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Setting up and Growing an Online Store

4 Lessons I've Learned After Two Months on Etsy

by therriaultk » Fri Apr 01, 2016 12:33 am

I’ve been running my Etsy page, https://www.etsy.com/shop/HandmadeByKrys, since early February 2016. So far, my shop offers a variety of customizable hand painted mugs and handmade rope bracelets. In the future I plan on expanding and offering more jewelry and handmade gifts.

Ever since I heard of Etsy I thought that the platform was very cute, but I didn’t know too much about it when I started. Since I launched my page, I’ve realized that I have a lot more learning to do about Etsy and e-commerce in general if I want my page to be a success.

Here’s a little more about my story and some of the lessons I’ve learned from running an Etsy shop so far:

My Etsy Story

I never thought that I would become an Etsy seller, but I’ve always loved crafts and artsy things. I recently found myself on Pinterest a lot and started trying some cute DIY projects. Getting back into it was fun! I realized that I love working with my hands and creating things for others to enjoy.

Some of the things I’ve made were for myself, others were gifts. A friend suggested that I start an Etsy page and I thought it would be a fun opportunity to share my creations with more people. I saw a post online about a 19-year-old girl who made $100k on Etsy for school, and figured it might help me with my own student loans.

Now I know that it’s going to take more than putting up a handful of listings and posting a few times on social media to get sales. To do well on Etsy you need to stand out, you need to be compelling, and you need to be consistent … all things that I’m working on now.

Lessons I’ve Learned So Far

Signing up and posting listings is easy, getting it right can be hard
The Etsy signup process was simple and fast, no complaints there. Etsy even has an app for shop owners that lets you post listings, view orders, and manage social media for your shop all from your mobile device! Posting listings is pretty easy too, all you have to do is answer a few easy questions, fill in your item information, and upload some high quality pictures.

Then it came to things like calculating shipping. I realized I would need a scale to weigh out my finished products in their packages and that I would have to use shipping calculators to figure out my costs. That was probably the longest part of the whole process so far.

Of course, you want to set your prices and shipping costs as realistically as possible. If you’re a small business just starting out like me (or any business for that matter), you don’t want to be spending more than you make. I quickly learned that shipping in Canada is quite expensive compared to the States, which is a challenge for a lot of Canadian Etsy shop owners.

Don’t underestimate the support of friends, family, and offline orders

Despite the fact that it’s been two months and I haven’t received any orders from my actual Etsy page, the support I’ve received from friends and family has made this process totally worth it. This includes starting my blog and putting myself out there a little bit more on social media.

I’ve loved sharing my handmade creations with the people I love, and hearing what they think of my Etsy shop. Hopefully by posting pictures of orders I’ve done, other people who come across my shop will see that it is legitimate. I’m excited to get experience actually shipping out orders to new customers!

Be ready to learn and work for it if you want to succeed

I’m not going to lie, a small part of me thought that I would put up my Etsy page and start getting orders right away. That was definitely not the case and I feel a bit silly admitting it now. Starting an Etsy page and actually profiting from it takes a lot of work. Just like any other crowdfunding, entrepreneurial, or artistic venture, I’m going to need to put in a lot more time and effort to see results.

Luckily, Etsy gives you a lot of useful tools and information to help new shop owners learn the ropes. They also have some basic statistics tools that are pretty useful.

It may not be much but I’m proud of my 250+ views. I’ve been easing myself into all of this because at first I thought of it as more of a hobby. If I want this to go somewhere I’m going to have to see what my page is missing and work to improve it.

Etsy has a great community of makers
Like I mentioned, I’ve only been on Etsy for a couple of months. Every time I post new updates on Twitter and Instagram, other Etsy shops like my posts, comment, and follow me. Seeing interest from other shop owners has been really encouraging and I’m excited to meet other people who are using Etsy to create and do the things they love. I’ve had a lot of fun exploring other shops and have even bought items from Etsy since I became a shop owner.

Conclusion

Clearly I have a lot to learn, but I’m super excited to see where this goes and to share my journey with you all. So far I’ve learned a few valuable lessons and in the next few months I’m going to be digging a little deeper into what it means to run a successful Etsy operation. Stay tuned, and please share my page with anyone you think might be interested!

Feel free to leave any questions, comments, or feedback on my shop below!

