Selling on Etsy 101: It’s not Easy

Tiger Eye and Wood Beaded Bracelet

 

Selling on ETSY takes alot of dedication and hard work, selling in a saturated jewelry market alone on ETSY takes determination. I learned the hard way that jewelry is a hard market to sell in, and with that came disappointment, frustration, and the feeling of defeat. Back in February I said Goodbye to my shop, still fulfilling the small amount of orders that came in because I became discouraged that I felt like I was doing absolutely everything with little or no sales to show all my hardwork and dedication. Then here comes the lightbulb moment, after taking a little break I started to realize these little questions:

 

* Was I doing enough?

* What are other sellers doing that I am not?

* Am I really, I mean really reaching my target market?

 

After sitting awhile, asking myself those questions I came to realize, No, it’s obvious I am not. I know I make a great product, if I didn’t people wouldn’t buy from me at all. If I made a bad product, I wouldn’t have 33 happy feedback reviews. So where do I come from here? Where does any struggling handmade artist go form here? Back to the drawing board. Back to the little room to brainstorm a new business plan.

 

Question 1:  Was I doing enough?

I realized that I was not doing absolutely everything I could to bring buyers to my site. ETSY gives me the tools to upload my work and setup a cart. It is my job as a seller to help buyers find me. I can not rely on ETSY alone to bring me buyers. What was I neglecting?

* Marketing locally.  The coming weeks I am going to start looking into local farmer markets, places to pin up my business cards, talking to people and marketing myself as a jewelry artist. I never focused to much outside of the Internet. Mistake number one.

* Keeping my Blog up-to date.  This is my first article on jewelry and selling on ETSY in a long time. I used to get 50 hits a day, and many of those hits would then result in people looking at my jewelry store. What I need to do is make sure I am writing a few articles a week on relevant topics.

* Find Affordable Advertising. Marketing can’t always be free, and what I need to remember is that you have to put money in sometimes to get results back. There are alot of great places a small handmade artist can advertise on, I would look at local magazines, magazines about the craft you make, or even ask your local newspaper about how much an ad would be.

 

Question 2:  What are other sellers doing that I am not?

There are good reasons why one ETSY seller is more successful then another ETSY seller and I think it is a smart idea to pay attention to advice many of them give on the ETSY forums. Many of these sellers bring outside customers here, pay for advertising, have a strong local market, have a great product with great descriptions, clear and appealing product pictures, and know their target market. What can I learn from them?

* Be Objective to your Listings.  You have to be honest with yourself, and you have to be able to give yourself constructive criticism. No one wants to criticize their own shop, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to look at your shop objectively and as if you were a new buyer finding this new shop on ETSY. Would you buy your items based-on your pictures? Your descriptions? Your prices?

* Look at other similar successful shops.  You can get a good idea on why a shop on ETSY is more successful. I like to look at the “Quit Your Day Job” articles on ETSY, many of these sellers have great ideas and they have beautiful shops!

 

Question 3 Am I really, I mean really reaching my target market?

If the sales are not there, and you know you have a great product then there is a good chance you have not found your target market. I am very surprised when I talk to other artists about target market, how some do not even know who they are marketing too. My market for example are woman who love to wear jewelry made from natural materials: gemstone, wood, and shell. Have I found my market? I don’t believe so. A great place to start is marketing locally. Perhaps there is a trendy cafe you think would be a great fit for your business card based on the customers who go there. You have to be creative. You have to know where to find your target market.

 

I am excited to start getting back into my shop, marketing more efficiently, and really, I mean really focusing on becoming more successful, and more happy knowing that I did everything to put my best foot forward. Are you ready to do the same?

