800 Sales on ETSY and I Still Have My Towel

The first thing I want to say is 800 sales on ETSY for me has not always been the easiest road, some weeks and some months have proven very trying on me but I have to say I still have my towel. Along the way I have learned and shared my secrets on photos, tagging, marketing, promoting, and being an artist on a budget. They are the same trick of the trade that has been spun around like tie dye in many sellers advice threads, and its great advice to take. It’s the mechanics that holds your business together. Along the way I learned another thing that contains so many facets: Passion. This is the heart of your business, you can do all the mechanics right but if you lack this the mechanics don’t matter as much. So how do I keep that passion alive and keep on trying to keep my business thriving?

I Cut the Distractions. When I first started I felt I needed to do everything everyone else was telling me. So I Facebooked. I Twittered. I Myspaced. I Played in the Critique Threads. I did Project Wonderful. I Did Dwanda. I did Artfire. I can go on and on. I was spreading myself so thin, and was so busy with “promoting” tactics I was finding myself hating my business. It was tiring. It was boring. I had no creative time. Plus, it wasn’t working! it wasn’t working because I had spread myself too thin. I now just focus on my blog and facebook, and build the majority of my time in the creative department.

I Work on New Projects. When was the last time you made something new, and not just a new “color” of the item you have been making? Something unique, something different from what you have carried before? It’s so easy to get into repetition and get bored with the business when you are doing the same thing over and over. I am constantly buying different supplies, trying out other mediums.

I Get Involved. Something newer for me is my involvement outside of ETSY with the community. I used to just sell online, but now I am branching out into the community and I am really getting involved with other artists. It’s fun, its refreshing, it makes me feel like this is something more than just a hobby. This is my passion and its so rewarding to be around other people who are just as passionate as you are. Its inspiring. Thats why i love the forums, I love blogs, I love teams… I love the handmade/vintage/the crafty community

 I Wasn’t Afraid To Tear Down and Work From the Ground.  I started on ETSY selling handmade beaded jewelry. I enjoyed what I was doing but the not selling (and the realization that in the saturated market my stuff just didnt stand out) was killing my passion. I wanted to keep making jewelry. I wanted to be successful. So I abandoned my beaded jewelry in Jan 2010 and started from ground up making vintage inspired jewelry. I hit 100 sales in February 2010 after 18 long months and have added 700 sales since then.

I Take Creative Burnout Seriously. I don’t push myself when I need a break, I take a break. I have experienced burnout to the point I stopped crafting for many months, and it makes me sad losing that passion in my jewelry making. Don’t think you have to work everyday, create balance in your life. Take a day off. Take an afternoon off. Breathe. And you will find it flows together more smoothly.

ETSY QuickTip: Mailing List

 

I am always looking for new ways to promote and grow my business and a very effective way to grow your ETSY business is by adding a mailing list.  When you add a mailing list you increase your sales, and you aren’t spamming, as long as you let them sign up for the mailing list.  I have seen many businesses add customers to their mailing list without asking, and that is a definite no-no.  I rather people want to receive my mailing list, then possibly lose a customer because they think I am spamming them, and without their permission.

Mailing lists are a perfect opportunity to reach out to your book of customers, and reach out to potential customers by offering coupons, specials, and even free goodies for purchasing.  I like the service MailChimp  its fast, easy, and free to use.

ETSY and Artfire: Slow April Sales?

Have you been having slow April sales on Artifre and ETSY, this may not make you feel better but you can breathe knowing it’s Google… and not necessarily you.  That’s not a good thing either.  Apparently Google Base (which is now going to be called Google Merchant) is changing there feeds and the way they communicate to merchants which means the base feeding has been suspended…. your items aren’t in Google right now.  See this article below:

http://www.artfire.com/modules.php?name=forums&op=view_topic&tid=33640

How the 5 P’s Can Help You On ETSY

I came to ETSY in July 2008, with one thought on my mind: “I want to share my jewelry with others.” and that Artisan Dream is still as much alive in 2011 as it was in 2008, maybe even more now. I have five simple words I live by for marketing: persistance, Patience, Perfection, Projects, and Passion. Passion, the most newly added has helped me the most to keep going for what I enjoy most in life. I could never imagine not having jewelry in my life, and whatever I need to do to keep me passionate and happy about my craft I will try to do. There is a lot going on in ETSY, from the concerns with ineffective renewing all the way to the sadden feeling many sellers feel from Heartsy, the one thing that keeps me from dwelling on what I can’t control is remembering why I am here “to share my jewelry with others…” How can you use the 5 P’s?

