In March of 2012 I signed up for Alyson Stanfield’s Get Organized to Run a Successful Art Business online class. l had a twinge of guilt when we got to the lesson on Inventory Management because I hadn’t been keeping track for about a year. I had started with Artist’s Butler when I took my first class with Alyson in 2007, which worked well with my Mac but which didn’t integrate with my Nutmeg Designs Etsy Shop. I made notes on each item as to whether it was on Etsy and if it had sold on Etsy, but then I started making mosaic pendants and quickly fell behind, because people were buying them!
This time around I fortuitously found Stitch Labs, which just started in 2011. When I signed up in March of 2012, there was as $12.00/month fee for a basic Stitch account, which I gladly paid after the 30 day free trial. In August 2012, Stitch Labs instituted a free plan for users who only have one “integrated eCommerce sales channel.” In my case that is Etsy. [In January 2013, Stitch revised their plans again, and grandfathered me in. Their target market is a bigger business than I am. In March of 2017, Stitch revised their plans to make my monthly plan $49.99/month, and I chose to close my account.]
Stitch is an web based system, and they back up data regularly. They add new features in response to customer input, and unlike Artist’s Butler, which resides on my Mac, I don’t have to download updates.
What I’ve Learned About Stitch as of August 2012
- A unique one of a kind artwork can be a Product Family unto itself, so if there are no permutations like different colors or sizes, just go ahead and create one for each item. In Artist’s Butler, I would add a new record for each artwork, and you can work with Stitch in this way, and upload a photo specific to this particular work.
- If you have an item in production, which has variations, such as my mosaic pendants, a Product Family allows me to add options such as metal and color, so I can keep track of which colors are the most popular and what inventory is low. I can add photos of new work to the Mosaic Pendant Product Family that show the range of work, and then print a line sheet for retail or wholesale. Making a unique record for each and every pendant in Artist’s Butler was part of what overwhelmed me. My work ranges over both one of a kind works that fine artists track meticulously and production items which are more akin to prints.
- You can manually link each new Etsy listing with its appropriate Product Family, but the process is quick, and when someone orders something from Etsy, it’s automatically accounted for in your Inventory, and the Order is imported, and the information is ready for you to create invoices, add packing slips and payment received, and add address information to the Contacts database. [At the end of 2012, Stitch added the option of having Etsy inventory flow directly into Stitch. I have not switched to this yet.]
- When you have work at a gallery or on consignment, at a craft show, you can create an open order for those items, and print the invoice as a record of the inventory for both yourself and the gallery or shop owner. Those works will be committed to that order, but not taken completely out of your Stitch unless you mark them as sold.
- If you sell online, but not through one of the integrated channels like Etsy or Shopify, you can still enter orders manually.
What I have yet to explore:
- Reports and Analytics. There are lots of pie charts and graphs and data to explore. [In preparation for 2012 taxes, I have finally downloaded reports into my Google Drive.]