It’s taken me over 3 years to slowly earn enough money to be able to purchase new technology products for my online shop. I don’t think anybody expects people to wake up one day and say ‘hey, I am going to start an online shop on Etsy today’ and expect them to go and fork out on all the gear. I like to reward myself when I have sold enough products to purchase the next big thing I have my eyes on, generally it’s technology.
I have never taken a penny out of my online shop and I just can’t ever see myself doing it. I use the profits to purchase new things, including: printers, clay, a desk, a scanner, laptop equipment, camera, lenses, paint brushes and watercolour paints. The list is endless. It’s like I make things, sell them, then make newer things. I enjoy it. I work full-time and run this blog so I don’t need to take any money out of my shop, which means I can guilt-free make bigger arty choices. So here are a few of my top technology products to purchase when running and online shop, for fun and to make your life just that little bit easier.
After writing my ’10 things to consider when starting an online shop’ and getting a lot of feedback on Twitter I’m going to branch out more hints and tips for people wanting to start online shops.
I have 4 printers in my room at this current moment. I have a basic home printer that most people have, an ink jet printer, a label/sticker printer and also a laser printer. Each is as useful as the other. One day last Winter I splurged on two printers that cost just shy of £1,000. I might not have used them to their full potential yet. However the ease and cost of printing 10 designs on 10 pieces of card vs sending them to print with a supplier is immense. ie. prints are done that day for cheaper than waiting a week with high costs from a supplier. I’m spending perhaps 10p at home whereas I would have to deal with minimum order quantities (MOQ) with the supplier meaning I’m spending £80+ for 10 designs. Although I feel that perhaps my inkjet printer isn’t as high quality as the supplier who uses very expensive machinery, it really works out as a cost effective alternative for myself where I can run a design for 10 prints, which is cheaper than ordering 100+ with the supplier.
A camera is perfect for taking photos of products to put on your shop website or just to use on social media. I generally use my iPhone for a lot of social media snaps because it’s quite easy to use and to edit photos with my hectic schedule. Whereas I prefer to use my Olympus Pen Camera and pancake lens to take high quality photos of my products to then edit with Photoshop and launch on my site. I find the higher res images do the products justice. A decent camera really can help sell the products as the higher quality can make the product seem higher quality and more professional.
Okay so I’m still hand writing my envelopes and mailing bags because I find it quite therapeutic, plus I only have a few orders each day so I don’t feel the need to set up a label machine for about 10 orders per day max. Some online shops that launch a collection they might find they have their launch day selling over 100 items, which is when a label machine will really come in use. As that is very cost saving and time saving for sure. So if you are going to have huge launches each month a label machine would really benefit. Amazon have some brilliant label machines at the moment.
Well I currently own an A4 scanner, an A3 scanner and also two printers that also have scanners. Now if that isn’t scanner goals then I’m not sure what is. Scanners are so so useful. I use it for scanning in signed documents when I just can’t quite deal with the iPhone camera quality. Or I use my scanner for scanning in watercolour designs or any handmade paintings. The Canon CanoScan Scanner has great recommendations for us arty people which is really well priced. A scanner is also great to scan in designs if you want to edit them.
Die Cut Machine
Now my little love in life is my die cut machine. These start from around £50 I think and the things you can do with them is amazing. I purchase self adhesive paper, then ensure the machine cuts even circles, so that I can use my printer to print my logos so I can attach them to envelopes to advertise my business. I find that this a much cheaper alternative to purchasing from a supplier.
Another great use for a die cut machine is being able to print & cut stickers. So I design a set of A4/A5 stickers, print them with my printer, then I use the die cut machine to cut around the sticker designs. I also prefer to use this method than purchase minimum order quantities from suppliers that I could not afford.
Of course you don’t need technology to run an online shop at all. I know plenty of people who run an online shop without any of the above. However reinvesting profits back into your online shop can mean you can purchase the next technology or products you require to take your shop to the next level.
I hope this gives you a little insight to some of the tech products I know, love and spend my money on.
*This is a collaborative post.