5 Business Lessons Etsy Taught Me

There are many lessons I have learned as an Etsy seller the past 7 years. Condensing that knowledge down into the top lessons I have learned is hard but I will try to keep my list down to about 5. Here are the top five lessons Etsy taught me in my years as a seller.

1.Your shop is a business– treat it that way. Open a business account at a bank, keep your money separate. Pay yourself each month if you can. Keep regular hours, answer customer requests quickly.

2.Price your product with Profit in mind ( yes, Profit with a capital P). If you are not making a profit and supporting your business then you need to price your items accordingly. Pay yourself for your time and effort.

3.Don’t give up. IF I had $1 for every time I was going to close-up shop in May, June, or August, I would at least be able to buy dinner out. I have seriously thought about closing up my shop in the lean summer months for the first four years. Finally, I sat down to chart my lovely Etsy stats. I make at least 60% of my income between September and January. Ah Ha! I had a moment of insight. I was selling cold weather items, scarves, cup cozies, blankets, etc… These items sell in the cold weather months during the Christmas season! While we would all love to be an overnight sensation on Etsy. Think about what would you do if suddenly demand outstripped your ability to provide product. How would you handle selling 50 items a day. Who would create new product, package and ship it? It is better to have slow growth while you work out some kinks in your business. When Etsy used to have a front page treasury, many sellers would suddenly find themselves having massive sales for one day. The demand would outstrip their ability to provide and then the next reviews of their product would be bad.

4.Keep improving: Keep improving your product, honing your craft, fixing your tags, titles and learning all you can about SEO and selling online. Listen to experienced shop owners when they offer advice about fixing your photos and descriptions. Be alert and make it easy for your shop to be found. Add new items to your shop in either a huge online blitz with an accompanying social media blast or trickle it in with new items everyday! Either way works and there are mixed feelings on which is better.

5 Business Lessons Etsy Taught Me

Believe it or not these photos are of the same blanket. There is a huge difference between natural and artificial light and between my little camera and the photographer’s camera. I just don’t take good photos of the crochet blankets in my shop so I hire someone else to shoot the photos. The bottom photo is part of the ones that I will use in an upcoming pattern listing. They illustrate beautifully how soft and lovely this crochet blanket is.

5 Business Lessons Etsy Taught Me5. Brand everything: label your package, label your emails, use stickers, business cards, special packaging, use every opportunity to get your shop name out in front of your customers and to prove to them that you have a superior product.

6. Fix your product descriptions: How did Land’s End become the mail order catalog that it was in the 80’s and 90’s? It’s packaging and product descriptions. How did Cold Water Creek get to be such a big women’s retailer? It’s product descriptions and photographs made people want to buy the items. When someone can’t touch your product, it is extremely important to have lovely, fun descriptions. How do they know about it? What would you want to know, how big, how much, what is it made out of, How long did you work on it, how many of each do you make? These are all questions that need to be answered in your product description.

I admit that my product descriptions are one of my weakest points and something that I am going to work on in the coming weeks as we head into the start of the shopping season.

talk to you later,
Karen

Next time I will tell you how I did this step by step.

August To Do List

I have to get my August To Do list written down as I have so much to get done before the craft show in November and Christmas in December. I have physical therapy and homeschooling biting into my time. Along with all the other things that Mom’s do! I have been stuck on several projects lately and also struggling with reaching the goals I have set for this year.  It is interesting that right as I am thinking all of these things two blog posts from some people that I try to remember to read on a regular basis. One is Michael Hyatt and the other is Dave Ramsey. Today, I’m going to lean pretty hard on Dave’s post about 4 Ways to Reach your Goals Before the End of the Year!

1. Write it Down

2. Keep is Specific and Measureable

3. Set a Time Limit

4. Own it.

These are great and they are the basis of this week’s to do list!

  1. Sew tags on all cup cozies without tags
  2. sew tags on completed hats
  3. sew tags on completed scarves
  4. sew tags on  other completed items.
  5. Sew buttons on completed cup cozies
  6. Cut out needed fabric pieces for cup cozies
  7. get hair cut (it is so wild and bushy that I can’t stand it.)
  8. make menu and grocery list.
  9. rearrange furniture in living room

If you noticed there is not one little bit of crochet on this list. I am pampering my wrists as I get carpal tunnel symptoms when I crochet too much. I will crochet later in the month when a loved one has surgery. It will be easy to take projects with me for my time sitting with them at the hospital. Here are a few photos of some crochet items that I finished up while recovering from surgery.

August To Do List

Lovely flannel receiving blankets and new crochet baby blankets ready for ChocolatesBabyShop!

August To Do List

 

We have had some lovely sales and I am teaching my new assistant how to package each order. It is taking a little extra time but she is doing a beautiful job. (This translates into I am training our youngest daughter to help me in the shop in return for cold, hard cash!) She is doing a great job and seems to enjoy it. I desperately needed someone to help with this as I was not getting around very quickly when she started working for me.

Talk to you later,

Karen

 

Hats

Here are some of the hats I have been crocheting lately. I just love crocheting hats. They have a quick turn around time and I get an almost instant feeling of accomplishment.

2015-08-08 13.50.39Kathryn crocheted the crown on this little hat. I added the edgings and then also the rose and tag.

IMG_8301This hat I started from the yarn. It was fun to crochet. The picot border isn’t showing well in this photo.

2015-08-08 13.58.19

This cream hat is one of my favorites. It is a larger hat and the sequins and cream will look wonderful with anything you choose to wear. I have crocheted many other hats, caps, and scarves. I am going to wait to show you the rest of the things. They will be listing in ChocolateDogStudio and will also be for sale in my booth in November’s Affair of the Heart craft fair in Tulsa, OK.

This week has been a turning point in our lives as we transition back to school. Our youngest daughter started her school on Monday. Our oldest daughter heads back to college to start her senior year. We have been incredibly busy as our oldest son and his wife bought their first home. It needs some cleaning and lots of love to make it a home. Thankfully they have the energy and the time to get it done. Their church family is stepping in with painting and moving help. We are also transitioning some furniture that needs to go to another home.  Some of it is left from my Mom’s home when she moved to her retirement  community, some of it is our old furniture. These are all good things but between the different furniture pieces leaving at different times and the boxes of things headed to college our home feels a little chaotic.  I have been crocheting quite a bit and also going to physical therapy. The physical therapy is definitely needed but it takes every bit of my self control to make myself do the exercises and to also go to class. It just isn’t comfortable and it causes pain. While I know the end results are worth it, a part of me wishes that I could just skip the whole thing.

Talk to you later,

Karen