Making the Case for Handmade
When writing item descriptions, remember that you are not just making the case for buying your product but for buying handmade. With Etsy’s growing popularity, more and more shoppers are browsing the site in general internet searches. The bigger Etsy gets, the more I’ve noticed shoppers forgetting what makes all of our work so unique – it’s handmade! Etsy isn’t a big box store, so use your item listings as a chance to remind shoppers that what they are browsing is a carefully made one-of-a kind creation going from your hands to theirs. Here are a few things about handmade you might want to emphasize in your item listings.
You made this item. I crochet each of my sweaters by hand and often assume people browsing my shop understand that. I recently had an email asking me where I have my sweaters made, and I realized that some shoppers may not realize that I alone create all of the items in my shop by hand. I now include more of that information in my profile and item listings. I make all my items all by myself…sometimes sitting in my PJs watching Netflix (but we won’t include that part).
The buyer can talk to the designer and manufacturer directly. Before Etsy ,the only time I ever got to meet someone that made what I was buying was at the holiday craft show in my home town. This interaction is what makes the online handmade marketplace so fantastic! If you welcome questions or inquiries about custom items, it’s good to reiterate that in item listings. If people convo you with questions, emphasize the “I” aspect of what you do. I used to always write “we” because my husband does help out with my business, and it seemed like we had a little more authority. Now I realize my individuality is the best part of what I do. I’m the designer. I’m the manufacturer. I’m the person packaging this item for you and placing it in the mailbox. It’s all me!
Emphasize time spent. It takes me hours and hours to create a sweater. My prices are a reflection of wanting to pay myself at least minimum wage for everything I make. While it’s great that our handmade items are appearing in general shopping searches across the web, it’s tough to be compared alongside big box store prices. If you have spent years fine tuning your craft, customers are paying for that expertise as well. As sellers I think it’s important to set fair prices that reinforce the value of our time, and by writing about our process we help customers understand what they are paying for.
Emphasize craftsmanship. I bought a set of throw pillows on Etsy last year and bought a pillow from a department store at the same time. The handmade pillows still look brand new. They were made with a high quality fabric and the stitches were all carefully reinforced. My department store pillow has seen better days. As handmade sellers, we know that handmade usually means a very carefully made high quality product. The handmade items may cost a little more, but they will last a long time. Handmade products are a great investment, use your item listing as a chance to highlight the quality and durability of what you make.
Emphasize the unique nature of what we do. I am continually blown away by the things I see on Etsy and other handmade marketplaces. I love to own unique items, and shopping handmade is the best way to find them. Living in Nebraska, I now have the same access to amazing one of a kind pieces that someone in New York City might have (if only that mid-century vintage furniture didn’t cost so much to ship!). When we shop handmade we are taking away a little bit of the creative energy that went into making the item. Share something about yourself with your shoppers. For many people who understand and love handmade, they know they aren’t just purchasing a handmade item but investing in the future of a worldwide creative community.