A further note (for fans of my jewelry)

After I mentioned the possible addition of prayer beads in my post from earlier today it occurred to me that there is nothing keeping me from adding some jewelry designs back to my new (forthcoming) Wytch of the North shop as well–at least, whatever jewelry I can make with the supplies I already have on hand (which includes beads, wire, silk thread, some copper sheet, etc.) In addition to these, there will be leather cuffs. So depending on how it goes, it’s possible a whole new jewelry line could emerge from this! I won’t be taking custom orders anymore, but if you miss my jewelry you’ll want to keep an eye on the new space, going forward. (There won’t be jewelry as soon as the shop goes live, but it will likely be one of the first things I look at adding back in–simple, affordable, Boho-style things.)

When I speak too soon (further changes)

So, maybe I mentioned it here (or maybe that was just in one of my videos), but I did Year Ahead Spread 2017 readings for both myself and Jo, in addition to offering them for sale, and BOTH of us got the Tower for January.

At first we thought this had something to do with our marriage, but then THAT went smoothly enough (knock on wood), and then a family situation came about that I won’t talk about here and caused some distress, so we thought that must’ve been it. But we were wrong.

This morning, we found out that effective March 1st our rent is going up by $100/month, AND it’s only a five month lease–probably to leave them free to raise it yet again in August should they so please. This is going to mean some considerable belt-tightening for us, some lifestyle changes (we’re dropping meat from our diet except on rare occasions, and cutting down on booze consumption radically), and paring down our possessions in case we end up needing to move in August. (Because we can probably deal with one rent increase of $100 by tightening our belts–but not two.)

It also means some modifications to the changes I just finished announcing for my store, because–let’s keep it real–I am simply not going to have the money to invest in things like essential oils, incense sticks, and wax. So while I had hoped to add incense and oils back in, I’m not going to be able to do that after all, and I’m sorry.

To keep things super-simple: once I get the new shop set up and the url redirect is working, my Sea Bunny store will be closing and anything and everything I have available for sale, including readings, will be available at wytchofthenorth.com. This will be my url for any and all products and services going forward. (What location online the url takes you to may change again at some point, but the url will stay the same, and that’s all you guys really need to remember if you want to keep track of my offerings.)

What will be available in the new Wytch of the North shop? For now, Tarot and oracle readings (which will be easier to purchase than they are here on my blog), the dressed tea light candles, the remaining travelers’ notebooks and bookmarks, a few more leather accessories (such as cuffs) once I get caught up on readings and admin work and have time to make them, and maybe some prayer beads (since I still have some beads left and still have some silk thread). Probably also handwoven altar cloths and some deity figurines, once I have time to make them. Maybe some very limited runs of loose herbal incense since I have ingredients and packaging for those, and some magickal inks (for dip pens) since I have the ingredients and some bottles left.  Down the road, when my illustration skills are better, there will probably be downloadable artwork and coloring books, too.

There will be no custom orders, as I won’t be able to afford them. (They never end up being truly profitable for me, in either a time or money sense). There will be no poured candles, as I won’t be able to afford the wax and oils. I am discontinuing the smokeless smudge sprays when the new shop opens, as the bottles are expensive. And as I mentioned, unfortunately the incense and ritual oils will not be making a comeback after all–sorry for getting your hopes up about that.

Basically, think of the new store as a sort of magical flea market: what’s there at any given time (except for the readings and eventual printables) can and will change according to what materials, ingredients, and packaging I have at the time. With our new financial situation, I can’t commit to more than that. I’m not even really considering myself a “brand” or a “business” anymore, in any true sense of that word; from now on I’m basically just a freelance artist and Witch trying to make a part time income how and when she can.

I’m sorry it has to be this way, but apparently that’s how it is. I’m not thrilled with it either. I hope some of you will still shop with me (when I have offerings that appeal to you, of course) despite all of this very unprofessional chaos. I will be posting new offerings to this blog to make it easy for you, and I will likely have a plug-in store on Facebook too. I will also keep on providing blog and video content, and share my various studies with you as they progress this year.

I will let you guys know when the new shop is ready. Sea Bunny IS still open in the interim (and will stay open until the new Wytch of the North is 100% ready to go), and I can probably continue to fill orders for most of the items there (in the unlikely case I run out of supplies to fill anything, you will get a refund), so if you have your heart set on something and want to make sure you get it, now would be the time!

More ch-ch-changes (the online retail edition)

So here’s the deal: I am not making enough at my Shopify store to justify keeping it, considering the $29/month fee plus their percentage of my sales. In fact, currently I’m getting between 1 and 15 views there per day and have made about $150 (from a total of three sales) during the month to date, but will owe them between $50-70 when my bill comes due on the 19th.

