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 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.

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

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?

TIPS for Selling on ETSY: Straight from Other ETSIANS

Selling on ETSY is hard, so it’s always great to get advice from seasoned sellers and sellers who are successful on ETSY. One of the best places to get advice from other ETSIANS is the forums. Over the last two years I learned so much from other sellers just from reading a forum thread they posted. Every week I will be adding an article to my blog with great forum threads full of useful advice!

Alternatives to Renewing. Here is a great article that can help maximize your profit without relying on renewing items. Why cut into your profits if you don’t have too?

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6390019

Tagging Tips.  Tagging is extremely important for sellers, it’s how your buyers find you on ETSY. Here are two very good articles, one on tagging to reach international customers and one to help with hard to think of colors

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6422936

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6473700

ETSY success tips. These are tips from sellers who are doing very well on ETSY and what they think has helped them sell well.

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6347556

http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6444980

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 🙂

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.

ETSY 101: The 4 P’s to Selling

Persistance: Even when sales were slow and I felt like giving up I kept pushing forward. determination is what kept me from closing shop on ETSY. I had this false expectation that just setting up shop would mean sales, now I have learned its determination, promoting, and marketing that gets customers to your shop.

Patience: I had to learn that patience was key to success. It’s so easy to get caught up and compare yourself to many other shops on here. Once I learned to be patient I started to not get so down on lack of sales or views during slower times.

Perfection: There is no such thing and your shop always has room for improvement. This weekend I will be working on my new spring line, and the pictures that I have taken are better then the ones I have in my shop now… but I always know that you can improve on that. Never fear setting up construction in your shop.

Projects: Keep on crafting. Thats what brought you here. You’ll find yourself more happy that your continuing your art, and you’ll find customers love the freshness of new items in your shop!

Direct Link to the forum post this was inspired by: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=6444980

ETSY Spotlight Feature: Looking For ETSY Shops to Feature

turquoise bangle wrap

 

It has been a long time coming, but the ETSY Spotlight Feature on my blog is finally returning! I love ETSY so much, and love celebrating other ETSIANS and I am looking for shops to feature, handmade, vintage, supplies — I’m considering all kinds of different shops to feature.

 

The blog will run weekly, featuring one new artist every week. If you are considered I will send a set of questions to your email or ETSY conversations. So if you would like to be considered please send me a conversation at NaturalAmber on ETSY or please send me an email at naturalamberjewelry@yahoo.com

 

Let’s start celebrating the wonderful ETSY community!

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