tag: etsy shop help

Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

your about page (and profile page in your etsy shop) is usually the most visited page on your website. it’s your chance to tell your story, and give the very important first impression.  it allows you to let your readers, browsers and buyers know who you are and whether or not they can trust you.  it’s where many decisions will be made: do we have anything in common? will i purchase from you? continue reading? do you have anything of value for me?  though it’s often hard for us to write about ourselves, it’s your chance to shine and give your horn a little toot (it deserves it!).  so join me today in learning how to craft a better about page!

aicia bock

polaroid photograph – yellow and white

there’s an art to writing well and allowing people to feel comfortable in your world.  making readers of your about or profile page feel important, cared about, and well educated on you and/or your business is a great starting point on building a relationship with them.  often times the about or profile page is the first page i go to when i visit a new shop or blog.  sometimes they’re great and sometimes they need some work.  if you own a etsy shop, don’t think that people aren’t interested in or aren’t clicking on your profile.  etsy sellers and buyers (and blog authors!) are very interested in you, what you do and how you do it.  i’m always so sad when a sellers profile is left empty or only refers me to their website.  it feels cold and uncaring, and i would much rather prefer to feel warmth and love!

love pillow

yellow love pillow

so how do we write a great about page?  there are some certain answers people will be looking for.  who are you? what do you do? where do you do it? why do you do it? and how do you do it? crafty people are always interesting (weather you know it or not!) and we are all interested in learning about you and getting your fresh perspective on the world.  if you’re a seller, make sure to include:

– what do you sell

– what’s different or special about what you do?

– a little about your personal story

– anything unique to you or your products

– share on why or how you make your items

give your browsers info about your shop and your products, then give them some personal info as well.

keep calm

keep calm, recycled wood sign

if you’re a blog author, first off make sure you a) have an about page and b) it’s really easy to find.  make sure to include:

– what do you write about?

– who are you and where do you live?

– what do you do?

– what’s the easiest way to get in touch with you?

this is your chance to turn the first time visitor into a loyal reader.  tell your story, be engaging and be friendly- did you say hello?

leaf magnets

triplet leaves magnets

if you’re still having trouble coming up with what to say, try interviewing yourself, then turn your answers into your about page.  it also helps to write as though you’re writing to your best friend, most loyal blog reader or most frequent buyer.  write as though you’re writing to a friend, instead of the entire world and you’ll come across as friendly and approachable.  last but not least, don’t forget to proof read!

ready for class participation?

 
 
if you would like us to review your profile or about page leave us a link and we’ll give you some feedback. if you would like to see mine, you can check out my about page here and one of my profile pages here.  it’s not so easy to write about myself either, so feedback and criticism are always welcome!

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Posted by in indie biz

meylah

today i’m going to introduce to you a truly inspiring blog and business, meylah.  meylah works to bring creative entrepreneurs closer through creativity by helping them connect, learn and succeed. they are devoted to building an online creative community for individuals to learn, share and support each other’s business growth and works hard to equip the entrepreneur with the necessary skills they need to succeed.  with easy to read and very informational articles, meylah is totally rocking the online creative biz movement.  you’ll find tons of help for your small business and lots of new tips and tricks along the way. i encourage you to explore her world today, and especially read a few of my favorite articles:

how to create an ad for your business

how to brand your twitter profile

how to package your product

opening your first flickr group

store policies – six key topics to cover

3 ways to sell to busy buyers

enjoy exploring and feel free to share with us some of your favorite articles!

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Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

hello love birds!  first off, what do you think of the new shop help banner? i think it makes the etsy business page prettier, ha!  today’s post is going to be more about generating a discussion, rather than full of information.  it’s something i’ve been thinking about a lot lately: outgoing packages.

pretty package

{fabric thank you note}

i’m always trying to find new ways of sprucing up my outgoing packages. one of my favorite things about buying on etsy is to see how the seller dolled up my goods!  when it comes to shipping packages, there are a few things i feel are essential, and a few things i think can be optional- so today i want to hear what you think!  this post was inspired by an article i ran across recently over on smallerbox about the things your outgoing packages should always include.

smallerbox’s list of essentials:

 
 
1. branded invoice: don’t simply print a receipt from etsy or paypal.