And yeah, I realize that unlike Etsy they do not send you traffic, but unfortunately Etsy is not an option for me; I owe them money, and although I plan on repaying it eventually I don’t know whether they will allow me to have a store there ever again. (Currently I can’t even shop there.) So when I say shipping for the big, heavy candles killed my shop, it’s NOT because I don’t know how to estimate shipping charges, but because during Jo’s last months at her old job we were in financial crisis constantly and the shipping ended up getting spent on stuff like rent and food and dog medicine, thereby needing to come out of pocket when the Etsy bill came due.

I absolutely hate this pattern of my switching platforms constantly, but I need to move my handmade goods to a more affordable store platform, and quickly. Storenvy does not charge a monthly fee, only a percentage of sales if you are actually MAKING sales, so Storenvy it is. I’m hoping this is only a temporary move (I’d prefer Squarespace, as it’s prettier and more functional, but it too carries more of a monthly fee than I can manage right now).

This weekend I’ve been busy migrating products over to the new Storenvy shop, which will simply be called Wytch of the North (and will be linked to my wytchofthenorth.com url) because I’m done playing and I’m sick of the branding bullshit; I’ve been blogging under that name for close to ten years now and really should have used that for my “brand” in the first place. So, don’t worry: there won’t be any new branding crap or new shop names for you–or me!–to bother thinking about or trying to remember. I’m just going to be Wytch of the North from now on no matter where my store is parked (I’m envisioning my store as some sort of old-time traveling sales cart at this point) or what I’m selling. It’s just easier that way.

I’m hoping to get the new store location ready to go in the next couple of days so I can cancel my Shopify and pay what I owe them before it gets to be an even bigger bill. How this affects you guys is that I’m NOT going to be migrating ALL of my products, only the ones I think most likely to sell, and/or that have historically proved the most popular. ALSO, since Storenvy takes a whopping 10% cut of sales that come through their marketplace (which is similar to Etsy’s marketplace but not nearly as effective at sending you traffic )I am bumping my prices up a bit in the new store to account for that. Not by a lot, but enough that, if you’ve had your eye on something, you may want to grab it now just in case it either disappears or the price goes up.

Please bear in mind that except for a very scant handful of people who probably know who they are, I will not be accepting custom orders or special requests for products that are not currently listed in my shop, because when I’m not currently offering something I’ve offered before there’s usually a pretty good reason for it, like I can’t afford the packaging or ingredients right now. I apologize for this, and I’m not doing it to be mean; if enough people ask for a Thing I will do my very best to bring it back for at least a limited time, but not on a case by case basis. (Again, my apologies for this; I had a bad experience recently doing this type of favor for a past customer and it led to a misunderstanding that didn’t end well for either of us.  It’s something I would like to avoid happening again.)

It’s also worth mentioning that there won’t be any more sales anytime soon, since Storenvy charges you $9/month for the privilege of creating coupon codes. So the prices–which are already pretty low–aren’t going to be getting any better. (If you’re a Patreon supporter who gets a monthly coupon code as one of your rewards, don’t worry–I’ll be posting there about how to claim your discount for the time being.)

Finally, to end on a (hopefully) high note, a news flash! Ritual oils and incense will be coming back when the new store location launches. Hopefully this will tip the decision of at least a percentage of my old customers to start buying from me again. Not sure what else I can do.

TL, DR: I will be moving my shop to a different(FREE!) online shopping platform for the time being, and it might be temporary (until I can afford something prettier). BUT wherever it ends up being hosted ultimately, any future changes should be relatively seamless to customers because I’ll be pointing the url wytchofthenorth.com at my shop instead of at this blog. So that’s all anyone will need to remember from here on out.

My Patreon intro and rewards have been updated!

Yeah, I know, I already updated them not too long ago, but two things prompted me to make some changes to my Patreon profile yesterday, which I’ve already shared with my current patrons and thought I’d share here, too:

1) My shop is bringing in next to nothing currently; I’m sure some of this is due to normal post-holiday slowness, but it’s making me realize I needed to seriously examine what I can and cannot afford to promise as monthly Patreon rewards.

2) I just had a $50/month patron quit–which hurts (not gonna lie) and would be a serious disaster if Jo hadn’t gotten a better job almost two months ago now. I think incense was the deal-breaker for this person, ultimately, and I simply cannot afford to keep doing incense anymore the way things are now. (Not only are the ingredients–essential oils, DPG, charcoal sticks–pricey, but I can’t test burn it without making the dog cough.)  BUT it did get me seriously thinking about how to attract more lower-level and mid-level patrons.  I would RATHER have a greater number of lower-level patrons, in fact, since if I can get five additional $10/month patrons and one of them quits, it’s not as big of a deal. So I’ve worked at making the lower-level rewards more appealing! (And I’m going to start advertising my Patreon on my YouTube channel. too.)

