Etsy Selling Tips

ETSY SELLING TIPS

Today I want to share three crucial tips and advice, as well as, seven years of experience as a successful Etsy seller.

I may not be a top 10% Etsy seller (most of these top sellers are only selling beads and supplies to other Etsy sellers making jewelry and their own handmade items), but after doing this for many years, I feel I can offer some solid tips and helpful advice.

There are tons of blogs, ebooks, and other online resources about selling.  You should NEVER pay for any of this . . . EVER!  The best advice is found right on Etsy’s website.  They have lots of resources in the forums or on their selling blog that is completely free.  Other sellers are always eager to offer helpful advice and answer questions.  No author or blogger can make you a top successful seller, if you purchase their book or ebook.  Your success is up to you! Now, if you are just starting out, as a new seller on Etsy- read as much free blog advice. . . like mine in this blog topic, before launching your new Etsy shop.  Read as much as you can and become educated about selling on Etsy.

 Information on SEO is going to be the most crucial; definitely educate yourself in this area.

Don’t be discouraged by the nay-sayers.  There are many out there that will tell you success on Etsy is only possible if you have been selling for many years and have over 200 or more items listed in your shop.  Not true. There are many helpful bloggers and experienced sellers who can offer positive and helpful suggestions and tips.   Focus on those resources.

Before getting into the tips, I want to have an honest discussion about shopping online and how it differs from buying off the shelf at a retailer.  Remember you, as a buyer, can see that item up close, touch it physically, smell it, and confirm it’s size and tactile qualities in your hand when shopping live in a retail setting.  This is not at all possible when shopping online.  I mention this because all transactions on Etsy (or ebay, amazon or any online website) have a two party responsibility.

All seller’s have responsibilities and these are set policies by Etsy that you should fully read and expect to abide by them to keep your business and shop in good standing.

Buyers on Etsy (or any website) also have a responsibility to read the full details when purchasing online and so often this is completely ignored or overlooked.

It’s certainly not done intentionally- most shoppers are browsing from their app on a cell phone or tablet and it can sometimes be difficult to find the full written description. Still, I myself, have rarely purchased something online without reading the full written details about a product, handmade or not.  However, that is me and I pay close attention to the written information- not every buyer will read the item details of your listing.  Many online shoppers buy on impulse. They saw the photo and loved it but didn’t realize that not all items displayed in your photo, such as background props, or other items next to it to show scale or the product in what I call “situ” (situation/situated for display) are not included in the sale or purchase.

All online and Etsy seller’s want to provide excellent customer service and we strive to do so, but if a buyer fails to READ a full written description, communicate with a seller before or after a sale with specific questions – they have not meet the seller in the middle and have set the customer service bar so high that it makes it difficult for both parties to have a positive experience.  So if you are a seller- know what you need to do to communicate with buyers and keep them happy.

Consider this fair warning- there will be instances where a buyer does not read your item details and due to no fault of yours, there may be negative feedback left due to ‘buyer’s remorse’. Be prepared to address these situations individually and know that you can make 99% of customers happy 99% of the time – but there will always be that one customer occasionally that can not be made satisified now matter how many hoops you jump through, in an effort to do so.  Do your best, do what’s right,  and be responsive to complaints- even if you know it is not your fault at all.

However, if you are shopping on Etsy as a buyer, do your due diligence to READ the full “Item Details”  (the section found in every Etsy listing that you can click on or click the small arrow next to it if shopping from an cell phone or tablet app) and contact the seller with questions BEFORE your purchase.  Sellers welcome questions and want a buyer to know exactly what they are purchasing.

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 NOW FOR THE TOP ADVICE FOR ETSY SELLERS 

First, we can all agree that customer service is tremendously important.

No matter how great your product is or how talented you are, one of the things that customers are most likely to remember is the direct interaction they have with your company.

So how do you provide excellent customer service?

