CalobeeDoodles.com gets a makeover

You know what they say about the cobbler’s children and their shoes? Well, I am the cobbler, and my websites are my children, and it’s been a while since they’ve had new shoes. I can’t remember the last time I designed a theme for my site that wasn’t a work project.

Speaking of work, my team is talking about small businesses, interviewing owners and figuring out what makes them tick. This also involves keeping an eye on our competition, and as a long-time Etsy seller, I already have a foot in that space.

It turns out that Etsy offers a free trial of their website builder, Pattern, so I decided to try it out in the name of research, and in hopes I’d come out of it with a decent website, too.

The result:

Screen Shot 2018-05-23 at 2.22.56 PM

What I liked

I’m impressed with how fast I was able to set up a site; with a few clicks, the whole thing was ready to go (not including the time I spent fussing over themes, colors, and fonts). I had the option to wait to publish it until it felt finished, but being me, I charged ahead and hooked up my domain name right away.

Now my existing audiences on both platforms can access the same products, and I don’t have to go through the process of re-creating 150+ listings with WooCommerce or Shopify. That’s a huge time-saver.

I’ve noticed a significant increase in traffic to my Etsy shop by way of the original domain name, which tells me combining the site and the shop was a good move. It’s too soon to tell if that uptick will result in sales, but anecdotally, I’ve had a solid sales week, too.

What I didn’t like

The primary drawback for me is the look of the site; it’s very vanilla. There are few themes to choose from, they don’t support transparent PNGs (welcome back to the 90’s?), and I’m itching for custom CSS to tweak a few things.

The blog feature is also basic; no scheduling, few choices, I can’t import or export content, so I’m effectively starting from scratch.

Pattern is obviously not designed with power users in mind, but I recognize I’m spoiled by WordPress’ ability to customize everything down to the last pixel, and I’m probably picky about my site’s appearance. 😉 But for $15 per month, I’d expect to be able to do more with the site.

Worth it?

So far, I’ve sold enough to make up my first couple months’ fees. That said, I could see myself moving to a more robust solution in the future; something that gives me more control over my site’s appearance. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for leveraging my existing connection with Etsy.

I’m also in the process of updating the shop with new goodies from Printful, a print-on-demand drop-shipping company that interfaces with Etsy to produce t-shirts, posters, mugs, and more. Now folks can buy the kind of stuff I sell through Redbubble or Teepublic directly from Etsy.

I hope it helps widen my shop’s reach a bit!

shop business

numbers & fruits posterI am just now getting around to listing some of the new photos from last month in the Sixhours shop. I’ll be adding a few more sizes and variations in the coming days. Of course, you’re always welcome to convo me if you’d like a specific size!

And in Calobee Doodles news, I have a 16×20 poster of numbers & fruits that needs a home. It’s an extra from a shipping mix-up. It’s all boxed and ready to go, and I’ll even ship it for free! Head over to the shop to purchase if you’re interested.

no regretsy

I already mentioned it briefly, but if you’ve happened to pick up a copy of the infamous Regretsy book lately, you might find a certain photograph of mine. In fact, you don’t even need to open the book… they used the same photo on the back cover (something I didn’t notice until I’d already had the book for several weeks–I’m about as sharp as a spoon.)

Side note: I don’t know if I’ll ever get over the little thrill of seeing one of my photos in print while browsing the book store. I’m always tempted to take the book in question up to the counter and buy it, even when I already own a copy. I’m a dork!

I haven’t made a big deal about this mostly because the Etsy community seems heavily divided on the Regretsy issue. Some argue that it’s demeaning to artists and craftspeople, while others think it’s all in good fun. Personally, I can understand why some people who’ve been featured on the blog are offended–unlike with the book, they didn’t ask to be written about or poked fun at. As someone who tends to look at her work with a sense of irony, I know my stuff can be weird and I don’t mind people playing on that. It’s interesting that the photo they chose for the book is also my most popular print; the “weird aesthetic” appeals to more people than you’d think.

However, a good portion of my customers at my other shop are Etsy business owners, and I was a little nervous about alienating them. Would they think less of me for being part of the Regretsy project? But then I reminded myself that I’m catering to different audiences with my illustration and photography. There might be some overlap, but the chance of losing all my customers for this one publication is slim.

More importantly, I have to be me. The person who doodles cutesy, happy, fluffy little girls is also a person who giggles at dead baby jokes, even though they’re in poor taste. What can I say? I have a dark sense of humor, but it’s that sense of humor that allows me to create my art. I can’t ignore that for the sake of making a few extra bucks.

my ego vs. mushy fruit

Etsy Front Page, 4/11/2010

It’s been a good week for business. This morning my shops were on the front page of Etsy, thanks to an excellent Maine treasury curated by atelierfrost. Prior to that, my “rescue” doodle was the Pick of the Week at Illustration Friday, one of my Firefox Personas is currently featured on the front page of the official Personas Web site, and to top it all off, I have a photo in the brand new Regretsy book.

Obviously I’m excited about the excellent press, but there’s nothing like a one-year-old to keep you grounded and living in the moment. Ellie doesn’t care about my self-perceived success, as long as I can still read “Hop on Pop” and sing “Itsy Bitsy Spider,” (both of which I’ve done, endlessly, this weekend). It’s hard to tend to an inflated ego when you’re scraping two-day-old banana off the floor, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I’ve also been exhausted all week. Sometimes it seems like I can’t catch my breath with everything that needs to be done, and there’s always something new to add to the list. Thankfully, Tim and I managed to carve out a couple hours for a night out on Saturday. We decided to see Date Night with the idea we could use a few good laughs, and the movie totally delivered on that promise.  Steve Carrel and Tiny Fey have excellent on-screen chemistry.

We also hung out with Danielle, who got me off my ass when all I wanted to do was sit and stare at my computer until my brain melted and leaked out my ears.  Thanks to her, I had the excellent good fortune to try beer-battered asparagus (OMG so yummy) and lemon cake with pudding and berries. I am absolutely stuffed.

Tonight, I’m going to turn in early and try to catch up on sleep. Tomorrow starts another busy week!