Persistance: Keep going and keep being consistent with your marketing. So many of us spread ourselves thin, so thin it’s nearly impossible at that point to really be effectively marketing for customers. If you are only spending 10 minutes a day on Facebook, twitter, Project Wonderful… it takes away from building a following. YOU can always build a better base when you are strong, and are able to nurture those relationships. Can you imagine opening 15 shops at one time? Can you imagine effectively building up a good shop when you only get to spend 5 minutes a day on each? Think of your marketing the same way. Pick one or two venues of marketing and build them up from there. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Patience: Catherinerings had a wonderful thread about building a Facebook fan page following. Did you read it? It took her awhile to build her base of customers. Can you imagine throwing in the towel after a week because you don’t have sales. This is not an overnight success. You have to build, you have to be consistent, and you have to be patient. I highly recommend this thread if you are considering a Facebook fan page: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/business-topics/discuss/6860668/page/1

Perfection: When I first started on ETSY I made the mistake of setting up shop and assuming I would make sales. My first pictures were horrible, my tagging was bad, and honestly I am surprised I made any sales in the first 6 months. It was only when I realized that you can always be working on shop, and always trying to improve it did I finally start making consistent sales. I am always revamping tags according to the merchandising article that ETSY has on their blog, I am always reworking tags, and changing pictures on items that are having a harder time selling. Projects: Aside from Passion this may be one of the most important P’s, Projects. If you stop crafting new things, stop listing new things, your followers will get bored. Don’t ever let customers get bored of you, or even worse you get bored of yourself. It’s so easy to get wrapped into the “I must sell mentality” and work on marketing all day, and never make time for that creative (and extremely crucial) part of your business. I am always making new items, new lines, and working on new ideas. In 2009 I abandoned most beaded designs and have been working with vintage pieces, cabochons, and cameos ever since. Right now 1/3 of my shop is on sale to make room for all my new jewelry I have been working on this last month.

Passion: Without that continued passion, you know the passion you felt when you first started creating and selling, then it’s hard to really keep that Artisan Dream alive. It has to be more than just money, it has to be all of the above to keep yourself wanting to really do this for yourself. It’s that repetitive I’m not selling that really gets us all in a rut, gets us discouraged, and makes us abandon all of our hard work. It’s that passion that causes so many to have a creative rut…. and sometimes it can last awhile. If you don’t have balance, creativity and marketing, I think that’s when your passion for this becomes affected.

Make it a great day, celebrate those milestones, and pat yourself on the back. There are many who think this is easy, and it’s not. It takes dedication and many sacrifice what others take for granted in order to try and live out that artisan dream.

ETSY 101: How to Promote in 2011

 

There are 3 P’s that come to mind when selling on ETSY and they all go hand in hand.  Without one P the others just don’t function as well.  Those 3 P’s are:  Promoting, Patience, and Passion.  A couple years ago I wrote an article on how to promote yourself on ETSY but I just wanted to add-on that article since there is more information, and other ways one can promote themselves on ETSY.  I think it’s also so very important to realize how passion and patience plays a key role in promoting effectively.  So yes having business cards, having a blog, social networking, being involved are some great ways to promote…. but let’s add onto that.

1.  Social Networking is the New Way to Meet.  So much of today’s world is online, how many businesses do you go to, restaurants, stores, shopping centers have a Facebook page you can follow?  A lot of them.  So why shouldn’t you?  I myself am going through the building up the Facebook fan base phase as well, so who wants to join the challenge with me.  My fanpage is: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Natural-Amber-Designs/207775495396 What better way to go viral with your business than online networking.  It’s proven to work, and yes you too can make it work for you.  I have found the greatest thread on how to do this, from a very successful ETSY seller CatherineRings. She has built a fantastic Facebook fan base, and shares her information here:

http://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/business-topics/discuss/6860668/page/1

2.  ETSY Treasuries.   I can not stress more the power of treasury on ETSY.  Your  chances become better in being treasuries if you create as well.  It’s how karma operates.  Also there are so many ways to up your chances in being one of these treasuries by doing some improvements in your shop.  The two key areas to focus on are tagging and picture-taking.  Take a good picture someone is going to want to put you in their treasury.  Tag it so they can find you, then that ensures you will be in treasuries.  Also it’s so very important to pay attention to ETSY’s merchandising desk.  They are telling you whats hot, and they are giving you hints on how to get in more treasuries.  So check out the below links. 

Tagging:

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

ETSY Merchandising May 2011:

http://www.etsy.com/storque/seller-handbook/from-etsys-merchandising-desk-may-planning-12555/

List New Items Frequently.  At 20 cents a listing this really is the best way to keep your shop looking fresh.  People are looking at your shop all the time, and many of them are repeat lookers.  They may not have bought anything yet, but if you let your shop go stale those lookers are going to lose interest in you, and possibly walk away.  Plus, wouldn’t you rather spend your 20 cents bringing in a new item?   I try to list new things daily, and shoot for 20 new items a week between handmade and vintage pieces.  Here is one my newest:

Create New Items.  I used to do beaded jewelry, and then did a lot with flower cabochons (which I still do) but I moved into a different direction by adding cameos and vintage to my shop.  Sometimes bringing in fresh projects and pieces is all your shop needs to bring in new life.  So go shopping today!  Pick up supplies you have never worked with before and let your creativity lead you.