Here are the three top tips (taken from the Etsy website) according to Etsy’s top sellers:

1. Time

Answer all questions buyers send you as soon as you can, immediately if possible.  Use the Etsy selling app on your smart cell phone and answer questions as soon as you are notified.  Customers really appreciate that!  Although buyer’s need to give handmade Etsy seller’s a reasonable window to respond- let’s face it, we live in an age of instant information at the reach of our cell phones with a Google search.  So be mindful of this.  That Etsy buyer may have sent the same email to several Etsy shops selling similar items.  If you wait a day or two to answer an email, yes- even on weekends, you will most likely have lost that sale to another Etsy shop that responded immediately.

2. Shipping

Always ship by your stated shipping timelines in your shop.  If for some unforeseen reason that you can not ship by your stated shipping date- contact that buyer right away and let them know.  Most are fine will a small shipping delay, as long as they have been notified and can approve it with you in writing.  Professional stickers or labels on your items and packaged well to arrive in perfect condition are key to a making a buyer happy.

 One of my favorite things about packing up an order is to write a handwritten thank you note on include a small printed Thank You tag and then strategically place it in their shipment so they see it and know I appreciate them!  I can’t always do this – especially if I am shipping many packages every few days.  I definitely do this for all rush orders that paid extra.  Think about it.  They paid more for the speedy rush to get an item handmade and delivered quickly but also for a personal touch, a handmade item. Also my regular repeat event planners always get a handwritten note – why else would they come back! They appreciate the extra time to provide excellent customer service in their shipment.

3. Empathy

Think like a customer!  Understand how they want to be treated as a customer.   If you can, offer a little free surprise in every order.  Free items should not be junk though.  It should be relevant to your shop and the buyer’s order.  Be appreciative of your customers that is why you are in business!

Above all, always be courteous and professional.

I hope this advice has helped if you are currently an Etsy seller or thinking about opening an Etsy shop as a new seller.

Come back and visit my blog for more helpful tips and advice and party inspiration!

Etsy Entrepreneurial Tips

ETSY IS A ‘REAL’ BUSINESS FOR THE 21ST CENTURY ARTISAN

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I consider myself very lucky because I am one of a few who get to do their passion in life as a full-time job.  All I ever wanted to do was design, create, craft, and paint.  I was hooked on art and graphic design since middle school.  I knew instantly, after the first art class I took, that the only thing I wanted to do with the rest of my life was create with my hands.

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I went on to college to pursue this dream and took every art and graphic design class that I could enroll in for my electives.  While that dream was side-barred for about 20 years, while I worked a boring corporate J-O-B, that I had to, in order to pay the bills. I finally got back to what was vital in my life in 2010; designing and creating art and handmade goods.  I ignored everyone and took the risk and dove into the deep end and started my own business by opening my first Etsy shop.  Soon after, 3 more Etsy shops followed, all specializing in custom designs.

I am happy to say, I am doing it!  I am making a decent living and loving every day of MY business.   Of course in all honesty, it was not without the help and support of my sweet husband. . . because he was my life jacket, in that dark, deep end of the pool! I did not make a whole heck of a lot of money the first year, it was a struggle, I made all the mistakes that successful entrepreneurs will tell you not to do and it took me a while just to figure out how the heck to get traffic and shoppers to my online Etsy shops.  Yes, there are ways to do it and it requires work!

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Here’s the thing- when you are an artist and you have suppressed that need to create for years, it is like having an elephant on your chest- not having art in my life was like not having air. Seriously. Any artist will tell you this is what it feels like.  Don’t get me wrong, I love elephants- but not while they are getting in the way of my success!

