I thought I might make a post about my tips and the things I have learned about selling on Etsy (for anyone wanting to give it a try or those that are struggling). I wanted to do this because recently I was reading in the Etsy forums Business section where I spend most of my time and I read a topic with tips for creating a successful Etsy shop. Someone posted a like to a seller on Etsy called Crafting Success that sells tutorials on all sorts of craft/business topics (twitter, etsy, you tube, etc). It got me thinking about why I have never purchased any sort of book/tutorial. It is obvious from this seller's sales they do pretty good at selling this information. I guess it just surprises me that people PAY for this (I am not trying to knock this seller or anyone that does purchase tutorials like these).
The point I am trying to make right up front is I just think that people feel there is information or secrets they have to pay to learn. It is just simply not the case. If you have the time and know where to look you can find all of this information for free. When you are starting a business, especially one you are trying to profit or live off of, thinking about all expenditures is very important.
This is my number one tip above all else: Think About What You Purchase For Your Business!
Don't make rash purchases in the name of increasing your sales. The slogan "you have to spend money to make money" is true but only if you spend the money in a well thought out constructive way. And how do you know it is constructive? Make sure that you can measure the benefit of the purchase. Make sure you have searched for the best possible price for the quality. Keep track of what you spend and what you make that way you can justify buying promo items or how to books. If you see yourself spending all your profit on things you might not need at that moment cut them out or source a cheaper supplier.
Okay now that that is out of the way here are my tips for creating a successful Etsy shop (please note I do not consider myself an expert and I too am still learning/improving):
1. Read the Etsy forums! Like I said above I spend most of my time in the "Business" section but there are many other topics to explore. I can't even begin to tell you all the free information that has actually helped my shop increase sales.
2. Renew you listings! This works especially well for me because I have a hard time keeping a large stock in my shop. If you want a more comprehensive explanation of what renewing means and how it can benefit you please visit the Something Blue Blog. Her post titled The Esty Experiment is awesome! And free!!!
3. Most suggestions you will hear over and over are "make sure your shop has great photos, informative descriptions, complete policies and a catchy banner". My tip to make sure you have done these things right is to look at your shop like you are the customer. When you shop for something online, or especially Etsy, what do you look for in a listing? I look for:
- good pictures where I can see the item from all sides (and inside if it's a bag).
- what size is it?
- what is it made of?
Things that immediately turn me off:
- very few items listed (which translates to me as a poor selection)
- bad pictures (especially blurry or the product is displayed on something dirty or distracting)
4. Join an Etsy team! This is a great idea to help you find people that have been there and done that. There are teams for just about everything and every location. I am a member of the Plushteam and have learned more than I could ever imagine from them.
5. Social network! Ok I will admit I was slow and dragging my feet on this one too. I still don't use these sites (twitter, facebook, myspace, etc) to their full potential and I know it. Part of my problem is I don't have time to be on them and I don't have a fancy Internet phone so I can't do it at a red light. The last thing I want to do after work is sit on my home computer social networking. However every now and then I come across a great idea that reminds me why these sites can be such a benefit.
I am not going to write a lot about social networking because like I said I don't do it enough but I read this post in the Etsy forums a while ago and I have saved it to try in the future. I wanted to share this info just to make the point that there are many ways to use these sites if you know how....aaaaand there are plenty of people that will share their info with you for free.
The post is by Haut Totes and involves a Twitter promotion. I love Haut Totes posts because she has a wealth of info and shares it freely. Another great one by her is entitled "Yes You Can!!" and is about this very topic (tips for success on Etsy).
For now those are my top tips...I hope this has been beneficial to someone! And if you find yourself purchasing a tutorial more power to you and congrats to the seller. I just thought I would point out that there are so many resources and people out there that are sharing a wealth of free info and we should all be so thankful. I know I am!