2. return information: included on your invoice or elsewhere.

3. contact information: your website, email and, if possible, a customer service phone number.

4. swag: a little something extra that will surprise your customer.

what do you think?  her post received quite a few comments and a bit of controversy as well.  some thought invoices were a total waste of paper while others felt they were absolutely necessary.  i’ve never even thought of including an invoice (oops?) which is why this post interested me so much!

my list of essentials:

 
 
1. the cuteness factor: fluffy yarn, colorful tissue paper and maybe even a little japanese washi tape.

2. business cards (doi)

3. handwritten thank you note (admittedly i occasionally run out of time, which is why i’m working on my time management skills. so sorry if i missed this in your package!)

4. a discount coupon for a return visit. even though not many people have ‘cashed’ them in, i think it leaves them excited to visit again in the future.

now it’s your turn. what do you think about these essentials? what does your list include?

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Posted by in handmade, indie biz

etsy shop help

when it comes to selling online, i’ve made so many mistakes it’s a wonder i’m still afloat.  here are what i think my top ten have been and how i’ve learned from them.  i’ve also mingled in some dad’s day goodies- it seemed fitting since he’s always helped me learn from my mistakes!

Vintage Tennis Rackets

vintage tennis rackets

1. practice time management. sometimes i can be the ultimate procrastination station and it’s just not a good habit. running in an all out sprint to make it inside the post office door in time is just not professional (or fun).  my advice: schedule your days on paper and try your best to stick to it.

2. follow through. i’ve been called out before for not following through on something i promised.  people will hold you accountable and it’s embarrasing to be caught slacking off.  my advice: always be a person of integrity and own up if you end up not following through on a promise.

 Vintage Mounted Trophy Antlers

vintage mounted trophy antlers

3. be present. i once forgot to update my ‘vacation announcement’ and have even accidentally misplaced a convo before without answering it- never good! my advice: make communication and up to date announcments a priority.  getting to know your customers will always be beneficial (and fun!).

4. photos matter. i’ve said this before, but having great photos really is the most important factor for an online business.  i’ve certainly posted pics that i’m not proud of, and guess what? the items never sell! my advice: get a good camera and don’t rush through snapping pictures of your products.  if you need help editing, seek help!

Docking Station Steampunked Royal Typewriter with Speakers

docking station steampunked royal typewriter with speakers

5. pursue publicity. at first i assumed that press and publicity would just come knocking after i opened a shop- oops was i wrong!  my advice: you need to put yourself out there to get found.  contact bloggers for write ups and self promote your work via your blog, twitter, facebook or the like.

6. be truthful and complete. i’ve forgotten to add the sizes of a product or gotten questions to things that should have been obvious.  it’s never good when a customer is surprised at what they recieve or can’t find the answers they are looking for.  my advice: make sure you’re proud of everything you put your name on.  having complete, truthful and thoughtful listings will only improve your customer satisfaction and business reputation.

 Attache Case

attache case

7. research research research. i’ve certainly learned that researching how to do something before i get started is the ultimate way to success.  my advice: look at what other sellers are doing and notice what works and what doesn’t.  take note about what etsy prefers to feature and read all the material you can get your hands on (starting with the storque!)

8. relist, relist, relist. i boycotted the idea of relisting items for a long time.  after a bit of experimenting, it’s fair to say that i always sell more when i relist items on a daily basis.  my advice: relist 3-5 items every day when you’re just starting out (that’s $0.60 – $$1.00 a day) and count it as part of your marketing/start up costs.

Wood Parts Bin

wood parts bin

9. be original. there’s a big difference between getting inspired by something and straight up copying it.  i’ve struggled before with feeling original, because everywhere i look there seems to be another ‘me’.  my advice: learn how to tune out other ‘yous’ and try not to refer to other’s work when you sit down to sketch/write/brainstorm.

10. take a little, give a little. one of the best lessons i’ve learned is to always give back. my advice: don’t be afraid to ask for freebie advice or help, but always try to find a way to return the favor. i think this should be called ‘how to be a friend 101′.

so there you have it! my mistakes and how i’ve learned from them.  what are some of your most learned from mistakes?

