Yesterday was my one month anniversary for my Etsy shop. I listed my first items for sale on January 28th and it's been an exciting and interesting start! There are times where I have been disappointed, but when I step back to look at all that I've accomplished, I'm proud of myself and my hard work.
Here are a few shop stats:
* I've made 16 sales
* 121 people have hearted my shop
* I've been featured in 3 treasuries
* I've been featured in one blog
* I was invited to join the C.A.K.E Promotion Team
I don't think that's too bad of a start. :)
I have a bit of advice to offer to new sellers on Etsy.
1. Craftsmanship!!! Your items must be at their best. Do what you do well, and practice what you don't. There are hundreds upon hundreds of talented sellers on Etsy, many of them making the same product as you, so you need to be at the top of your game. Use the best supplies available, high quality fabrics, findings, beads etc, will make for high quality items. Until you have mastered your craft, keep practicing.
2. PICTURES. You really have to understand how important it is to display your product professionally. There is insane competition on Etsy, and it's imperative that you take the extra step and make your shop stand out. My pictures are far from perfect, and I believe that they will always be a work in progress. Please don't take pictures on your carpet, please don't hang your purses sloppily on a door knob. If you were to imagine your work for sale in a published catalog, what would the pictures of your items look like? If you want to be considered a professional business, start by displaying your work as such. There are several tutorials for a light box, make one!
3. PROMOTE. It's tough to find an individual shop on Etsy. With so many shops listing at all times of the day, we all know how quickly your item can get lost in each category. You have to find other avenues for getting traffic to your shop. Get business cards asap, and pass them out! Carry a piece of your work with you, a purse, or wear your jewelry every where you go. Each and every time someone comments on them, give them a card! Don't be too shy, be proud of what you do. Give cards to your friends and have them give them out. Offer them free or discounted merchandise to be a walking advertisement for your shop. Start a blog, purchase ad space from blogs you like, participate in forums, put your shop url in your email signatures, join street times, post about your shop on myspace, craigslist, leave cards at businesses (many have a spot or bulletin board for this). Promoting should be something you never stop doing.
4. Customer Service. Once you have people visiting your shop and purchasing your goods, you want them to be thrilled with the experience and come back. Offer fair shipping prices, great communication, fantastic products and lovely presentation. I wrap all of my orders in tissue paper, tie with a ribbon or string, top with a cute handmade tag and always, always include a thank you note. I feel that when someone chooses an item from my shop vs. another, that they deserve the best.
This also includes having all of your policies stated in your shop or profile. Make sure you have everything covered, from domestic to international shipping, your return policy, shipping times, sales, discounts etc. A customer is more likely to purchase from your shop if they feel that you're going to be handling everything professionally.
5. Keep at it! When you get discouraged, do something that makes your happy! Read a book, take a walk, call a friend, anything to get your creative juices flowing. What works best for me is going through all of my current supply stock. When I browse through all of my fabrics, ideas just start flowing.