As promised here’s the second installment of our panel discussion on how to start your own successful Etsy crafts business.
Besides already having products is there anything else you’d recommend doing before starting an Etsy site? Are there a certain number of products that someone should have on their Etsy store before launching?
Here’s Tara as she emphasizes preparation,
“I highly recommend creating a “business plan” before you start an Etsy site. Know how much you want to charge for items. And shipping is another issue … Decide whether you’re willing to do international shipping because Etsy has a large percentage of visitors that come from Canada and the UK. Also, know what you are willing to do for customers; many ask for custom items or changes to what you’ve already done for them.
Have plenty of photos ready to upload, but there is a size limit. So it is faster if the photos are all the correct size and ready to upload. I think that the number of products you list is dependent upon what you are selling. I’ve seen shops that only have 1 or 2 items, and I’ve seen ones with over 100. Start with what you are comfortable with.”
Christy reminds us to remember the details,
“I would browse some other shops and make a note of their store policies, photos, and descriptions. Spend some time and come up with your own policies for your store. Outline your shipping terms, production times, and communication expectations clearly so that your customers will be aware of your policies when they make a purchase.
Practice taking good photos, natural light without flash always looks best. Be ready to write clear, concise descriptions for your product listings. I really think it is best to have at least a full page of listings (20-24 items) to give the customer some variety and something to look at.”
Tashae agrees and adds a twist,
“I agree with looking at other stores to see how successful stores are managed. I also suggest variety and uniqueness. You have to separate yourself from others. There are so many sellers and people that do what you do, you have to design at least a couple of things that no one else has!! Be creative and what I call “quirky” in your designs. You would be amazed how many like things that are oddly different.”
Gwen stresses doing your homework,
“Do some research and take a look at other stores on Etsy. What’s hot? What’s not? What is selling? Doing your homework and looking at other products is very important. Then find something to set your store apart……different designs, your style. I started my Etsy site out with about 5 items…..and I had sales right off the bat.
If I had to do it again, I would probably have started off with 10-20 items just to have more variety and perhaps catch more sales. I don’t think the number of items in your store is that important. I think it’s more about having good quality products, and variety as well as using good keywords and SEO so that people can find your items.”
What’s the Best Way to Promote an Etsy Store? Is there a difference between promoting an Etsy store versus promoting a traditional online store?
Tara recommends Facebook,
“Facebook! It’s also great to take advantage of the “Showcase” … you basically buy an ad for a 24 hour period. I have done the Showcase two times … it definitely brought more “traffic” to my store. But Facebook has brought the most sales to my store. I post pictures on my Facebook page and also do some networking there. Combining Etsy and Facebook has been the best thing for my business.”
Tashae weighs in,
“I have not really used a social network to promote. Word of mouth and the Showcase provided by Etsy have worked for me!”
Gwen suggests SEO,
“I have an Etsy store and a private store — and basically, I promote them the same way. I focus a lot on SEO and keywords. If people can’t find you by searching…..your store or Etsy site is no good. You have to come up towards the top of searches in your key words. I also have a Facebook page that I use for promoting both sites.
Other good ways are business cards with your store addresses on them and word of mouth and referrals from other customers — you can’t beat word of mouth advertising, no matter the site or product. One way to promote through Etsy that does not apply to your private site is frequent listings/re-listings during your peak times. You can use your shop stats to determine keywords for SEO, your busiest times of day, etc.”
Thank you again to our panel members for their great insights! Today you heard from:
- Tara Burns – founder of the Create and Accentuate Etsy shop. Tara specializes in customizing baby bodysuits, t-shirts and rompers.
- Christy Wilson – proprietor of Embellished Bayou on Etsy. Embellished Bayou creates one of a kind custom home décor and children’s embellishments with a Louisiana twist.
- Tashae Watson – owns an Etsy shop called Dresses, Tresses, and More. Tashae’s store features designer hair bows as well as girls dresses.
- Gwen Davenport – owner of the Frills and Frogs Etsy shop. We recently featured Gwen in our Boutique Clothing Craft Series.
That’s all for today, but feel free to leave a comment and let us know any challenges that you may have run into since starting your Etsy site-we’re definitely here to help. Remember to stay tuned because we still have one more installment to post!