Sunday, April 19, 2009

Etsy 101 Notes

Here are the notes that were passed out at the Etsy 101 event that was held on Wed. April 15th.

About Etsy.com - from www.etsy.com/about.php
What is Etsy? Etsy is an online marketplace for buying & selling all things handmade.
Our mission is to enable people to make a living making things, and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision is to build a new economy and present a better choice: Buy, Sell, and Live Handmade.

Etsy Facts:
Etsy was founded by Rob, Chris, Haim and Jared in 2005.
Since its launch in June 2005, over 100,000 sellers from around the world have opened up Etsy shops.

Helpful links on Etsy.com:
A Beginner's Guide to Starting a Shop on Etsy
http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/a-beginners-guide-to-starting-a-shop-on-etsy-1721/

How-to Network Offline: Increase Online Sales in Five Easy Steps
http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/how-to-network-offline-increase-online-sales-in-five-easy-st-910/

Shop Makeover Series: Pimp Your Shop for 2009
http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/shop-makeover-series-pimp-your-shop-for-2009-876/

The Etsy Seller Handbook: All Our How-Tos about Selling
http://www.etsy.com/storque/how-to/the-etsy-seller-handbook-all-our-how-tos-about-selling-2383/

Helpful Etsy Forum Posts:
The Ultimate Newbie Guide - 1 year anniversary edition
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5581122

NEWBIES ~ Here’s a few Etsy tips for you
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5021995

Newbies. Here's why you're not selling yet.
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5215453

Get the sales, publicily and front page treasury feature you want *PART IV*
http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5781570

A great resources for links and information about Etsy:

Etsy Seattle Street Team – EtsyRAIN: www.EtsyRAIN.com (our team site – soon to be updated!) www.meetup.com/EtsyRAIN (Free to join! Please read our home page for membership requirements)

http://bestetsyblogs.blogspot.com/2009/03/essential-etsy-links-update.html
To find more information written about starting / improving your Etsy shop, do a Google.com search for “start an Etsy shop” and/or “improve an Etsy shop”

A Few other great websites and blogs for the creative community:

everythingetsy.com
handmademarketing.org
etsynews.com
craftster.org
indiepublic.com
etsyforeveryone.com
etsywiki.com
meetup.com/GrassrootsBusinessAssociation


Other e-commerce sites like Etsy worth checking out (in no particular order):
Artfire.com
1000Markets.com
Dawanda.com
Mintd.com
Lov.li Trunkt.org
MadeitMyself.com
SilkFair.com
PinkDoodle.com
WinkElf.com


Shopping Carts and other payment processing worth considering for your own websites:
BigCartel.com
PayPal.com Shopify.com
Payments.Amazon.com




GBA Etsy101 Panel of Etsy Sellers:

Meet Cory Smith of SweetPetula.etsy.com
Q: Tell us more about you and your work (from SweetPetula.etsy.com):
At Sweet Petula, our company mantra is "simple luxuries for bath & body" - and for us that means creating products that are simple and effective, but also inspired and indulgent. Little luxuries no one should do without.

Each product is uniquely formulated based on nature's pharmacy combining vegetable oils, herbal ingredients, pure Aromatherapy essential oils and botanical extracts. Turning your everyday bathing and skincare rituals into a spa-like experience that nurture the body, mind & spirit.

Our company began in 1995 selling at farmers markets and craft fairs and has grown by leaps & bounds since then. We now have our own retail store located in Seattle, Washington where we sell our entire collection as well as other little luxuries. Our shop is located in Seattle's Pioneer Square District (208 S. Jackson Street).

Q: Do you have websites / blogs off-Etsy?
www.sweetpetula.blogspot.com, www.sweetpetula.com, www.goodcleandog.com

Q: How about your favorite online marketing websites?
: www.twitter.com/sweetpetula and www.constantcontact.com (for direct email marketing)

Q: What are your top 3 pieces of advice to the beginning Etsy seller?• Do what you love & are passionate about.
• Don’t compare yourself or compete with others...be you.
• If you want to be successful on Etsy, think of it as a part time job and act accordingly

Q: What are your top 3 mistakes to avoid as an Etsy seller?• Do not under price your work
• Act graciously in the forums at all times. If you don't have anything nice to say...don't say it at all. Your comments are read by a lot of people and are permanent.
• Don’t spend all your time "hard selling" & promotion. Get to know people. Be interesting & interested. The best part about Etsy is the community.