Government BailOut – Stock Owners Affected

Everyone is very aware of all the talks of bailout for huge corporations in the mortgage and insurance world, but what many consumers don’t understand is how are the benefited? Well if you had stocks in WAMU you were not protected at all. The government has given those corporations a bailout, and have left the consumers with useless WAMU stocks since JP Morgan did not transfer the stocks over.  Fine, want to help out the big guys whose CEO’s fell into financial despair from  their greediness to fund anyone regardless to how risky they were to begin with, then us consumers, the “little” ones want to know what kind of bail-out’s you going to be doing for us? I don;t see any bail-out on the thousands of dollars of debt consumers, both reckless and ones who suffered unfortunate circumstances, being bailed out from the debt that is killing our credit scores.

 

There needs to be check and balances. The Government can’t always come running to the side of corporations who drove their companies to over-whelming debt. Look at Bank of America, they didn’t open risky loans, and they are still standing. Great WAMU was “saved”, but for those of you who trusted your bank and put stock into it, tough for you, the government could care less if you lost $10,000. You arent protected, but don;t worry you checking and savings are.

Small Craft Business 101: No Sales?

Autumn Heart Earrings

Autumn Heart Earrings

 

Over the last few months I have had many close friends and people I know through the wonderful world of crafting close their shops, or throw in the towel on their small business venture. It’s disheartening to see them walk away from all their efforts, their hard work, dedication because they simply can no longer invest in their dream or the feeling of failure has become too overwhelming for them. As a small business owner myself, I too have had days where the pressures of keeping my dream alive seem to be outweighed by the frustrations of little income coming in but then I have to have a sit down with myself and remember why I am in the business of what I am doing. My passion for creating jewelry and wanting to share them with people will never change, and that’s why I am in this business. I have a long road to go, but I am in the long haul. I know sometimes people must scale back because of the restraints of money — but if you are one of those crafters who are in it for the long run what can you do to drive more sales to you?

 

1. Marketing. I can not stress this enough. Somedays I know it can feel like all you are doing is marketing but in the long run this is what is going to bring people to you. No one is going to know you are in the virtual world (or outside of it) if you don’t say hello to the world! I would google possible ways to market yourself on-line depending on what you sale.

 

2. Update, Update, Update. Make a goal to yourself and to your business to consistently add new products, new lines, fresh colors because often times potential customers like your work but just haven’t seen a piece that talks to them, says “I’m Yours.”

 

3. Network. Networking can be a great way to get yourself out there, and find other businesses with the same interests as you. Often times the word of mouth through networking can be powerful, and drive new customers you would never of had. I would try places like Flickr, Myspace, Facebook.

 

4. Promotions. Often times customers are looking for a good deal. Perhaps they would love to buy that second piece but can;t afford both, but a simple 15% off of the second item promotion may be the key to the additional item on their order.

 

5. Keep On Keeping On. Sometimes new ideas, concepts, pieces aren’t going to work out the way you want them and all you can do is go back to the drawing board and come up with new ways to drive more sales.

 

If you would like to see more of my jewelry work, please come see my shop NaturalAmber Designs at http://naturalamber.etsy.com

Customer Service 102: From Purchase to Delivery

Wrapped in Pink and Blue

Wrapped in Pink and Blue

 

Customer Service is vital to business, and without it you may as well say goodbye to all the hard work you put into building your business because a bad customer service experience equates to “no repeat customers” and “no referrals”. So what can you do to set yourself apart from the competition after receiving that first sale on your website, your ETSY shop, or a reply from your mailing catalog? Simple. Good customer service is looking inside yourself and addressing your own expectations — what would make an experience memorable for you? Here are some tips I have learned from working in customer service myself, and some simple ideas I came up when I asked myself, what would give me a smile and want me to go back looking for more?

 

1. Ship the order as soon as possible. How impressive is it to you to receive an order in lightening speed? The business I work for Onecall ships the orders the same day as long as they clear before 4pm and I know through the ratings people are more then pleased with this service. I know the anticipation behind waiting for a package, and what a joy it is to receive the package sooner then I expected! People want to buy from sellers who can deliver the goods quick. That’s why people shop retail for that instant gratification, but if you can come close they are sure to be a repeat buyer!

