Link Love: Behind the Paper Curtain

Behind the scenes here at Desk HQ, we cranked out about 700 Col-o-ring Ink Testing Books and are in production to make another 300+ Col-o-ring, 250 Col-o-dex and 250 Col-o-ring Oversize books. As a two-person production team, our focus has been filling back orders for our wholesale clients and getting them boxed and shipped out.

Box of Col-o-ring

Col-o-ring Dippers

We’ve also been making (or in some cases, plotting) new products for the shop.

Nib stamps

Some things we make are not cost effective to sell wholesale because they are too labor intensive. The Col-o-ring Dippers are a prime example. They require the same amount of labor as a full-sized Col-o-ring but we charge a fraction. So wholesaling them is just not feasible. As a result, we are trying to find ways to make the Dippers and some of our other products more easily available to non-US customers.

We think we may have found a way to do this. But it gets complicated. And requires maintaining two inventories. Let me explain…

Etsy is not my favorite venue for small makers. They charge a lot to list merchandise (0.20 per item plus transaction fees and an insistence on offering free US shipping and you don’t want to get me started about how SHIPPING IS NOT FREE!) and they have not been all that vigilant about keeping out a lot of larger manufacturers from flooding out the smaller makers. Anyway, the one upside to Etsy is that they do offer package forwarding for international (non-US) packages that greatly reduces shipping costs. This makes it worthwhile to list some of our US-only merch on Etsy for non-US customers.

So, how do you all feel about Etsy? Particularly folks who are not in the US? Would you make a purchase if The Desk had a shop on Etsy?

Are there any other small makers who maintain more than one online shop? How do you keep your inventory separated?

Pens:

Ink:

Pencils:

Notebooks & Paper:

Art & Creativity:

Other Interesting Things:


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7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. Hi Ana – yes, as a non-US resident I have sighed over your products, especially the stamps, and I finally managed to get hold of some via a very accommodating aunt BUT I would much rather get access to your stuff via somewhere like Etsy. Count me in, I’ll be one of your first customers.

    1. Elizabeth, we currently retail on our own for US customers through our Big Cartel shop but shipping options are limited. I’m just trying to find a good solution for our international customers.

  2. Not an Etsy fan. I believe Amazon has a model where they handle international shipping for you, but they also charge a lot. Might still be worth it though, we sell a lot through them and customers seem to trust them more than Etsy, Ebay, and other alternatives.

  3. I would purchase in a heartbeat if you sold on Etsy!
    Actually I was looking for your products there 5 minutes ago. I saw your col-o-rings on JetPens, and saw that you were a small company: I deducted from this that I could probably find you on Etsy. Only when I couldn’t did I look for your website.
    Well, I’ll probably have to wait a bit more to be able to buy your products since my only option seems to be JetPens and they use FedEx – they charge $21 to ship a $10 product to France!
    So please yes: use Etsy.

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