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Sunday, November 20, 2011

What I Wish I Had Known

BE, that is Before Etsy, I sold my jewelry exclusively through home parties.  I was very excitied once I finally started selling on Etsy to have another avenue to sell my jewelry through.  However, I did encounter one problem:  what was the best way to keep track of what sold at home parties so that I could take that inventory off of my Etsy store.  My first attempt was simple to take the item off using my iPhone while I was doing the sale.  Not only did this slow down the whole checkout process at parties, but in the excitement of a party, it just added to the stress.  My next attempt was to take photos of everything as it sold, so that I could take it off Etsy immediately after the party.  I found that in the excitement, I often forgot to snap a photo, and when I did, they weren't that great of photos due to the environment.  I knew I needed a better system.  I knew I needed an inventory system.  Oh, how I wish I had implemented one AS I was listing stuff on Etsy, rather than 200+ items afterwards.  This is how I went about creating my inventory system:

  1. I downloaded a list of my items currently for sale on Etsy.  The link to download the file is located by clicking on the "Your Shop" link, then clicking on "Options", then selecting "Download Data".  This allowed me to download a CSV file which contained a lot of the data I needed for my inventory system.  If you are not familiar with CSV files, they are "Comma Separated Value" files that can be opened as a regular spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or any other standard spreadsheet program.  I downed loaded the file and saved it as an Excel spreadsheet.
  2. I hid the columns I was not going to use (I decided I'd keep the Title, Description, Price, Qty, and Image columns). 
  3. I then added 4 columns before the first column.  In the first column, I pasted the thumbnail image of the item from the page that comes up when you click on the "Your Shop" link.  This is handy because the link to the item's Etsy page also is copied over - so if you ever need to deactivate or deleted the listing, you can just click on the image in your spreadsheet and it opens the right page in your web browser!  The second column was a numerical ID number.  I started with a 1 for the first item, 2, for the second, and had excel automatically fill in the number for all the items in the list.  The third column I added was a alphabetically distinguisher that would help me be able to sort my inventory list by item type.  For example, all my bracelets have "BR" in that column, all my necklaces have "N" in that column, and all my earrings have "EA".  The forth column has the complete ID number, which is the alphabetical distinguisher combined with the numeric ID number (ie., BR27, EA13, etc.).  The complete ID number is what I write on the price tags of my items.
Now, when I have a jewelry party, in the notebook where I total the order sales, I also write down the complete ID number of every item sold.  I then can go and load up my spreadsheet after a party, click on the picture of the item with the corresponding ID number, and deactivate the item.  I just tried the system out for the first time this weekend, and it worked perfectly.

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