Friday, January 27, 2012

Tips For New Etsy Sellers: The Basics, Part Two

In my last post (Tips For New Etsy Sellers: Part One, The Basics) I discussed some of the qualities of a successful Etsy shop including item titles, descriptions, photos, customer service, return policies, the importance of having a unique product and the importance of maintaining an ample inventory in your shop. Now let's talk about some of the other things that can help you become successful on Etsy and what you can do to help make your shop stand out from all the others.

 Tips For New Etsy Sellers: The Basics, Part Two

Qualities Of A Successful Etsy Shop

A successful Etsy shop has...

  • A Completed Shop Owner Profile
  • A Well Chosen Shop Name That Represents Your Work
  • Branding That Makes It Stand Out (your avatar and banner)
  • Prices That Work
  • Fair Shipping Costs

Here's a closer look:

1. A Successful Etsy Shop Has A Completed Shop Owner Profile
This is the space where you get to share a little bit of information about yourself and what you do and why you do it. You are an interesting person. Make it interesting! You may want to talk about your artwork, include a few accomplishments, shop announcements, or links in this space. Avoid talking about yourself in the third person. It's outdated and in a handcrafted marketplace, can even seen impersonal. After all, aren't you talking about yourself? (trust me on this one, I have my degree in Professional Writing, I know what I am talking about!)  Etsy is a marketplace where the shopper is purchasing items directly from the you, the artist, not some booming voice in the background. Be personal. You can share all the same information about yourself in a clear, direct way by just being friendly and open and to the point. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain! Seriously, no third person needed.  

2. A Successful Etsy Shop Has A Well Chosen Shop Name That Represents Your Work
Choosing your shop name is one of the most important things you will do on Etsy, as you are creating your identity.  Buyer beware: once you choose your shop name it cannot be changed, so choose wisely! You may want to do a search and see if there are any other shops with names similar to the one you like. This can help avoid confusion or regret down the road. A shop name that ties into your work, fits in with the image of your shop and reflects your style is the best choice, as it will help folks remember you and make it easy for them to find you again in the future.
Tie it in: One of the smartest things you can do is to match your shop name with your social media site names, such as your names on Twitter and Facebook. For example, my shop name is Dishfunctionldesigns and my Twitter name is Dishfunctional.  This consistency makes me recognizable and easy to find.

3. A Successful Etsy Shop Has Branding That Makes It Stand Out (your avatar and banner)
Again, consistency is key. The idea is to have these separate parts (shop name, banner, avatar) that all work together as a whole. By tying these things together, it reinforces who you are and helps implant a memory of your shop into your buyer's brain. There are a few different ways to do this. I use my business logo (the woman with dishes, seen above) on my banner and also as my avatar. This is a vintage image that I purchased the rights to use for my business. She is on my packaging, my website, my banner, my advertisements, etc. This is branding. The woman is part of my brand. She distinguishes me from others. For more information on branding click hereOne other idea is to showcase photos of your best work on your banner and avatar. I like when shop owners do this. I see it as professional. This is a great way to instantly give viewers an idea of what your shop is all about.  Still other folks use photos of themselves as their avatars, which can give your shop a more personal feel. 

4. A Successful Etsy Shop Has Prices That Work
Determining your retail price points can take time, much of which is trial and error. There are lots of things to consider: materials, labor, fees - you must figure all of these things into your price. One simple formula used for helping determining a price looks like this:   
Materials + Labor = Cost
Cost Price x 4 = Retail Price
Of course, first you need to determine what your labor rate is (the hourly wage that you pay yourself). Don't skimp! Too many artists undervalue their own skills and do not pay themselves a fair rate. If you are going to greatly undervalue yourself and your time, then you may as well work for free.  

Another smart thing to do is to offer a range of prices. This works well for some categories but not others. For example, I design jewelry. One of the things I use to determine my labor is the intricacy of a design. Simple designs are easier to create and therefore have lower prices. More intricate designs that require more time and more brain work will have higher prices. I have found that offering a range of different prices allows me to attract a wider range of customers. Whatever you do, do NOT undervalue your items. If you price your items too low and then one day decide to offer wholesale prices, you will be basically be working for free. No!
Still stuck? Do some market research. See what similar items are selling for. Test out the waters. Most importantly, do not be afraid to increase those prices! Try it. You might be surprised by the results. 

5. A Successful Etsy Shop Has Fair Shipping Costs
This is simple. Offer a fair and accurate shipping price. To do this, you will need to familiarize yourself with the different postal services and their corresponding rates, as well as costs for insurance, delivery confirmation, and so on. You may also want to purchase a scale for weighing packages. Yes, your pretty packaging including your boxes, ribbons, etc. are all business expenses, but do NOT include the costs for those items into your shipping price. Instead, figure those expenses into your materials cost (see #4 above). One of the quickest ways to lose a customer is by charging inflated shipping costs. Shops with fair shipping costs are much more appealing to customers. Also, be sure to offer a shipping price break when a customer purchases multiple items that will be shipped together. 

I hope that you gained some useful information from this blog post! Be sure to check back for more Etsy seller tips! 

(If you are playing catch-up you can read the first part of this article by clicking here)

My experience: I opened my first online storefront for my jewelry and artwork on Ebay in 1999, where I amassed over 3,800 positive feedback (yes, all positive! check it out here) and learned the ins and outs of online marketing. I later moved my storefront from Ebay to Etsy due to Etsy being a handcrafted marketplace that better suited my needs. I am a full time artist, designer, and writer, and my day is spent creating, designing jewelry, fulfilling custom orders, and maintaining my online shop. 

If you liked this post, you will also like:
Preparing Your Etsy Shop For The Holidays

What do you think?

I hope you have a great week 
Love, Laura

My broken china jewelry is always available for purchase 


  1. Good advise! I have found that raising your prices oftentimes results in more sales! Odd, isn't it!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog -- the rugs you found may have been hooked. The strips of fabric used is usually wool and the end result are little loops forming the design. My aunt used to hook the most beautiful rugs, and let me "help" when I was little!

  2. I have been mulling over the idea of an Etsy shop. Your posts are a helpful outline to follow.
    Thank you :-)

    1. Glad you found them useful, good luck with your shop!

  3. Thanks for the advice! I enjoyed reading both posts! I love how you were very real and upfront about everything, good or bad in the business. Much appreciated!

    1. You're welcome, I'm glad you found the article useful.