Last updated by at .

My Etsy Highs & Lows so far…

I have now owned an Etsy shop for just over a month. So here some of my comments on it’s progress so far.

.

I’ll start with the positives (as one always should).

  • Increase in new customers - By far the best thing about my Etsy shop is the number of new customers have filtered through to my main shop. I was expecting a modest rise in new customers for my main shop as a result of my Etsy shop, but not this many!
  • Increased visibility on the web - Etsy always shows up higher in the web searches so if you carefully link all of your websites/blogs/shops together it is a lot easier for visitors to find you. So for instance if someone new clicks on my Etsy shop (which I gave the same name as my main shop and blog) it won’t be long before they discover my main shop…
  • Community – The Etsy community is huge and members can participate at so many different levels from just buying stuff on etsy to setting up groups/teams etc. Members can get seriously involved with al sorts of Etsy community stuff and the more you put in the more visibility in the Etsy community you will receive, but to be honest I personally don’t have the time to spare.

.

…and the not so postive…

  • The copy-cats – Before I set up my Etsy shop I was pretty much aware that copying goes on in the craft world online. Now I have my own Etsy shop I of course have more of a vested interest in the copying that goes on with in Etsy. And IMHO it is worse within Etsy than is is outside of it. I was copied within 2 weeks and I know of sellers who’s top selling items have been copied and then undersold by copyists. I’m personally not bitter about it, after all I sell supplies so it hurts less than when someone copies your design and reproduces it. Also I’m sure my philosophical and calm outlook is partly a result of my not relying on my Etsy shop for my main income. I am dismayed by the lack of soul and morals that copyists have, but I firmly believe in moving on and always striving to be head and shoulders above them. However, I’m aware that I do have the luxury of simply turning the other cheek. I do feel for others who have tried their hardest to offer beautiful and unique items only to have some lazy s**thead come along and swipe their designs.

.

Conclusion (this is all sounding like an essay)

I still think that having and Etsy shop is very worthwhile because of the sheer number of new customers you can potentially attract and Etsy is important for search engine searches, but I think (if you can manage it) you need other selling venues besides Etsy (such as your own website, other Etsy style shops and how about your own blog – more about that in a minute). Take the time to link all of your selling venues together. Sprinkle the links of your various sites within each other regularly. You MAY want to consider selling your more sensitive/special items outside of Etsy if you are concerned about copyists.

I am going to be selling my own patterns on my other blog. Do you remember I spoke a while back about E-Junkie? Well I am going to be using them and the juicy discount code for 3 months FREE remains active indefinitely. Check it out for yourselves if you like.

E-Junkie the stunningly simple selling solution for your craft business – Exclusive discount.

Reporting on my first week on ETSY – what I’ve learned so far…

I listed my first Etsy items last week (on the 14th), I made my first sales on the same day and I celebrated by eating a dee-lish-ush gooey toffee muffin. So a week later I am reporting back to you good folks with what I’ve learned and some of my observations so far…

.

.

Why I’m liking Etsy so far…

  • It’s the one of the most established ‘Craft Mall’ sites – which means that it has more users (sellers and buyers). Of course, the only thing with having lots of other sellers in the same mall is that it can be easy to get lost in a sea of other shops. This means that there is more of an onus on sellers to market themselves, but then, business marketing is important. You gotta do it!
  • Ease of use - I was genuinely surprised at how easy it was to set up shop. Yes, I already do run another shop, but my main shop’s admin and payment system is completely different to that of Etsy’s. I tell you what, I wish it was as easy to set up my main shop as it what to set up my Etsy shop! The steps to setting up and listing items on Etsy are pretty intuitive and if you get stuck the help, FAQs and forums are excellent.
  • Etsy community - I really like the convo facility on Etsy. This is a messaging system that buyers and sellers can use to message you and say Hi!, ask you for product info, or other comments. It’s nicely laid out, efficient and easy to use. I also really dig the feedback system. I think that customer feedback is a very good thing to have on your site and because it is widely used on Etsy it’s an added motivation for buyers and sellers to be good to each other :) The forums are an excellent source of news, business advice and support and encouragement.

.

This Weeks Top Etsy selling tips;

  1. If you can, list around 3 items every day (or as often as poss) – be they brand new items or adding to stock of existing items. Doing this will keep your items and your shop high in the list of searches so buyers can more easily find you. So if for instance you have 6 of the same bracelets to sell consider listing them over 3 days instead of in one go, on one day.
  2. Choose tags carefully and be generous with them, (but stay relevant, or Etsy may delete them). When choosing tags think of what a buyer would type into the search box when trying to look for a given item, think of as many relevant word combinations as you can and include them all. It’s worth the effort. Take for example a glue that I sell. This fabric glue happens to be wonderful for purse making so the tags that I have for this glue are as follows: gutermann, glue, fabric, purse, making, frame, sewing, supplies, commercial.
  3. Market yourself. I know I keep going on and on about this, but as you have already heard me say (umpteen times) there’s not much point in making something beautiful when no one out there knows it exists. I made a big noise about the opening of my shop by blogging about it, but instead of just letting folks know about the shop opening I offered a tempting freebie to the first 10 customers of the shop to get the ball rolling. It worked pretty quickly! If you can, do periodically offer gifts to customers because everyone likes a gift now and again.

Why U-Handbag is now also on Etsy – expanding your Craft Business with Etsy

Thanks for your lovely engagement congrats everyone! To be honest I’m a bit nervous about the wedding organisation plans. I think it’s much easier to run a business. Heh! :)

This last week have been busy planning and setting up my new Uhandbag Etsy shop and I’ve had great fun doing it! Most folks who have read CraftBoom! will know that I’m a fan of Etsy for all sorts of reasons, one being that Etsy shops are wonderfully easy to set up and for that reason Etsy is a brilliant training ground for when/if you gravitate towards setting your your own website. I know that lots of folks do just that, they set up an Etsy shop and they learn about running a craft business on the fly, then when their business grows they branch out into other outlets (such as their own website) whilst keeping their etsy shop active. As for me, I’m doing things the other way round. I already have my own established and happy website, but now I have just opened an Etsy shop and in this post I’ll explain my reasons for doing so.

