My New Website

As many of you probably know, I will not be going back to Felician College in the fall.  It will be jewelry full time for me for now, or at least for the next year or two, as I build up the company.  (I’ll probably apply for another academic position at that point.  I do love academia but I love this too.)
I’ve had to think long and hard about the direction I want to go in, and I’ve decided it’s time to build my own website, which will run alongside with Etsy – I have no plans on forsaking Etsy anytime soon, I had a very productive meeting with part of their crew a couple of weeks ago and I’ll be visiting their offices in the next month. 
As I build my own site, however, I would love your feedback and ideas.  I have built my entire shop around my customers, their ideas, interests, and feedback.  I find this process very enriching and as I grow, I want to continue keeping you all involved! 
I am signing up with Squarespace to host my site, they have fully built e-commerce platforms where you can create multiple collections for sale, hook up your blog, do shipping, sales, credit card and PayPal processing, analytics, mailing lists and more.  It looks very exciting. 
I’m still in the very early stages of design, but of course these are the most crucial because that’s where you do the basic organization of the site.  Below are my main ideas.  If you have any thoughts, please convo me via Etsy, email me, or use the comment box below.  I will send out a questionnaire at some point but I’m not at that stage yet.
1. I’d like my site to concentrate on the high end items, so gold jewelry only, and nicer gems.  Why?  Because Etsy is better for the low end stuff so there’s no reason to duplicate.  The average Etsy customer doesn’t spend as much (my average sale used to be about $80, now it is $300, but I have many items that cost more and that don’t sell that well on Etsy).  I also want to do more high end custom work.  This will be a slow process because I’m not willing to take out a loan - rumor has it those have to be paid back!  So as the sales increase, I will start creating high end pieces one at a time.
2. Instead of using the standard Etsy categories (ring, pendant, necklace, earring…), I want to sort by collection.  But there will be a “search” button as well so people can search within the shop for just rings for instance.  I have to rename some of the collections, and I need ideas for those.  Right now the collections I have are Hexagon (this will include the kite settings), Gotham (already named), Petal (all the Victorian flower pieces), and Scroll (the earrings with the scroll design and the matching eternity band, plus simple pendants using the scroll settings).  I may start with the most complete collections (Hex and Petal).  Then later I will add the rest, and eventually another line or two.  There are some items that I don’t know where to put: the daisy ring, the pillow pendant.  And there are items that will not make it to the site and stay on Etsy only – the rest will be cross listed since I don’t have funds to make two of each.
3. Gems: after my initial jewelry lines are up, I will add a gem section for outright purchase or custom work.  For matched pairs, there will be options to purchase the setting from my scroll and hex lines, or others as relevant (i.e. I can add an option to make a dangly petal earring).  For single stones, I will also offer setting options as applicable.  And I will add some sort of custom form where people can make other requests for the stone they buy.  I will also offer the option to source a loose stone but I may need a minimum price point because finding a stone can take time.  Also, as custom work is extremely time consuming, I want to put more visual emphasis on using my existing designs.  That way they will be the first choice a customer makes, and a custom piece from scratch will be the second choice only.  Offering custom pricing using my existing settings will also allow a customer to calculate a combined design (i.e. adding a dangly or using a pendant for an earring).  Squarespace has a lot of listing variations, and this will come in handy.
4. For the pull down menus, right now this is what I have:
About:  Shop Mission, Shop Owner (members), Resources
Shop:  Pull down menu by collection
Blog:  links to my blog
Where to buy: My local shop, Etsy (and of course the website)
Custom: TBA
Gallery: Past orders and photos
This is what I have so far. I assume you won’t be seeing the site until late Summer, but I can use the blog to keep you updated, and to send you layout ideas (I’m hoping a friend of mine will help me with this but I’m not sure yet).  Right now I’m working on the back end part.  I don’t know diddly about building a website, so this is going to be interesting!