Sunday, 4 October 2009

Promotion: Don't be shy!

We've all been there: Your shop is set up, everything is ready to go. You list an item and BANG. . . nothing. Absolutely nothing happens. You're item is dropped into the world of Etsy and unless you do something, that's were it's going to stay. It may be disheartening to look at your view counter and see a big fat zero but don't just sit there - do something about it!

You're shop is just a drop in the ocean of Etsy. It seems silly to take out an advertisement that could be costly and maybe not even that effective! Even the Etsy Showcase with it's inexpensive rates has often been dismissed by Etsy sellers due to it's poor return in terms of views and sales.

So what's a poor little Etsy seller to do? Well here are some things I have tried, and the best bit? They are all free!

  • Try designing your own business cards and print them off at home. Not only do these give people essential info if they want to purchase from you but it also shows you are a professional seller - even if you don't quite believe it yet.
  • If you make wearable items such as jewelry or clothes then don't be afraid to wear them out and about to work or at a party. You'll be amazed at how many people will ask about your item. And when they do just whip out your flash business card, give it to them and say (with buckets of confidence), "I made it myself."
  • Friends or family are your best salespeople! You might find it hard bragging about yourself but they certainly won't! If your items wearable give them one or two for free and give them a stash of business cards so they can throw them at anyone that asks
  • Try hanging around the Etsy forums. Not only can you pick up great tips but you can help other etsy sellers. The best bit is that potential customers can click on your avatar and visit your shop. Be careful though, remember that what you say will be viewed by potential customers so try to be positive and don't complain about low sales or bad customers.
  • Twitter! Yes I know it can be daunting and you might think it's useless. But if it gets you a couple of views on a newly listed item then what's the harm. Read this blog post for a bit more help.

Word of mouth is a powerful tool, one not to be underestimated just because it doesn't have an expensive price tag. So use it wisely and hopefully the connections you make with potential customers will turn into multiple sales and return buyers!

Friday, 2 October 2009

Music of the Moment

This week I've been going through my iTunes library and discovered all those songs I'd forgotten about. I know one of the things that make my day is when the good old iPod is on shuffle and a great, long ignored song, pops up and you remember just how much you like it :)

My top 10 songs this week have been:
1. Fifteen - Taylor Swift
2. I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing - Aerosmith
3. In Another Life - The Veronicas
4. Thinking of You - Katy Perry
5. Ave Maria - Beyonce
6. One Foot Wrong - Pink
7. Lucky - Jason Mraz
8. American Pie - Don McLean
9. Breakfast at Tiffany's - Deep Blue Something
10. Wonderwall - Oasis

So thats what I've been listening to this week - what about you?

Monday, 14 September 2009

My New Flowers

Im proud to introduce you to the latest additions to my shop. They are delicate flowers made using chiffon and finest organza with a few other beautiful materials thrown in!

I've worked hard to get the right look for these and I think they are finally worthy for their debut. Some of them are brooches and others are barrettes but all have been hand sewn and each individual petal has been fray-proofed. Then I have embellished each of the flowers with small beads to add a touch of sparkle.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Fortnightly Featured Seller

The fortnightly featured seller is back! Our seller today is Lisa or Sommersbreezeantique. A vinatge seller on Etsy, Lisa lives in Wisconsin but she and her husband travel to Arkansas in the winter to live in a cordwood cabin they built by hand.

Five years ago she sold a 10,000 square foot antique mall, which she started with her sister, Kim. Since then she continues to rent spaces in antique malls selling antiques as well as selling on Etsy. She works at a large Antique mall every other weekend and the occasional weekday.

I asked Lisa a few questions about herself and her work:

1. What got you started selling vintage?

I would spend several weekends with my Grandmother, Irma {now deceased} and though she never got her drivers license, she would take me out "junkin" in her big, old, white car. She was such a poor driver! But she loved yard sales so illegal turns down a one way were never a concern to her! Her goal was to get to that yard sale! My grandmother was was always trying to get a better deal, she was a haggler! I loved to watch her negotiate a better price, she humored me with her thrifty ways. I loved going on these rides with her and finding treasures. I studied her to learn her craft of bargain hunting. Thus the seed was planted and I have adored vintage items my entire life. You could say I carry my grandmothers traits with me when I go junkin!

