Happy April 30!

30 Apr

Jaclyn1423‘s autism awareness promotion is nearly done. So far, I’ve raised more than $130 — you’ll get an exact count in a more exact wrap-up to come this weekend — and I am so, so happy to be able to send that check to Autism Speaks.

Sold this month, for autism awareness.

This is the last day of 25 percent of general shop sales to be donated to the organization, though $5 of every Joey’s Hot Dog will here on out go to Autism Speaks. That means if you want your donation to be a part of my April total, get buying!

I learned quite a bit through this process, including that people will come out of the woodwork to support a cause they believe in — or someone they care about believes in. I wrote up a forum post on Etsy hoping to give other people a pointer for increasing the sales in their shop while simultaneously raising money for a cause they believe in. You can see it here, or click through to read the post.

Happy last day of April, my friend.

I’ve been selling jewelry on Etsy for about a year and a half now. My shop isn’t one of those with thousands of sales. In fact, I’m just nearing my 100th, and I’m thrilled. The major reason I’m so close to that milestone is a huge promotion I did in April.

And oh, how it worked.

I made about three times more sales in April than I did in the rest of the year, and I did it by focusing on a cause I care deeply about and figuring out how I could best contribute. That’s the best tip I can offer.

For me, the cause was autism, and the item was Joey’s Hot Dogs. You’d never know that something as silly and whimsical as a hot dog charm would do it, but it’s what that hot dog stands for and how I marketed that hot dog that made the difference.

Joey is my brother, and he has autism. I’ve wanted to give to the cause for a while through my jewelry, but I was unsure how. After months of trying to figure it out — searching for cute charms that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg, and a good bit of trial and error — I came up with Joey’s Hot Dogs, where $5 of every sale goes to Autism Speaks.

The “trial and error” part consisted of making sure I kept Joey’s Hot Dogs affordable, but cute. I wanted people to wear them! I’ve since received a number of fan photos of the necklaces, and I do think I manged to keep them at a reasonable price; they’re $11 for a regular necklace, which includes a hot dog charm, a puzzle piece charm (the symbol of autism) and a red, blue or yellow bead. I’ll soon be adding orange and green Joey’s Hot Dogs. For an additional $3, I’ll personalize your hot dog with an initial charm.

Once I came up with the idea, I advertised the heck out of it. I wrote a lengthy blog post explaining why I was doing this promotion. I tweeted about it, a lot. I promoted it on my Facebook page. Through all of these means, people caught on.

The necklaces even spurred questions about custom items. I made a set of three bracelets with the puzzle piece and a bead cluster for a girl who lived in my dorm freshman year. I’m currently working with a mom who wants a mother’s necklace with the puzzle piece. A former boss is commissioning me to make a set of fundraiser necklaces for her daughter’s Relay for Life team.

Thirty-five sales certainly isn’t an astronomical number. There are shops here that sell triple that in a month without batting an eyelash. But for me — someone who looks at jewelry making as a wonderful hobby, and who sells on Etsy first to share that love and second to make a little extra for the bank — those 35 sales mean a lot. For anyone else in my boat, I hope this story can help you out!

Jaclyn

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One Response to “Happy April 30!”

  1. Stephanie April 30, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    I love all the feedback you got on that post on Etsy!! How cool!!! You rock!

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