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Spreading the word

Since I had to cancel my trip, I’ve decided to spend much of my vacation working on my on-line Wiccan jewelry shop.

The store, “The Kickin’ Wiccan,” is a storefront on Shapeways, a 3D printing service. A shopper can pick one of my designs, choose the size if it’s a ring, maybe choose the magical symbol on it, and choose exactly in which material they’d like it to be printed: from inexpensive plastic to sturdy steel to semi-precious metals like bronze and silver.

The main reason I’m doing this is that I’m enjoying coming up with new designs. It’s fun. I got a suggestion for a symbol to add to a ring (the triquetra), and I’ve run away with the idea to create two different ring styles and add it to the customization options of other rings. I enjoy the puzzle of working with my software tools (Cheetah3D, iDraw, Inkscape, GraphicConverter, iPhoto) to create the designs I want.

There’s another reason: I could use the extra cash. Mainly for medical expenses, but also for my server project, which has the potential to help many of my friends. [1]

The main obstacle I have to overcome is marketing.

I’ve already done the social media basics: I’ve set up a Kickin’ Wiccan Facebook page and a @KickinWiccan Twitter account. The next step, according the marketing “experts,” is for me to start saturating the internet with those accounts, starting with my friends.

This is where I hit the obstacle: I don’t want to become an annoying attention-seeking money grubber.

I have to admit that I don’t have a positive reaction when I get invitations to “like” pages or invited to events in which I have no interest, like Heavy Metal Steampunk Rabbit Petting to Benefit Surviors of Cards Against Humanity in Idaho. It’s pretty clear that, rather than considering me as an individual, that person simply sent it out to everyone they knew. I don’t like being a random advertising target. I don’t even like anonymous targeted advertising; that’s why I have both NoScript and AdBlock Plus on my web browser.

What I struggle to remember is there’s a difference between trying to sell to everyone I know and raising brand awareness. After all:

- Every time I hear someone mention massage, I mention Joyce Kent and Transformational Touch.

- Every time someone mentions bodypaiting, I mention Vann Godfrey and Transformational Bodypainting.

- Every time someone mentions death or funerals, I mention Michael Brown and Simplicity Memorial.

- Every time I hear someone discuss the hardships of poverty or HIV/AIDS, I mention Sabrina Chase and her book Surviving HIV/AIDS in the Inner City.

- Every time I hear someone talk about needing books on magic or about James Bond, I mention Deborah Lipp and her books.

- Even though he passed on years ago, I still mention Isaac Bonewits and the books he wrote.

… and so on.

None of these folks asked me to be a walking advertisement for them. But if I wasn’t aware of what they did, I couldn’t provide awareness of what they do to others.

So during this vacation, and in the weeks to come, I’m going to strive to overcome my reluctance and post some interesting information about Kickin’ Wiccan at least once a week. If you’re annoyed, let me know and I’ll stop.

… or if you have suggestions or requests for new designs you’d like to see, let me know and I’ll try to add it. The most recent suggestion: a Brigid’s Cross pendant. That will be a challenge!

[1] If you’re curious: I’ve got the server configured; I’m using it to write this blog post. It’s got blogging software, e-mail, mailing lists, all with the best security I can set up. What I need now is to set aside enough cash for a hosting company.

Originally published at Argothald. You can comment here or there.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 5th, 2014 09:38 pm (UTC)
Heavy Metal Steampunk Rabbit Petting sounds AWESOME

Another option to get stuff out there is Etsy. It's an "artsy" site that has a lot of stuff up for sale, some mundane things like basic clothes and whatnot you would find on ebay (sans the bidding), but probably best known for somewhat arts and crafts stuff like fabric, gemstones, oils, artwork, and oh yeah, handmade jewelry. If I were an everyday customer looking for a handmade and/or customizable piece of jewelry, I would probably check Etsy first, and often it is indeed my first and sometimes final stop. So that's a possibility.

Out of curiosity, are you, now or in the foreseeable future, sticking to distinctly Pagan-type symbols like the ones above? Do you see yourself branching into original pieces? non Pagan symbols? steampunk rabbits?
Jun. 5th, 2014 09:51 pm (UTC)
I've considered Etsy, but there's a problem:

Shapeways is print-on-demand. You choose your ring size, you place your order, and you wait 2-3 weeks for them to print it.

Etsy is "if I place an order, I expect you to ship it right away." It would require me to maintain a stock on-hand. This would require a substantial capital investment on my part. I've already invested (probably too much) money in creating test prints of my Shapeways designs, and I'm contemplating spending more to Facebook for them to promote my page. By comparison, maintaining an inventory would require ten times as much investment.

Some Shapeways designers do maintain storefronts on Etsy, but not typically for items that need to be customized like rings.

I'm not forcing myself to stick to Pagan symbols. But there are lots of designers on Shapeways, with lots of shops targeting all sorts of tastes. I thought I'd start with a market I know. That's why I call the shop "Kickin' Wiccan" and not "William's Selling Gems" or something like that.

However, if someone asks for a ring with a Cross du Lorraine, I'd do it.

As far as original designs go: I'm a technician, and a designer. I know I'm not an artist. If you give me a concept I'll do my best to implement it, but if you ask me to create something new that's engaging for someone else... well... let's say I've got more technique than talent. ("William's Selling Gems" indeed!)
Jun. 6th, 2014 10:37 pm (UTC)
While the majority of Etsy is ready to ship, there is definitely a sizable amount of custom-order items as well. I've come across them. In fact, some of the really artsy stuff someone (or in this case someone like me) will go to Etsy for have to be custom made---corsets, wedding accessories, clothing, costumes, etc. The seller makes it VERY clear that this is a made-to-order item, and estimates how long it will take to make. It may make it a little difficult, and maybe you might lose the people who really need an item right the hell now because of a last minute costume party (a girl can wish)

So... options =)
Jun. 5th, 2014 10:11 pm (UTC)
For what it's worth, I've reserved the shop name KickinWiccan on Etsy. Just in case.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )