Four Days of Angst

Well, this has been a week I wouldn’t want to repeat.

C O M P U T E R problems.

It’s now Friday and September and I feel I’ve been out of the loop for months not just a week. The problems started with my computer after I did the system ’emergency’ update. You might even have heard about it in the news. Apple issued a warning that required people to update their computers and their phones.

My updates went fine until I switched on the computer the next day and my security software starting informing me my computer was vulnerable and now unprotected. Oh the stress. And, it was particularly irritating as each time I thought I had followed the instructions to solve the problem and it had succeeded, 10-15 minutes later, it all kicked off again. To cut a long saga short, and with fingers crossed, I think it’s finally working properly again.

Now I know you’re all thinking these days we can post to our blogs from our phones and folks like me can also similarly access our online businesses too, BUT last weekend I dropped my phone. Now it isn’t working properly, and that’s an understatement! Along with a damaged screen half the functions have disappeared and you need the patience of a saint coaxing it into life.

Rather annoyingly it is going to mean buying a replacement, but the good news is I’ve written this post on my computer and all is operating normally. I am relieved as I have also been able to check the status of my online shop – looks okay, hooray.

In the end, all I can say is that the current hot orange of my shop’s homepage somewhat reflects how I have felt about modern technology this past week. Of course, I’ve been more hot and bothered than hot and orange although the security warnings did light up my screen with orange text.

It’s that time of year again

I know, I know it’s only the beginning of November, but Halloween is behind us and the world of retail is already in full swing decking out the bricks and mortar High Street stores and the online shops with their Christmas offerings.

Banner for Agnes Ashe shop landing page.

It is awkward for me as I haven’t been a November Christmas shopper since I lived abroad and had to organise Christmas gifts to meet the International posting dates. Mentioning Christmas this early never feels quite right to me.

Banner for one of the ‘collection’ subcategories.

Of course, as we all know, the Christmas television adverts and magazine spreads for this year were probably shot back in August. How ghastly is that? But even for me I have to make banners for my shop to remind people that we are arriving at the gift-giving season (as if everybody doesn’t already know).

Banner for the ‘Square Scarf Collection’.

And, for practical reasons I have to set out postal dates and details and let my customers know the last ordering day to ensure a Christmas delivery.

Banner with last ordering date for arrival for Christmas.

Last year, before the vaccine programme commenced, I mostly sold masks for Christmas gifts. It is hard to tell whether people will still buy them this year as our country’s leaders are not keen to advocate their use. You may have noticed that many, many people at COP26 on Monday were wearing masks, however our Prime Minister even when sitting next David Attenborough (95 years old), didn’t think it was necessary for him.

From the left Antonio Guterres, Boris Johnson and Sir David Attenborough. Picture from Sky News website.

And what’s more on that very same day, Monday, 1 November 21, the UK recorded 40,077 new Covid cases. The PM may think it’s all over, but the figures are giving a more worrying picture.

Me and Etsy – The End of the Affair

Over the last couple of months or so I’ve spent a fair chunk of my time revamping my Etsy shop in preparation for their latest online changes. I know that plenty of folk are resistant to change if change appears to be pointless. What’s the expression ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!’ However, considering making changes can prompt you to dispassionately scrutinise the status quo. The Etsy new look for their shops has certainly made me tidy up and redesign the look and feel of both my Etsy outlet and my own online shop.

Agnes-iPad1
My Agnes Ashe online shop homepage as seen on an iPad.

Okay, so that was all well and good, but then, on the back of a few other gripes, came the final straw. Etsy introduced an easy to use template for a shop’s policies. Just bear with me here for a sec. Etsy has ‘found’ that customers don’t like reading lots of words, particularly about boring issues such as time to send out goods, delivery details, buying from another country, insurance and what happens should wish to return an item. Yes, I agree, I don’t want pages of legalese, but when I’m buying I do want to know what to expect especially if I’m buying a special gift for someone and time is crucial.

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Homepage as seen on a PC.

Etsy has been around for over a decade now and should know that the ‘world of handmade’ is not a homogeneous place where ‘one size fits all’ solutions are going to be the answer. Like many of my fellow Etsy artisans who create one-off pieces, I spent sometime writing my policies to give my customers as much information as possible. As Etsy sellers, who are not all based in the US (Etsy is a US listed public corporation), we are subject to our own, quite specific, national trading laws regarding online commerce. I would have thought that this fact alone would suggest that a policies template for everyone was going to be inappropriate. It transpires that you don’t have to use the new template, but there’s a hint that if you don’t comply you are less likely to be ‘found’ when customers search on Etsy.

So, is it time I left the Etsy platform – the end of the affair? I’ve only been an Etsy seller since 2013, a relative newbie, but during this time Etsy changes have meant a broader acceptance of work for sale that is neither vintage nor handmade. Of course, digitally printed silk scarves spring to mind – what can I say! This issue, coupled with a general race to the bottom pricing as some crafters flood the Etsy market with cheaply made offers, means I feel that perhaps it’s no longer the place for me. Remember the film depicting the short reign of Anne Boleyn, ‘Anne of a Thousand Days’, well I’m ‘Agnes of 947 days’.

Update – I have now closed my Etsy shop.  All my hand painted scarves and textile art is available from my own Agnes Ashe boutique/gallery which is run through a professional eCommerce platform based in the UK (most of my sales are to UK customers). I may have left Etsy, but I do still ship internationally to Europe, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Japan and accept major debit/credit cards.

That’s it – end of the moan and end of all those boring . . .  words.

Agnes-on-mobile-phone
Logo on homepage as seen on a mobile phone.