Tuesday , 21 November 2017

Etsy FAQ : Tips From A 4 Year Etsy Veteran

50 Keep Calm And Carry On Lip Balms

50 Keep Calm And Carry On Lip Balms | by: KreatedbyKarina

The longer you are involved with something the more you are bound to learn.  Karina has been selling on Etsy for over 4 years and she has kindly shared her tips for running a successful Etsy shop.

Karina from KreatedbyKarina says: Veteran

In a few months I’ll be celebrating 4 years on Etsy! To mark the day, I thought I’d share some of my best-kept secrets from running Soap That Makes Scents (well, ok, they are not really secrets but rather segments of advice I have given out here in the forums or in convos as a member of the Sellers Assisting Sellers Team). An FAQ of sorts, and it’s all here in one place for you–might be a long read but you can pick out the parts you find useful to reach your own level of success:

~ Promoting ~

Probably the most common question I get asked is “how do you promote?”

My best tip is to figure out your target audience and promote directly to them.

Promoting to a wide audience is fine, but in the end you’ll save yourself a lot of time, money and energy focusing your advertising strategies on those people who are more likely to purchase your products.

Think about the ideal person who would shop in your store—how old are they? What sort of websites/blogs would they most likely visit? What kind of magazines do you think they likely to read? What areas of the city would they live in? You can expand to other brainstorming questions but those few should give you a good start in figuring out the type of people who frequent your shop (as well as the type of people you want to direct your items to).

Once you’ve figured out your target audience, you can then take out ads on those same blogs, websites, magazines etc. Or concentrate on doing craftshows geared towards that “type” of audience.

~ When Selling, Think Like A Buyer ~

For instance…when trying to figure out how to tag your items, think of how YOU search for items when shopping. Do you search by color, or by certain keywords you find yourself using over and over? If so, use them in your tags as well. A great way of figuring out how to describe/tag your item is to ask friends and family. Let them take a look at what your selling (or give them a sample!) and ask what single words they would use to describe it to others. Pick out the most relevant and common ones and use those as tags if they fit, or incorporate some of their suggestions into your item descriptions.

Also—think about what promotional tactics work on YOU. Do you sign up for lots of newsletters? Maybe it’s time you offered one of your own to your customers. Do you find yourself throwing away business cards, but keeping magnets and always reminding yourself “to check out that store” everytime you see it on the fridge? Invest in getting some promotional magnets made to give out with your orders or to people you meet. Things like that.

~ Organization Is Important ~

When I started out, I had supplies laying around everywhere–and I mean *everywhere*. My husband used to joke that at times he felt as though he lived in a warehouse. I realized that I was wasting a lot of time by having to go to one place for a box/envelope, one place for a pen, one place for a business card and soap sample, one place to collect the invoice, etc. Now I have a room dedicated to packaging, shipping, wrapping and labeling–Everything is stored in clear plastic bins, and out of reach from tiny hands. Recently we moved the computer in there as well just to make things even more easier. Keeping everything in one place can streamline the process from the time you receive an order, to the time it’s shipped out.

~ Going Full Time~

(I took this part below from part of my QYDJ Storque interview so it may seem repetitive if you’ve read it)

Another common question I get is about how I made the transition from part-time soapmaker to full-time soapmaker. The easy answer would be “I just took the leap, and everything worked out fabulous!!” The more realistic answer is that it was a lot of planning ahead of time, tight budgeting to make my business self-sustainable and turn a profit, plenty of sacrifice (time, energy, luxuries), a bit of luck, and old-fashioned hard work.

If you don’t have a Business Plan drawn up, I seriously urge you to get one. You can find lots of information and templates (as well as full examples) at www.sba.gov It truly is my opinion that no business can succeed fulltime without one. My husband and I sat down and wrote ours several years ago. A business plan covers not only your company’s mission and planning out your target audience, but also your fiscal projection for several years ahead, all costs associated with running it from the beginning (ie. license cost, capital needed, utilities, supplies, advertising budget and a slew of other areas), HOW you plan on covering these costs, short and long-term goals, and will become your Business Manual of sorts. Plus, if you need to go to a bank for a loan to finance your business at any time, many will want to see your business plan (which should then also cover how you plan on paying your lender back).

As it stands now, Soap That Makes Scents pays for itself, with enough left over to pay our bills and rent, as well as groceries, etc. Etsy has been incredible in exposure and while they are the forefront and a large part of my business, I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that craftshows, wholesale accounts, and private soap parties (and online soap parties!) make up a large portion of my income–although I wouldn’t have gotten any of those accounts if it hadn’t been for them finding me on Etsy.com

It’s our goal for my husband to quit HIS day job in either 2011 or 2012 by the latest. He’s already taken the first step by reducing his hours at work.

Read more awesome tips from Karina about money, competition , and newsletters HERE in the Etsy forums.

Giving important Etsy forum threads written by the Etsy community a second look, so Etsy sellers can Read, Learn, and Apply!  Find more Etsy Tips Here!

Chocolate Espresso - Handmade Shea Butter Vegan Soap

Chocolate Espresso - Handmade Shea Butter Vegan Soap

 

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33 comments

  1. fabulous, I appreciate your honest realistic advice :)

  2. I am new to Etsy and excited to get started. Thank you for sharing your experience and keep up the hard work.

  3. Love the tips! Thanks :)

  4. Such great advice…move the craft creation from the living room to the spare bedroom…and being organised is always a challenge. Thanks for the tips and great advice.

