Opening your first Etsy shop
Ok so who’s all excited about opening up shop? ;o)
I am super excited for you!!
First things first, though no matter where you live you must tell the tax man before you sell anything.
You do not want to earn extra pennies and then get yourself in trouble.
Telling the tax man will be easier than you think, there are lots of help topics in the forums for your specific country tax information, I suggest you read through it all!!
It sounds scary but is actually so very simple and not a big deal at all.
When you have read through the paperwork and filled out your first tax form you will be an old pro (that’s professional and not prostitute for those with smutty minds ;o) and wonder why on earth you got so stressed in the first place.
Once all the official stuff is out of the way you can start having some fun *YAY*
Get yourself a funky banner and avatar to add in your shop and while you are at it get a matching one for your blog/facebook etc too.
Having a cohesive look makes people more likely to remember you.
Don’t worry about sticking with the same one forever though it is good to have a change now and then, so mix it up every few months or so and keep it relevant to what you are selling in your shop.
If you are not computer savvy there are an abundance of people on etsy selling banner/avatar packages and are a good place to look if you don’t already have the know how.
There are also a few friendly folk in the etsy forums and teams that will help you out for free if you are really stuck.
When your shop is all set up and pretty you can start to list items for selling, you will need a paypal account for this so you should set one up if you haven’t already.
Remembering all the info you have collected from your research on other etsy shops and from in the forums you will have an idea of how your listings should look. (If you skipped the research stage you may feel like a fish out of water and not have a clue where to start, research really is the key to surviving the land of etsy)
I try to keep 40+ items in my etsy shop at any one time, shoppers like to have choice, if there are only a couple of items listed then you may miss out on precious sales.
Most of the big sellers on Etsy have plenty of items for sale in their shop with a wide variety of choices.
To start with try and build up an inventory of items to put on sale before you officially open up shop.
Then once you have a good stock try listing 5 items a day for the first week and see if any of the days/times get more views than others (check your etsy shop stats) This will help you to decide what days/times are best for you to list your items on in the future.
Remember once you have stocked up your shop to keep on making items and listing them.
Once you’ve set up shop being consistent with your listing days and times will help you to get sales.
If customers know that you put new items in say, every Wednesday then they will check your shop on that day to see what you have made, once you build up a few customers that have been happy with what they have purchased from you they will come back again for more.
Most of my big sales have come from happy return customers, I love my repeat buyers and hopefully they will continue to love me too ;o)
Nothing will sell though if your shop stays static, if new items aren’t added regularly then no one will return to your shop after the first couple of times of looking because they will get bored. Try to add new items at least once a week.
If you can’t list new items that often then at least use the ‘rearrange your shop’ function on etsy to make things look different and mix it up a little, if it looks the same every time someone visits it will get boring to look at.
Taking good product photos is also important, I don’t have an expensive camera but I have learnt the best ways in which it works for me, play around with your camera settings, read the handbook and see what works best for you.
My photos are not perfect but they do show off my art as true to ‘real life’ as possible (remember though that what looks great on your computer monitor may not on someone else’s, different monitor colour settings can really throw things off)
I recommend wherever possible to take your product photos in natural light and with a white background.
Here in the UK natural light can be hard to find so I have a lamp which gives a ‘natural light effect’, it is in no way as good as natural light itself but it works for those dreary grey days which all us UK sellers hate for photographing in.
Try to take photographs of your item from several different angles showing the sides of the painting as well as the front and don’t forget a good close up too, this doesn’t have to be of the whole painting but get a good cropped close up of a section of the painting to show textures and colours up close.
There are 5 photo spaces that etsy allow you to have try your best to use them all to get a good overall feel of your work.
There are times on Etsy that will be slower on views and sales in your shop, for me July has always been a very slow month so I use this time to study new things, re-think my shop layout, check all my tags, source new supplies, clean my studio and have a good look round at other people’s shops and blogs etc
Using your down time efficiently will help you when things start to pick up again, this is not the time to mope around feeling sorry for yourself and thinking everyone hates your work (I learnt that one quickly) this is the time to get busy on the business front and get prepared for future sales.
And just in case you thought I was slacking off whilst taking time out from my blog/shop here is a sneaky peek at some new goodies I am creating and I am also just about to take an on-line course with Tascha too ;o)
New On My Work Table:
Next week’s etsy Wednesday will cover the tagging, titles and some SEO (search engine optimisation) stuff on which I am no expert but will give you a few links to places that can help you if you want to learn more.