At the end of May, I went on a much needed vacation – 7 days completely off-the-grid, in the Caribbean… It was awesome. When we scheduled our vacation back in March, I pondered on what I should do with my shop? Should I put it in vacation mode or should I just leave it open and let orders accumulate while I was away? This is something that I’ve discovered many Etsy shop owners struggle with. In the EcoEtsy team forum board, a member was struggling with the same decision. With permission from my teammates, I’d like to share some of the questions and answers and awesome insights they had on this issue.
Nancy of Soul Role
I have had my shop for two and half years and have not gone on vacation since. I am finally going to NJ to see my family from July 16-31 (Yay! I have not seen my sister, brother, new nephews and nieces in 7 years!) and am trying to figure out what to do about my shop. Most of my items are made to order (my stated turn around time is about 14-20 days, although I can often do things sooner). I have heard horrible things about people’s shops tanking and years of hard work to get your shop visible goes down the tubes. I really don’t want to put my shop on vacation mode but on the other hand maybe i need to? I am going to have internet the whole time I am gone and plan to at least keep up with messages etc. I am trying to figure out the best way to inform customers ahead of time and how to plan.For example stating ‘any orders that come in after June 30th may be subjected to a longer turn around time”?
Armelle of PurePixie
I used it (vacation mode) only once so far, but I’m planning on using it every year during the summer. Last year, I think I posted on my (vacation announcement on) Facebook and shop announcement two weeks before closing my store. I shared the news earlier with customers who were contacting me directly so that they were able to place their orders in time. . My experience overall with going into vacation mode has been very good. When I came back I got swamped with ordered which was very unexpected.
Martina of NaturesArtMelbourne
There is no fear at all about vacation mode as I close the shop every year for 3 months and 2x just a few days for festivals. My “Shop Announcement” says when it will be closed and why, but also I add a PLEASE NOTE: into the “Message to Buyers” around 2 months before I close the shop. On Facebook, I started this year a “30 days of love heart creations” as a theme before I head off for the winter walkabout – which will be in 5 days.
I post one heart creation in the morning and one in the evening and in this I actually count down the days until I go walkabout. As it goes a whole month with 2 posts a day people really can not miss it. I am seeing clearly that people buy more or regular customers come back and buy before I go. I truly works well.
I know when I come back I will be flooded by orders as long as I am able to show new creations pretty instant – which is a true challenge but I start with photos of the trip and materials I found and work process and that builds it nicely up and is not so much work to do. Do not be afraid of vacation mode as we all need a break – especially from a business which is 24/7 and that pretty relentless. A break makes it possible to step back and see things much clearer and start fresh and full of energy. So this is at the same time my yearly good bye as I will head off again for 3.5 month for my winter walkabout. To have time for me and my husband and to gather more materials for the new work year to come which starts in October for me.
Christine of RusticCarvings
Our house sold before it was even listed, and the move took us to an intermediate place while we waited to close on the house we live in currently. There was no feasible way to run all my machinery there, and most of it was in storage for a month, with all the rest of the stuff! It’s humbling to see all your possessions in two storage sheds, that’s for sure! Needless to say, my shop was on vacation during this time too.
I kept up on twitter and Facebook. I responded to messages on Etsy and email, when possible. Again, when I reopened my shop I was a busy bee. I was “closed” for about 4-5 months last year and I came close to my previous year’s income. I think, if you can get away, do it. It’s incredibly time consuming owning a business that’s open 24/7, and we all need a break and some away time. Don’t be afraid of hitting that vacation mode button. You may just be surprised at how many people are eager for you to reopen.
In the end, I put my shop in vacation mode for 10 days to give myself time to deal with all the pre-vacation running around - the day before I left and two days after my return from vacation to fall back into my routine. I announced my shop was going into vacation mode 2 weeks prior to closing both on Facebook and my shop announcement. I scheduled an auto-responder that would answer any convos while I was on vacation, letting anyone who wrote me know when I would be returning. Once I came back and re-opened shop – I posted on Facebook and shared a few vacation photos. Within minutes I was swamped with orders.
I think that going into vacation mode allow us all as shop owners to recoup from all the hard work and mental stress we put ourselves under. For shops that offer custom items, my advice is you create an order/shipping schedule similar to a shipping schedule that most shops use during the Christmas Holidays. This way you set drop-dead dates for orders – any orders received after your drop-dead date would not even be worked on until you return. This helps set customer expectations and can actually become part of your shop policy.
Put your plan together – summer is just around the corner and you should be able to enjoy some fun in the sun.