Today I'm talking about Etsy. Now, I'm not here to say that my shops are the most successful or awesome Etsy shops ever, but I have had quite a few people asking me for advice or tips as they start up an Etsy store, so I figured I'd condense my advice into 5 tips and share it here! These are tips that have helped me find success in my stores. I've even been able to sell outside of Etsy because of things I've learned on Etsy. I hope you find some of these helpful!
1. Be Creative. Of course there are going to be hundreds of shops on Etsy that sell similar items as you will. However, there are plenty ways to make your shop stand out whether it be price, style, customization options, item names, etc. Think outside the box! There is no point of having a shop if it's exactly the same as others, so avoid the possible urge to just create a duplicate of someone else's shop because it's easy. That takes the fun out of everything! Think about an ideal shop that you'd love to shop from, and create it!
2. Do Your Homework: Research!! Opening an Etsy shop shouldn't be a quick, last minute decision. I mean, it can be, but you're not going to have as high quality of a shop as if you had done some research. What I mean by research is search on Etsy! See what's out there. What are people selling that's like yours? What are their prices? Can you sell the same item for a lower cost? What do they charge for shipping? What do you need to charge for shipping based on shipping products (packing envelopes, tape, labels), your time and travel to ship? Most importantly: HOW MUCH DOES IT COST TO MAKE OR CREATE YOUR ITEM (keep in mind your time/labor. time=money) and HOW MUCH DO YOU NEED TO SELL AN ITEM FOR TO MAKE PROFIT. Those last two are obnoxiously in bold because really if you have an Etsy shop to have a business (which is the point), you need to make sure it's worth your time to be selling through Etsy and that you are not putting forth more than you're getting back (this is usually the case in the beginning, but hopefully this equals out after a little bit of time). When I started my first shop, I wanted to make sure that I kept myself level-headed so I gave myself a very small budget to start out with. I calculated how much I had to sell in order to at least break even. Once I got the hang of how much shop was going to work, I continued investing more money into my shop and eventually saw some revenue. Now I know exactly how and when my shop is successful and what I have to put forth to be successful. Every shop is different!
3. Be Patient. This is important. It can be, if you're like me, really intimidating and a little daunting to put yourself out there and open a shop where you're essentially selling yourself in front of thousands of online shoppers. Keep in mind that people will find your shop. It's just a matter of how long that takes. That being said, be patient, but be proactive (see next tip!).
4. Make Social Media Your Best Friend. Say 'hello' to free advertising! If you know anything about marketing and advertising, or even if you don't, you know that social media is the world's greatest free contribution to networking and advertising. Don't be afraid to use your Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest (especially Pinterest!) to 'sell' your products. With all the ridiculous junk there is online, people enjoy seeing uplifting posts about awesome things you're selling. Also, PEOPLE LOVE PRETTY THINGS. I interned for Shabby Apple last year working with their social media. Hands down, no questions, our followers shared, re-tweeted, repinned, etc. "pretty images" the most. People like things that catch their eye. So take time to take good pictures of your products. Use photoshop to make a little 'ad' here and there. Even if people don't know what your shop is, if they like what they see on social media and it catches their attention (again, especially Pinterest!), they will share it with others.
5. Have Fun!! Ok, this sounds so super cheesy. But it is so super true. I had thought about selling jewelry for years because I used to make it for fun. However, when I thought about how much I was going to have to sell it for to make profit, worrying about if people liked my jewelry designs, etc. I realized that for me, selling jewelry would be a chore and not fun. I love being a small business owner because I share what I love with people. And I found talents that I have to share with people and I'm able to make a little extra cash (it's so fun when you forget people pay via paypal and you randomly find money hidden there). So this is fun for me. Find something you love doing and it will come naturally to you!
Anyway, let me know if you have questions! And if you've been thinking about opening a shop, I recommend it!
Have a fabulous Monday!