Q: What is your #1 "Thing I Learned the Hard Way" on Etsy?

Under pricing my shipping. Do your research or learn the hard way! I also avoid the Automatic Shipping Station at the post office branches. About 2% of my packages shipped from there "disappear".

Meet Jonah Dixon of Maluhia.etsy.com
Q: Tell us more about you and your work
A: I started Maluhia Designs on Etsy in October of 2005 selling handbags. I came across the name Maluhia (peacefulness) from my hula class and before Etsy I was busy dancing hula and was sewing Hawaiian/Polynesian costumes and accessories for 12 years. In early 2007, while recuperating from a knee injury I discovered and fell in love with Japanese Kawaii fabrics. I have since moved away from Hawaiian themed materials and have focused on using Japanese fabrics for my products because I love looking at the smiling faces of customers when they see the fabrics.
My fabric/supply store came about because I was running out of room in the sewing room. I don't purchase materials that I think customers will like, I buy materials that I love. Passion for what I do keeps me going and that my husband believes I can do it! Can't is not a word in his vocabulary.

Q. Do you have other websites off-Etsy?
www.jonahdixon.com, www.flickr.com/photos/maluhia, www.maluhia22.blogspot.com

Q. How about your favorite online marketing sites?

www.twitter.com/maluhiadesigns, www.etsyrain.com

Q: What are your top 3 pieces of advice to the beginning Etsy seller?

• Update often!
• Have clear & well lit photos.
• Don't give up just because you haven't sold anything in a week, a month or 2 months!

Q: What are your top 3 mistakes to avoid as an Etsy seller?
• Copying somebody else's pictures and descriptions.
• Pricing your items really low to compete with somebody else's prices.
• Make your items unique -- quality before quantity!

Q: What is your #1 "Thing I Learned the Hard Way" on Etsy?

Waiting until an item expires before relisting. It's only 20 cents so list often.


Meet Chuck Domitrovich – DowntotheWireDesigns.etsy.com

Q: Tell us more about you and your work:
A: I began making jewelry back in 1988, when I was a student at the University of Washington. From the beginning, I really fell in love with the medium. I liked the intimacy of the scale; I liked the tools and techniques and working with metal.
I am very inspired by African and Pacific Island jewelry. I like the roughness and textures of a thing made by hand, often from scavenged and found components. The spirit of conservation found in the work from these regions-- the use of bones, teeth, shells, and other discarded bits-- amazes me. I try to come up with my own unique interpretations of these styles without co-opting them. My wrapped earrings are one example of this approach, while my spiral series is another.
My work has changed a great deal over the years. What has remained constant is my love of making jewelry and working with metal, as well as my respect for the process of creating a thing by hand. I take great pride in the fact that I have never used mass-produced findings in my work. I have always made my own ear wires and clasps and do not anticipate ever changing that. I also continue to enjoy the creative challenge of coming up with new ideas and of solving new problems.

Q: Where can we find your work?
A: My work can be found in three galleries here in Seattle: La Tienda, Crackerjack, and Frank & Dunya. I also post photos of some of my older work and more upscale work—pieces not available on Etsy—on my blog (http://downtothewiredesigns.blogspot.com/) and on my Flickr account (http://www.flickr.com/photos/downtothewiredesigns/). I have one ring in the Lark Books 1000 Rings book and some collaborative work in Lark’s 500 Pendants and Lockets and The Art of Jewelry: Polymer Clay. There are more collaborative pieces in Schiffer’s Art Jewelry Today as well as in both the 2006 and 2007 September issues of Art Jewelry magazine. I have another collaborative piece in the permanent collection of the Tacoma Art Museum.

Q: What do you do to market off-Etsy?
A: As for marketing off of Etsy, I don’t do much of that as of yet though I am looking to do more. I have taken some initial marketing steps by buying an ad in Bust magazine that will be in both their June/July and August/September issues. I have participated in collective online advertising efforts through the EtsyMetal street team, but have not had much success with that.
I have recently been trying to use the Google analytics to my advantage but have only just started so I do not have much data to look at. This is definitely on my priority list though.

