Friday, October 20, 2017

CATNIP CABARET



Let me preface this post by saying that I loathe self-promotion and I'm not exaggerating. I've never been any good at it, and consider it to be degrading - almost on the level (or sub-level) of prostitution.

Now that I've got your attention (not to mention your enthusiasm) I'll proceed with Zazzle and my new store.

I chose the name Catnip Cabaret simply because no one else had it. Many Zazzle store owners seem to incorporate the popular (but sorely over-used) word "vintage" - - which I dislike almost as much as self-promotion.
Big Bertha's Vintage Attic. Grandma Bloomer's Vintage Basement. Aunt Petunia's Vintage Garage (I made these names up just as examples). 

I'd never heard of Zazzle until a few years ago and never gave it any thought. Quite recently, however, I discovered that anyone (within reason) can open a Zazzle online store. Zazzle provides all the products and deals with customer service and shipping.

The Zazzle store owner designs his/her own store and chooses the products they want to sell.
There's only one "catch": 
you have to personally create the designs on all your products - - either using your own artwork or using copyright-free designs.

It took me many weeks to design my products, not to mention many more weeks seeking out public domain/copyright-free artwork and images. 
Creativity and patience are definitely required.

Many Zazzle store owners take the easy way out and use a feature called "Quick Create". This enables you to take one graphic or design and blast it onto 50 or 100 different products all at once.
This method of creation is indeed quick, but their products generally look like hell (amateur and shoddy).

I have over 1,000 products and designed each one of them individually. They may not all be perfect, but I put some thought and creativity into them with a personalized touch.

The store owner then sorts his products into categories, and can also put them into collections.

Zazzle sets the prices for the products (and unfortunately Zazzle is rather pricey).
The store owner chooses the royalty that he/she wants to receive. I chose 12 per cent for each item.
That means if an item sells for $100, I get 3 cents (I'm being grimly sarcastic).

One lady on the Internet claims that she was able to "buy a small house" with the money she made from her Zazzle store. Of course, she didn't mention if it was a doll house. Or a gingerbread house. Or perhaps she only made the money for a small down-payment on a tiny house. Who knows.....

I'm not in this for the money (although I'd like to be). I'm in it for the adventure of doing something that I never previously thought of trying. I don't know how long I'll last. 

 You can open as many Zazzles stores as you want - there's no limit. If I stick with this (which is very "iffy"), I'd eventually like to open another store that features only posters and artwork.

One more thing. You have to promote your own store - - Zazzle doesn't do it for you. So, if you don't constantly advertise and blab about your store nobody will know it exists.

There are a number of infuriating "glitches" which I don't like about Zazzle - and which initially irked me enough to abandon my store for several weeks - but I've decided to reopen and plod on.
One glitch is that the settings on my storefront keep mysteriously changing by themselves. I only want my "categories" and "collections" to show. Today I looked at the store and they had photos of ALL my products (1,000+) listed alphabetically. It was enough to scare anyone.....

Also, sometimes my "collections" mysteriously disappear. Today my "Floral" collection has vanished.

Oh well - for better or worse, here's the link:


Catnip Cabaret


the link is also (somewhere) in the sidebar 

While I'm on a roll, the link to the store irks me. Sometimes it works - other times it shows an advertisement and the top part of my storefront is cut off.
 





26 comments:

  1. Congratulations for taking the plunge! It sounds like you put a lot of work into it, so I hope it works out really well for you. Gonna go check it out right now. :)

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    1. I was hesitant to open the store because I still have a lot of work to do on it - but I figured it's now or never. It needs to have better organization.

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  2. Best of luck for success after all that hard work, Jon. I will visit the site directly.

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    1. My quest for unattainable perfection and my pessimistic attitude are a hindrance - but I'm plodding on.... (thanks!)

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  3. In honor of your new store i bought a tea mug. can't wait to get it. love the design.

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    1. Wow - what a surprise! I think you're my first customer (and hopefully not my last). The coffee and tea mugs are my favorites out of all the products.

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  4. Kudos on getting the store up! I never did hear how Zazzle works. I love the colorful cat paw prints and when I have some money may have to order a mug! Looks like a ton of work--yes! Best of luck, Sweetie!! :) :)

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    1. I really appreciate your enthusiasm, Rita. It was indeed more work than I expected - but it's also fun...and it keeps me out of trouble (sometimes).

