Handmade Jewelry: Packaging with Love

 

People love buying handmade for the overall experience. Most love that what they are buying is unique and made with love but many love (and appreciate!) the packaging that comes with it.  When I first started ETSY I remember shipping some of my jewelry in protective bags and other times in these little flimsy boxes. Not the best presentation. Not the most durable packaging to ship jewelry in.  I have since changed how I ship my jewelry. I now use colored ribbon boxes for my earrings and rings, and I use sash bags and larger jewelry boxes to ship my necklaces and bracelets in. 

ETSY has a lot of wonderful jewelry artists, and because of that packaging can also be important in setting yourself outside of the crowd. I know I love receiving items wrapped up, even if it’s just in tissue paper.

Here are some helpful tips:

 Take pictures of your jewelry in the box. Customers loves visuals!
Make sure you have plenty of packaging on stock! I hate when I have two boxes left and I left hanging wondering if they will come in time to fulfill an order.
 Be creative! There are so many ways you can ship your items. You can ship your jewelry in sashes, boxes, tissue paper with bows… there are so many tutorials online to make your own!

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How to Be Seen on ETSY: Standing Out

Being in one of the most saturated categories on ETSY I know the feeling “I’ll Never Be Seen”, it’s hard sometimes to get yourself out of that slump when you are surrounded by many talented artists but there are ways, and ETSY Sellers are doing it everday. One of the main things to keep in mind is ETSY provides us a shopping cart and community support, but the rest is up to us. Put yourself in a buyer’s shoes. How would a buyer find you?

* Good Tagging!
I love this blog for the ETSY treasury team. They really give a great list of TAGS to use for your products. Ever since I have bookmarked this site, my tagging has increased views big time!
http://etsytreasuryteam.blogspot.com/2009/03/tagging-for-maximum-exposure-in-etsy.html

* Good Photos!
Photos on ETSY speak to the customer. Without a good picture your listing will get overlooked in search unless there are a small amount of people offering a similar item. I love this forum thread on ETSY and I go back to it over and over!
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5169829

* Good Descriptions!
So you got the photos down, now it’s time to paint a picture in the customer’s head. Present it the item the best way you can without being too flowery but being creative so you don;t bore them! Check out this storque blog:
http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/seller-how-to-making-the-most-of-your-descriptions-635/

* Outside Online Advertising!
There are some great places online where you can buy advertising. I find a good portion of my buyers are actually ETSY sellers themselves which makes perfect sense why www.craftcult.com and www.craftopolis.com are great places to setup an add for a low cost! I mean $15.00 for a Carousel ad on Craftcult is an awesome price for advertsing!

* Outside Local/Print Advertising!
Often times you can submit ideas or advertising to magazines. I see alot of ETSY artists supplying craft ideas to magazines like Bead Magazine, or Bead Style. definitely worth looking into. My recent adventure has been posting business cards in local hardware stores. For jewelry you would think why? Well men have really appreciated having found a jewelry business card while out running hardware errands! Often times they call and say “My wife’s birthday is next week and your site is perfect! Can you make me a custom order?”

One of the hardest things for many sellers is when they setup shop they think now they will have buyers, I know I was under that impression so my sales didn’t kick off for almost a year! It is hard work for many to keep going at it but remember to have patience, persistance, and perseverance and good things will come — and never forget why you came here. Your passion to craft — you should never lose interest in that 🙂

ETSY: Best ETSY Selling Resources

selling on ETSY can be hard, but thankfully on the web there is a vast amount of helpful information to help kick-start your sales and make you a little more successful in your little shop.  These are some of my favorite articles from blogs and the Storque blog on ETSY:

How To Take Good Photos:

ShopMakeover : Feature Friendly Photos

Shopmakeover: Are Your Photos FrontPage Worthy

ShopMakeover: Photographing For Success

How To Improve Your Photos

How To Take Good Jewelry Pictures

Tagging to be Found on ETSY:

Increasing Your Item Views

Tag-O-Rama With Descriptive Keywords

Tag Finder Tool with Craftweasel.com

Tagging on ETSY

Tagging for Maximum Exposure

Packaging with Love:

Packaging Ideas

Handmade Branding

Fabulous Packaging

Pretty as a Package

Packaging and Shipping

Customer Service for Success:

Top 10 Customer Service Strategies

ETSY Customer Service Tips

The Buyers Perspective

How to promote Your ETSY Shop:

Participate in Weekend Deals

Google PageRank

Promoting Repeat Business

How To Promote Your ETSY Shop 101

ETSY Marketing Tips

ETSY Marketing 101: Spring 2010

 

The groundhog saw its shadow on the second which means there is less then5 weeks now until the beginning of Spring. Spring is one of my favorite seasons, lot’s of flower jewelry, accessories, and clothing can be found in abundance on ETSY, and also great spring deals as well! It’s important for any seller on ETSY to get a start on Spring Merchandising and Marketing EARLY! Here are some helpful tips to get yourself organized for a brand new Spring:

 

* Bring On a New Line:  This is what keeps your repeat customers coming back. This spring at  Natural Amber Designs I am planning on bringing in more vintage flower cabochons rings and earrings. Customers love fresh shops, and the fresher it is the more customers and sales you will be getting!

