I recently decided to uproot the entire webstore for my custom 1″ button making business and move it from Big Cartel to Storenvy. People who have slowly built up a website on one platform might cringe at this idea, fearing all the unnecessary work. While it did take a solid day to do the switch, I think it was very necessary for the following reasons:
1. No cap on items in store: For the free plan, Big Cartel only allows you to have 5 items in your store at a time. In order to have 25, 100, or 300 items, you’re required to pay $9.99, $19.99, and $29.99 a month respectively. Storenvy offers unlimited items in their stores at no cost at all. In addition to custom pinback buttons, I also have a wide array of catalog buttons I offer to customers. No limit on the number of items allows me to constantly think of new ideas to fill the store with. With Big Cartel, I was only able to keep my best sellers in the store and couldn’t afford to spare the space to try new things.
2. Stats at no extra cost: Keeping track of your most viewed items, where your traffic is coming from, and how many hits you are getting in your store are very important things for a store owner. Along with the increased item count, Big Cartel gives you access to stats on your store with the different subscription levels. This is all given to Storenvy users for free.
3. 100% off discount codes: Everyone loves discount codes. Store owners love that they bring customers in and customers love to save money. This is another feature that Storenvy gives away free while Big Cartel charges a monthly fee for. While Storenvy only offers “% off” discounts for free, their $2.99 a month fee for “Super Discounts” (Buy X, get X Free, store wide promotions etc…) offers more options than the lowest entry point of Big Cartel’s subscriptions.
4. Community is key: One of the strongest assets online retailers have is the ability to talk to someone in the same business at the click of a mouse. One of my favorite things about Storenvy is the fact they have active forums. People asking for help on their store, comparing notes on shipping methods, and mutual promotion all happen there on a daily basis. This is one of the key things Big Cartel lacks. It’s also very easy to find other stores, where as the Big Cartel store directory is not linked at all from your admin dashboard. I love to check out other people’s stores for inspiration.
There are lots of other reasons why I enjoy Storenvy more than Big Cartel (ability to tag items, much better user interface/admin section, etc…) but those are the 4 main points that drove me to make the switch. For a small business such as mine, a high monthly cost when I could get the same features for free just wasn’t worth it.
I think I want a Kindle, specifically a Kindle Touch. For the longest time I thought e-book readers were stupid and would never be a good substitute for a paperback book. Then I used one briefly on tour and found that it was really easy to read.
See, i’ve hit a wall with my reading habits. I’m still buying books when I find one that looks interesting, but I haven’t finished a book in many months. The last book I finished was Record Collecting for Girls and I had to push myself to finish it. The way I see it, e-book readers are the new mp3 player. I don’t think it will stop me from buying/reading paperback books, I think it will just get me excited about reading again. Even though I have stacks of tapes and records, I listen to most of my music on my phone or on my computer.
One of the best features the Kindle Touch has that makes me want one is a built in dictionary and wikipedia look up. Far too often when I am reading, I’ll come across a reference or a word that I want to get a little extra info on to help the context of the book. So I have to put my book down and look it up on my computer or phone. Since I got pulled out of my book, I get easily distracted by other things on the internet: facebook, email, message boards, etc… I think having it all on the same device is really convenient and would really help me.
Plus, lets be honest, I’m a gadget nerd. I am constantly reading http://www.engadget.com/ and have been loving the last couple months since I bought the iPhone 4s.
My birthday is in 4 weeks, I think I know what I’m going to ask for.
So obviously I abruptly stopped blogging about our day to day travels on tour. This is mostly because it was harder to keep up with it on the road than I thought. I contemplated going back and posting each day, but have instead decided to write a zine about my experiences. I will be tabling at Chicago Zine Fest on March 10th, 2012 so I have made that my deadline. Once I have it near completion, I’ll post ordering instructions here for those who can’t make it to CZF (though if you can make it, I highly recommend doing so).
I’m currently working on a new website for my button business Bit Part Buttons, putting the finishing touches on my friend Biff’s record label’s website Feral Kid Records, creating a shopping cart for Josh’s label Feeble Minds, and over the next month I’ll be helping Alex Wrekk set up a new Stolen Sharpie Revolution website. To say I’m busy is an understatement (but it’s the good kind of busy).
Without getting into it, I decided to move back to my hometown of Buffalo, NY. I’ve been back for a couple weeks now and I’m loving it. I already have several creative projects with friends in the planning stages and have been asked to go along with one of my favorite bands on tour this fall. So things are looking up and up for me! It feels great.
I still haven’t found a place to live yet. I looked at a room in a 3 bedroom apartment yesterday but it had no stove and none of the housemates came out of their room to meet me. Naturally, I passed on the place. I have a few possibilities on the horizon that I’m sure one of them will work out.