I've been selling on Etsy for over two years now, and I'm finally getting around to inventory organization. I use outright.com for financial matters, but I've never kept track of what I have in the way of materials and listings that are ready to ship. It was never an issue when everything I made was one-of-a-kind, but ever since I went back to work full-time, it's been necessary to list pieces that I can remake several times.
There are pros and cons to this arrangement. If I wanted to have entirely OOAK pieces, I would have to wait until the weekend to do photos and hope the weather cooperates, since I don't get home until the evening. On the other hand, remake-able pieces save a lot of photo time, but it's difficult to know how many times I'm able to remake something. Most of my listings use vintage buttons that I only have a few of, and my local craft store is notorious for discontinuing my favorite supplies. I do most of my online stuff at work, so if something sells I don't know right away if I have more supplies at home to remake the listing. By the time I get home from work, I've forgotten to check and there the listing sits until I get around to taking stock of my craft room.
So I've been developing a simple online spreadsheet that I can access from home or work to keep track of my materials and listings. I don't know how well it will work since I haven't even had a chance to fill it in completely yet!
I also needed a way to keep track of how popular a listing is by how many times it's been sold. I'm sure there are pre-developed databases out there just for etsy sellers, but I haven't had a chance to look around. It would be pretty cool if etsy had something like this right in your account, eh?
Another issue is that my home computer has been down for several weeks. I'm working on saving up for a new one, but until then it's difficult to remake listings that have sold without my uploaded photos. So I made this:
Now I can keep track of all the listings I plan to remake and even the ones that I haven't decided whether or not to keep yet. I like being able to take the card out and carry it with me in my project basket so I can work on it in the car or on lunch.
Little thumbnail photos remind me exactly how I stitched the piece the first time, and there's plenty of room on the back of the card for extra detail pictures.
Listings with lots of fussy pieces get their own little drawer. If I sell a made-to-order phone cozy, all the components are ready to go. I can even take the drawers out and carry them around the house with me in my sewing tray.
If you sell handmade, what system do you use for organizing your inventory and supplies? I'd love to hear your suggestions!