 

2. Send a Thank You.  I always send thank you cards with my orders. I would have it no other way. I buy special thank you cards, and let them know I appreciate their business and let them know that if there are any problems I am here to take care of them immedietly. I would feel special if someone sent me one.

 

3. Leave Feedback. If you sell on a shop like ETSY it is always important to leave feedback it makes the customer feel as if you care about their business. I know the first time I received feedback on my shop NaturalAmber on ETSY I was so happy the buyer appreciated my business and fast payment.

 

4. Give a Little Extra With Every Order. I alwys send a coupon to be used with their next purchase. New buyers always recieve a 10% thank you coupon and repeat buyers get coupons depending on how much they have bought. These coupons range from 5-25% off their entire order.

 

Just remember Customer Service is vital to your business. Live it. Practice it. Commit to it. Your business will grow because of it.

 

Please come see my jewelry site at http://naturalamber.etsy.com

Increasing Your Jewelry Sales with Catalogs

 

 

For those jewelry artists who want to increase the amount of sales they make, you may want to consider creating your own “travel catalog”. When I first started doing this I was in shock by how much more efficiently I was able to present what I offered to people who I handed business cards to on the spot. I am always wearing a piece of my jewelry so i can show off some of the items I make, but often times that piece of jewelry is the first impression, and sometimes not enough for someone to want to call your number on the card or click on your website, so I started making catalogs. They are simple to make, and fun to design. This may seem like a lot work, especially if you have a lot of inventory, but really you are just trying to show off some of your best works.

 

My catalog is made of 10 pages and I have a few copies bind-ed in nice binders with laminated pages. I have pages dedicated to bracelets, earrings, necklaces, jewelry sets, and pictures of some of my prettiest beads for custom orders. When I am out making referrals, and handing out business cards for those individuals who want to see more of my work I have one of my binders ready in my new “over sized” purse (and also a sales receipt book in case I get a splurger). People are so impressed with the pictures, the descriptions, and pricing and often times ask about what other items I carry. In these binders I always have Jewelry Party information on hand as well as a first time buyer coupon which has a code and instructions on how to  be redeemed on my ETSY site.  Most people get excited when they see the pictures of the beads and information on making their own custom jewelry piece. I get a lot of custom orders through the catalog.

 

The catalog doesn’t have to be fancy, just a few pieces of your best work laid out in a catalog form so it prints correctly. Simply make sure your printer prints at best, and use nice sturdy paper, and always put a protective sheet on the paper so your pictures don’t get worn or smudged. Make it your own. Have fun! Bring in more sales.

Please come visit my store at: http://naturalamber.etsy.com

My Top Five Etsy Picks for August 17th

Stones and Shell of Autumn

Stones and Shell of Autumn

 

It is getting close to that time of year, when it’s time to add some new items to our fall collections, and get ready to celebrate the coming of the autumn season. I know with my shop here at ETSY, NaturalAmber, I have been working hard in getting inventory ready for the upcoming fall season! I am so impressed with the sellers here are on ETSY, and have been very excited the last couple of weeks, seeing all the new Autumn lines. I was especially impressed with some of the individual items that some of the shops are creating, and wanted to share those awesome gift ideas to you! This week I am celebrating the “Fall Season” and wanted to give you an exclusive peek into my five favorite item listings on ETSY for the fall season.

 

Please come see my newest fall piece at from http://naturalamber.etsy.com at:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14218144

 

1.  Littlehandstudios She definitely knows how to use the color orange in her pieces, and she does it very well. This is a beautiful orange glass pendant, trendy, simple, and stylish. I fell in love with it instantly when I saw it. Orange is going to be big this season, more reason to check out this great piece:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=14022017

 

2.  Awindowintowhimsy.Color is in this fall season, and this tote bag is a perfect way to celebrate all the new and unexpected color trends of autumn! She uses turquoise and brown together to make this wonderful piece, that is simply gorgeous and a must have. Please come see why I love this bag so much at:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=12682025

 

