Thursday, August 2, 2012

full bright moon makes cat crazy: a thursday compendium

All That Michigan Beeswax
Wild Fern Pillars and Balls on the beeswax table.
I've been busy this week making more Wild Fern Pillar and Wild Fern Ball candles for Dick Davis, an artist down Traverse City way, who first contacted me in May and subsequently has been displaying and selling many of his iron-work sculptures outfitted with natural Michigan beeswax candles. Some day soon I will have photos to share of candles and sculpture together. Meanwhile, check out Dick's work at Boardman River Trading Company.

Also, I've been in touch with two other Michigan entrepreneurs, both in the Detroit area, who have very different beeswax needs. Stay tuned.

The Etsy Chronicles
New Pea Pickle Beeswax Charmer on a roll.
Happy to have four new listings on Etsy this week: the Beeswax Charmer candle and a set of four Charmers; the Beeswax Turkey candle and a set of five candles that includes the turkey, two ears of corn, and three pine cones. Sounds rather holidayish, eh? The Charmer listing introduces the latest and ninth Charmer, the Pea Pickle - it's all mixed up! (Click the owl on the sidebar to shop.)

The biggest hurdle to my getting on Etsy was my fear of shipping costs and having to figure them out not just for one item or one order, but for all those "what if" orders of multiple quantities and combinations. My experience with shipping costs is that they are widely varied, always going up, often more than the cost of the item being shipped, and have a basis, if any, in some reality beyond my grasp. On Etsy, for each item you list you need to set a shipping fee plus what you will charge if the item is "added on" to another item, and for me, that's where it got complicated. No matter what I tried, eventually I was going to rook the customer or myself. There seemed to be no way to set shipping fees that worked. Busting my brain over shipping scenarios and fees is not a favorite activity of mine, nor one that comes easily, and I wasn't sure if my inability to come up with reasonable fees was my problem or if others were experiencing the same. I noodled around Etsy and found I am not alone in this. Many vendors state that they will refund a portion of a buyer's shipping fee if the charge ends up exceeding cost by a certain amount. Well. You see. When things get this complicated (seemingly), I make a U-turn.

What if shipping were free?

A quick check showed me free shipping was indeed an option, and once I decided to go this route, the task of setting prices that seemed fair to both me and my customers became doable. So: Free Shipping! (Though for some items I do tack on a buck or two if it's going to Canada. Sorry neighbors! And I haven't yet figured out Europe, Australia, China ... egad.)

The moon at 6:30 this morning from my front porch.

Beeswax & Poison Darts
I am looking forward to Saturday's farmers market as I am going to add something new to my well-worn answer to the Most Frequently Asked Question.

MFAQ: What does one do with this? (Potential customer is fingering a bit of beeswax, looking perplexed.)
New A: Well, you could use it for making your poison darts, as people did 44,000 years ago ...