ETSY How-To: Money in and Money Out

 

When running a business on ETSY (or any online venue, personal website, or home parties) it’s very important to keep track of money in and money out.  It’s nearly impossible to gauge how well your business is doing without keeping track of the necessary profits and expenditures.  Once you are tracking the in and out of money it can be easier to find budget limits, and determine where to cut costs from and where to put more money in.  If you aren’t already I would get an accounting software (Quickbooks is one of the best) and put it all your information; inventory, receipts, bills, advertising costs, and sales.  It’s also a great program to use to keep track of inventory pricing such as cost, wholesale price, and retail price of items you have for sale.

Here are some quick tips on how to save money once you gauge where your business stands with money in and money out:

* Have a Set ETSY Bill.  Every month determine the exact amount you want to spend on ETSY for listing new items and renewing. Remember if you want to only spend 60.00 a month don’t set your budget at 60.00 because you still have to account for items being sold and your commission costs to ETSY for those items being sold. If you sold $350.00 in merchandise on ETSY that’s $12.25 that will also be on your bill Try to stay as close to your budget as possible.

* Research Supply Prices.  Always remember this: You are not married to your supplier.  It’s okay to look for better pricing on items.  You may get lucky and your current supplier may price match the other supplier, but they won’t if you don’t ask.

* Dedicate to FREE Promotion.  There is no cheaper advertising than free advertising, and there are many ways you can do that.  I am currently working on a Facebook fan page, and it’s free.

* Cut Unreasonable Practices that Bleeding Money.  I was offering free shipping for a long time but with the cost of shipping going up and the cost of my mailers going up it was no longer practical for me. I still have very good shipping costs ($1.99 US, $2.99 international) but it was unreasonable on my already lower priced items to offer free shipping.

Hope this helps you out a little with your pursuit of making more profit in 2011.

Making the Most of Every ETSY Sale: Packaging

Everyone loves seeing that ETSY transaction email and the Paypal “You got money” one that follows, who doesn’t love getting sales, but it’s the behind the scenes customer service after the sale that can help generate repeat business.  How you handle a sale is important to customers; from packaging to delivery.   So part one of this series is: Packaging

* Packaging.  I love buying items on ETSY and receiving them in cute packages. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, I have bought some cute items that came in construction origami boxes.  Here are some great resources on: Packaging

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/fabulous-packaging-and-wrapping-with-rikrak-5926/

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/seller-how-to-pretty-as-a-package-5327/

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6679688

ETSY and Branding Your Work

Many sellers say that branding is one of the hardest things for their work and their ETSY shop.  I admit, when I first started ETSY it was something I struggled a lot with too. I had so many different items, and the overall feel of my shop was nothing but cluttered.  Then I stumbled upon my love of vintage, and vintage inspired glass and flower cabochons and branding just seemed to fall into place overnight.

Branding is very important for a seller. When customers come to a place online they like to know what kind of shop they are in, and if you are all over the place there may be some confusion and a customer may walk. We definitely do not want that! So what can you do to successful brand your ETSY shop?

*  BE CONSISTENT *

When I say consistent I am talking about your overall business in respects to pricing, items offered, packaging, customer service.  There is nothing more confusing than walking into a store and seeing prices all over the place for similar items, too many styles of product. Packaging in my eyes, is very important aspect of the branding process. You include your cards and your special touch on the package and every time a customer comes back to your shop they know what to expect. Consistency helps tremendously with peat customers. So stay consistent to your packaging, your prices, and most overall what you sell.

ETSY: Getting on the Front Page

Being on ETSY’s front page is HUGE, and could potentially net many sales to your shop the day you are seen on the front page and in the days and weeks to follow, and the questions everyone is always asking is “How do I get on ETSY’s Front Page?”  There is no guarantee that you will make it to the front page, but there are ways to increase your chances for that exciting exposure moment!  So what can you do to increase your chances on getting on the front page?  By making treasury worthy products.