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Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

hello lovebirds!  when i recently got inspired by megan’s recommend reading list over at crafting an mba, i decided to share with you some of my very own favorite crafty books! whether you’re just now thinking about opening an etsy shop, ready to start a blog, or looking to be the next amy butler, there’s something for everyone in the following craftilicious reads.  enjoy!

craft inc

title: Craft, Inc.

author: Meg Mateo Ilasco

Craft, Inc. helps teach and inspire you to turn your craft hobby into a successful business.  meg mateo ilasco guides you through developing products, naming your company, writing a business plan, applying for licenses and tons more.  with chapters on sales, marketing, trade shows and publicity, plus interviews from successful pros (jill bliss, jonathan adler..) it’s a must read for anyone who is ready to go big with their crafts.

start your own blogging business

title: Start Your Own Blogging Business

author: J.S. McDougall

this handy book is an easy read (i finished it in one afternoon) and full of helpful info.  if you’re thinking about starting a blog, Start Your Own Blogging Business guides you through setting it up, attracting visitors, engaging readers and offering advertisers.  a must read!

Crafty Superstar

title: Crafty Superstar

author: Grace Dobush

Crafty Superstar is the perfect book for someone just starting out with a small etsy shop.  it covers all your basics and helps you set up shop, get paid, package your goods and begin getting some press.  a great quick read for the newbie!

The Anti 9-to-5 Guide

title: The Anti 9 to 5 Guide

author: Michelle Goodman

whether you’re ready to get out of the cubicle or determined not to get there in the first place, The Anti 9 to 5 Guide by Michelle Goodman gives you the advice you need. applicable to a broad range of careers (not just craftsters), she’ll help you quit you job, save money and become your own boss.

The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally

title: The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line

author: Kari Chapin

in this book, Kari Chapin helps you determine the right price for your items, discusses opportunities such as indie craft fairs and sites like etsy, gives photography tips and even some publicity advice.  after reading, you’ll be able to makes sense of the global possibilities for marketing and selling crafts.

The Savvy Crafters Guide To Success

title: The Savvy Crafter’s Guide to Success

author: Sandra McCall

The Savvy Crafter’s Guide to Success is written by a professional crafts person, for the wanna-be professional crafts person.  with chapters on everything from organizing your work space to finding outlets, tip on photographing your work, keeping records, and submitting your work to publishers, you’ll be well on your way to building your career.  Sandra McCall guides crafters through the world of crafting with pertinent information on how to build and maintain a craft business, how to teach the best arts and craft classes, how to write regularly for craft/home publications, and how to get your designs sold.

do you  have any favorite must-reads?

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Posted by in indie biz

etsy shop help

inspiration board

today’s post is going to take you on a little trip!  i’m guest posting for tara over at scoutie girl on how to nourish your creativity, and that’s where i’m going to send you for today’s etsy shop help article! it’s all about the things i do to nourish, embrace and support my creativity, and i encourage you to share the ways that you feed your creative side as well.  head over to scoutie girl to read nourish your creativity and share with us all the things you do that keep your creative side inspired!

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as promised when we talked about using picnik to help edit your photos, here are a few of your pictures, before and after editing using picnik!

banner before

this darling banner comes from drawn to letters, who has some difficulty taking pictures of banner indoors.  taking pics indoors can sometimes be difficulty, but the most important thing to remember is to get close to a window, turn the flash off and use only natural daylight.

banner after

here’s the after of her banner picture, and here’s what i did using picnik:

click on exposure. set the exposure to 5, and the contrast to 11.  then clicked on advanced and set the brightness to -16.
heading on over to colors, slide the saturation 10 and the temperature to 12.
finally, go to sharpness and slide it up to about 6.

this brightened and livened up the photo quite a bit!  warm colors are a bit difficult to work with, but this helped bring some extra life into the photo.

elephant pillow before

this adorable elephant pillow and fabric basket comes from a new shop on the block, b*lota handmade.  she’s got all the basics of a great photo correct, a nice background with a window near by, and all natural daylight.  perfect timing for a little editing!

elephant pillow after

here’s the after, and boy did it clean up nicely!  here’s what i did:

first, i cropped in just a bit to bring the attention closer to the product, and delete any unnecessary background.

click on exposure. slide the exposure up to 27, and the contrast up to 16.  looking better already!
next, click on colors and slide the saturation up to 5 and the temperature down to -2.
finally, click on sharpness and up it to about 10. within about 2 minutes, the difference is definitely worth it!

you can of course then play with corners, text and borders, but for etsy photo shots- simplicity is always best.  i wanted to offer you these two examples so that you could play with them yourself and see what works and what doesn’t. practice makes perfect!  let me know if you have any questions!