 

* Bring New Life to Packaging:  What a great time to kick your customer service up a notch by bringing in new packaging to ship your handmade and vintage goodies in. I recently visited NileCorp and bought myself new jewelry boxes and sashes to ship my jewelry in. It’s a great way to go that extra step to make your customers feel special about that recent purchase from your shop.

 

* Let’s Talk Clearance!  Ever heard of Spring Cleaning? How about spending a nice afternoon or evening browsing your shop and putting virtual clearance tags on older items to make room for your new line. Customers love that Spring brings sales, and what a great way to increase your sales and move older product then by putting those items in clearance mode!

 

* Be Seen Online Early:   I have both a Twitter and a Facebook account, I admit on both I haven’t been as active as I could be. Sometimes these just aren’t someone’s chose in marketing, but from what I have seen and heard from the forums on ETSY  they can be beneficial. I don’t plan on utilizing them a bunch but I am planning on using them more. Also I am looking into online advertising.

 

Most of all have fun! Spring is a great time to start fresh, bringing new possibilities to your shop!

Etsy 102: More Ways To Promote Your ETSY SHOP

Handmade beaded chandelier earrings.

Handmade beaded chandelier earrings.

My first blog in the “promoting your ETSY SHOP” covered the basics of promoting such as joining social networking group, passing out your business cards, and utilizing the forums on the ETSY site. In this blog we are going to dive in a little deeper on new and exciting ways to bring customers to your ETSY shop! There have been many new tools available to ETSY sellers to help promote business to their websites, and many bring great results! So what can you do to bring more customers to you?

 

1. Upload your items to Google Base. This is a great way to get people coming to your ETSY shop. Google Base lets you upload single items, or you entire ETSY shop (100 items) and let them be search-able in Google Search! This is a great website to help you get started: http://letsets.com/

 

2. Join Twitter. Twitter is a great new social network where all you do is say what you are doing. Alot of ETSY sellers use this site to list their newest items, rave about their newest projects, and share marketing tips! Other people who are interested in you will follow you on twitter. If you would like to add me my Twitter username is NaturalAmber.

 

3. Get Juried. Juried sites can bring business to your site, but you got to make sure you are ready to submit a portfolio to them. Since they are juried they do not accept everyone. Don’t get discouraged by rejection, often times many ETSY sellers will get rejected numerous times before getting accepted. Some of the sites you may want to check out are: Trunkt.com, Lollishops.com, and 1000markets.com

 

4. Join a Street Team on ETSY.  Street teams are a great way to get promoted on ETSY. These groups help promote one another, and often times are combined by a common force: location, and craft are most common.

 

5. Join a BNR on ETSY. There are rules to BNR’s but I have heard of many successful ETSY sellers who have gotten many new customers through BNR. BNR stands for Buy and Replace. You get added to the list, and you must buy something from someone else on the list. Often times there is no dollar amount on what you need to purchase.

 

No matter what, just remember to have fun and get your name out there! I have seen too many good sellers quit in the first couple of months from discouragement.  Getting customers can be hard work, but perseverance does pay off.

Please come see my on line shop, NaturalAmberDesigns on ETSY.

ETSY 102: Importance of Communication

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ETSY etiquette is essential to making and retaining customers, and one of the most important aspects of the selling process is making sure you are on top of your customer service and conversations. There have been several threads in the forum addressing the lack of communication from several sellers, from buyers who are either interested in a custom order are just wanting to know what the status of their package is. I am stressing the importance of customer service, please remember that your customers are vital and important, without them where would your business be? Please remember this etiquette while operating your small handmade business:
1. Always respond timely to your conversations. If you are having a high volume of sales and are having trouble responding, you may want to consider hiring someone to help you part-time.
2. Keep the lines of communication open. Let your customer know when items shipped, when they are planning to ship, and how to contact you if they have any questions or concerns.
Remember the holidays can be fun, but also stressful for many buyers.
Please remember to keep the line of conversation open to relieve those stresses.
Love the item above, come see the Black Pendant in my shop!

