Saturday, August 9, 2008

Getting Started on Etsy...Top 5 Things to Know & Do

Etsy is a remarkable venue to sell "all things handmade", however, it is INCREDIBLY competitive and getting started can be a bit daunting. You need to make sure that you have it together before you add to the chaos so that you stand out. Here are 5 things to think about and do prior to starting your shop on Etsy:

1 - Do Research. Make sure you check out your existing competition on Etsy. You don't have to spend weeks doing this - but put real time into it. See how sales are going for the individuals who pieces are closest to your own. Now, what makes you different/better?

2 - Take Stellar Pictures. Pictures are the only way that buyers can get a feel for your items. Invest in a lightbox (check out the Evil Ebay) or check out DIY sites to make your own! Here a couple of links:

Get creative with your pictures, too, without detracting or overshadowing the item you are trying to sell! Use props, relevant backgrounds, etc.

3 - Get Your Pricing Straight. Do some math, take some time, and figure out how much you need to charge for your pieces. Realize that you may want to sell your pieces for wholesale one day and price your items accordingly now. Quick lesson:
: Figure out how much your material costs are, say $10
: Figure out how much you want to get paid by the hour (this is important - don't fluff it!) - we'll say $2o/hr
: How many identical items can you create in 1 hour? If I can create 2 bracelets an hour and I pay myself $20/hr, my labor charge per item is $10
: Now, your material costs were : $10 + $10 (labor charge) = $20 - this number is YOUR COST.
: Mulitply YOUR COST ($20) by 2 = $40 this is your WHOLESALE COST - this number is what you would charge any wholesaler buyer for your item.
: Multiply the WHOLESALE COST ($40) by 2 = $80 - this number is your RETAIL COST, or what you would be charging on Etsy.

This number may seem high to you, and I do believe that the Etsy market does not necessarily follow the "real world" market, but you need to make sure that you are treating your shop on Etsy as a business - and getting paid for the work you do. However, if you know (and I don't know how you will know-know) that you just want to keep your wares on Etsy at hobby-level, meaning that you only want to pay for your supplies and maybe make a few bucks here and there, then price however you want. BUT it could really bite you in the booty. So, be careful.

4 - Set up Shop. Now you are ready to list - you have done your research, have your items pictured perfectly and have your prices in check - on to the listing! I feel that it is important to have at least 10 items in your shop when you open. Empty shops look so sad and lonely. Offering a variety and options to your buyer is always a good thing.
: Make concise product titles (don't make these a paragraph long, people.)
: Use all five spaces for pictures - different angles, maybe even how you package your items
: Good descriptions, which include dimensions, materials, what is and is not included and maybe even a story (short!) of how this piece was made (if there is a cool background story)
: Make good use of the tags. This is how buyers will search for you and how you are searched for curated Treasuries. Use all 14 of them.

5 - Promote. Now you are ready to spread the word. Make an email list and send the word of your new endeavor to family and friends. Join an Etsy Team, or two, or three :) (they are invaluable), network on social networking sites like Indiepublic, Facebook and even MySpace. Start a blog :) (and link to mine!!!), make yourself seen known and pass out those business cards!!!! (Etsy is affiliated with MOO - check them out because their Minicards make GREAT product tags and their business cards (the quality - OMG!!!) are amazing!!!

There is so much to do and work on with your shop. This is only the first phase! Have fun with it, but take it seriously because it shows when you do. Always, always ALWAYS stay true to your creative self and GOOD LUCK!!!


UxCritter said...

Excellent information on the blog here! I'm putting a link on my blog to this. Thanks!

Krystyna81 said...

great tips - i just celebrated my one month etsy anniversary - and the more you know it seems like the less you know! Lots of work to network and make a name for yourself. Great blog!

Nothinglikeit said...

Great advice - I like the photo box! I wish I could price using your model but I could never get that kind of return. My only hope is to license my designs one day...


kaboogie said...

This is a great article, and your blog is SO good. We can never stop improving!

Empress Kateri said...

Your blog's awesome! I will def put you on my blog list, and look forward to reading more.
Your Etsy store is sweet, love the goddess pendant. ^_^

Wishing you well,

Bejeweled said...

This is just a fabulous post! And your blog is awesome! Welcome to blogland!!

Carol said...

You are to be applauded for all the info. you give!! Thank you! I love your blog!!!