.

My Etsy shop banner (it took me flipping ages!)

.

Etsy will help me gain new customers (my main reason for opening an Etsy):

I think that U-Handbag has a pretty shiny record when it comes to happy customers and many of our new customers become repeat customers (which is wonderful!). We try our very best to keep all of our customers happy, but in some ways it is harder to find new customers. In the past I used google pay per click to help with marketing and advertising. I’ve since decided it’s way too bl*%dy expensive and in my experience, very hit and miss. I now market U-Handbag by blogging, writing in magazines and now my Etsy shop will hopefully be put in front of thousands of potential customers who haven’t heard of us before.

The best thing about folks who are surfing around on Etsy is that they are either craft buyers or they are crafters themselves this means that the Etsy audience is more targeted to what we have to offer, which is craft supplies. Not only are there thousands of folks surfing on Etsy at any one time, these folks are from all over the world, all looking for some international crafty goodness! This means that hopefully we will also gain more international customers.

.

Etsy is wonderful for SEO (that’s Search Engine Optimisation folks):

Most anyone who has their own website or blog will love to have their own site appear in the first 10 searches on google/yahoo,ask etc. etc. etc. (in other words, having your site at the top of the list on the first search page is flipping great!). Search engine searches are ranked by popularity which means the higher your site the more (apparently) popular it is and hopefully the more likely folks will click on your site. Actually, my U-Handbag and blog site is at the top of the list on the first page of Google for all sorts of bag related searches. But let me tell you, for me to appear at the top of the Google search page took MUCHOS time and LOADS of twiddling about. One of the brilliant things about Etsy is that it takes no time at all for your Etsy shop appear high on the list of search engine searches (without all of the usual pfaffing around).

.

Etsy is very resourceful when it comes to craft business advice:

We can always learn something new everyday. Etsy does try to support it’s shop owners by providing business advice, and good advice it is too (it has to be otherwise folks would shut their Etsy account down!) I’ll be checking out their Storque regularly to see what business tips and inspiration I can glean for FREE! I’d be mad not to, right?

.

The timing for us to expand with an Etsy shop is right:

There are a few major milestones in the life of any business and when they are reached/overcome you can congratulate yourself/heave a sigh of relief. (Don’t quote me, I just read them in various places) in general they are:

  • The first 6 months for bricks and mortar – and 1 year for web based businesses is a sensitive time, get past this milestone and things are looking promising.
  • Break even in 2 years – of course this will vary from individual to individual and is dependant on the type of business and what the start-up costs were, but on average businesses can expect not to turn a profit for first 2 years.
  • Expansion - get this wrong and you can really mess things up! Expansion isn’t always about being bigger and better, often it is also about staying one step ahead of the competition or keeping things fresh and exciting for your customers. Either way business expansion requires careful thought, planning and sometimes a considerable amount of investment.

So I’m am very grateful to say that U-Handbag has safely passed the aforementioned milestones. We’re doing OK and things are steady. So I feel that it is safe and prudent to expand, I have taken on new staff, (one of which has her own Etsy shop) so we can cope efficiently with the extra work load.

I’ll be sure to keep you posted on the progress of the Etsy shop set-up and any tips that I learn on the way :)

Back from hols, engaged to be married and raring to…set up an Etsy shop

Hello Everyone!

I am still very much here. I have just returned from a much needed holiday in Cambodia and Laos. It was wonderful, inspiring and where my man asked me to marry him – yay!

The craft scene is so vibrant and alive in SE Asia. You can see girls and women in shops, cafes and sitting on the streets sewing, weaving and embroidering wherever you go. Also the hand craft of some tribes people (the Hmong tribe) is their livelihood and many tribes people still make and embellish their own clothes, costume, and jewellery. Their work is intricate, colourful and traditional – it was sooooo inspiring to see craft so tightly interwoven into the lives of so many.

There are many cooperatives and groups that work with tribes people and others to support and preserve their hand craft and their precious skills so that factories don’t get a look in. These folks are not only incredibly talented, they are proud of their skills and they are seriously the happiest and friendliest strangers I have ever met on my travels. You get the sense that craft is as integral to their lives now as it has been for centuries – which to me is comforting! I felt that even on holiday, thousands of miles away from my work I was still surrounded by lovely crafters and mucho handmade goodness.

Unfortunately I don’t have any pics of tribal art and craft to show you because my memory card is corrupted grrrrrrrr! If you’d like to see some of the tribal craft you can look here.

So I’m back at work now and really happy to be as well. I still have a monster inbox to get through, but we’re getting there. My assistants have kept the shop ship-shape whist I’ve been away and now we are cooking up something new and (for me) very exciting. After all my extolling the many virtues of Etsy on CraftBoom! I am now going to open up my own Etsy shop – hurrah!

Now I know that many folks often do things the other way round, they open up an Etsy shop and then they look into setting up their own website, and many folks continue to run both – whereas I already have an established website and now I am setting up an Etsy shop. I think I have good reasons for doing this and I will explain these reasons to you in subsequent posts. For the time being you can check out my progress in setting up my U-Handbag Etsy shop here.

Ohhh! I can’t wait to get going! I’ll be sure to keep a diary of the set-up on this blog – maybe we can help each other with tips and advice. It’s great to back! :)

Here are a couple of helpful CraftBoom! posts on Etsy: