by Sara Tams of sarah + abraham
Last year I shared a timeline of how I started and developed sarah + abraham over the past three years, and last month I talked about a few collaborations that I’ve been a part of. In both of those posts I mentioned several new products that I’ve begun offering along the way.
Product development is a lot of work (deciding what options to offer, product photography, creating listings, etc.), but also a lot of fun. Every time I decide to begin offering a new product, I feel really energized and enjoy promoting it. When it’s time to send out my monthly newsletter it’s so much more fun to write when I have a new product to share, especially one that I think my customers are really going to love.
But I also try to keep the products that I offer on my website limited to only the ones that are really good sellers. I want to keep my site clean and not cluttered with items that no one is buying. When someone visits my website I want them to immediately see the best of what I have to offer and not see any products that I don’t feel great about.
Sometimes the products that don’t sell well are items that I wasn’t too sure about to begin with, and it’s easy to let them go. Other times I realize that something that I absolutely love and thought would be a big hit just isn’t selling. It’s much harder to let go of those items, but I’m ruthless about it. When something isn’t selling (like the cute stationery items pictured above) or isn’t working for me (such as icing decals), it has to go.
Over the past couple of years I’ve added 570 items to my website and deleted 380 of them! I’d hate to know how many hours that adds up to for developing products I no longer offer, but until I put something out there, I won’t know how well it will do. For several months I was hesitant to begin offering plates and bowls, but once I did, they quickly became the top selling items in my shop. So I keep that in mind any time I start to question the time I’m spending on new product development, and when I decide to get rid of something, I get rid of it and don’t look back.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on adding new products and getting rid of the duds. Have any of your products surprised you with how well or how poorly they’ve sold?
I love this idea of experimentation and putting something out into the world to just “see what happens”. Not enough people do that with their business, and I happen to think its extremely important from time to time! Great article.
I am always surprised at what sells well and what doesn’t!
The hardest thing for me is letting go of a big seller that just doesn’t fit with my line anymore.
Thank you Brittni!
This was really eye opening and a little scary to hear you say 580 products in 2 years. – that is an amazing rate. You give us courage to clean house though. Thanks for your honesty!
It was amazing to me, too, to see that I’ve added 580 products in the last 2 years and gotten rid of so many – I had never looked at those numbers before. So often I just spend my time answering emails and filling orders – I rarely stop to take the time to look at my stats, but it’s always eye opening and worth the time when I do.
Sara- I absolutely love your shop, and have followed you for quite some time. I am always very excited to see what new products you are offering. I purchased a plate and bowl for my baby Avery, and love love them!
I think that the personalized stuff really goes a long way. Have you ever considered applying your art to baby onesies or kids t-shirts? Or pairing those with stuffed animals that have your art applied on the animals as well? I have found that people really like pairings of products….always is a nice gift to give at showers or b-days.
Keep on with the excellent work!
Your loyal fan,
I had a line of bracelets that were fantastic sellers and I was making a lot of them. Just when I got really efficient at making them guess what happened? The sales started to decline and then just haul to a complete stop. So its strange to have something sell so well then go out of favour. Its the end of their run so its now a discontinued line and I’m working on a new product launch!
Hi Hannah, thank you for your comment! I’ve been thinking a lot lately about having illustrations printed on fabric for t-shirt/onesie appliques or pillows/softies. I really like those ideas!
Thanks for this Sara! When things don’t sell well in my shop, I keep telling myself it’s because people just haven’t “seen” them yet:) Guess I better get my head out of the sand and make room for new!!
I love how you take a chance on a new product and are willing to drop it without regret if it’s not a big seller. I’m sure that a huge part of your success is your attitude and learning what works through trial and error!
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