(for more on picnik, read this article).

xo, bonnie

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Posted by in handmade, indie biz

etsy shop help

while wholesaling your products may not be for everyone, when done correctly it can be a great benefit and wonderful experience.  today we’re going to talk about how to get you started wholesaling and some things you should consider before you do.

twitter birds decal

let’s first talk about why you might be interested in wholesaling, and the difference between that and consigning.  wholesaling your product means you fill medium to large sized orders for another company at a discounted rate and get paid up front.  consigning means you send items to a company/store and get paid only as they sell your item.  there are benefits and negatives to both but the main benefit to wholesaling is that you get paid up front which leaves out a lot of the guess work.

sweet cafe 5×5 print

now let’s talk about the 3 p’s: products, pricing and policies. first of all, it’s important to have a number of items that you can easily make multiples of.  you’ll most likely have to reproduce the items you wholesale time and time again, so make sure your materials and your processes and uphold that.  products that have mass appeal and aren’t season specific usually do the best.

easter egg lasso necklace

pricing: you’ll have to make sure that your retail prices are high enough to allow you to offer wholesale.  your wholesale cost should be discounted enough to allow your venue to make money as well as cover the costs of your materials and your time.  pricing your products will be the trickiest task.  as your prices need to remain in line with your competitors as well as make wholesaling worth your effort.  many sellers offer their products at 50% off their retail, but for handmade artists, that’s usually not feasible, especially since many of us don’t charge enough for our products in the first place. also remember, that the venue may be able up their retail price which may help both of you out.

pretty in pink -free shipping- 5×7 art

policies: it’s important to come up with a set of guidelines and policies for your wholesale accounts.  outline what you expect, your shipping policies (who pays for what) and who is responsible for damaged goods.  whether your items get lost in the mail or someone robs their shop and steals everything, it’s good to figure out who’s reliable for what from the beginning. also outline whether or not you’ll accept refunds and or exchanges and the timeline and conditions for both.

peekaboo by schmooks

putting together an order form and general wholesale packet for interested retailers is a great idea and will further your professionalism in the industry.  having an outline of what you offer and their prices that includes an easy to follow order form will help the experience run smoother.

mini cup turquoise/green

benefits of wholesale: though it may seem a bit crazy to offer large quantities of your products for less money, wholesaling definitely has it’s benefits.  first off, if you’re able to put the time in, it’s a great way to up your total sales amount and therefore, profit.  having a few continuous wholesale accounts can do wonders for keeping you afloat during hard times.  it’s also a great way to get your gain brand exposure and reach many more potential markets.  being in a cute little shop in a big city will allow a completely different set of consumers find you goods.

rowhouses – limited edition screen print

now that you know more about it, just how do you land a few wholesale accounts? often, by simply putting a statement in your shop welcome, profile and/or policies section of your shop stating that you accept wholesale orders will do the trick.  if you want to be a little more proactive, you can research a number of potential businesses and simply email them and ask!  having a professional packet of your wholesale info will be extremely beneficial.  also, try not to mass email, but rather make it personal and let them know that you’ve done your research.  along with your packet, include who you are, your credentials (homepage hits, blog features and etsy sales!) and some photos of your items, then the waiting game begins! (don’t you hate waiting on return e-mails?).

glass reflections – flowers in a bottle fine

as mentioned before, wholesaling isn’t for everyone.  it can be time consuming and may not work with your particular business, especially if you only offer one-of-a-kinds.  it can also be worth experimenting with, so everyone will have to feel it out for themselves.

pastel picture frame from barn wood

do you have any advice on wholesaling?  what’s been your experience?

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