2. What is your personal favorite item in your shop?

Lately, I seem to have gotten into a habit of listing vintage jewelry, both junk jewelry for re purposed artwork and wearable. And though I own several rubber maids full of vintage and antique jewelry, I really don't have a passion for it. Funny I guess, I don't wear jewelry, so It makes it easy to sell. I love the old photographs that I list, especially ones that make you think. I personally like the hard to find oddities. And I sometimes hoard them for a few years before offering them for sale. In the near future, I will be listing more old tins, shabby chic treasures and old feed sacks, those would be objects I adore. I also love the item I just listed a Vintage Ranger Alfalfa Seed Bag

3. What sort of places do you get your stock from?

This spring my husband along with a few local Amish men raised an old one room school house onto a huge flat bed trailer. They lowered it, secured it and hooked the wagon to a local farmer's tractor. At the crack of dawn, we set out towing this huge wooden school house down the back roads to find it's resting spot on our land. It was then lowered and filled with my inventory that I had stashed.... well, every where. I have purchased a few estates, shopped yard sales, gone to auctions and thrift sales and have an impressive amount of inventory on hand. My current plan {and reason I have stayed home today rather than join my husband at an auction} is to remove one box at a time from the school house and tag items for my rented spaces and take pictures of the smaller treasures to list on etsy. So to answer the question, I go to my yard and shop now!

4. You have had over 1300 sales on Etsy, I couldn't let you go without asking you what your top tips are.

When I sell an item on etsy, here is my check list that I follow:
1: I am honest about the item I am listing
2: I charge actual postage, without packing fees.
3: Once an item sells, I convo the buyer with my plans of shipping, which is the same to next day of payment recieved. I let them know what day to expect their package to arrive. I use a delivery confirmation which allows the buyer as well as myself to track the package. {Very Important}
4: I package the items up safely and securely and try to use recycled items in packing, yet tie a bow and make it look like a nice package, with out going into allot of expense in order to be able to charge the actual postage rate.
5: I try to leave positive feedback right away.
6: I have several regular buyers, I have learned their want lists, I try to list items best suited for them in Reserved Listings.
7: I follow through, if you buy from me, I want to know that you are happy!
8: The best advise I can give any seller, communicate!
I hope these tips help!

I'd like to thank Lisa for sharing her great story. She is genuinely one of the nicest sellers on Etsy that I have come across. Her shop has some gorgeous items and such a diverse range.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Time Management Tips

Well, you don't need to have been selling on Etsy for long before you realise there is so much to do and so little time to do it all in.

Think about it, you've got to be anything and everything for your little business. You have to create, list, photograph, market, work the forums, social networking, package, ship, monitor supplies, answer questions and all the little jobs that crop up. Phew. It's a lot. Especially if you're tied up with a job or school or kids.

It shocked me at first to discover that Etsy success doesn't just happen - you have to work your socks off to get it. You can't list as you walk out the door and arrive home to a sale. By no means am I anywhere near success but with so much else going on I have certainly found a way to squeeze my Etsy chores into my day.

Our human nature is to procrastinate, leave everything to the last minute. If you go online to list an item - do it. Don't check your email, dont go onto facebook. Go straight to Etsy and list the item. I always write a small list and stick it on my laptop saying exactly what I have to do.
For example:
1. Check Conversations
2. Send shipping notifications
3. List 2 new items
Once I finish the list I can do other things but the list is great for getting your mind to focus and you'll get the job done in half the time.

Another thing to try out is set a deadline for every task you undertake and then take a quarter of that time off. For example if you say you are going to make one item in an hour then take 15 minutes off. Therefore you're saying you will make it in 45 minutes. I always used to set deadlines for myself and I would always use up the whole time. However when you set yourself a shorter deadline you might find yourself taking up a lot less time! Your mind focuses on the task in hand and you can just get on with it.

My third and final tip is on to do lists. Firstly, be reasonable; you aren't going to list 10 items and go to work and make dinner and clean out the hamster cage and write a blog post and take photos all in one day so don't write it on the list. The best way I've found is to write your list in two columns: "To do today" and "To do by the end of the week" This system works well if you set realistic goals as you can finish your "today" list and start working on the "week" list. It means you can feel organized and can focus on putting your effort into your tasks. Remember once you've made your list, don't procrastinate! It will only take you longer.

So in summary my three tips for managing your time are:

1. Dont procrastinate

2. Set short (but achievable) time deadlines

3. Organize your tasks into lists

I hope these tips help!

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Delayed Feature

Hi there everyone.

Just to let you know that my blog hasn't been updated recently because I was out of the country and had no interenet access.

Normal updates will resume shortly. This includes the Fortnightly Featured Seller which I will be posting within the next couple of days (I know that it is slightly late and it is normally posted on a Wednesday but I don't want to make you guys wait for another fortnight!)

Thank you!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Fortnightly Featured Seller

So today I’m introducing a new regular blog item – The Fortnightly Featured Seller.

My featured seller for this fortnight is Michelle of She makes and sells jewellery. Michelle’s shop recently celebrated its second anniversary. A resident of Honolulu in Hawaii, Michelle graduated last year with a B.A. in Communications and a minor in Japanese and says when she’s not making jewellery she loves going to the movies and drinking champagne.