3. Ambermaida.  This woman is a very talented and artistic painter, and I fell instantly in love with her work. There were so many wonderful paintings to look at that I had a hard time saying which one was my favorite, I felt like every item she made in her shop was my favorite! She really uses yellow well in this painting, and I was absolutely stunned when I saw it. Please see why I instantly fell in love with her work:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=10752766

 

4. Lachapina. What  could be a better way to celebrate the coming of autumn with this beautiful crafted carpet. The first thing I thought of when I looked at the carpet was this would be a wonderful gift, or present for yourself, for a new apartment or dorm for the back to school season.  Make your place colorful with a carpet like this:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=12928918

 

5.  Bytheway. Vintage is in this season, and what a great way to celebrate the fall with a new skirt! Yellow is the new brown this season, and this skirt has style, is trendy, and a cute pick for your wardrobe! Want to see why I love it:

http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=13878109

ETSY Trial and Error: Best Time to List Your Items

Polymer and Quartz

Polymer and Quartz

 

The blessing of listing at the right time, to the right person, and at the right price is hard to master, especially in the world of ETSY (or any other large selling marketplace). So how do you know that are listing items that are being viewed and viewed alot?  This is really a talent created from error. You would be surprised if you saw my bill, especially from renewing items, but through my overspending I have found that their are simply better times to list. Yes, ETSY is a worldwide marketplace so anytime is virtually a good time, but I find that there are two different really good times during the week, and two really good days to list. Granted, this is a new trade that needs to be learned with every season, but for the next six weeks this oughta be useful.

1. Monday thru Thursday. I have found through much trial and error (and my habit of wanting to renew all day long) that the best times to list, for me, have been around 6am-8am PST, and 4pm-8pm PST. I have been getting alot of hits during these times. Also not just from item listings, but also when I am in the forums. I gain many more harts during those times, because there are alot of people looking to make new friends and new networking buddies! (now Friday is not included simply because it seems the morning hours is the only good time)

 

2. Wednesday and Sunday.  I have generated the most hearts, the most views, and the most successful threads on these days and this really does not surprise me. Many studies have been done on shoppers and the “retail experience” and these are the busiest shopping days for retailers, both conventional and online. I can say online traffic is definitely higher these days, I get the most blog hits to my blog on these two days, by quite a few more. If you have a budget I would stress listing and renewing most of your items these two days.

Just remember online selling, marketing, advertising, and even product itself is all about trial and error. What works for me may not work for you, and vice versa but all we can do is learn from our errors, and keep on keeping on. Mistakes are the best thing to make sometimes, because often times it will put you on the road to success.

Please come see my ETSY shop at: http://naturalamber.etsy.com

ETSY 101: Study Your Views

Fall Earrings

Fall Earrings

This post is inspired by a thread I read on the ETSY Forums, and a useful tip I have taken and have started to apply to my own brand new ETSY shop. “The Logic Behind Views”, views are essentially interested buyers looking at individual items in your shop. The more views you have for an item, the more popular the item is with ETSY “browsers”. So how do you take that information and turn it into sales?  By creating similar items. If I got a lot of views on the item, and it is deemed popular in views, then how come no one is buying?
1. The potential buyer does not like the color.  This is a very common problem and I have actually gotten several conversations from potential ETSY buyers that they love my work, but don’t like the colors. Great, then what you need is create an assortment, different colors that will attract different people. Some people may not even click on the item to view, even though they do like the style simply because they know they won’t look good in that color.
2. It’s End of Season.  With it being the end of summer, and everyone is returning to school many customers are already forgetting about adding more summer items to their collection, they are now on the hunt for cute fall items to add to their wardrobe! Take that as a hint, if the item you have is summery, make the same item in fall colors, fall metals, and see if that changes your sales.
3. Customer Prefers A Certain Metal.  My mom and I are prime examples of that. I love silver jewelry, and every item in my shop is made with silver metal, silver wire……my mom prefers gold. I recently have started experimenting with the antique and gold metals. Have not added any to my shop yet, but I know in my heart I will be exposing myself to more customers by offering different pieces made with different metals.
Just remember if you are constantly renewing at getting low hits on certain items, perhaps people are not looking for that kind of item right now. You may want to keep it in your shop or put it on inactive. Regardless, pay attention to views, and learn what customers are looking at. You may suddenly see an increase in sales.