Small Business 101: Why Having a Day off is Okay

Green Teardrop Necklace

Green Teardrop Necklace

Remember the reason you wanted to have your own business? Many of us fell in love with an idea, a project, a craft and wanted so badly to one day have our own business, be our own boss, do what brings us happiness everyday, while bringing others happiness as well. Then there are those times, that many of us come too, where our visions of a happy successful small business become everything in our life, and then the balance becomes close to being non-existent. Yes, we all want to be successful small business owners, but it is okay to take a step back and take a day off. Yes, a whole day off.
I know that this can be hard for many small business owners, because I am one of them. I am so afraid all the time that I am not doing enough for my small jewelry business Natural Amber Designs, but there are times I work two weeks in a row without a day off. Working like this is not healthy for either you or your small business, everyone needstime away from the frustrations of lacking sales, or ignored marketing, and everyone needs time to inspire new ideas and cultivate them in their head. Don’t think as this as a bad thing, it really is a great way to rejuvenate yourself, your ideas, and your peace of mind. Dive back in refreshed and taking on new ideas —- and improving past ones.
Try to remember taking time away is not a bad thing. You want to remain passionate about your business, working everyday can lead to burn out and folding.
Love the necklace above, please come see the Green Crystal Drop Necklace in my store!

ETSY 101: Don’t Forget Customer Service During the Holidays

Autumn Leaves

Autumn Leaves

 

With the holidays just around the corner, buyers are getting ready to buy their gifts. As a seller you want to make sure that you leave a lasting impression, a positive one, on your consumers so you are remembered after the holidays.  So what can you do to make a memorable experience for your shoppers? Here are a few suggestions:

 

1. Offer gift wrap with your order. Often times people may not want the item wrapped, but would appreciate gift wrap being sent with the item, and the item put in a nice little box. I know if I was buying I would opt out of the free wrapping but would love to have some beautiful wrapping paper sent with the order!

 

2. Offer a discount card for the buyer and the receiver. Perhaps 10% of their next order.

 

3. Set their expectations. Let your customer know by quick conversations that their order will be shipping by a particular date, that way they are in the loop for the entire transaction. The holidays are hectic, so put some of those stresses to ease with a simple note to them.

 

4. Offer a small free gift. I have been adding free earrings with my recent purchases. Something small is always appreciated and they may be able to keep those for themself, or give them as a stocking stuffer for someone else.

 

5. Send a Thank You. Small gestures are sometimes the most special, even better send a Christmas card.

 

6. Send Your Orders Promptly. I ship the next business day, if the holidays are busy I may need to extend that one or two days, but I am hoping to keep it at one day. Customers love that instant feeling, and especially during the holidays when they are excited about their purchases.

 

Have fun, be courteous, and remeber that the holidays can be a stressful time for buyers. Ease their mind, and their concerns, and they will think of you later down the road when they are buying for themselves instead of a loved one.

 

Love the bracelet above? Please see it at http://naturalamber.etsy.com listing http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=15602769

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

The Importance of Customer Service

 

There is a small percentage of people who could care less about a good or bad customer service experience, but the reality is excellent customer service is top on the expectations list for people. Customer service, and ratings are sometimes overlooked when a customer makes an initial purchase but as soon as there is a need, a question, a concern, the immediately expect a resolution and they expect a great customer service experience. The moment they get a bad taste in their mouth they may never shop from you again and are more likely to spread a bad experience to friends and family then a good one. So what can you do to make sure you are providing the best customer service possible? 

1. Always Provide Timely Responses. Don’t wait to answer a customers email, a customers phone call, or a customer request. Sometimes people will assume that they need to give the customer the answer right then and there, but the reality is most customers just want to know you have received their inquiry and you are giving it prompt attention and researching the issue. If you still do not have an answer by the end of the day, email them, call them. Let them know you haven’t put them on the back burner and that you are trying to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

 

2. Keep the Lines of Communication Open. It is always important to keep in contact with the customer, especially when trying to resolve a problem. If the item is a lost shipment with the shipping carrier it could take a little time to resolve the problem. Always make sure you are touching base with the customer, and sending them daily updates with anything new or that you are still awaiting an answer. The customer will appreciate that you are keeping on top of the issue.

 

3. Avoid Being Confrontational. There is nothing more frustrating then having a customer service professional yelling our get confrontational with you on the phone. Many times people justify this by saying the customer was being rude, but regardless it is very unprofessional to handle a situation in this matter. Stay calm when resolving a problem, and even if they’re wrong just try to explain your policies in a non argumentative way.

 

4. Customer Appreciation is a Must.  Making a purchase is a very important thing to a customer. When a customer makes a purchase with you they trust that they are getting their money;s worth, and that you will deliver them goods they won’t regret purchasing. It is a small and very appreciated gesture if you send a customer a thank you for choosing your shop to make a purchase. This does not have to be a long drawn out email, but a simple thank you email or phone call that you appreciate their business. For customers that purchase from you a lot you should consider adding them to a special mailing list where they can get free or discounted rates on purchases.

 

5. Meet your Expected Customer Service. Give customers the same customer service that you would expect to get as a customer. By standing outside of the box, and really putting yourself in the customer’s position you will understand what steps you should take to make the situation right again.

 

Customer service is very essential to running a successful business. Treat customers the way you would like to be treated, and you should do well. Customers will appreciate a business that cares about them.

 

Come view my work at:

http://naturalamber.etsy.com