This new month has swooped in with the swifts and swallows.
As they glide over the wildflowers in the fields, these lovely little birds
are enjoying the last days of summer...
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Summer is a time to reflect before the the demands of a new season and a new term begin. I am reflecting this year on the fact that it will have been 10 years
since I first opened my Etsy shop.
I thought it might be useful to share a little of my Etsy shop journey with you, in case it's something you are considering doing too. These past 18 months with Covid-19 and lockdowns saw my Etsy shop become a lifeline for my little creative business, so it seems right to pause and look back at how that came to be....
My Etsy journey was a bit of a slow burn at the start.
At first, I really didn't have much of a clue how to make the best out of my shop. Back then, you could post things on Facebook pages and get seen quite easily, before the algorithm changed and sponsored posts were the name of the game. In those early days, most of my Etsy sales would be as a direct result of my posting a link on my Facebook page. If I didn't post a link, I wasn't making sales...and I wasn't posting links often.
What I hadn't realised was my listings just weren't set up correctly to be seen on Etsy.
I also hadn't fully grasped the potential to make regular, consistent sales when focus is put on making the listings optimised to be found in Etsy's own search engine.
However, about five years ago I made a conscious effort to try and get to grips with it and finally make the most out of my shop. With the help of the Etsy Sellers Handbook and investing lots of time to go through it thoroughly and implement the things that it recommends, I began to see lots of positive growth in my shop.
It took about 6 months to a year after fully going through and implementing the changes I needed, before I saw a huge difference. Not only in how my shop performed weekly for orders, but also in how I felt more in control of my shop - because I had a better understanding how it works and know how it's susceptible to changes, so know how to keep on top of those changes when they occur.
I often get asked from other creative business owners about advice on how to sell effectively on Etsy and my first and only answer is always....
'READ THE ETSY SELLERS HANDBOOK
Then do what they recommend ...because IT WORKS!'....
There are thousands of helpful blogs and tutorials on You Tube about Etsy.
Some are better than others, but most are truly a distraction. Especially if you haven't read the sellers handbook and learnt the basics from Etsy themselves. The sellers handbook is always updated, so any changes Etsy implements, they will tell you about there. Sometimes the changes are good, sometimes they are not so good for sellers, but at least you can find out about them and be able to act on them.
Many will argue about whether it is or isn't worth having a shop on Etsy at all.
That's for you to decide and very much depends on your business and what you want to get out of it. What works for one business may not suit another. In the case of Etsy, the best way to find out all the relevant information to make that decision, is from the Etsy Seller Handbook. They make it easy by putting all the information in one place with a simple to follow index, so no need to waste time down the rabbit hole of hundreds of different 'Etsy Tips' videos on You Tube.
If you are looking for tips, here are 3 simple reasons I choose to sell on Etsy...
1. They have a massive number of active users, all poised and ready to purchase. The potential to reach the right people interested in what you sell is far greater than on any social media platform. Plus Etsy users are at the point of purchase and in the frame of mind to shop - making it much easier to convert traffic to sales.
2. Etsy are set up to protect those who shop with them, thereby making it a really great experience for the customer ...and I should know, I have done a lot of Etsy shopping over the years - so far so great for me! This encourages repeat purchases, which helps sellers potentially make consistent, regular sales. By focussing on the customer, Etsy also take some of the stress off sellers in terms of collecting and handling VAT on international orders. They also nudge us sellers to provide the best customer service we can deliver, by supporting us with tools that help us every step of the way to make looking after each sale as easy as possible. Thereby ensuring customers are happy and come back again and again.
3. Yes, Etsy seller fees can all tot up and make eyes water a little. Yes, it does take time and effort to get your shop set up to perform at it's best. However, compared to many other market places, or the real cost of running your own website shop (fees, your time to set up and the effort just to get traffic to your shop) it works out to be very cost effective overall. Especially if you are selling items that can be re-stocked or re-produced fairly easily** At the end of the day, a business needs to invest in marketing somewhere along the line. My experience on Etsy so far - it has been a worthwhile investment with good returns on items that can be reproduced and restocked frequently....
**For one of a kind, higher value items, Etsy may not be such a great place to sell because their fees can swallow up any profits quickly - you really need to make sure the pricing and shipping costs are calculated to make it work for you.
My first ever sale back in 2011 was a set of 2 tea themed postcards (pictured above).
A lot of tea has been drunk since I made that first sale and it has fuelled the creation of hundreds of new products and the fulfilment of many more orders....
Fast forward to now, my Etsy shop is packed with over 350 items to choose from, with more in development (new festive designs are currently in progress).
I was so excited when I made that first ever sale, and with every sale made since, the same excitement is still there. It has been wonderful to have somewhere to launch my designs, try out new styles, colours and themes and see what resonates with others.
Before Covid, Etsy local teams were a great way of getting out and meeting other creatives in my area. Joining Etsy helped me become part of a great wider creative community - another reason I choose to sell on Etsy.
If you are a creative and are thinking of selling on Etsy, try it out, it's a good, cost effective way to dip your toes in. If you have an Etsy shop that hasn't really taken off, perhaps have another look at the Seller Handbook and try and put some of it's suggestions in place and keep going, changes will come if you follow their guidance...
When I first joined, Etsy had only been around for about 4 years and it was very different then to how it is now. The one thing, over those years it has been consistent at, is enabling creatives like me to try new ideas and test them out in a low risk way.
It has been a wonderfully, inspiring and fulfilling place to be for the past 10 years...
That brings me right up to now and my latest Etsy listing pictured above.
Packs of 6 mini notecards with summer wildlife. You may notice that one of these cards is carrying the same design as this month's desktop wallpaper.
I hope you enjoyed hearing about my 10 year Etsy journey
and if one person found that useful in anyway, then it was all worth while.
Wishing you all a very lovely August!