If anyone has suggestions, especially if you’re already a patron (but even if you aren’t), fire away! Some of your ideas might not be feasible for me, but I’m certainly willing to listen! Please check out the new reward levels first, though, to make sure it isn’t something I’ve just finished adding already. (For example, I just added readings back–2 cards now rather than three, and probably a bit less detail than I was providing before–at the $15/month level.)

New Intro (shared here in case you don’t feel like clicking over, since I’d really love if everyone who finds value in my blog or YouTube channel would at least consider pitching in, even if it’s only a dollar per month–see above about attracting more lower-level patrons):

I am a long time (since 2002) devotee of an Odinesque/Mercurial liminal deity I now refer to as the Traveler, in addition to being a diviner (Tarot and oracle cards), artist, crafter, witch, and sometime writer. I suffer from several invisible illnesses, most notably fibromyalgia, arthritis, and IBS/IBD. Because these conditions worsen with age (I am now 51), in 2015 I found myself unable to continue working a conventional job, and managed to quit to work from home on my (then) Etsy shop. Things were great for a while. but then business began to die down due to some changes Etsy made to their site, and, well, here we are.

My big goal for my Patreon is to help fill in the gap between what my partner (soon to be wife) brings in from her job and what we need per month for the rent/food/pets/etc. Normally (prior to the Great Etsy Disaster of 2016) what I made from my Etsy shop was accomplishing this. Now, not so much. I have a new shop now on my own website, but sales are slow and I imagine it will take a while for it to build momentum. I am also once again offering on-demand Tarot and oracle card readings (in which I have roughly 30 years experience) exclusively via Paypal on my blog.

One of the reasons I was unable to make my Etsy shop work for me (besides their nasty algorithm changes) is that I spread myself too thin trying to make too many different types of things in order to keep my customers interested and compete with similar shops. (It doesn’t help that since Etsy is an international marketplace, it can be very difficult for US sellers to compete price-wise, with the cost of living so high here compared to most of the rest of the world.) My first impulse in regard to this, as I’m trying to rebuild my business, was to scale back to concentrating on only a few types of artwork/crafting. However, I have received a negative response to this from some of my longtime customers and supporters, so this has left me in a bit of a quandary. I want to keep my supporters happy, but I still can’t afford to purchase the wide range of supplies I had access to back when my shop was doing well.

So, I’ve decided on the following compromise: I will be offering a variety of products and services for sale, but possibly not offering ALL of them ALL of the time. I am going to make a real effort to stop redefining myself from a business perspective every two weeks, and concentrate instead on actually creating things that are too awesome for anyone to pass up. This may indeed involve some cycling through different types of offerings (since it’s hard to always know in advance what people are going to want) but hopefully without the accompanying declarations about any of them being my “new thing” or, conversely, “something I’m no longer doing.” But expensive craft supply purchases will need to be made when I can actually afford them, and if things aren’t selling they will probably not be continued, so you are likely going to be seeing a lot more one of a kind items and limited editions.

Edited to add: The stick incense is definitely GONE for now–sorry about that!–but some of the other supply/type items I’m planning to make include loose herbal incense (which I’m hoping the dog will be able to tolerate better–he is a late stage congestive heart failure dog and I simply can’t (translation: won’t) burn things that make him cough more), magickal ointments (including a non-toxic flying ointment), and dressed stick candles). I will possibly also be trying my hand at candle holders for the candles, deity statues, and elemental tiles for shrines (all made with polymer clay). And as I continue my self-apprenticeship in leather craft, there will be additional leather items, such as jewelry, bowls, and bags. (Cuff bracelets are next, as soon as I finish up the last couple of late holiday gifts I’m working on.)

My other goals include:

  • Going deeper into my work with Tarot, and breaking away from the standard Rider Waite Smith definitions to work more deeply with numerology and the elements in interpreting the cards.
  • Studying astrology, which will help me to add even more depth to the readings I offer.
  • Spending more time making visual art on paper–which will eventually result in prints for my store and electronic Patreon rewards (such as printables and coloring pages, perhaps) here.
  • Growing my YouTube channel, to widen my community and get more comfortable on camera. (Because once I’m more comfortable on camera, I can begin offering things like video or live Skype readings, Skype chats and lessons, live DIY, etc. Some of these things will require my upgrading to a better video camera–I currently use my phone, which limits the types of videos I’m able to make; that and the fact that I’m an introvert are why these exciting things aren’t happening quite yet.)

Anything I make beyond the “filling the gap” amount will enable me to put more money into art and craft supplies, thus helping me to provide more of the types of things people would like to see me offer, in addition to upgrading my recording equipment to improve my videos (and offer the above video-related services).

