Sunday, February 6, 2011

Handmade Overhaul: My Etsy shop!

Since opening my Etsy shop in 2009, I’ve seen a pattern of lots of sales in November and early December, and trickling sales the rest of the year. Most people associate my cup cozies with cold weather, but they can be very useful on cold drinks as well. They soak up condensation, keep your hands warm, and come on – CUTENESS lasts 365 days a year. Still – they just don’t sell that well during the rest of the year.

I would like for my shop to be more of a year-round business, so I’ve put together a plan of things I want to do to make this happen. Time will only tell if it’s successful! Fortunately, I am open to changing my mind in the middle of my plan and trying new approaches.

Today’s post is going to be about changes I want to make to my Etsy shop.

I want to come up with some new products to make and sell. This isn’t as easy as it sounds!

· I don’t want to make something that has been done by a zillion other people, but honestly, there isn’t much out there that hasn’t been made.

· Whatever I make will need to be something I can actually make. You might think that’s a silly point to think about, but there is really no sense in planning for months on something that I don’t have the time, skills or budget to make.

· The new items will need to be different enough to get noticed, but not so different from my cup cozies that it makes no sense that they’d be sold in my shop.

· More than anything I’ve learned since opening my Etsy shop, is that customers love QUALITY products. I am going to do some serious testing of any new products I come up with, before listing them in my shop. I want them to hit the ground running in terms of being considered a high quality item. Funny, I’ve taken the biggest plunge of all – starting an Etsy shop – already, but am just as anxious about adding a new item to my shop. Will it be well received?

I am only using a few of the photo spots available for each item in my Etsy shop. I should really be using all 5.

· I could find more angles to shoot of my items

· I could feature them being used in different settings – maybe in someone’s hands? This could be a photo not necessarily of the cozy in that listing, but just an “action” shot of any cozy in use. Same goes for any new products I put in the shop.

· I could use a photo of my packaging, since it’s cute. On one hand, I like the idea of a customer opening their package and being surprised by the cute packaging. But would most customers prefer to know what they’re getting ahead of time? Would it influence someone to buy a cozy, if they were on the fence?

· I could include a photo of my cute workspace. OH WAIT MY WORKSPACE IS NOT CUTE AT ALL. Never mind. :)

I think my shop banner needs an update. I actually really like my banner now – the background is a photo of a knitted houndstooth cozy I did a long time ago, tiled 3 or 4 times across. My shop name is overlaid in a semi-transparent text box and then there is an image I drew of a hand with a piece of yarn/thread snaking through the fingers. That image is on my business cards, too. Even though many people say, “If it makes you happy, that’s all that matters” – and it DOES make me happy, I’m very nostalgic about it and proud that I put it together with plain old Power Point – but I think I’ve outgrown it. I need something a little cleaner, and maybe something that includes an image of my products.

I need to have more regular, interesting sales and promotions.

· Free shipping

· Discounts on all items

· Discounts using coupon codes

· Sales where 100% of sales go to a specific charity (10% already always goes to a charity, right now they go to Streetwise magazine, which is created and sold by homeless & near-homeless invidivuals, it helps them get back on their feet – your city may have a similar publication – but I think I’m due for choosing a new charity, hmm)

· What else? Coming up with creative discounts is really not my thing, y’all. Please let me steal your ideas, kthx. Speaking of stealing, a friend of mine calls Thanksgiving “kthxgiving” and I am totally stealing that this year.

Are you planning any changes for your shop?

Keep an eye out for future posts on more changes I’ll be making this year:

~ Overhauling the look and use of my blog/twitter/biz cards ~

~ Becoming more a part of certain communities like Twitter, the blogging world, my local handmade community and my local Etsy team ~

~ Using my Facebook more effectively for community building, brand building and promoting great shops, artists and deals to my “fans” ~

P.S. Annie at Wattlebird is giving away 4 of my cozies! Go check out her blog and enter so you can win some FREE STUFF!


Chrissy said...

I love this! I can use all the help I can get - I started my Etsy in December, so everything's very new!
Thanks for all the help and inspiration!!
Thanks for your email - will look into it!

Ashley said...

Awesome! Glad this is helpful, make sure to check in each day this week, hopefully more useful ideas. :)

heyrenee said...

I've been meaning to open up shop, but I keep thinking about all these points and then I get overwhelmed and then I get scared and then I run away and then I CRY.

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