Little bit of a longer post today. Like so many, we’re keeping a close eye on what’s going on with COVID-19, and the recent (and not so recent) changes to our primary selling platform, Etsy.
To start off with, I just want to say a huge thank you to the people who have been making purchases with us, most especially over the last several days, when things for an artistic business (and one with a heavy reliance on costumers and fursuiters attending conventions) has been getting more and more uncertain! Every sale has been a sigh of relief, a breath of hope.
Something I haven’t spoken about up to now is that Etsy sales have been on a slow but steady decline since around the end of 2018. We’ve been working hard to find additional niches for our work to fill, additional revenue streams, but success has been rather limited. Still, things have been… if not great, we’ve been hanging in there. I’m sure many of you have heard about the more recent changes with how Etsy is handling advertising for its sellers – if you’re interested, I’ve got a lot to say on the subject and would happily cover it in a separate blog post! My thoughts are not as negative as you might imagine, though the fact that it is compulsory for some of us is… distasteful, to say the least. I worry more about the phenomenally bad PR generated by the WAY Etsy is making these changes, that it could potentially chase people away from the platform that, for better or worse, we rely on.
And then, the changes happening in all of our lives due to COVID-19. Anxiety is high everywhere, and cancellations, closures, potential and actual quarantines all over the world, self-isolation and social distancing all make this feel like a scary time – even if most of it is more in the realm of precaution than reaction. (I’d much rather see an overabundance of caution that leads to less problems later!) Robbie and I are approaching it both with caution and preparedness – trying not to let anxiety rule, but turn to the facts and the science. Am I worried? Of course, I know many people in at-risk groups – but the whole point of the extra precautions being taken now is what will help keep our medical facilities from being overwhelmed so the people who need help the most can get it. Hopefully the panic-buying will calm down over the next few weeks, as people realize that there’s no threat to supply lines, water, or electricity. (Toilet paper WILL become available again. We’re going to be okay.)
For us, our day-to-day routine really hasn’t changed much. Red Nebula Studios has been our home business since 2009, and our sole source of income since late 2015. As such, almost all of our work is done at home. We’re already pretty socially isolated, so that part really hasn’t changed! But so many factors hitting our business and our personal lives from so many angles is worrisome, not gonna lie.
My reaction to all of this is what you’ve seen lately – when times get tough, I double down. Get back in the workroom. Some of it’s distraction, some of it is just the pure joy of creating new things. I’m so glad for those of you who follow us on this crazy journey. A world without art… without being able to make art – that’s the thing that scares me more than any amount of economic upheaval.
I’ve been working on a couple things that I wanted to announce today to help us weather the uncertainty.
For one thing, we’ve opened up the Etsy shop for some international orders again. In addition to the U.S. and Canada, we’ll now ship to most of Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and Japan. I’m happy to consider additional countries on a case-by-case basis.
The other is our Patreon. This is a way through which I’ll be sharing EVERYTHING we’re working on – art and sculptures, mask design, costuming, game development, tips and tricks, learning new things, reviews, playing indie games, Robbie’s adventures learning to code, random blog posts – the works. Everything we do, put together in a once-a-month newsletter (with plans to move to a bi-weekly newsletter if there’s enough interest) – and a few exclusive behind-the-scenes treats now and then too. The first newsletter will be in a couple days! There are other perks as well: Credits on our videos, shop discounts, free digital goodies, handwritten postcards (that I’ll probably also draw on!), and more. If you’d like to support us this way and get some fun treats in return, please consider joining our Patreon.
Once again, thank you so, so much to those who’ve made purchases, both recently and over the years, those who’ve shared our work and our story to the world, and those who’ve followed along for the ride! All of your support is and will forever be so very appreciated.