Selling Your Crafts and Learning How to Use Etsy

Selling Your Crafts and Learning How to Use Etsy

VISIT MY SHOP ONLINE

Making jewelry is my hobby and fortunately I have enough free time to make a lot of jewelry. At the beginning, I gave it  away as gifts to friends and family, and then people started asking me for more, so I started selling it. I opened the Etsy.com shop in 2012 but it’s only been the last few months that I’ve started to dedicate more time to it. I like my day job, but I would love to make more jewelry. 🙂

Selling your crafts at markets

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Summer craft market, Varenna , Italy

I occasionally do local summer markets or Christmas markets but the market life is not easy. It’s more than just sitting behind a table, smiling and collecting cash (provided that you are also a good sales person). It’s also very physical. If you do it all by yourself like I do,  be ready to load and unload your boxes, table and chair. You’ll have to make friends with the vendor next to you, because you may have to pop away from your table to top up the parking meter or go to the toilet. Make sure you pack your lunch and bring snacks and drinks, you’ll be there all day. Ah, and don’t forget, you may be stuck out in not so nice weather conditions (too hot or too cold)  in addition to giving up your free time on Saturday or Sunday!  I don’t mind doing a market every once in a while, but it’s not something I can or want to do all the time.

Selling on spec to local shops

DSC_0060Selling on spec means leaving your product at a shop and if they sell it, they pay the agreed price. It’s good for the shop because they don’t have to invest anything upfront. I always agree the price with the shop owner of what I want for an item and they can sell it at any price they want. Of course you have to offer lower prices for the shop owner so he can make a profit as well but  this gives you some good exposure and it is always great to say on your webpage. For example my items are also available at Sfera Beauty Shop and Salon, Milan Italy and Lelo Boutique, Lecco Italy (Sounds good eh?)

Selling your crafts online

Since I’m not 100%  willing to give up my free time on Saturdays to sit behind a table, I started selling online. I looked into several different options. There’s of course ebay.com, or local classified ad sites, Artfire.com, Ecrater.com  or platforms like shopify.com or 3dcart.com to open an independent shop, and of course publicizing your stuff to friends on Facebook.com.  I opted for Etsy.com . I found that Etsy had the best layout, was within my budget and I liked the idea of a community. But it’s very important to understand that just because you put a few items on the site and fill in all the info doesn’t mean people will start clicking and buying.  There is actually a lot of work behind it. I am by no means an expert, and I haven’t even yet hit a 100 items sales benchmark,  but I am slowly but surely learning how to use ETSY and on my way to doing so.

In this post I will log my progress on developing my Etsy shop so I can remember what works, and so that you can learn from my mistakes

Item titles and descriptions

I have learned that I have to use as many words possible that describe the item. All the guides and “how to” articles say it. Once I started doing it, I saw that the number of visits started increasing. People were finding my stuff!

The description should be as personable as possible. I like to add ideas of where my inspiration comes from,  or a little tid-bit of folklore about the stone or symbolism of the shape or color. Use the description as well to notify customers you can make more or customized or if it’s available in a different color. Describe the materials especially if a material could be allergenic- in jewelry some people are sensitive to nickle so I always state if it’s nickle free.

MARCH 2015 | For example one of my items was called “Red bead dangle earrings” after I changed the name to “Red & Brass Hoop Dangle Earrings Rustic Western Bohemian Shabby Chic Boho Jewelry” it started getting all kinds of heart favorites.

APRIL 2015 |
Ok, my most popular item for the month of April was once “Blue Gem Earrings” which I had changed the name to Teardrop Blue gem earrings with 20K gold plated bezel jewel drop pendant Shabby Chic Boho Bride Jewelry

May 2015 | Now when I add a new listing I use all the key words directly in the title and first line of the description. I found a great worksheet that helps see How to write irresistible item descriptions worksheet for Etsy items.

Etsy heart favorites

Heart favorites are equivalent to “likes”, it means the user likes your item and perhaps will one day go back and buy it. In any case their followers and friends see the things they favorite so you get exposure to more people. You can see the user who favorites your item and in return start following them, but it isn’t acceptable (and against Etsy spamming policies) to contact the person. If a user has a shop you can see their items and in return if you like their things you can favorite or put in a treasury list. I like you, you like me.

 

APRIL 2015 Most Favourited items were:

Ivory Rose Flower Dangle Earring Vintage style Shabby Chic Boho Rustic Bride Jewelry

 

Victorian Burlesque Black, Copper Glass Bead & Aniqued Copper Chain Statement Necklace Shabby Chic Boho Jewelry – I sold this item at an offline craft market. The buyer was very pleased to know it had alot of Etsy Favorites and Facebook likes. I also use this image as my FB profile, it draws in the “likes”.