I asked Michelle a few questions about herself and her shop:

1. What inspires you to make such unique jewellery?

I'm inspired by fantasies from when I was a child. I wanted everything to be in pink and blue like cotton candy, ride on a unicorn and eat ice cream all day long. My grandmother owns a very large land area in Japan and made it into a beautiful garden that is now a popular tourist attraction. I would spend my childhood in her garden looking at blue Hydrangeas wishing I could take it all back home with me. In my shop, you will see lots of flowers from rose cameos to czech flower beads.

2. Which item in your shop is your favorite?

My favorite item in my shop is the Bermuda Blue Sunset Earrings. I love how at one angle it has a beautiful ocean hue color and if you look at it from another angle, it has a warm beautiful sunset color. Here's the link:

3. Which items do you enjoy making the most?

I enjoy making items with flower cabochons. You can add them to anything! I place them on lockets, on leaf petals, and they're gorgeous just by itself. Flower cabochons were the most popular last year during the Christmas season, so I will be definitely getting more of those :)

I’d like to say thanks to Michelle for being my first ever Fortnightly Featured Seller. If you would like to be featured contact me through the Etsy convo system. My shop is

Monday, 8 June 2009

Making Your Outfit Smile!

Well this week I came up with some new ideas for my Etsy shop. I was doing a bit of clearing out when I found a huge tin of buttons.

Some of the buttons were gorgeous and while I was wading through the box and found myself picking out combinations that I liked, complimentary colours and more unusual ones too!

So I guess that's what inspired me to start making these button barettes and button brooches. My personal favorite is the barette shown to the left. I think it has a real shabby chic feel. I'm tempted to keep it myself! But alas it's on Etsy here's the link if you would like to know more about it:

I've also added to my accessory range with the introduction of brooches! It was actually my Auntie who suggested I start making them. She said she loved my hair accessories and she thought if there was a way to attach them to her clothes they could really make her outfit smile. I loved the way she said that so it has become the new mantra of my shop: "Making your outfit smile" I think it sums up exactly what I'm trying to achieve.

So anyway - back to brooches. I think the picture to the right is my best brooch so far. The colours are really striking and very fashionable for this season. If you like the look of it go to:

There's lots of new brooches and barettes in different colours and designs on my shop right now so take a look if you want to make your outfit smile!:

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Twitter: An effective marketing tool?

This new phenomenon is a micro-blogging site. The Twitter site asks its users one simple question: “What are you doing?” Then your co-workers, family and friends can ‘follow’ your updates.

My question is: Can it be used as an effective marketing tool?

I know that there is a growing presence on Twitter of Etsy sellers promoting their shops. However I’m not sure that the any of the views generated from tweeting are converted into sales.
One of the major problems I find is getting the right followers. Tweeting links or promotions is fine but if your information is not reaching potential customers it’s useless!

Many Etsy sellers I got information from said that you have to be careful not to over promote your shop. Followers can get bored with constant promotions and links to your shop. Less is definitely more!
tinahdee says: I probably do 80-90% non-promo stuff, and then tweet when I list something NEW (not a renewal) or to notify about a sale or discount.

Despite its drawbacks some Etsy sellers say it’s very successful.
For example modernemotive says: I've gotten my biggest sales off them (3 over $50) plus many others for lower transactions. . . . . When I remember, I do ask how customers found me, and quite often it comes back to twitter. :) I Twitter about whatever comes to mind. :)

I think you’re success on Twitter depends on what you make of it – Spamming will get you no where but no promotion will do just as little. My opinion is that promotion on Twitter should be used sparingly. Try mixing it with details of your day like “Just sitting down to start making a new design” or “Off to bed.” Make your tweets interesting so people will look forward to hearing what you’re up to and hopefully you’ll reap the rewards!

Thursday, 4 June 2009

An Introduction to Me

Well, I guess the big difference from me to other Etsy sellers is my age. I'm 15 and while that might put some off, others see it as a benefit. If I want to sell my creations why should anyone say I will do a worse job than an experienced mother of two? Some people seem to have this prejudice against anyone under 18. I hope that I can break the mould!

I started making hair accessories about a year and a half ago after paying over the odds for a badly made hair accessory that didn't even match the outfit I bought it for! I have been making things since I was little - everything from ladybug houses to blankets. So I made a few hair bows to start off with. My friends started to ask about them and soon enough I was selling them. I developed my skills and began making more complex designs. I branched into hairbands, barettes and now I'm beginning to dabble in brooches. I recently stumbled across Etsy and after a bit of research I set up shop.

Now that I'm beginning to take this venture a bit further I thought it would be a great idea to chart my progress. Etsy is totally new to me so I'm starting from grass roots level. But hey, everyone has to start from somewhere, don't they?