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