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.

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ETSY 101: When Things are Slow

There has been a lot of commotion in the forums this last month or so, slower sales, possible site issues, less foot traffic. We have a voice in some of these matters, but sometimes the overall resolution we do not… or it takes some time to resolve which we have been seeing lately. March has typically, overall, been a softer month for retail (not always the case with individual shops, some do well a lot or March is good for them) so as an artist with a creative nature, I try to look for creative ways to get my name out there. I think as the creative people we are here on ETSY, many of us have found unique and great ways to stand out and bring in customers despite slower times. So how am I getting creative:

*~* OUTSIDE of the BOX crafting. Last year when things were slow for me during the spring I didn’t completely abandoned beaded designs with gemstones and natural components, I just went outside my crafting comfort zone. I started buying unique vintage items, and instantly fell in love with cabochons and cameos. When I introduced those to my store, my 5 sales a month went to over 10. Now I am selling on average an item a day. Go ahead and experiment. It’s a perfect time to, and you may just broaden your range of customers.

*~* Get CREATIVE LOCALLY. Sometimes just marketing somewhere you never would can draw in sales. I have been marketing myself when I go karokeeing. I now have repeat local customers who buy my jewelry just because they met me, thought I was interesting, and became friends with me on Facebook. I post a lot of those new pieces on Facebook… from there the sales have come.
~*~ MARKET to a wide array of PEOPLE. I post my cards at local hardware stores and yes I realize a small percentage of people who go there are female, BUT I do know that my card attracts those significant others who want to buy their wife, girlfriend, significant other a piece of jewelry. Believe me no one else is posting their jewelry cards there, so my competition is none. I have gotten a lot of male customers that way.
~*~ TRAIL and ERROR advertising. Slow times are I believe the BEST time to test new advertising strategies. When you are slow you can really get a good overall look at whether or not a certain advertising is working. If you place an ad on craftcult and have been slow for a little bit and then start making sales, you may realize it was because of that ad. Remember you don’t have to always pays for advertising, try posting to Facebook (just your regular one, I find its more efficient), submitting to blogs and magazines. Approach local stations.
~*~ Don’t STOP CRAFTING and LISTING. A lot of people hate to list when its slow, but its a really good time too. Remember you may still have repeat lookers and buyers periodically browsing your shop. You have to remember sometimes it takes just 1 view for an item to sell. Plus crafting is fun… it’s what brought a lot of us here and I think it’s too easy to forget our passion and get caught up in no sales. I always go back to what I love.

How are you getting creative in slower times?

ETSY 101: The Critiques Forum

Yellow Flower Filigree Ring

Googling is one great way to seek out articles that have advice on how to improve your ETSY shop, but an even better way to get the information you need from your own ETSY peers is in the Critiques Forum. Many seasoned sellers will be the first to jump in and give you advice on why you are not selling, why an item has low views, or give you an overall critique on things that you can improve in your shop. When I was new I struggled with my pictures, and received wonderful advice from other sellers. It can be hard to hear sometimes, but constructive criticism will only help your shop grow. Remember, the reason you are going into the forum is to get vital information to help boost your sales so if you get harsh critiques just know it’s because they want to help you!

ETSY 101: Holidays and Getting Ready for Season

Red Shell Coin Charm Bracelet

 

It’s July, 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. My shop Natural Amber Designs will be running advertisements and special promotions throughout the season. So as a seller what can you do to start planning for the busy season?

 

* Stock Up Shop Now. Currently I have 226 listings in my ETSY shop, 48 in my Artfire and I am planning on adding my entire collection of jewelry to both Artfire and ETSY. My plan is to have close to 300 once September/October rolls around.

 

* Start Making Your Holiday/Season Items. Last year I didn’t offer any holiday jewelry, this year I am planning on having some and see how it goes. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas (even thinking valentines)

 

* 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

 

* 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!

 

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.

Handmade Jewelry: The Trendy Vintage Touch

Vintage Neon Flower Cabochon Ring
One of the hottest trends I have been seeing is the comeback of Vintage Jewelry. In my own shop Natural Amber Designsmany of my newest rings and earrings have been  made with vintage cabochons. It is a great, unique, and appealing way to add a little bit of fun and trend to handmade jewelry pieces. One of the best ways to acquire unique vintage pieces is hitting up small thrift shops and antique stores, you would be surprised the hidden treasuries tucked on their shelves!
Some of my latest Vintage Jewelry:

ETSY: Slow Sales and Summer

Sakura Flower Ring

 

Around summer there is always alot of buzz about slow sales on ETSY, it usually starts happening in March and the sales decline a little more going into the summer, I just want to say “Don’t Worry”. The history of retail sales has always been busy August-February and slow getting into later spring and summer (unless you have summer items to sale, or you have a steady repeat customer base). I know it can be hard not to be frustrated, discouraged, I can imagine how it is for newbies since I was a newbie starting at the middle of the slow season last year. If you have a good product, I promise things will get better. In the meantime have you thought about:

 

* Making a New Banner

* Taking New Pictures

* Developing a New Product Line

* Making Over Your Shop

* Stocking Up For Season

* Local Marketing

* Craft Fairs

* Start a Blog

* Research

 

I keep myself busy by crafting new items, stocking up shop, making my shop colorful and pretty (I made a new banner!) and focus on a new plan of attack for the upcoming season. Don’t worry, the slow season is almost over, and August is going to roll around and so will your sales.

