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