A few weeks back I was thrown for a loop. Every so often I search for my Etsy shop items through a general search. I check to see how soon they come up, what tag words I could be using, etc. In doing so I found a woman who is making my bridesmaid boxes. Same concept, same materials, similar style. She makes lots of other things that Other etsy sellers were making first too, and I'm not the only person whose idea she has borrowed. But the point is... it threw me for a loop. I felt threatened, I felt sad, I felt panicked. After some time, some talks, and some tears I decided it was a matter of stretching beyond what had become routine and to make new product. To improve, to change, and to work harder. All good stuff.
In the course of making these changes, and searching for my new listings, I stumbled across her again, and this time I looked at her sales. Oh, geez...this woman has made over 700 sales to my 136! In about the same period of time. I lamented the perceived theft of sales that ought to have been mine. I agonized over it. She is so successful!
And then I looked at her feedback. Which is 100% positive. But there were few comments, which offered brief and general praise of her fast shipping and professionalism. Then I read my own feedback. And I was overwhelmed with the beautiful outpourings of the women and men whom I've made things for. Sweet feedback, personal feedback, long comments about how I made them feel, how special they found the boxes, how much they loved them. And I felt so utterly successful at what I do. And while I would love to make more sales than I currently make, I feel so proud of the fact that I value more than just the exchange of goods for money, and that the people I work with feel that.