    Blessings on you and all those you love!

  5. Great advice! I’m looking forward to the day that my shop can sustain my bills full time :)

  6. ihave been spending weeks–hours each day promoting me site–it cuts into the time of making the jewelry to sell–the best part of your story–seeking the target audience part–thats one thing ineed to gogo and do now–thank ye for pointing that out

  7. I drove like a “mad woman” to get home to read this. All the more reasons I need a laptop to take with me.

    I took several notes. Target audience–I’m exploring this right now, looking for ways to save time and promote to those who are looking for my items.

    Have pondered the newletter several times. She makes key points here. Always thankful for a reference link.

    I have the organization down to a “T”–

    And I dream of going Full-Time someday, it’ll come, I’m determined.

    And regarding the “scrap metal everywhere” Tim—little toes will be wandering soon around the house!!

  8. Hmm…what would be your advice for sellers who just sell things they happen to make, not striving to make a living off of their shop?

    I notice I tend to price my items far lower than similar ones made by professional Etsy shops, because I care more about getting some money back to go buy more supplies and make something else, and don’t really have expectations of a big profit.

    In that wise, or should I price up my items? I’m always afraid that no one will buy it if I price too high.

  9. Thank you for this very useful advice!

  10. You hit the nail on the head ~ Without a plan, plan to fail.

    p.s. We’re with Tim on organization. There’s the wood and machinery for the frames and custom canvas, the paints,….. The office is in better shape.

  11. I am struck by her line, “…then buy ads on those websites.”

    The issue I’m dealing with is—do I buy ads? How many ads do I buy? Does it make sense to buy ads when the cost cancels out the extra business that comes in?

    Re the last one, I’m inclined to think yes, because you bring customers in the door who can then become repeat customers…

    BUT, you’re still basically operating with no profit or at a loss in order to cover the advertising… how to weigh how much advertising is the right amount??

    I’ve read some etsy sellers who say they DON’T pay for advertising. But I feel like the business can’t move to the next step without it. Advice, Tim or anyone?

  12. Great tips…keep up the good work and best of luck!

  13. I’ve been asked to send photos of my working space for my shops, and oh boy, do I have some organizing to do! I understand how important it can be for keeping things in their places and having that separation of personal and business.

    Thanks so much for sharing your experience, it’s always such a treat to hear these personal stories.
    (http://howlingdogsstudio.etsy.com)

  14. Writing a business plan is a lot of work, but entirely worth it. Planning and having a marketing plan is important as well.

  15. Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your 4 years at Etsy. Great advice on the business plan and finding your target audience.

  16. It was great to read your post this morning about your well deserved success with your store. I’ve been feeling a bit low about my lack of sales and it cheered me up and renewed my creativity to hear a success story!

  17. How beautifully you have expressed it all! I know I have to be MORE organized and my target audience…still untapped! I really have a long way to go and start on craft shows. Well, working on my SEO and pictures. I guess the fruits of labor will show eventually!

  18. Great article, with some very practical advice!

  19. Finding the target audience is the difficult part. I make sail ships, birds, animals, people etc. With rice leaves. How do I find my niche market? Great article. Lot of useful info. Thanks.

  20. LOVE the advice about getting your workspace/shipping station/materials all in one place. My business recently received a little boost and the end result has been yay – more money and boo – crafting crap all over the living room. I’ve been brainstorming ways to make a real, functional ‘crafting space’ in a portion of the finished attic that we’ve already sectioned off for me. I can not WAIT to have all kinds of cubbies, drawers, shelves and crannies to put organized supplies in!

  21. Ray — you should try marketing to coastal, nautical places. I live on the Maine coast and people love anything ship, bird, sea related.

    Not sure about the animals/people – maybe target pet owners for the animal ones?

  22. I’m with the people who struggle with the decision to by ads. I did try that once, last fall I bought some Facebook advertising. At that time my shop had primarily beanies and scarves so we targeted people who were into winter sports and ran the ad for 2 weeks. I got about 30 fans but no sales. I’m undecided if the exposure for the shop was worth the money.

    As for the business plan, I don’t have one yet and am not good at sticking to a budget. At this point, I’ve spent far more on supplies than I have in sales, as my husband reminds me everytime a new box is delivered.

  23. Great article! I Love your shop and all your homemade soaps!

  24. Thanks for the honest article. I do believe that it is a lot of hard work to make it a success. It’s a challenge still, working on promoting and marketing myself to the target audience. Someone mentioned about newsletter. That is my to-do list too. Thanks for the great tips!

  25. Thank you so much for the tips! I have read many and I always learn something or reemphasize something I need to focus on. The handmade community is so generous, I love being a part of it. I also realize that until I am more organized and really sit down and make a solid plan I will not make that leap to the next level.

  26. Congratulations on your success & thank you for the tips. I particularly like the one on finding your market & marketing directly to them. I’m still working on this, but it would be a great time saver!

  27. Very good advices. I am struggling right now with the organization part. I keep making things rather than organizing. It has taken over my dining room. Definitely one of my goals this summer. The business plan is another big one. Thank you so much.

  28. Organization is elusive but hope springs eternal, although ‘hope’ isn’t exactly a strategy!
    Hide A Heart

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