Opening an Etsy shop isn’t about becoming the next overnight millionaire with the newest fashion craze. Lillian Vernon launched her wildly successful catalog and online business from her kitchen table. Channeling your artistic passion into marketable products doesn’t require a degree in marketing or a fat bankroll to get started. One of the best assets you have is you. Your creativity, energy and commitment to stay focused are the most crucial elements for a success Etsy experience.
Whether you have a mouth-watering fudge recipe, or your specialty is designing throw pillows, chances are good your first orders will come from family and co-workers who already love your craft. Rely on this support network for encouragement and feedback.
The Three P’s: Placement, Product and Pricing
Planning is arguably the most important component in business. Listen to the experts, take time to set goals, and create a vision, or you will wander aimlessly waiting to see what happens.
Talk to your friends, family and even strangers about your product before you list your first item. Networking is a fantastic way to gather free product reviews and generate excitement about your venture.
Design with the customer in mind. Giving away free embroidery and engraving to personalize every handbag netted Lillian Vernon $32,000 in her first attempt to sell her purses on a large scale.
Passion is fabulous in the Work At Home Mom world, but raw emotion is not. Kay Baxter, a veteran crafter, says accepting the fact you can’t expect a consistent hourly wage makes more sense than trying to follow an obscure formula. Aim for a minimum return of three times the costs of supplies, and then set reasonable expectations.
Don’t sell yourself short. If it takes 12 hours to create that jaw-dropping beaded shawl, the price should reflect your time-investment. Prices that are too low hint at cheap, rather than budget-friendly.
Make your store fun, keep it interesting, and keep people up-to-date on new products and services with social networking. Take advantage of the Etsy app, which makes re-listing incredibly easy, and the Etsy mini button to drive traffic to your store. It is better to list one item every day, than 30 at one time, since new listings make it to the top of the list for people who are just browsing.
Treat Your Store Like a Business
Designate Office Space: Having reliable computer equipments and Internet are crucial to running an online store. Take advantage of CenturyLink Internet fast and secure high speed internet (up to 896 Kpbs) to deliver a reliable connection for your store online.
Keep Records: Use spreadsheets to track pending sales, paid orders, shipping dates, and expenses to ensure nothing falls through the cracks. This also makes tax prep easier. Monitor PayPal for unfounded chargebacks monthly.
Invest in Etsy Ads: Get your store in front of more eyeballs.
Manage Competition: At least twice a month, scope out the competition, and replace your stagnant items with new products.
Tech and Tools: Use resources such as those listed below to fine-tune your business.
- Picasa – photo editing
- Statsy (Clockbot) – remote listing renewal
- Etsy on Sale – showcase special pricing
- Craftopolis – analytics
- Packaging Matters – unique packing and shipping containers add value
What tips would you add?
Christie is a mom and marketing executive who shuttles back and forth from New York. She is a mix of “East Coast blunt” and “Midwest nice” that she feels gives her writing an edge.