Thursday, September 25, 2014

Hey Etsy, what about us?

Hello TeaLovers!  Let's set the WayBack machine two years, shall we?

A couple of years ago, when we started selling a handful of tea blends over on our Etsy shop, we were enjoying the bounty of a Craft Market.  Etsy only allowed things that fell into the hand-made category.  This actually hurt us a little bit, because we couldn't sell ONLY tea infusers or spoons (because someone else makes them, so selling them as exclusive, on-their-own items was out) but we managed nonetheless.

This company was founded and built on Etsy sales, and the idea of the Craft Market.

The people who shopped on Etsy were OUR kind of people!  A little kooky, with a dash of crunchy, and sometimes more patchouli than a reasonable person should own, but our kind of people nonetheless.  We love 'em.

And then something happened.

We have started to see our Etsy sales taper off.  Not hugely, but as someone who watches trends in sales, and looks fo ways to keep them up I noticed the decline.  And the decline has been steady.  Overall our sales have been increasing, but when looking at JUST the etsy orders, we are even seeing reduced traffic and engagement from our Etsy ad's that we place.  Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

So I did some digging.  Turns out that Etsy has stopped being a craft marketplace.  Shannon Whitehead has a good writeup on the full detail of it, but it comes down to the fact that Etsy isn't in it for the craft culture anymore.  We are competing now with manufacturers (NOT Crafters) overseas who are making similar products at a fraction of our costs, and flooding the market with low-quality, low-price products.

While searching for Loose Leaf Tea, our La Sirene blend comes up as the second item, but if I search for "Tea Infuser with Charm" I get a page filled with tea balls that have cheap trinkets attached to them, some of them shipping directly from China, and at nearly HALF of our listed price.

When we list a Tea Infuser with a charm, we purchase the infuser (after having tested dozens of different styles), we have hand picked each charm that goes on them, purchased from small vendors, we then hand wrap every wire in the charm so that we are sure that it is secure and won't fall off, We personally attach each charm and check it and the infuser for defects, put it in a nice little bag, and package it up with a little bit of Dryad flair.  All of this, because we want you to have a QUALITY product, that you will love and enjoy.

Etsy used to be about supporting the little guy.  Sure, things bought on Etsy might cost a little bit more than something you could buy from a Big-Box store, but by the same token, you knew that your dollars were going DIRECTLY to the creator, and you were supporting a PERSON behind the shop.

With this shift in Etsy policy, and the massive influx of shops, you are more likely to be supporting a Big-Box company wearing a fancy hat, rather than a little guy trying to make a good product.

Today, everyone is aware of every dollar that they spend, sure.  I am not going to tell you that you shouldn't count your pennies.  But I am going to say that if you WANT a craft product, if you are looking for that UNIQUE and SPECIAL something, keep an eye on the shop that you buy from, and be sure that you really are buying from a crafter rather than a retailer trying to edge out the little guy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

The new shiny haul

Once a year I go to the huge (7 location) wholesale gem show that comes through Denver. Once a year I restock all of the beads and gems that will be used for infuser charms.

Here's a peek into this year's haul:




Thursday, September 18, 2014

Retired Teas

There is limited stock on hand ( only) and once it's gone, it's gone!

Retired teas: Dryad, Exodus, Firiel Neo-Valkyrie, Kelpie, Jonin, Riana Thorindal, and Shadow Grove.

Online only teas: Maid in Bedlam, Paradise Lost, and Requiem.

Finally, at the start of the Fall Equinox all Court teas will be cycled in and out corresponding with their seasons. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Back in the saddle?

Here at Dryad Tea we're trying to do "all of the things" and sometimes things fall between the cracks. Like this blog.
See, Dryad Tea is really about 1.5 people. You have Rubiee, who creates all the blends, responds to emails, photos all the product, uploads the product, packs the orders, works on all the extra projects... and more. She does everything Dryad, all the time.

Then you have TeaMonkey, he works on facebook posts if Rubiee doesn't beat him to it. He also helps where he can, but works a full time job. He helps with a lot of the order packing.

Delrein is another part-time helper that has a full time job. He helps packing orders and packing tea when he can. He's also seen most often working Dryad shows.

That is the base and core of Dryad. It's worked with very few hiccups so far. Lots of learning experiences too. We here are Dryad Tea HQ are also very lucky to have a secondary support system:

Dame Ursula takes care of all of our Tea Duelling (and is amazing at it) she can also be seen working at shows.

Leigh is a booth bunny, she rocks at her job. She's one of the main line booth workers with Del.

Puck helps with a lot of the tea packing. The Kickstarter? He helped with that too. He's also been known to help with orders, and pretty much anything Rubiee needs.

This is our support system, this is how the world of Dryad Tea works. Support systems are incredibly important to have. They make sure that you're encouraged, and they catch you if you fall. In Rubiee's case the support system is also there to make sure that she doesn't work herself sick. Operating hours? What are those? She seems to think she can respond to emails at any and all hours of the day and often her support system *gently* encourages her to take some time to herself. She's learning.
All of us are working on getting better at a lot of things as a core group, and it's amazing to have such great people to help!

So the question is; Who's your support system?