 

Teams on ETSY: ETSY Sellers Under 30

Vintage Turquoise Earrings

 

I am excited to announce that I am now participating in a new ETSY Team, ETSY Sellers Under 30, fellow Etsian mfmapparel and I are the Team Leaders. If you are also an ETSY Seller under 30 and are looking for a new team to join come stop on in at our blog with directions on how to join:

http://etsysellersunder30.blogspot.com

ETSY: Best Tips and Advice For A Newbie

Turquoise Earrings

 

July 18th is my one year anniversary on the handmade site ETSY, and there is so many helpful pieces of advice I learned about selling online. I never sold online, just in craft fairs and at home jewelry parties so having my own store front online was a new adventure. There are definitely things I learned quickly about selling online, things I never wanted to admit about selling online, and so many lessons learned from more seasoned sellers then I. We have all been newbies, and there are times when all you need is just a little advice. These are my best lessons learned on ETSY and selling online:

 

* PICTURES. PICTURES. PICTURES.  I can not emphasize this one enough, pictures are what draws customers to your shop so they need to stand out, they need to look professional, and they need to be free of clutter. When I first started it took me more then 6 months to look at my shop constructively and realized I wasn’t selling because my pictures weren’t that great. I can always improve on them, but the step I have taken in re-doing, using a light box and freeing distractions has boosted my views tremendously.

 

* PROMOTE. PROMOTE. PROMOTE.  Etsy gives you the shopping cart, gives you the storefront, and gives you the ability to sell online but that does not guarantee buyers. I think alot of sellers come to ETSY thinking that all these buyers are going to find you in search (I know that’s what I told myself for more then 6 months) and then become discouraged when the sales aren’t coming. In a saturated jewelry market there is no way I could rely on ETSY alone. Make sure you are promoting locally, use social network sites, get the word out that this is your shop, come visit it!

 

* MAKE WHAT YOU LOVE, DON’T COPY WHAT SELLS.  It is more then okay to sell things that are popular, but I hate when I see a million sellers selling the same idea copying each other because it is what buyers are buying. I think it is more then okay to run with an idea, make it your own, but don’t copy those silver earrings because the other girls shop sells them quick. Customers like being able to see a picture, see a piece of jewelry with your trademark style.

 

* DON’T FORGET TO NETWORK ON ETSY.Hearting, participating in the forums, participating in teams, and participating in chat is a strong way to network and gain buyers on ETSY. I can not tell you enough how many times I have bought supplies from sellers who hearted my work, and have hearted people back with intention to buy (especially during the holiday season). Often times buyers are lurking in the forums as well and love clicking on awesome avatars hoping to find a handmade or vintage treasure to buy.

 

* START A BLOG. I have learned so much from other people’s blogs which in turn has made me want to visit their shop. Blogs are a great way to get in touch with community, let others know what you are doing, and a great way to start a customer base who loves seeing your newest items.

 

* BE POSITIVE.I am one of those people who gets turned off by negativity, calling out, downing another sellers items to make you look better, it  makes me never want to buy from that individual. You have to remember that many sellers are buyers, and many buyers lurk the forums and may find being that way as a turn off as well. I always try to stay professional in the forums, and give people the impression that I am a helpful, courteous, and positive seller who embraces the handmade/ETSY community.

 

I am excited to start this new year, this second year in selling on the right foot. It took me awhile to listen to the advice that was given to me as a newbie and I am hoping that I can help another seller get things started right. I like to think of myself as a late bloomer. I am more then happy to help any newbie, just feel free to message me on my Etsy site NaturalAmber

ETSY 101: Forum Do’s and Dont’s for Good Karma

Blue and Pink Dangle Earrings

 

The forum on ETSY is a wonderful way to get to know other sellers, a great place to get information that can help you sale and get information to improve your shop, and a great way to get encouragement when you are feeling discouraged about your little store, but lately and more often I have been noticing a trend of forum posts about low views, no sales,  and calling out. Many of these threads seem to be more on the negative side then the positive. I think it’s wonderful to discuss things that are affecting your shop, but we always have to remember that there are buyers on the forums (many sellers buy too) and often time a discouraging and negative post could keep from someone clicking your avatar and seeing all the wonderful and pretty handmade and vintage you have inside.

 

Please Don’t:

* Call Out

* Gripe and Complain because others are successful and you are not

* Whine because you have no sales, no views

* Bring other members down

* Participate in hate threads

 

Please Do:

* Ask for Critiques to improve your views and sales

* Participate in the Thinking Positive Threads

* Compliment People in the Thread

* Start a Positive thread of your own

 

Positive people draw friends, customer, alliances, and most of all their shops get more love. I have been participating in positive threads this last month in the forums and I have noticed a 457% increase on Google Analytics from the previous 30 days which I personally think is Karma is saying “Thank you for keeping positive!”

ETSY 101: Creative Tagging to Get More Views

Dainty Turquoise Earrings

Dainty Turquoise Earrings

 

Everyone wants to be seen on ETSY, and good tags and good pictures are what gets people coming into your shop and browsing around.  There is definitely an art behind coming up with creative tags, but relevant tags.  So when it comes to tagging you have to be creative, you have to think like a buyer, and you have to describe your items in the following ways:

 

* Color (and not just the basic colors, how about rogue for red, or aqua for blue, plum for puple)

* Size (small, medium, large, x-large, X inches, X cm)

* Material (the main materials, if you have a hit of silver I wouldn’t add it to your tags, I would to the first list under materials on the front page)

* What Is It?

* Commercial, Handmade, Supplies

* Shape

* Mood (elegant, beautiful, classy)

 

Tagging is essential to being seen on ETSY, and because of that I wanted to compile a list of great sites I like to use for great tips and adjectives for ETSY Tags!

 

For a great list of synonyms, and treasury help:

http://etsytreasuryteam.blogspot.com/2009/03/tagging-for-maximum-exposure-in-etsy.html

 

Great ETSY Storque Articles:

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/guidelines-tips-tagging-on-etsy-281/

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/seller-how-to-international-tagging-yeah-baby-2011/

http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/shop-makeover-series-tagging-for-success-877/

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