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Whether pursuing a creative field or entrepreneurship in general, here are a few tips that neither art school nor business school will teach you about reaching for your dreams – and how to turn your passion into a business that pays more than just the bills:

  1. Ignore the naysayers. You know exactly who I’m talking about – the ones who are always saying, “You’re only going to be starving,” “Etsy is not a ‘REAL’ job or business??” or “Who would buy art (or THAT??) in this economy?” The truth is, there is always going to be someone trying to bring you down.  In my case, it was actually a few friends that I thought would support me and instead insulted me all along the way.  Some of them patronized me to my face and others just made negative comments behind my back- that got back to me one way or another. Most of these naysayers are no longer my current friends.  Whether they think they are looking out for your best interest or they are totally jealous of you going after your dreams, just concentrate on moving forward. Try politely asking them to respect your goals and business model and kindly refrain from saying anything negative, if they can’t be supportive.  If that doesn’t work, then remove them from your immediate circle of contacts and friends- this may be what is needed to succeed.
  2. Find your niche. Just like any good product, your artwork or designs need their own identity. Something you can be known for so that you can become the expert at. If you enjoy putting blue elephants on yellow T-shirts, make sure you are the best darn blue-elephant-shirt-maker out there so that people come to you when there’s a need. Once you’ve become known for your niche, it will be a whole lot easier to diversify into other subject matter. If you are in the beginning stages of your art, play around with a couple of different things before committing to your niche. You may surprise yourself.

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  1. Don’t change for others. Art or otherwise, people will always have their own opinions about a product. Again, you have to learn how to let their negative comments roll off your back. Instead of accepting the negativity, ask them what they like about the piece or product or ask for suggestions on how to make it better. Art is your personal interpretation of how you experience the world. Don’t be afraid to let your voice be heard and trust your instinct.
  2. B2B is realistic business. It takes just as much effort to market to individual consumers as it does to a business, but businesses have the big bucks, connections and resources to finance your passion. If you’re pursuing art, then interior designers, art consultants and art galleries are just a few places to start. If you are a graphic designer, consider approaching a candle company or any company that manufactures one product to see if they would like to revamp their logo and product designs.  Brainstorm a list of people you may already know in these fields and ask them out to coffee immediately.
  3. Local networking is NOT for every entrepreneur.  I can tell you this from experience.  I am strictly an online eCommerce business and that is my model.  A few years ago, I decided to go the route of the 10 networking meetings a week with other local businesses.  What I found out was that most of them were a pyramid type of scheme where they wanted you to sign a year long contract and pay a bunch of money for what they said were ‘guaranteed’ referrals.  Of course you had to consistently bring new people to these meetings- which meant you were out marketing THEIR business and not your business.  I also worked in sales and actually learned everything I know about direct marketing and sales from a few top sales people in the nation and Ivy League graduates that always told me NEVER PAY FOR REFERRALS.  It will never pan out and you will have wasted your money.  I never bought into any of the paid networking groups, however, I quickly realized even the free networking meetings and organized groups were a waste of my time, since I could simply work more effectively and efficiently by networking online through writing on my blog, business facebook pages, Twitter, and other social media and by purchasing paid Google and Facebook advertisements.  After all, my target market is online shoppers and not the insurance salesman down the street from me.  My advice- work smarter not harder and determine the best, direct way to reach your target buyers.

Now, when you are ready to make that jump from hobby to professional, always remember why you wanted to do it in the first place. Discovering your passion in life is a gift that many people don’t have, so don’t be afraid to let yourself shine. With these tips, hard work, and persistence, turning your art into a business still won’t be a piece of cake, but you will get there a whole lot faster.

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I hope these tips have helped you on the path to success for turning your art into a business.  Thanks for stopping by The Party Fetti Blog today!

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Link Parties Rock!

Time to Link Up!

I feel so baaaaaadddd for not continuing my weekly link party that I had started several months ago here on the Pinwheel Pretties blog. 

 Phhhfffff . . . just too many custom orders and so little time to blog! 
(A recent custom wedding order!)

However I realized there are so many other bloggers offering great link parties that get a huge number of links to their projects and blogs and so I am happy to just participate. 

 I try to pin on a few link parties a week and I will tell you that my traffic here on my blog and in my shops does increase from those link ups! 

One of my very favorite blogs that I follow, read faithfully, and link up to almost every week is the Momnivore’s Dilemma Blog.  
Awesome posts and amazing ideas that Nicolette shares that inspire me every week!  

Go visit her blog today:  Momnivore’s Dilemma and link up one of your recent stunning projects featured on your blog!