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starting out on etsy for beginners | Hooked by Katistarting out on etsy for beginners | Hooked by Kati
Selling Crochet

Starting Out On Etsy

As usual, I do not claim to be an expert on Etsy. But I would love to offer up the lessons I have learned (and the ones I am learning every day) to help you with your Etsy business.

I feel like I hear very mixed reviews as Etsy goes. People mostly either list a few items and are upset that they haven’t sold anything in a year or they have great success and have a thriving business. But the difference is not just luck or the curse of a saturated market — the difference is in several key moves that can make or break your Etsy shop.

Before you decide to open up an Etsy shop, think about the time you have to offer your business and what your goals for it really are.

Do you make something unique that is not already offered in abundance?

Can you drop everything and make a custom order in less than a week?

Can you contribute a small piece of your day to updating your shop?

Are your sales goals long term or short term?

If you have control over your schedule, are willing to put in the time, and you are out for a long term business, Etsy might be right for you. If you are just unhappy with your messy bun hat sales on Facebook and you want to make money for the holidays, then Etsy may not be for you. Etsy can take a while to build up business and is not a “get rich quick” method of business.

On Etsy, you open a shop. Think of it as a long string of stores in a mall — all open and sharing their wares. Etsy is only the mall. It may give you a place to put your shop, but you need to put up appealing signs, fill your store with things for shoppers, and get them to come in the door. 

Brand Yourself

Once you decide on a unique shop name, decide how you want people to remember your shop? Can you recognize the logo from your favorite store? Maybe a unique font will be your image. And the reflect it in your banner, watermark, etc. Do you have a color scheme that you can work into the background of your photography? Check out this site to find out more about how color affects marketing.
 

My brand is using a ball of yarn for an ‘O’ in my title, and I try to incorporate that in my signage.

 Photography

There are tons and tons of blogs about Etsy photography. This topic is a hot one, and has been all the way back to the beginning of the Ebay revolution. The basics are as follows:

·         Use natural light and no flash.

·         Photograph against a solid background. 

·         Get close ups.

·         Take pictures in more than one location or in use, if possible. 

·         Post as many photos as possible. You get 10 photos per listing — use them.

When I knew Etsy was the place for me, I knew I needed a light box. I looked at a lot, I made one of my own, and ultimately, I invested in a nice one that didn’t require me to also buy lights, a tripod, and backgrounds. 

This one is prelit (something that I think is a MUST for a light box) allowing me to take photos with crystal clear light, without shadows, and without having to plug in 100 things for every photo shoot. This one is also big enough for me to fit any crochet critter inside without worry of it bumping the edge and causing ugly shadows. 

There are 2 places vital to your work ending up in a Google or Etsy search, the title and the tags.

Name your item with the most detail you can, using words that people would search for. Use the whole space.Think of every other way a person would refer to your item if they saw it.

Do not use all caps for more than TWO WORDS. Any more than that, and the buyer will overlook them.  

The tags are words often used to search for the item. This is where you lump a few words together to make your item come up higher on the list by being specific about the most possible searches.If someone searches for a “dragon crochet pattern,” my pattern will appear in the results if I use individual tags “dragon” “crochet” or “pattern.” However, if I know that “dragon crochet pattern” is a common way to search for it and I use the whole phrase as a tag, my Dragonling shows up higher on the results because one of the tags now is a perfect match to that search.  As with the title, use ALL the tags you are allowed. 

The More There Is To See, The More They Will Look

The more items in your shop, and the more you regularly add new products, the more traffic you will have. There is no magic number for how many items you should have. But if you were looking in a store at the mall and they only had four T-shirts on the rack, would you stop and browse or would you walk on by after feeling like you had seen it all? Places like Spencer’s and Bath and Body Works draw in shoppers by having so many things it just makes people curious what else is in the store.

People LOVE options. Even if it means listing various colors of similar products separately, it will draw people to slow down and look at the whole shop.

Renew More Often

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Twenty cents gets you 4 months of post time for a listing. However, if you leave that item up, it will quickly become pushed to the second, third, and then fourth page of the search results, because new and renewed items come up higher. Decide what your budget is, and renew your items before they expire. I try to do mine once a month. Several larger shops renew their listings once a week to make sure they always have prime placement. It’s your choice how often, but it is worth the extra 20 cents here and there to sell more products.

Update and Decorate

Everyone loves holidays! The Fall and Winter holidays account for up to 30% of the retail industry’s total annual sales. Be sure that your shop is taking advantage of this love of the holidays. Change you shop banner to fit the season. Re-photograph a popular product with a holiday theme background or props and use it as the item thumbnail photo. Offer coupons or sales based on the holidays. 

The decorating displays at department stores and shop windows are half the fun of shopping in the mall around the holidays — Etsy is no different. 

If you have any other tips please leave them in the comments! Let’s start a dialog to help each other out!

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