MAY 2015 Most Favorited items were:

 

 

 

Treasury lists

A Treasury is like a mini gallery of themed items for example “Lucky Red” or “Halloween Monsters“.  You become the curator of a collection. Your Treasury lists are seen on your profile page and in your follower’s feeds. Treasury lists are great exposure for your shop. From what I understand, getting in a lot of treasuries is a good way to get on the homepage of the Etsy site and section pages. I have not yet found a way to easily make treasuries. Since you have to go to the item page and go to the bottom of the page and click “Add to treasury”, or collect the item id number,then go to the treasury page and edit it,  it’s a lot of clicking to get the job done. I know there are some applications to help make treasuries but I haven’t tried any of them yet and I haven’t looked into the “legality” of using them according to the Etsy policies. Ideally, I would like to be able to make a favorite list and then “convert into a treasury” but this option is not offered. Treasury lists can be commented on , favorite lists cannot. This is a good way to create relationships with other Etsians.

When creating a Treasury, it is not recommended adding your own item. Although it is not against the rules, it is stated that “Treasury is not intended for self-promotion”.  A good strategy for promo is to find Etsians that make items different from yours but may have the same style and taste. They will surely visit your profile page  and often start following you. It’s good manners to thank and comment a Treasury curator for adding your item.

I will have to work on creating more Treasuries. Stay tuned for the next update and I’ll let you know how it goes…

Update:
APRIL 2015 -MAY 2015
| Sorry I didn’t do anythng regarding Treasuries. It’s still on my list of “Things to do”.

About you and your shop information

celia_offical2The Etsy blog and all the “how to” article stress the importance of having complete information in the About page, Policies pages; shipping, returns and refunds, and payments. Yes, of course the more information you provide, hopefully it informs your  customer and if necessary, protects you in case of any disputes. As my items I make are handmade with natural materials, I have stated in my policies “Natural characteristics such as grain, texture, knots and color variation should not be classed as faults or defects.” I would hate to disappoint a customer that expects “a green Jasper stone bracelet” to be completely green, it will have natural veining of other colors in it. It is also a good idea to add that sort of information in the item description.

 Promote your Etsy items

Don’t sit around waiting for people to find you in the deep sea of the internet. Use all of your social media channels and promote the heck out of your stuff. You may not have time to log in and open all your profiles so use programs that do it for you. I’ve found Hoosuite.com –  it’s easy to get the hang of and there are lots of online tutorials. You set up all your social media profiles in one place and when you want to post, you do it on all of them simultaneously. You can also schedule your posts, so you can dedicate some  time to setting up your posts for the coming week. It’s fantastic.

Use Promoted Listings in Etsy. I read a fantastic article in Handmadology.com called Etsy Promoted Listings: How I Turned $600 into $3000 which “convinced” me to try again with the Promoted listings.  I had tried before, but I didn’t go about it the right way and as a consequence I had absolutely no results.  After reading the article I understood more about how it worked. Right now I am not willing to invest $200 a month as the author of the article had done, but on my own small scale, I set my budget and goals.  I have decided to give it 3 months, then I will decide to either tweek it or try a new strategy. Stay tuned for the next update and I’ll let you know how it goes…

Update:

FEB  2015 | It’s only been 15 days since I started the Promoted Listings but I have seen the statistics and my shop exposure has doubled, clicks have gone up and favorites are sky rocketing.

Feb-Apr 2015 |  I did not have any direct sales due to the ads. In May I had one sale directly due to the ads. My other sales were coming from other online promo I was doing in social media.

MAY 2015| I started promoted ads in February. I certainly didn’t put up a high budget. I started with a budget of $5 a day.  I never actually spent $5, on average it came to about $3 a day spent.
Result: My products had over 20,000 impressions a month which resulted in people clicking and viewing my shop! Views of my shop was multiplied 5 times.

In May I also started a Facebook ad campaign with a $1 a day budget and my Facebook fans increase 3 times. I now have 615 Facebook Fans. Now the trick is keeping them interested!

I’m satisfied so far, but I still wonder where is it wiser to invest my small budget? Etsy promo or Facebook or other?
The advantage of Etsy promo are the statistics, I can see if a sale was made directly due to an internal ad. I can only see the number of  Facebook referrals to my Etsy shop pages so I don’t know if the sale came directly from my efforts in FB. Time and experience will tell. Stay tuned…

Connect and Follow me

I will update this page and my social pages with more tips, so keep in touch:

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