I became obsessed with Etsy in college while planning my wedding. I didn't have much time for DIY-ing as I was hustling just trying to finish college and graduate on time. Etsy sellers, bless them, made my wedding ideas and dreams come to life by creating one of a kind products for my big day.
Now here's something you should know about me....something that has been critical to my etsy savvy-ness: I have always had an entrepreneur/go-getter spirit. I get it from my Dad. I was the kid who had lemonade stands as often as my parents would allow and started my babysitting business, complete with business cards, at age 12. I started "working" at my dad's used car lot at a young age (AKA licking some envelopes, organizing some keychains and then taking a nap on the floor in his office), but always thought about how awesome it must be to own your own business. After my husband and I got married, I went through a number of jobs. In about a 6 month span, I worked at an elementary school, I worked at a clothing boutique and I worked as a nanny for an infant. My determination (borderline obsession) to create an untraditional job and to own my own business working from home brought me back to Etsy and that's where this all began 3 years ago.
Now, I'm always getting questions about how to become an etsy seller.
So let me begin by saying I definitely do not have all the answers, BUT I have learned a ton from my almost 3 years as a shop owner that I would love to share.
Here are my Top 5 tips (in no particular order)
for starting YOUR VERY OWN Etsy business!
1. Narrow your focus
When I started selling on Etsy, I made only pinback buttons. I know, that's incredibly random, but that's what I picked for some reason. I started to expand and began to make art prints, magnets, invitations, labels, wedding programs...whatever I could think of. The problem was, I wasn't doing any of it well. However, I did notice that the labels were selling. I ditched a lot of the things I wasn't doing well and placed my focus on labels. I upgraded to higher quality supplies and my products were SO MUCH BETTER. You know what? My sales got better too.
2. Use high quality listing photos
This tip is super important. Your listing photo is the first impression of your product. When I search for anything on etsy, if the photo is dim or unappealing, I don't even bother to click the link. And guess what? You DO NOT need some fancy camera to have great pictures. Iphones are pretty darn incredible and with editing apps like VSCO and Snapseed you can easily make your photos look professional. Just remember to take your photos with bright white or natural backgrounds. You don't want some busy background to take away from your product. If your products are digitally made, there are plenty of great mockups on Etsy or Creative Market to look into as well! I wish I had some of my original listing photos so y'all can see how truly terrible they were, but they have been long since deleted for good reason.
3. Your listing titles, descriptions and tags are important
Your titles, descriptions and tags should have keywords that help shoppers searching on etsy find your products. You should utilize all the space available in order to load your title with those important, descriptive words. For example, if you sell jewelry, you'll want to describe that jewelry as best as possible in your title, using words you think buyers would type into a search bar. The first few words of your title have the most sway in search results, so make them count. Let's say you sell statement necklaces... Instead of having your title be:
"Blue Crystal Statement Necklace"
a better option would be:
"Statement Necklace - Blue and Gray - Crystal - Bib Necklace -Chunky Necklace - Gifts for Her - Birthday Gift "
What if someone doesn't call it a statement necklace, but a chunky necklace? Make sure you include everything your item could potentially be called. Be sure to look at your shop stats weekly and see which search terms are bringing buyers to your listings and which ones aren't. This process may take some guess and check until you get it right.
4. Provide the BEST customer service
This is where you really have a chance to differentiate your small business from the "big guys." You have the opportunity to communicate with every single person that makes a purchase from you. I make sure to slap a quick "Thanks for your order" sticker on every package I send out just to let the buyer know they are appreciated. Make sure your shipping and return policies are clearly stated in your descriptions and respond with grace to any problems your customers may have. Answer your convos in a timely manner! If a buyer has a question or request and doesn't hear back from you quickly, that buyer will find another shop to purchase from. Don't be unrealistic about what you are able to handle, but do know that there's no better advertisement than word of mouth through happy and satisfied customers.
5. Be Patient
I started my shop in 2013.
In 2013 I had 16 sales.
In 2014, I had 122 sales.
In 2015, I had 698 sales.
This year, I have surpassed 2300 sales.
As you can see, establishing your shop takes time. Don't get discouraged. Don't take shortcuts. Success does not happen overnight.
Who wants to hear a funny story? In the summer of 2014, my sweet, patient, supportive husband sat with me at my table at the downtown market almost every Saturday while I tried to sell my buttons and magnets. I think I made $10 that summer and the table cost me $50 so really make that NEGATIVE $40 (And somehow I am still smiling)