Q4, Sales and Disappointment

So in my last post, Redbubble and Etsy and Merch Waiting, Oh MY!, I discussed setting up new accounts on Redbubble and Etsy (yeah, duh) and getting your design groove on. I did this with gusto and uploaded a number of shirts to Redbubble in time for Q4.

Q4.

You’ve heard of Q4, right? If, like me, as soon as I applied for Merch by Amazon, I jumped straight on any Merch-related Facebook group I could find in order to learn, learn, learn. I suggest you do this. There is SUCH an abundance of information in these groups, and quite a lot of it you wouldn’t find out if you weren’t there.

There are also some hugely successful Merchers on Facebook, so jump in and get going. My favourite group is Merch – Girl Hustle, which is obviously geared towards women, but there are loads out there so go and check them out.

Anyway, I digress…. after delving into any Merch-related Facebook forum I could, I soon realized that Q4 is the time in a Mercher’s (or online seller’s) year that is basically what we’re all working towards.

Q4 (the last three months of the year, October – December, therefore the last quarter of the year) is THE period for shoppers and there are so many events and occasions in this time period, so you HAVE to make it count (think Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday/Cyber Monday and, of course, Christmas). Of course, I set out to make some designs in these areas and got them up to Redbubble and Etsy as soon as I could.

Another thing I read about on Facebook was ‘The Freeze’.  The Freeze (aka Throttling) is Amazon putting the breaks on sales of T Shirts so that it can keep up with the demand over these really popular holiday periods.  Merch achieves this throttle in a few ways:

  • It stops showing certain listings in search results, so you might find that your shirt can’t be found when you perform a search – super fun.
  • It puts a temporary hold on any new uploads of products to the platform, or even amending any current listing (so if you priced your items low then wanted to increase them for the holiday, heavy shopping period, you might find that you can’t increase them because of this hold, and are then leaving money on the table…), and
  • It stops showing certain popular sizes and colors of shirts to curtail sales the of those shirts.

Not something I had to worry about, because I wasn’t yet in the magical Merch Club! So disappointing. My three month count-down (this was the timeframe being bandied about on the forums as the general acceptance time to get into Merch) ended mid-November, and I STILL hadn’t received the hallowed email acceptance from Amazon. I had thought I’d be in at this point, and might be able to make a tiny bit of progress in Q4 2017, but that wasn’t to be.

So shall I give you a brief rundown of how I did in Q4? OK…

Redbubble:

I sold 23 shirts on Redbubble in Q4, making a total profit of $65.63.

Not such great shakes really, but that is profit, didn’t have to pay out anything there. Thanks Redbubble.

Etsy:

I sold 8 items on Etsy in Q4, making a profit of $76.41. However, this isn’t true profit. Etsy charge you $0.20 for each listing. I think I had a few hundred items up at this point, so that’s not insignificant.

Plus, in order to get your products out there and in the faces of the Etsy customer, you can engage in promoting your listings. I did this, and to be fair, it resulted in most of my orders. BUT, I paid around $92 for this advertising over the quarter and the profits just don’t make it worthwhile. It mounts up – big style, so if you engage in this activity, keep an eye on it.

So in short, I had started to make money, this is a plus. However, I didn’t manage to catch the Q4 rush and so it’s pretty dire going. A learning curve indeed, I think this Q4 – my first actual quarter in this Print On Demand business, actually taught me quite a few things about what to do and, importantly, what not to do.

Next time, I’ll discuss finally being accepted into Merch, and some other ideas I started to think about in relation to creating some more streams of income.

Until then, Adios x