up – just do what you can, when you can.