etsy shop help :: stretching your shop’s limits

| indie biz

etsy shop help

we talked about our blog’s new year’s resolutions- but it’s time to also consider our etsy shop’s resolutions.  have you had time to reflect upon last year? did you meet your goals? are you happy with what your shop accomplished?  what are your goals for 2010?  all of this brings up many thoughts, goals, pride, disappointment and maybe some confusion too.

this post could go any number of ways.  we could probably talk all year about what we wanted to accomplish and what our last year’s performance means.  but, i recently ran across this article about stretching your boundaries.  it took me by surprise how ‘into it’ i was and how i didn’t know how i had never thought of that.  it’s so easy to get caught up in your shop and the particular line you’re offering.  but, today, i want us to step outside of our shop and take a peek- from the outside looking in!

our hideout

yoola talks about how many etsy sellers have successful designs in terms of high views, many hearts, appearance in treasuries and even front pages, but somehow…low sales.  she then tackles the reason why this may be the case, and how to go about broadening your horizon.  she came up with 3 assumptions on why she may be having low sales. 1. people may love the picture and visual impact- and the factor of ‘usability’ of the image (i.e. looks great on the homepage or a blog). 2. people may just love what the product represents. 3. people may be interested in the item and how it was made.

vintage camera sculpture

your shop’s assumptions may be the same or different, but after you decide on them- you can gather options for more directions your shop could take.  yoola came up with these: 1. she could develop a line of prints, greeting cards, or postcards using her photos. 2. she could develop more items that would resemble the original, but would be more affordable. 3. she could write tutorials on how to make her item.


she decided to start with number 2 and created similar, less expensive items to go along with the more expensive items.  creating a series of price points helps reach as many consumers as possible.  the next step she considered was #3.  there are many pros and cons to publishing you method or design (read them here). but, after much debate, she decided to not only post tutorials on how she made her items, but also sell a pdf pattern on how to make them.  her pdf patterns led to seling kits- and gave an option to all those do-it-yourselfers out there.  i super love the idea of making kits for your item- i’ve often thought that it’s a slight disadvantage to be marketing to a craft-savvy audience, because many items people can just make themselves. offering a kit is an easy way to supply the materials for them, and still make a sale.

antique sportiere paris repousse opera glasses

yoola thought outside the box.  she started with a great item, then branched it out to reach more people.

from one great item, stemmed smaller items, patterns, tutorials and even kits!

see where i’m going with this?

night fern

can you take a moment to realize the potential of your shop, your line or even just one of your products?  reaching many layers of the potential consumer will increase your ‘buy-ability’.  so, it’s time to re-think your shop and it’s possibilities.

kangaroo rats and harvest mice

this article on broadening your target audience points out the importance of tiered product lines.  the article is definitely worthy of a full read- but to sum it up: offering items as gifts and at a target audience allows you to broaden your audience.  think ongoing celebrations like anniversaries, birthdays, wedding and baby showers.  seasonal lines that go with the weather or specific holidays like christmas and valentines day gives your audience an easy shop to go to for gift giving occasions.

finally, this article, outlines how to go about offering a new line in your shop! a new line for the new year- catchy, huh?

portsmouth island post office

so. i know this was a lengthy article, but hopefully it helped get us thinking.  what do you think about ways to broaden your horizons?  i’m thinking of pdf patterns and kits- would you be interested in making your own pillow or tea towellet’s talk about it in the comment section- i’ll meet you there!


  • You’re great. Thanks for this! I needed the inspiration and ideas today!

    • hey! oh, i’m so glad you found it inspiring! btw- have always love your shop!

  • What a great article! I think selling kits is a great way to reach out to other crafting sellers yourself and I agree it shouldn’t harm sales too much as some people would rather buy it ready made than to try to make it themselves. I would advise to offer kits that are slightly different from the ready made items in your shop so that copy cats can’t re-sell your kits that they’ve put together.

    ~ Kristen

    • thanks for the wonderful advice kristin! i completely agree- and hadn’t thought of that. i do think there’s a healthy mix of ‘i can make that myself’ and ‘i’d rather just buy it’ shoppers out there. i think it’s simply brilliant to attempt to cater to both of them!

      beautiful blog!
      xoxo, bonnie

  • A very thought provoking post. I have thought of doing kits as well … but piecing the panels of my skirts is what takes all the time so that wouldn’t really be much of a lower price point. I will keep thinking on this though, great post as always! :-)

  • Wow, there is a lot to ponder in this post! I love it! And I have been on a tea towel kick lately, so I’m personally all for kits or patterns :)

  • Kits could expand your buying base…you would be targeting not just the handmade buyer but the handmade buyer that’s also crafty.
    I wonder if you could convo with some of the other sellers on etsy who market kits to see if they have experienced a positive change in purchases from their buyers.
    And to expand on Kristin’s post – you don’t want to reduce the sales of the items you already produce.
    Looks like you have to put on your creative hat Bonnie and think up some more great ideas! :-)

    • hi deirdre! thanks for the great advice! yes, i think it would be smart to cater to the crafty buyer- because after all, we’re selling on etsy! i’ve often thought that if my buyer was a sewer- they could just make one of my items rather than buy it. but, i’ve never really known how to cater to that person, other than just loose that sale! yoola’s article got me thinking on numerous levels, and i guess we will all have to slap on our thinking caps!

      contacting other kit-selling etsians would most likely provide invaluable information. in fact, contacting other sellers about anything you want to do that they are already doing is a great point of advice. we’re all just here to help each other out, right?
      thanks again! love, bonnie

  • I think kits are to crafting what semi-homemade it to cooking – people love it! they still get to say “hey, look what I did!” – but, with less fuss (some of us like fuss…others, not so much).

  • by the way…just added Calviree (see the gigi bag photo…) to my favorite shops…love stay gold!

    • hey jes! wonderful analogy- *i love it*!

  • I loved reading this article Bonnie! It makes you think about the target audience, the many occasions buyers shop for, and new and amazing ways to spruce our product lines.
    Thanks! :)

    • hey sam! it provides lots of new ways to think about your shop, doesn’t it? it’s just so easy to get in a rut. i liked this article because it got me thinking, moving and re-inspired!

  • This is SUCH great timing for these types of thoughts; great article and greater post. Yesterday was the one month birthday for my etsy shop, which was born out of asking these exact type of questions. I’ve really been trying to focus on the idea of “Delivery.” I’ve got endless ideas for “Creation” but if I can not make my work accessible, then it will never find it’s way into hands that love it. It’s time to continue asking questions and stretching outside the box.

    Bonnie, you’re a doll! Thanks so much for this post!

  • hi bonnie,

    thank you so much for featuring my artwork in this awesome article! it definitely brought up a lot of interesting things i had never even thought of about my etsy shop… lots to ponder now :)


  • What a good article. I have set it a target for myself to create some pdf patterns for my storysack items this month. I think a lot of the people who are interested in using my product are real crafty homebodies who would love to make the product themselves. Once I’ve made the pdfs I will definately consider selling kits too. It takes me quite a long time to make each item so I don’t post new items for sale very often. If you are selling a pdf you can post it as many times as you want without worrying about not making things fast enough.

  • Thank you for this post- all help and advice gratefully accepted!

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