Oct 132011

This past weekend, as I mentioned in a previous blog post, I sold my handmade paper-crafted items at a local craft show. While sales were not spectacular, I did all right—enough so that if my schedule allows for it next year, I will likely attend again. My tables were not overfilled, but I did have enough product on hand. At the last moment, I hung a metal tree with felted wool coffee cup sleeves . . . interestingly, those attracted the most attention, possibly because they can also be used as candle wraps. You just never know what to expect at these events!

Speaking of not knowing what to expect, I do like to be prepared to accept credit cards from my buyers. This is not as expensive as you might think, even if you are a small seller. In previous years I used ProPay, which offers a reduced price for Etsy sellers which you can access HERE.  The current annual fee for Etsy sellers is $39.95 for the ProPay Premium plan. For each Visa, MasterCard or Discover transaction, you pay a 2.69% fee plus a flat 25 cents. For American Express, you pay 3.19% plus a flat 25 cents. Truthfully, I have been satisfied with this service. It has been easy to use, and quick to deposit earnings in your bank. You do have the option to purchase a digital card reader from ProPay for $39.95 for your Apple mobile device, or $49.95 for an Android mobile device. Or, you can do as I did and purchase a manual tabletop credit card imprinter for $16.99, along with transaction receipts, from a seller like mrimprinter on eBay.

Earlier this year, however, I heard about another option, and I am really excited about it. That option is Square, which charges no annual fee at all and a 2.75% fee for most credit card or debit card transactions. (If you key in the credit card information manually instead of using the Square card reader, you are charged a flat 15 cents plus a 3.5% fee.) Square is for U.S. customers only (you need a Social Security number), and is supported on Apple iOS systems (such as iPhone and iPad) running 4.0 and up, and on Android devices running 2.1 and up. Your mobile device does have to have a 3.5 mm headphone jack, in which the Square reader (which is mailed to you for free) is inserted. Then, you are able to take Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express cards, as well as debit cards, simply by sliding them through the Square reader that you insert in your mobile device’s headphone jack. The card is approved or not, and you can either e-mail your customer or send a text message receipt. What really impressed me is that you can take a photograph of the item you are selling, and write a description that is included with the electronic receipt. You can even track cash transactions this way. Later, when you are sitting in front of your computer, all of the data can be downloaded from the Square Web site. Your funds are deposited to your bank account within 12 to 36 hours. You can sign up for Square HERE, and get most of your questions answered on their Help page. The Square app is free to download to your smart phone.


So, did I use the Square tool this past weekend? No, but I was prepared to do so. I even ordered a second free card reader so that my husband could help me process card transactions!

One of my customers bought a spiral-bound Gratitude Book that is a new item in Mister PenQuin on Etsy. The book is filled with 100 pages (50 double-sided pages, actually), containing one writing prompt, “Today I am thankful for…” My buyer told me that every Thanksgiving the grandparents come, and that when everyone sits down at the table, each person gives thanks for something. This year she is going to pass the book around and have each person write down for what he or she is thankful. In the years to come, and especially when the grandparents may no longer be around, she will have a permanent record of family blessings. I like her idea so much, in fact, that I may borrow it for our family. You can find more Gratitude Books in my Etsy shop HERE.

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© 2011 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.