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  5. Just when my thoughts are turning to Christmas shopping ... your timely debut! Love the name, Jon. Since my best friend is a lover of all things feline, I'm going to have great fun browsing.

    I loathed having to sell Girl Scout cookies door-to-door, and (legend has it) I'd open with, "I don't suppose you'd like to buy any cookies, would you?"
    ... so ya, I totally 'get' what you said about self-promotions. Nevertheless, I'm really glad you're doing this. A breath of fresh air!

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    1. I'm delighted that you like the name of the store. I initially called it Catnip Concerto - - but then I figured there were already too many "concertos" in my life...
      I plan to do a lot more feline products (the possibilities are endless) but haven't yet had the time. I will before Christmas (hopefully).

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  6. My original comment disappeared so if you get one that's only a couple of sentences - ignore it.
    The link in your blog to your Zazzle store worked. Once there, it was separated into different categories. I looked at owls and will go back and check out more items later. There was a blank box for Flowers. When I clicked on it I was sent to a "storefront" with a pretty floral header but below that it said there were no products available.
    Hope you have a great weekend. It looks like snow here.

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    1. I didn't receive your original comment...I think the Halloween gremlins got it. I'm glad that the categories and collections are showing up on my storefront.

      My "Floral" category disappeared yesterday, but I noticed that it was back today (the Halloween gremlins seem to be messing with both of us)

      Wow - snow already? It's getting cooler here, too, but no snow yet. Frost (at night) is predicted for this coming week.

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  7. Hi, Jon.... me again! I've my eye on a couple items in the CAT collection, but what really speaks to me is that "Time is Precious" poster. Unfortunately, I've no place for a poster. Is it at all possible to have that image done on a mug ... or a memento box; even a blanket.

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    1. I added that "Time is Precious" poster as an afterthought. It's an antique graphic that I found on the Internet and I really liked it. I will definitely make some mugs, memento boxes, and other stuff with it (it's a good idea, I never thought of it). I'll try to do it sometime tomorrow (Sunday) and they will be in the "Clockwork" collection.

      Unfortunately, I think the resolution of the graphic will be too small to put on a blanket. We'll see....

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    2. Myra, I just put seven new "Time is Precious" items in the "Clockwork" category. Please don't feel compelled to get any of them. I think adding these items was a great idea.

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    3. Thanks, Jon! Unfortunately, I don't see them. Perhaps Zazzle needs a day or so to effect uploads? I'll check back tomorrow!

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    4. Myra, Zazzle is extremely weird (almost as weird as me).
      All the "Time is Precious" items appeared in my store last night - - then, when I checked this morning, they were gone!

      I just checked again and they were there (I now have eight items). Keep checking and HOPEFULLY they will show up .

      Are the Halloween Goblins messing with me???

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  8. Congratulations on your store opening. Thanks for explaining, I've never been one to order online but I'm anxious to check it out.

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    1. It really took me a long time to get going, Paula, because I was really hesitant. I'll try it for awhile and see what happens. I have lots of new ideas.

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  9. I saw the ideal Christmas gift there so bought something, you have some wonderful products there Jon. As I knew they would be, seeing how artistic you are.

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  10. I'm delighted that you enjoyed seeing the products, Jenny. Being relentlessly self-critical, I was initially hesitant to open my store. I think, however, that I'm finally getting the "hang" of it. I have a lot more ideas for new products. Thanks!

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  11. Weeeeeeeeee!!!!!!! I have been out of town again, but am delighted to see your informative post and wish you much luck in your new venture. It's like a general store!!!! I have had a look see, only a few pages in, but fell in love with some of the owl product and black cat items. I have no idea why, since I have neither a owl or black cat. Very nice selection of items Jon.

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  12. When it comes to operating an online store I feel like a virgin and an amateur, but I'm plodding onward nevertheless. I have a lot of new ideas that I'll hopefully incorporate in the future (if I last that long...).
    Your positive input is truly appreciated.

    I've always had a "thing" for owls.

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    1. I guess us bird brains will have to stick together🦉🦉🦉🦉

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  13. what a fun store!
    15% off last day folks!

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    1. That's a compliment considering that I'm not exactly a "fun" person...(*smile*).
      Zazzle has discounts and 15 per cent off sales every 15 minutes....
      (*another smile*).

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