Thank you very much for the feedback, BeaG. Actually, I hadn't really thought about the compromise option, which is starting to make a ~lot~ of sense now that I consider it. If I'm smart, I might even be able to continue creating designs that have quite a bit of give in the sizes, so that when I make the OOAK creations, they have a variety of possible consumers.
In reply to the conversation about postage/shipping - I'm in the US and do about 50% of my shipping/labeling here at home. If I'm using 1st class mail (the cheapest option) I have to pay at the post office. If I'm using Priority shipping, I just pay and print at home using my scale. I haven't had any problems whatsoever, but I do have listed in my policies that International customers need to expect to pay customs. That way there are no surprises.
As for my Etsy shop, things have definitely stalled! I'm at the point where I'm trying to figure out if it's smarter to just make OOAK outfits and try to sell them, or to continue making designs and selling custom size options for them.
If there are any clothing sellers or boutique clothing purchasers that have advice/input, I would GREATLY appreciate it. I love what I do, but it has to at least break even with materials cost for me to continue, you know?
Just as an FYI: I just recently bought my first embroidery machine, and spent under $500. I did a TON of homework first, and determined a couple of things:
1) You will definitely pay much less if you purchase an embroidery machine online, however you will receive little to no support in terms of learning how to use the machine if you do so. The small specialty shops are not eager to teach or service customers who buy their brands online, instead of from them. Depending on how independent of a learner you are, that might be significant.
2) From all sources that I have investigated, Brother is hands-down the easiest to learn independently. The price ranges are really fair, and my own experience with my SE 400 so far is great.
3) Brother, however, is a Chinese company, and good luck getting any support whatsoever. Though they did rate top notch for user-friendly, they did ~not~ rate well for customer service.
Feel free to PM me if you have any other questions that you'd like to ask!
Just as a head's up for those that have already posted basically the same question about shirring and other Brother machines - all of the research I have done across the internet suggests that there are a few rare folk who have found some trick to get their Brother machine to shir. But the vast majority all report that it simply will not happen.
I'm assuming that it has something to do with the drop-load bobbin system that Brothers use, and the way that this type of bobbin system maintains tension.
If there are any gurus who have figured out the solution, please enlighten us other Brother owners!
I've had my Etsy store, Frolic Patch, open since October of last year. I design and make girls' clothing for ages 12 months through 6T or so. I haven't had the shop open very long, and with a 14 month old running the floorboards beneath my sewing pedal, I don't get new designs up as often as I would really like.
That being said...
I know that one of the keys to successful Etsy selling can be the traffic from the coinciding FaceBook page. There are even very successful individuals who sell directly from their FB site as well as their Etsy, or use their FB page as the launch point for new designs, then directing the actual purchasers to Etsy.
I've seen giveaways used on FB, contests, and of course we know that word of mouth is a powerful tool.
And yet... I only have 80-ish people who have fanned my FB site. The bottom line is that I know I need more traffic on my FB site in order to draw people to my Etsy site. Oh, what a tangled media-web we weave when first we practice to sell online crafts!