Q: What are your top 3 pieces of advice to the beginning Etsy seller?
A: First and most importantly, make sure your work is unique and well-made. The more basic your skill level, the more people you are competing with. If you can hone your skills by taking classes or workshops, do it. If you can make your work more interesting by mixing in a new skill, do that too—for instance if you are a jeweler adding glass-working skills to your repertoire can make your work stand out from all the other many jewelers on the site

Second, too many people have sold only to friends, relatives, and coworkers and do not have a realistic sense of how strong their work really is. Before Etsy most sellers had to work with brick and mortar shops and that is an excellent way to get honest feedback on your work. Most of these places have limited display space and so have to pick and choose based on what their experience tells them will sell. If they think they can make money from having your work in their store, they will take it; if they do not, they will turn it down. I would encourage everybody to have a few wholesale accounts in addition to their Etsy shop because this will help with pricing as well as giving them a good idea of what level of business they can expect. An experienced shop owner will have seen a wide variety of goods and will have a good idea of what will sell and what will not.

Third, customer service is very important. People who buy directly from artists often want a more personal experience than they can get from a store. They want to know who you are, how you got started, what inspires you. If they email you and get only a curt, quick response, you are doing your own work a disservice. If they order from you and you do not at least hand write “Thank you” on their receipt, you have just made their buying experience far less special.


Q: What are your top 3 mistakes to avoid as an Etsy seller?
A: The first mistake that I see a lot of people make is to not take their business seriously. This is often reflected either in their pricing (too low) or in the general appearance of their shop. Each Etsy seller’s shop should be thought of in much the same way as a brick and mortar shop. You need to adequately display your work—with good photos and a good presentation within each item listing. Spend time with your camera until you figure out how to get good photos. Without good photos you cannot get sales. You get up to five photos for each listing and you should use as many of those as you can without being redundant. Show your work from different angles, position it differently, and show close-ups of certain features. Your item description should not only give basic physical specifications of your work, it should also be an attempt to sell the work. Think of your description as the text in a commercial. The features that Etsy provides for each shop are there for your benefit. Your banner should grab people’s attention; your avatar should represent you. It is great that you love your baby, your dog, or your cat, but using a photo of any of these as your avatar is a sure way to blend into the crowd. Your profile is a good way to tell people a little about yourself and what inspires you. I have seen too many shops with information left out and with uninspiring banners and avatars.

Second, and this happens all the time, don’t list everything you are going to sell all at once on the first day you join. Etsy can be a great sales venue but it is not a place where “if you build it, they will come.” You need to spread out your listings when you first open your shop to take advantage of the wider window of front page and search feature exposure that listing affords you. The point is not to have a nice full store but for people to be able to find that store so they can buy from you.

The third one that I see a lot is people dropping their prices down to nothing just to get a sale. If you condition people that your work is not worth much than that is how your work will be seen. You do not want to compete on price if you can help it. A better approach is to compete on the quality of your work and of the service that you provide. You can’t control anyone else’s prices, only your own. Price your work so that you can make a fair living by selling it and then do whatever you can to prove that your work is well worth the price you are asking.

Q: What is your #1 "Thing I Learned the Hard Way" on Etsy?
A: The internet is not a static thing. I had some great initial success on Etsy and in that way was quite fortunate. As Etsy grew and as the internet changed I kept using the same approaches and tried to coast with what had worked for me before. That is just not possible. A lot of people are now promoting off the site and I am starting to take that approach myself. As an example of how fast the internet changes, when I started on Etsy Twitter may not have even existed—now a lot of people use it as one of their main tools for promoting their shop.

But apart from using the tools that are out there I think you also have to be creative. There are a lot of ways of drawing attention to your shop that have nothing to do with blogs, Facebook, or Twitter. For instance, Etsy has a blog and needs content for that blog. While you cannot just write an article about your work, you can suggest they run an article on any number of subjects of interest to the overall Etsy community. When you do that, your shop will get added exposure. Another way to draw attention to your work is to make pieces that can be used on Etsy’s front page for events that you know are coming up—these can be holidays, elections, anything noteworthy and in the news can be a topic for the front page. There are no guarantees that your work will be selected buy you are increasing your odds by thinking and working in a more conscious manner like this.


Meet Marlo Miyashiro of IMakeCuteStuff.etsy.com
Q: Tell us more about you and your work
A: My "day job" is designing and creating my own line of sterling silver jewelry: www.MarloM.com
I've been in business - mostly full-time - since 1993 (wow. I can hardly believe it's been that long) and have done everything from home shows, retail shows and lots and lots of wholesale trade shows.