Stay Passionate and Patient.  Everything I said above is not going to happen overnight.  I think many of us get frustrated when we don’t see results in a day, a week, even a few weeks. It’s so important to build a strong foundation and wait for the results.  If you stay passionate about what you are doing and stay consistent in marketing and promoting yourself the results will come.  It took me 18 months to hit 100 sales on ETSY, it only took me a year to add over 600 more.  It was a long 18 months, but it was 18 months that I had to find myself and truly see what was working and wasn’t.  Business is finding the road that works best for you, and once you got the green light things will just fall in place.

Facebook Fan Page NaturalAmberDesigns

Social networking is one of the hottest ways to promote handmade work.  I currently have a Facebook page, but honestly was at a loss on how to make it work for my business until I came across this very imformative post by Catherines Rings. 

http://www.etsy.com/teams/7722/business-topics/discuss/6860668/page/1

With the above information I feel I can finally make the plunge to have a successful Fanpage.  So thinking about starting a page?  I highly recommend the above link.

Please visit my fanpage at: 

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Natural-Amber-Designs/207775495396

ETSY: Selling on a Shoestring Budget

 

For many small businesses, and sellers just starting out, the costs of running business on ETSY (and anywhere) can be too much and unaffordable. So what can you do? Are you doomed to not make sales because your simply; BROKE? Not necessarily. Many of us sellers run our business on a shoe string budget, and “YES” you can too!

So, what can you do?

**** CONTACT TRADE FRIENDLY SELLERS ****
There are many sellers on here who trade their services for product. Perhaps you need some business cards? Find a business card shop that participates in trading on ETSY and see if they will make you cards for a trade in your shop. Need a banner? Perhaps a banner shop. Want some promotional items? Contact another shop with promotional items you want to use.
Learn More about trading here:
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6183294

**** PROMOTION ON THE FREE SIDE ****
You don’t always have to buy an ad to be seen. There are many free ways to promote your shop, they may require a little more work, but yes they are free.

A. Join a Team: Many teams build treasuries, more treasuries you are in the more exposure you will have

B. Build a Facebook Fan Page: Or better yet just have a personal fanpage. I get more sales from my personal page than my fan page, that’s where my last two sales have been from!

C. Be Active on ETSY: Post in the forums, join a chat, do a workshop. The more people you meet the more potential sales you may make. Remember sellers are buyers too.

**** RELY ON NEW OVER RENEW ****
It’s okay to renew, but only if you can afford it. Adding a new item to your shop is always a better investment, and keeps your returning customers coming back to see the fresh side of your shop!

**** HAMMER LOCAL PROMOTION ****
Put your cards up in creative places, where your work, Always have cards on hand. Jewelry artists get your hair done and have eye candy for the hairstylist to see dangling from your ear lobes. Leave your business card with your tip and restaurants.

Its more than possible, I am one of those sellers who can’t afford ads but I do well without them. I do a lot of forum talking, adding inventory, and just chit chatting on my Facebook. It’s possible to sell without breaking the bank.

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!

Natural Amber Jewelry: Spring Sale, Up to 50% Off

With Spring just around the corner my shop Natural Amber Jewelry is having a Spring Sale. Many items are up to 50% off! Please visit the Spring Cleaning Section of my shop and also please see many new additions to my store. Brand new Floral Hair Pins, Flower Rings, Flower Earrings, and Statement Bracelets! 

*Also any order placed before March 31st 2010 will be put into a drawing to win the above pictured Vintage German Butterfly Ring!

Selling on ETSY: Small Steps to Being Seen

ETSY is a wonderful place to sell your handmade items, or your vintage treasures but taking the plunge and setting up shop can be pretty scary and very overwhelming!  I remember when I first started selling in my shop NaturalAmber I didn’t know where, or how to even market myself. I felt like this little fish in a big, big online world of very talented artists.  So what little things can you do today to give you better visibility to potential customers?

* List as Often Possible.  For many artists listing daily is just not possible, but it is so very important to list as often as you can. Returning customers love fresh shops (it gives them more reason to buy again!) and new products is like adding one more window or door to your shop. The more the variety the easier it will be for you to be seen on ETSY. Wouldn’t you rather show up in search 150 times over 25?

* Participate in Forums and Chat.  I believe in this one just as much as I believe in the first small step. A good portion of my sales have come from me being active in the forum. People want to click if they like your presentation (that little avatar of yours) and many will fall in love with your shop that way. I can not tell you how many times I bought from a seller because I saw them in the same thread I was commenting in!

* Business Cards.  If you don’t have any now, I would get some soon. I like 123 print. Business cards are great to pin up at local stores, libraries, schools… you name it. The more local business you could bring to your shop the better!

* Use Facebook Connect.  Everytime you post a new item on ETSY you have the ability to post it directly on your Facebook page. A lot of sellers use a Facebook Business Page but I like to just link directly to my own personal Facebook Page. A lot of my friends and family love seeing what I do and it has resulted in sales and inquiries.

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