I promised myself I would figure out how to add International Shipping to my Etsy boutique, Faerie Fabulous Finds, if it was at all possible to do so given my health constraints.
Using my 35 years of expertise in reading Government documentation, I plowed through the “Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, IMM Issue 36 – International Mail Manual dated May 11, 2009, Updated With Postal Bulletin Revisions Through November 19, 2009, PSN 7610-02-000-9904” in record time. Easy peasy compared to the Federal Acquisition Regulations!
And now I know everything I need to know about using Click-N-Ship combined with Priority Mail to add international shipping to my boutique. I’m conversant with all the custom regulations and know which countries prohibit what items. Yada, yada, yawn. All of my postings have been updated to include the actual shipping information and option, and I’m half-way through updating each posting manually so it will have a smidgeon of a chance of showing up in a search for “international shipping” or “worldwide shipping.”
Running these search terms to ensure my treasures were popping up demonstrated two things: (1) My modifications are working, but (2) my new marketing ploy is probably going to sink like a brick.
I am in competition with people who are producing items in my price range (for instance, a $4.00 ring) who are then offering to ship the bloody thing anywhere in the world for NOTHING. Nada. Zip. Zero.
I simply can’t do that. I’m already in debt up the ying-yang for the material costs of playing around and amusing myself making all these goodies while I struggled to stay alive; now I’m trying to recoup at least a little of my material costs. I can’t expend more money and create more debt in order to give these treasures away for less than cost.
Part of being a Government Contracting Officer means you wear many hats, among one of them being a pricing analyst. That means I can tear down or build from the ground up the price of anything, be it a pencil, a hammer, a nuclear device, or an aircraft carrier. I know how to collect and analyze data for overhead costs. I know what is and what is not allowable and allocable. I know what costs are overhead and what costs are General and Administrative (G&A) costs. I can segregate out Research and Development (R&D) costs and analyze whether any of these costs were shared by others. I can analyze timesheets and interview employees to see if claimed hours were charged to the correct program. I can analyze the labor spent on similar tasks to predict and estimate labor for future projects. I can analyze world trends in labor costs and shifts. I can argue and win a case against unabsorbed overhead. I can build an accounting system that would be compliant with the Government’s requirements for cost reimbursement with my eyes closed and my hands tied behind my back.
This all boils down to the fact that I AM NOT STUPID when it comes to determining whether or not a price is fair and reasonable and I cannot for my life understand how anyone in the US can afford to ship a $4.00 ring to anybody anywhere in the WORLD for FREE and stay in business. That is because it cannot be done unless one customer purchased 200 of those $4.00 rings in a single order so that sheer volume outpaces the cost of shipping. But that’s not happening, because they don’t have that kind of stock in their entire store, and only one of those rings.
If I lived outside the US, I certainly would NOT purchase anything from my boutique until ALL of the FREE WORLDWIDE/INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING items were gone, gone, gone. Yet Etsy continues to advise, “Add international shipping to your listings!”
If someone over the pond or across the border wants something of mine badly enough, they’ll just have to suck up the shipping costs to get it. My items right now are priced like this: actual material costs + Etsy cut + PayPal cut = rounded to nearest $5 (i.e., $26.88 = $25; $28.15 = $30.00). Smaller amounts are rounded to nearest 50 cents. Once the jewelry is gone and I settle on my core market (pouches, papers, books, posable faeries most likely), my prices will get very precise. Gawd, some days I just hate selling shit.
I’m getting pretty sick of Twitter, too. I retweet all the other Etsian’s tweets about their listings, but there’s not been one damn retweet of any of my tweets. Now I have a tweety headache and I still don’t have any ideas for my PaganPages column. I’m done with this crap for today.