All told, I own and operate 5 different businesses of my own and volunteer my time toward organizing EtsyRAIN (the Seattle Etsy Street Team). Business #1: MarloM.com (my jewelry line), Business #2: Tote2Go.com (a line of accessories made exclusively with repurposed fabrics), Business #3: CreativeArtsConsulting.com (where I coach and mentor emerging artists through my consulting services), Business #4: Marlo M. Jewelry Studio (private beginning jewelry classes) and new Business #5: Small Object Photography Classes. Information on my classes can be found at: http://moourl.com/MarloMClasses

I’ve been the organizer for the Seattle Metro Etsy Street Team – EtsyRAIN since 2007. I’m proud to say that we have over 580 members on our meetup membership list and that number grows larger every day! It is an amazingly supportive community of creative people that I enjoy offering my time to. It’s just my way of giving back to the creative community that I’ve gotten so much support from over the years!

Q. Do you have other websites on Etsy or off-Etsy?
My other Etsy shops: MarloM.etsy.com (a select collection of my hand fabricated jewelry)
Tote2Go.etsy.com (reusable recycled fabric grocery totes and other tote bags)
Websites off-Etsy: MarloM.com (my “day job”)
http://www.teachstreet.com/teacher/marlo-m (all the info on my classes, consulting and other lessons)
IMakeCuteStuff.com (my personal blog)

Q. How about your favorite online marketing sites?
For all things Etsy, I highly recommend taking some time to read through all of the sections on Etsy’s blog: TheStorque.com. There is an amazing amount of information there…about and Etsy and SO much more!

Q: What are your top 3 pieces of advice to the beginning Etsy seller?• Know your market – Do a LOT of research not only in your category, but in other categories as well.
• Learn how to run a small business – Even if your Etsy shop is just a “hobby”, you should know the basic principles of running a small business so you are sure that you’re not losing money with every sale.
• Learn the principles of pricing work fairly – SO many Etsy sellers are selling themselves, and in turn their whole industry, short by selling their work at wholesale or below wholesale prices! Be fair to yourself and to those in your field by pricing appropriately and trusting that the customers are there.

Q: What are your top 3 mistakes to avoid as an Etsy seller?• Bad photos – So many Etsy shops are filled with wonderful things that are represented by horrific photos! Your photos are the face of your shop. Either learn how to take good ones or hire someone who can.
• Snarky-ness on the forums – Remember that the other sellers on Etsy are people just like you. Every post on the forums and every blog about your experience will come back to you, so be sure you won’t mind when they do.
• Keeping your success to yourself – There is a rich community of artists and craft makers in Seattle…it’s worth the effort to find them! EtsyRAIN is an incredible resource, but there are also great groups of crafters, knitters and entrepreneurs that have amazing groups as well! Check out Meetup.com for info on many of them.

Q: What is your #1 "Thing I Learned the Hard Way" on Etsy?
Photos are key. Case in point: I had a really bland photo of some of my Secret Promise Rings in my imakecutestuff.etsy.com shop. I kept meaning to take new photos but was very lazy about it. About a year later, I finally get the motivation to take new photos. After almost two years of obscurity, my rings made it to the Etsy Front Page twice in a week! Seriously. Learn how to take great photos and you’ll get SO much further on Etsy.

What is an Etsy “Street Team”?
Etsy Teams are groups of organized Etsy members who network, share skills, and promote their shops and Etsy together. A Team forms around a shared location, crafting medium, or another interest. Etsy's 450+ Teams make us not just a marketplace of individuals, but an interconnected and diverse artistic community. Teams are Etsy’s biggest and most creative grassroots engine for support, networking and marketing – for each team member’s shop, for the Teams themselves, and for Etsy as a whole.

What is EtsyRAIN?
EtsyRAIN is Etsy’s official Seattle Metro Street Team. We were founded in the summer of 2007 and have grown to over 580 members in the last year and a half! EtsyRAIN provides our members with access to our members-only EtsyRAIN meetup group – www.meetup.com/EtsyRAIN where we have a very active message board, an up-to-date event calendar, creative challenges, social events and workshops as well as a full calendar of social events, crafts shows and workshops of all kinds. EtsyRAIN is truly a fantastic resource for all local Etsy sellers!
Requirements to join: You must live and/or work in the “Seattle-Metro Area” – which loosely translates to basically anywhere in Western WA (we have members as far north as Port Townsend and as far south as Olympia!), have an Etsy shop or have an interest in having an Etsy shop in the near future. Basic membership is *free* and our “Premium” memberships are just $20 a year which offers exclusive extras such as features on our team website, co-op advertising opportunities, advance notices for special events and much more!)

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Great information!
    Very insightful article. Thank you.

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    ReplyDelete