Ok. So you have stuff to sell and a place to sell it but to make a sale you need to attract customers. It’s a catch 22 but you’re more likely to be found on etsy if you already have a few sales and positive reviews. So how do you get started?
My first sale was by one of my best friends, and so was the second, and the third. I owe them so much because they helped to kickstart my job and allowed others to find me. I wouldn’t have had the courage to even post things if they hadn’t told me they loved them.
I use instagram and facebook to let people know what I’m up to and get asked to make certain things available in the shop which is great. Also this blog! I’m still finding out how to make myself more ‘discoverable’.
Anyway! So you made a sale and the app makes a really satisfying “ka-ching!” noise. How are you going to pack it? I started off making my own cardboard and parcel paper packages but now I have boxes of tubes and reinforced envelopes ready for orders to be slipped in. I pop in a postcard with my details and a personal thank you message. Some sellers make beautiful packages and I’m working on how to make my items arrive at their new homes in style. Like making hand stamped gift tags!
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last few months watching videos and reading blog posts to improve my etsy shop. The best source is Etsy itself which has forums between sellers as well as free email courses to help you out and a blog full of inspiring stories. Sites like Skillshare and Makelight also have courses, some of which are free.
Also there are plenty of makers who share their experience on Youtube. One Youtuber said something which really made me smile; “There’s room for everyone.” So whatever it is you do just go for it. You don’t know until you’ve tried
This is part 3 of my etsy as a beginner round up and it gets into the nitty gritty and uncomfortable subject of prices. I am still very much learning my way but this is where I am.
Description and price
If I was putting up a new kind of item on etsy the first thing I would do is see who else is doing the same sort of thing. It’s also an opportunity to discover new people and get new ideas (like I just did and got completely distracted).
Reading their descriptions helps to give the listing a skeleton that I can then flesh out. It can also show what makes the item unique.
Pricing is the most uncomfortable part for a lot of makers I think. Putting a price on you, your time and what you’ve done is difficult when you’re mostly a bundle of self-doubt tied together with string made of hope. Seeing what similar items are going for helps.
Price = materials + time is a good start to working out the minimum amount I need to make back from something. Add to this the cost of selling. Etsy takes a cut of 3.5% as a selling fee and the 16 pence to list. A gallery would take 40% and the shops I sell to want to make a nice profit as well. So I work out the retail price to cover these and that’s what I sell at.
You can always change the prices later but if something isn’t selling then reducing the price doesn’t make any difference from my experience. I don’t think people base their decisions on the cheapest on etsy unless they are between two very similar items. Sometimes people like what you do but right now they don’t need it. Like this guy!
I put him up a year ago and he has likes but I just don’t think anyone but me really needs a gravy boat with a whale on it. I’ve just tweaked the postage which was way off but this guy will not be relisted and once it expires and may end up mine.
Carrying on with my round up of what I learnt being on Etsy for a year. This is a tricky one for me though but by writing down here I can come and re-jig my memory and hopefully take my own advice!
Dammit Jim I’m a painter not a photographer!
Taking good photographs is my biggest weakness but I think they are are also the key for online success. When a customer searches for something they are usually presented with hundreds of thumbnails fighting for that precious click so I’ve been swotting up using sites like Skillshare and Makelight for tips.
A phone is fine! You don’t need the most expensive tech to make interesting photographs. The most vital step is taking a photo at all. The photo below I took just after opening my first box of stickers and just grabbed my phone.
Nothing beats natural light. Most light bulbs shine a warm yellow light which completely changes the look of a painting. I’ve bought white lightbulbs and camping led lights and nothing works like natural light. As long as it’s not direct! It’s good but too much light will bleach it! Below is a painting I finished late at night but I really should have waited until the next day.
Grab all the things. Dressing a photograph is a skill I’m only really starting to get to grips with. Putting items around a painting adds to its story. I started by adding the brushes and paints I used and now I’m adding natural items to portray my interests and my shops ethos. I want to start thinking about how, why and where I see my things ending up.
My etsy shop has been up and running for almost a year now and I finally feel like I know what I’m doing! Kind of? Maybe?!
Here is a step by step of how I get an item on etsy with what I have learnt on the way.
* Ok I wrote too much and instead of cutting down I will continue on next week xx
I imagine most makers first get the idea of an online shop when a friend tells them they would buy their stuff. My first customers were my lovely and supportive friends and I really value their opinion when thinking what to add to my shop. They are incredibly helpful when I post a question on facebook and they really steer me to the final product.
Instagram is also great for feedback. Somethings get more likes than others and that gives me a guide to what may prove more popular. Some people even suggest things and it’s a good way for me to keep an eye on what’s trending.
As you can see my things is painting, mostly wildlife. Painting is great because even though the original piece may take days to create I can sell prints, make cards, and my favourite thing: stickers! These are much more affordable to buy, but I do plan on putting up some originals on etsy and a listing for commissions like this one below.
I’m always looking for a new thing to put my designs on. My idea for stickers came from selling greeting cards to a local nature reserve who mentioned they needed more things for children. I discovered Awesome Merchandise and got hooked on creating stickers!
It takes a bit of a gamble but you don’t know until you try! I would love to hear your ideas on what to try next. I may already be looking at how to create pins 🙂
Next time I will be talking about photography! It’s definitely my weakest point so I have read so many blogs and watched courses upon courses.