* MERCHANDISING DESK *

This is huge. The merchandising desk article that comes out and every month is written by ETSY focused on the hot trends that are coming. A lot of the treasuries and products they choose for the front page are keywords that can be found in this article. The merchandising article can be found here:  http://www.etsy.com/storque/search/tags/from-etsys-merchandising-desk/

*  TAGGING FOR SUCCESS *

When sellers make treasuries, and admins choose products and treasuries for the front page they are looking for keywords.  If your tagging is lacking then there is a good chance people are first not seeing your items, second your chances of getting into a treasury is smaller. This is my all-time favorite tagging article made by ETSY’s treasury team. I highly recommend it:  http://etsytreasuryteam.blogspot.com/2009/03/tagging-for-maximum-exposure-in-etsy.html

*  TAKE GOOD PICTURES  *

I can’t say this enough, if your picture doesn’t pop out chances are it won’t go into a treasury. There are many articles on ETSY and on the internet on how to improve your pictures. The more striking, the higher your chance of being put into a treasury.

Have fun, and just know it’s more than possible to get on the front page you just have to make your products ready for the front page!

ETSY Front Page

Admit it, we have all asked it. “Why haven’t I been on the front page?” I know I have quite a bit. I have been lucky to have made the front page 4 times on ETSY with my shop NaturalAmber
With so many talented artists it’s so hard to be seen sometimes, and sometimes it’s just impossible to put every front page worthy item on the front page.
My newest blog  ETSY FRONT PAGE   is dedicated to those pieces who at the time of the blog post had not made the front page to show those sellers, I think you deserve to be on the front page on ETSY!

ETSY Holidays: Never To Early to Plan Ahead

 

It’s June, and yes many sellers on ETSY are already planning the most busiest season of the year: the fall and winter season. Why so early? Planning ahead is always a good idea, you want to be ready. It would be a shame to be half way through the season and realize you weren’t ready for it. I started season planning last month. When I first started ETSY I felt like I was always missing the season, I would list and do stuff during the season but by then its almost over. So as a seller what can you do to start planning for the busy season?

* Stock Up Shop Now. Currently I have 286 listings in my ETSY shop, and I’m adding new items several times during the week. I once read from one of the ETSY admins who chimed in on a thread about how to be succesful selling jewelry and they said they noticed those jewelry artists who had alot of items sold more frequently. I want to have as much stock available for season in case making more items may take longer than normal. The more you have listed, the more chances you have at making a sale.

* Start Making Your Holiday/Season Items. I havent decided if I am going to offer any seasonal items, but Im thinking about it. I dont want to think about it too long though or the season will be to close here! Online shopping makes customers want to buy earlier than normal since the buy and take home right away ability is taken away. Customer want to give themselves plenty of time before the holiday when buying. Sometimes more than a month ahead!

* Scope out and Reserve Advertising Now. This piece of advice is huge. If you wait until the last minute to buy advertisement on Craftcult, Magazines, big websites you may lose out. Sellers are already reserving thiers. I would start searching for the best places to advertise to your target market now and consider buying space in the next few months. Sometimes you can get better deals buying early too!

 * Have a Plan, Stock Up. Stock up on the essentials, tape, mailers, gift boxes, tags, bags, you don’t want to be out of the essentials when the orders come in, it could delay orders from shipping out. Make sure you are ready! (This also goes for Christmas in July, you want to have necessities available for immediate use)

* Make Your Shop FP and Find friendly. Tag your shop for these times, people will be making treasuries using holiday and seasonal items. ETSY will be on the lookout for neat buys to show customers. Start improving your shop now when its slower, take better pictures, sweep away the clutter… and get ready!

Remember, it’s never too early to start a business plan, a marketing plan, or an advertsing plan. The more you can get your name out, and the earlier make your chances better of having a successful season.

ETSY 101: Selling Success

 

Brainstorming.

Risk.

Aiming Innovation.

Never Giving Up.

