commerce conundrum

my playground bridge photo, hung on a whale hookI’ve been listening to CraftyPod in the car lately and it has my creative brain bouncing all over the place. There are dozens of interviews with people who have crafty businesses, and they all have such excellent advice. But half the pieces of excellent advice contradict the other half! Every day I come home with my brain buzzing as I wonder what the heck I’m supposed to do next.

Fluffyland isn’t the most profitable business. It also isn’t supposed to be; I like making things and I can’t keep them all, so really I’m just trying to reimburse myself for my fabric purchases. But it’s not like I want to be a virtual charity, because I still want to come close to making some profit. And then there’s the whole “updating zencart” thing that has the whole site in shambles at the moment… I really just don’t want to deal with that. So my thoughts are all over the place.

I even considered dropping Fluffyland to focus on my schoolwork, my busy life, and my little etsy shop. No more product shots, no more zen cart, no more narwhal tusks. But that would also make me an exclusively etsy seller, something I just don’t want to be. And it would also mean I was no longer the owner and operator of my very own online shop. Clearly, I was facing a dilemma.

So I made these two lists.

things i like

  1. making stuff
  2. people liking my stuff (especially enough to buy it)
  3. taking pretty pictures
  4. blogging
  5. sending out orders
  6. having my own business

things i don’t like

  1. taking product shots
  2. zen cart. ugh. such a pain.
  3. getting a ridiculously low amount of site traffic lately
  4. making narwhal tusks

The list of “things i like” made it very clear that I could not give up on my darling shop. And the list of “things i don’t like”? It’s really not that bad.

Number 1 has an impending solution: new camera!! While I love my pocket-sized Canon SD750, and will continue to use it whenever I need a pocket-sized camera, I think I’ve expanded my photography skills sufficiently in the past few years to merit the purchase of a fancy (but still on the low side) DSLR. I’m looking into that, and will hopefully have a beautiful new setup by the end of the summer.

Number 2. My nemesis. The greatest challenge. I just want a shopping cart program that runs like WordPress. Is that too much to ask? APPARENTLY. WordPress is free and beautiful and hassle-free, with an enormous and knowledgeable fanbase. There are virtually billions of shopping cart programs that range from free (zencart) to hundreds of dollars a month, and it’s difficult to figure out which are decent. I’m not making enough on my little hobby to warrant a monthly fee, so I guess I’m stuck where I am… it’s super unfortunate though. I spend so much time on the most menial tasks due to the terrible folder hierarchy.

Number 3. Who knows. I’m certainly not helping things by leaving the site down for over a week…

Number 4. I’ll deal.

So that’s that, I suppose. I’m researching cart options but they either sound equivalent to Zencart or super beautiful combined with super pricey. And it’s not worth changing everything I’ve modified just to get something that’s practically the same. But if you’ve heard any good words about particular software packages, my ears are open…