If I can raise $725 a month to cover our rent, I can put more money into my business, and Jo and I will actually be able to work towards getting out of debt and putting some money into savings . So $725 per month is my big goal–but believe me, every step along the way towards that goal helps tremendously! And anything I make over that amount I will use towards pledges to other creators here on Patreon. (I am already donating towards a number of people, but would like to do even more to help.)

To sum up: chronic pain, digestive issues, and cognitive challenges + new business person = MAJOR learning curve. ANY help you can give to reduce the pressure is WILDLY appreciated. I love you all, and not a day passes but I thank ALL of the gods for the friends I have. Thank you in advance for giving me this opportunity to create or you!

Current reward levels:

$1 or more per month–Thank you, friend!: Thank you so much! It may not sound like much but even a dollar a month helps.To help us get to know each other better, you will now have access to my patron-only feed, where we can chat, you can ask me questions, and I’ll post photos, both from my life in general and of things I’m working on.

$5 or more per month–Let’s get coffee! If we were really having coffee together we’d probably chat about Tarot, bullet journaling, crafting, food, polytheism, witchcraft, and the like, so in place of a latte you’ll get to see pages from my grimoire as I create and update them, PLUS I will share random things such as Tarot spreads, recipes, portions of my Tarot journal, and other goodies in addition to my usual patron-only feed of photos and random thoughts. You can also ask me questions about any of the above topics and get answers!

$15 or more per month–Let’s do a reading for you! (plus eventual printables) In order for us to really be friends I’m going to need to get to know you a little better, and what better way than to read your cards? For $15/month you get all of the above rewards, PLUS a two card Tarot reading. This can be either a monthly forecast or a response to a specific question; check my Patreon feed at the beginning of each month for a prompt to let me know which you prefer! At this level you will ALSO have access to any coloring pages or printables I post here.

$20 or more per month–Help me out with product testing! $20/month comes with all of the above PLUS a full or sample sized container/package of a product I am developing that particular month. Since my product line, going forward, is going to be pretty varied, there is really no way I can pin down what Thing I will have to send you every single month (it could be room spray, candles, an oil or salve, etc.) but I promise it will be something awesome! PLUS you will get one patron-only coupon code for 20% off a purchase from my shop per month.

$30 or more per month–Artwork! Now we are getting to be real friends, so naturally I want to send you even more stuff! This pledge comes with all of the above, plus one small piece of flat and/or lightweight artwork per quarter. This may be either leather, fiber, or paper-based–like a bookmark, ritual cord, felt poppet, small skein of yarn, drawing or painting, etc. 

$50 or more per month–Special Love Mail! You are really helping to support me and my family at this level, so you get  ALL of the above mentioned perks, PLUS special love mail from me! Twice a year (at the summer solstice and winter solstice) I’ll send you a package with a piece of artwork created just for you! This might be a leather fauxdori notebook, a weaving, or anything else I’m inspired to make for you. You’ll also receive a copy of any pdf coloring books, ebooks or other such goodies I made during the month.

And there we have it! As you can see, I do give away a LOT of stuff at the higher patron levels, and before revising the rewards I was sending people a lot more stuff than that; it was starting to become overwhelming and to be honest I was barely breaking even with some of it. (Also, it wasn’t leaving me with a whole lot of time for interacting with my patrons, which is the whole reason a lot of people support artists on Patreon in the first place.) The best example is the incense: $15/mo patrons were formerly receiving 20 sticks of incense per month, which had previously been selling in my shop for $8. Add $5 shipping to that and I am really not making any money by offering it; plus, if I have to order supplies that month–essential oils, DPG, and charcoal sticks–it ends up costing me money instead.

So, changes needed to be made. I know the incense may end up being a deal-breaker for at least one or two other people currently supporting me at the $15 level (I think at least one hasn’t yet noticed it’s gone), so I’m going to be promoting my Patreon more actively both here and on YouTube in an effort to recover from those potential losses, in addition to the (ouch) $50/mo one.

Customer Appreciation Sale ends tonight at midnight!

You have only until tonight at midnight (central time, I think–which is weird because I’m on Pacific time, but that’s how Shopify seems to reckon it) to take advantage of my Customer Appreciation Sale: enter the coupon code APPRECIATE during checkout to take 25% off your entire order, no minimum purchase! 

You can even use this discount on the passport-sized leather travelers notebook covers I marked down to $20 each as part of my samples sale last month. If you’ve been wanting to try bullet journaling, there’s no better time to get organized than the beginning of a new year, and there won’t be a better opportunity to pick up a handcrafted leather cover at these prices! (You can even use the coupon code on a custom journal order until the sale ends!)

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As my skills in leatherworking continue to grow, a lot of the designs I made passport-sized samples for will be reworked and some of them discontinued, so if there’s one you love now this is the time to grab it!