* Brainstorming. I challenge you to take a hard look at your shop and really discover whats working and not. Embrace slower times as a way to really analyze and find out what needs to be done, what needs to be fixed, and what needs to be tossed. Perhaps you need to work on your tagging, your SEO, perhaps its time to find new ways to reach your target market. Pull up a chair and pull out a notebook and really think about what needs to be done to bump up your success.

* Risk. You figured out what you think may work. Go for it! Whether it’s a new marketing strategy, new tags, new pictures, local marketing. You will never know if it works unless you try, get over the fear and “risk”.

* Aim for some goals, some timelines, some mini projects. If you are serious about the success of your business and you want to see growth you have to be aiming for something. Write them down too in a notebook, research has shown that written goals are viewed as more concrete and are often times more successful in reaching.

* Innovation. To innovate is to bring in something new. Make a new line, bring in a new color, keep your shop looking fresh. Repeat customer love coming back to buy more, but they need more new things to look at! Making a new product line can bring in a new range of customers. Vintage inspired jewelry was what kept me on ETSY. I sold beaded jewelry before, and being among so many talented artists I was struggling.

* Never Giving UP. For many before they start making money they have to sacrifice a lot. Timothy Adam Designs has a great post about how much he sacrificed at first, and really puts in front of  the realities of what to expect. How much you want this, may also mean how much can you sacrifice in: hours, time, money… Persistance is so important to success. Some people in only takes weeks, some months, some years. Do you want this? If so keep your chin up and keeping aiming for your dreams

Selling Vintage Jewelry on ETSY

 

 

Are you thinking about selling vintage jewelry on ETSY? Well there is  a lot of research that is involved and steps to consider before putting your first listings up.  So what should you be doing before taking the plunge? 

  

* Research. Customers want to know what they are buying, and as much information you can provide the customer the better. Do you know what era the piece is from? What the piece is made of? Do you know history about the ring? History about the manufacturer? The more you know, and the more you tell, the more likely you will be able to sell that vintage piece. 

  

* Other ETSY shops.  Have you looked at the market for the piece of jewelry, and are there other shops on ETSY who are selling that particular piece or something similar. You want to make sure your pricing is competitive especially on similar pieces. It’s also important to take note on the description of the other sellers piece it is very possible your piece may be in better or worse condition which can make your pricing a little more work. 

  

* How Original?  In a way vintage items have the same kind of appeal as handmade does, often times the more original and unique the piece the chances of it selling are better. When you are on the hunt for vintage items, put yourself in the customers shoes, how unique is this item compared to other items on ETSY. I always strive to find the most different pieces I can. 

  

Here are some helpful forum threads on ETSY about Vintage: 

Demand for Vintage: 

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6513875 

  

Vintage Help Thread: 

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6438403 

  

ETSY Renewing: Confessions of a Renewaholic

White Daisy Flower Black Agate Ring

So last month I was determined to kick the renewing beast and really focus on turning around more profit on my listings. Believe me the bill was killing me, and after my fiance losing his job how would I support the habit? I felt like I was in Vegas, playing the .20 slots and crossing my fingers for jingles and jackpots. I truly was gambling more than winning.

I really wanted to learn if renewing all this time, because it was ETSY myth you had to stay seen in a saturated market, was really hurting me, helping me, or doing nothing. I found out it was hurting me. I have kept my renewing to under $5.00 a month in March, and so far under $2.00 this month and guess what? My sales were 33 last month, and so far 16 this month. February I had over 40 but I was also featured. Every month before that I renewed like crazy but never made more than 15 sales a month. I am finally getting consistent sales, but because of hard work, not because of renewing.

Some helpful tips I learned that I think helped:

* Adding new items often. Why waste another 20 cents renewing when you can list something new?

* Creating outside of the box. I have been working on new designs and they have been helping

* More custom work.

* More times in the forum.

* Realizing that some social tools weren’t working. I have better ways to spend my time.

So those are my confessions, my wallet feels better, I feel better, and I think I am rehabilitating pretty good. How about you?

NaturalAmber Jewelry: New Vintage Cameo Line

Cameo’s are a very popular item lately, so stay tuned for many new cameo pieces in my shop!

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