This post was originally published on by blog: https://krystinetherriault.wordpress.com/
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by MMakers » Wed Apr 13, 2016 3:02 am

Looking forward to hearing more about your journey as it sounds parallel to mine. I have made and sold jewelry at a local Open Studio once a year for the past 6 years, and people always ask if I have an etsy page. I signed up but never went as far as creating a store. I expect as with crowdfunding, you need to not just have a crowd, but do some PR work as well if you want sales to happen.
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by therriaultk » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:42 pm

Yay! Feel free to keep in touch - I'm loving meeting other makers and hearing about their stories. It's taken me some time but I've received three orders in the last two weeks! Most of what I've done to promote my shop so far is social media marketing. I've started separate Twitter and Instagram accounts for my shop so far, posting and adding other makers and a lot of accounts that share handmade items on Etsy. :) I'm sure the most popular shops do more advertising and PR!
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by danielsetton » Fri May 13, 2016 11:26 am

We've been on Etsy for just over 4 years now (if I remember right) with http://www.shireeodiz.com and as several of you have mentioned, it's not as easy as just posting great products and great content. Although they would probably like to distance themselves from eBay and Amazon, Etsy have one major common denominator - a search and discovery algorithm. Without learning the basics of how their algorithm works, you will be forever fighting for traffic. Even when you do know how the game works, it's still not easy.

Some of the basics for getting exposure with Etsy SEO are:

1. Keep customers happy and get good ratings
2. Ship on time (preferably with tracking) and update your Etsy account - late shipments are starting to affect search rankings.
3. Use product variations on a single listing to attract more buyers to one page
4. Sales history counts so be attractive with price and promote your best sellers first (Etsy doesn't want to 'waste' their traffic on dud listings). Remember that Etsy makes more money from listings that sell - they're happy, the buyers are happy and good sellers are happy when the most sellable listings are higher up in search.
5. Remember to use keyword rich titles and tags
6. Build reputation and sales history by getting traffic from external sources (social media, newsletters, blogs, etc)
7. Use promoted listings on Etsy to keep your best sellers selling
8. Regularly post new items for fresh traffic
9. Create new listings for old listings that didn't sell, rather than relisting them. This tells Etsy that it's a new item (perhaps worth promoting) rather than the old one that they know didn't sell. Relisting is okay a few times, but once stale, make a change.

Good luck!
Just launched and already exploding!!! Check out the magic coin pouch on Kickstarter:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/625059603/the-magic-coin-pouch-handle-coins-better

by http://www.paperwallet.com
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by sbriggman » Mon May 16, 2016 6:35 pm

Great advice! Thanks for sharing!!
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by MMakers » Mon May 23, 2016 7:00 pm

Great advice, Danielsetton. I was inspired by Krys to start my etsy store, and finally listed some items over the weekend. After I did that, I started reading the Etsy Seller Handbook. I really should have read that first. Lots of great advice from Etsy there. Lots of room for improvement.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/WeavingsByCelia

Celia from Mystic Makerspace
Last edited by MMakers on Tue May 24, 2016 12:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by therriaultk » Tue May 24, 2016 4:43 am

Thanks for sharing those SEO tips danielsetton. :) I'm starting to get some steady traffic but it takes work.

Celia, your page looks great! Do you make the crocheted figures too? They're really cute!
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by MMakers » Tue May 24, 2016 12:35 pm

I did make those little crochet figures. A friend's daughter asked if I could make her a star wars figure, so I made some out of yarn. Then I had this idea to use thread, and I started making these 2 inch figures which are much harder to make but the end results are so much more fun. You can find the yarn sized ones elsewhere on etsy, but I have not found the small ones. Now that the store is populated, I need to start the marketing. Let's see how long it takes me to get to that.
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by Guitar.Graphics » Thu Aug 18, 2016 1:45 am

I have 3 Etsy shops and they do well. I actually accidentally started my first shop when I was with Sign A Rama and I just needed some extra cash but the location I worked for closed down and I had to keep paying my bills so I just started working at it. Currently, one of my favorite shops that I manage sells vinyl decals, graphic design, and screen printed apparel and last year I sold well over 450 items on that one shop alone. The key is to set up you listings (like you mentioned) correctly.....This means a good title but I don't really think the length of the description makes a difference. I love to help people on Etsy either expand their product selection.

The thing to remember on Etsy, is most of your customers will be other shop owners so getting involved in the forum is key to getting your views up...when your views go up you get in more treasuries, when you get in a treasury you are effectively getting your products advertised on other people's Etsy profile, which equals more sales. One other thing I feel is important is that your Etsy listing will generally be listed in Google Products so go look at the products you will be competing against on Google and look at how they construct their listings.

I am currently working on another Etsy shop, website, and product line so I will just do the same thing I have done in the past and it should do the same as the other shops I work.

Thanks,
Kyle Sanders
Etsy: http://SlapStickVinyl.etsy.com
Kickstarter Campaign: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/tshirts/graphic-guitar-skins-and-line-of-custom-guitars
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by XuanZhou » Fri Oct 21, 2016 2:19 am

Thanks for sharing your insightful story. I have an etsy shop that is doing reasonable well. I design quotes/custom maps and sold over 4000 items in the last 3 years. The shop didn't do too well at first. It only picked up during the 2nd year when I went back to school and really needed income desperately. I literally spent my entire summer school break creating hundreds of new designs + listings and updating the tags and descriptions like an insane person. You can say that my sales picked up due to my desperation lol.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PuffPaperCo
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