ETSY 101: The Importance of Blogs

Passion Earrings

Passion Earrings

I see this topic come up a  lot in the forums on ETSY, “Is it really that important to have a blog?”, or “Does it really bring traffic to my store?”. To blog, or not to blog, is really about personal preference and what you as a small business owner are trying to achieve by having one. I blog because I love to write, I l love to advise, and it makes me feel more connected to my customers, family and friends, and potential customers.
What can you blog about? Just about anything. I like to make about 85% of my blog revelant to my business, whether it be how-to’s, market news, promotions, or discussions. The other articles I write are more personal or revolve more on what is on my mind. One of my main focuses on my blog is advising people on a different array of topics from why sell jewelry all the way to fraud prevention and protecting your information.
Make your blog unique, make it personal. I like to think of my online shop and my blog as my “online home”. I want people to come and visit me, and I don’t want to scare them away with blinking pictures and a jumbled mess.
Please come visit my online shop at: http://naturalamber.etsy.com

ETSY 101: How To Promote Your ETSY Shop

Stones of Autumn

Stones of Autumn

 

Setting up shop online, on ETSY, can be a lot of hard work and especially at the beginning. I have been a successful jewelry artist with my customers that I see at jewelry parties, or talk with on the phone, and the online world for me was a little scary and overwhelming. I was so used to the word by mouth and referral customers that I didn’t know where to start when it came to selling on ETSY, and I am still learning day by day. I hope the information I provide is this blog can help steer you the right way.

 

1. Have Business Cards With Your Etsy Shop On Them.  Some of the most business you will get will be from who you know, and who knows you. A great step to getting your name and your ETSY shop out in the open is to hand out business cards that have all your company’s information on them. I have had a few people call me that I met while out on Karokee night, who said they absolutely love my stuff, and will be purchasing in the near future. You may not have immediate sales (also since it is summer, slower shopping season) but when they are in the market for a nice gift they’ll think of you and that card you gave them.

 

2.  Start a Blog.  Starting a blog is a great way for people to get to know who you are and helps potential customers find you. People love content, and they love knowing the artist behind the shop. Plus, it is a great way to educate people on what you know. Advice can go a long way in gathering new customers, so share what you know and you would be surprised how many people will just love you for it! I enjoy writing in my blog, it makes me feel more connected with people interested in jewelry.

 

3. Market Yourself Through Social Networks. Social Networking Sites are a great way to market yourself online and also a great way to make a close niche of friends who have the same interests as you. It is also a great tool for marketing. There are intems on ETSY, such as ETSY Mini, you can add to your blog on MYSPACE or send out as a bullentin to all your friends. You can submit pictures on your site of some of your newest creations as well as blogs on your current projects in the pipeline.

 

4.Get Involved on ETSY! I think one of the best ways to get yourself known on ETSY is to be involved and make friends through Virtual Labs, Chat, and the Forums. Offer advice, and ask questions. These places are here to help you, as well as get to know you. Just remember sellers are also buyers, and the more they see your AVATAR in the forums the more likely they are going to see whats in your shop. There are also great places to go and promote yourself on the forums! They are one of my favorite places to visit on ETSY.

 

5. Showcase and Treasure Yourself.  It is a great way for people to find you, especially if you are in the jewelry business and find your listings getting lost among the other talented artists.

 

Some other useful sites  that I like to use:

www.indiegroup.com

www.projectwonderful.com

www.lunacrafts.com

 

Have fun, promote, and get yourself out there. Having ETSY shop is suppose to be fun, but also remember to market yourself so people can find you.

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