Sunday, December 30, 2012

Etsy :: A Work in Progress

The one thing that I struggle with when it comes to my jewelry is selling it. I love to make it, to talk about it, to blog about it and I even enjoy photographing it. But when it comes to selling it; I simply struggle. I don't enjoy 'working the sale' and would far prefer to just give my jewelry away as so many of you know!

But alas, there is this nagging voice in my head. Ok, truth be told it is actually my husband (ha! there I said it) asking that I at least attempt to break even on my beady obsession. And so I have taken some steps to improve my Etsy store

I joined a wonderful group of Etsy shops this Fall called the BBA (Blogging Business Artisans) who have been a source of encouragement on Etsy. They have put out a challenge to all of us in the group to think about how we might improve our shops. I took this as a sign. 

In the past week I've taken several steps to update my shop. And I have to admit; it feels good to stop avoiding this, and I can see that this might actually help sales. So here is my running list (I'm sure I'll come up with more, but let's start here).

  1. Photography: I've been in search of a style that I like, that I think will shout "oh yes, I know that look ... it's so-and-so's shop."  Anyone whose been to my Etsy knows that it looks like perhaps 12 different people work here. Sadly, that is both my art and my curse. I like lots of things. But I've committed to getting my photography to one style. It will take a bit of time to swap out the photos, and I need a new camera. But I've begun. You'll see a new look in the shop (the photos in this post are examples - and taken by a friend - Thea of Baby Cocktails). 
  2. Regular Re-Stocking: I was really on top of this when I first opened my Etsy Shop in 2010, but in the past year I've let re-stocking fall off. Sometimes I went several months without adding a single item. It doesn't take a brain surgeon to diagnosis the problem there. I added about 30 new items in the past month. I don't expect to keep up that pace, but I needed to make up for some lost momentum this year. 
  3. Sections: Sections are a way to navigate your shop. I'm now at almost 100 items in the store. That's a lot, and people get lost. So I re-worked my sections in a way that makes more sense. Well at least to me, and I hope to my shoppers.
  4. Treasuries: One great tip I picked up from my BBA team is optimizing the use of treasuries (my treasuries). When I stock a new item, or add a new section (as I just did with Kitsch Stitch), a treasury is a great way to get the word out. But remember to include other shops, and then be sure to send them a note letting them know they've been included (don't forget the treasury link so they can find it!). This way you spread the word, and get views. 
  5. Social Media Linking: I've been trying to make sure I stay on top of this, but this feels a lot more like 'working the sale.' One way I've been able to deal with this (at least for me) is to have social sites that are separate between my personal (my real name) and my shop (Antiquity Travelers). I don't want all my personal friends on Facebook to think I'm constantly asking them to buy my stuff! But I have linked my shop FB page to twitter, so when I post on FB it automatically 'tweets' an update. I have entire boards dedicated to my jewelry on Pinterest, I have collages to highlight my jewelry on Polyvore ... but all absolutely need to link to the Etsy shop. That way if someone really likes a piece, they know exactly how they can buy it. This is still a work in progress for me, but I'm getting more disciplined about it.
I have a few more ideas in the works like a revamp to my logo. I want to keep the Shiva as it is part of my identity. It is a real item in my studio, and one I brought back from the Himalayas. So that stays. But everything else is up for grabs. How about all of you? Will you be making New Year's Resolutions to update your shops? Any ideas to share on what makes a better shop experience? Leave me a comment .... I'm interested!


Patti Van said...

I could have written your first paragraph myself! I hate the sales part, too! I have recently re-photographed all of my jewelry in my shop - natural daylight is hard for me, as I have either constant direct sunlight, or gray days! So, I bought some photo lamps and went to the Garden center and bought a lovely piece of granite that I use to photograph all of my jewelry. My shop now looks at least cohesive!

As for resolutions - I tend to not even use the word resloution - as I feel guilty for not following through! I prefer to use the word goals - attainable goals - instead. Ah...the English language - so many words that have the same meaning!

Best of luck in your shop and have a blessed - and prosperous - New Year!

Michelle Mach said...

There's so much I'd like to do with my shop! I'm hoping I'll have some time starting January.

Have you thought about adding an Etsy Mini to your blog sidebar near the top? That would give blog visitors an easy way to check out your shop.

BackstoryBeads said...

My resolution this year is to open an Etsy shop, so you've given me lots to think about here (and great tips!) Thanks for a timely post. Wishing you much success in what is certainly going to be a busy New Year!

Miss Val's Creations said...

Hi Cynthia,
I wish you great success and increased sales for 2013!!! If you keep up with with your goals and methods you will be seen more, hence more sales. :)

Personally for me I have found jewelry parties to bring me the most success since many ladies like to try jewelry on before buying. It was always a great excuse for friends to have an open house for their girlfriends and families to stop by and say hello.

I have a possible goal of going self employed in 2013! We will see. It is a matter of reaching some financial goals first before taking the leap to living my dream of being my own boss!!!

Happy new year!!! ~Val

Claudia said...

I think your etsy shop is lovely!

I struggle with my photography and sales are slow too so there is always room for improvement ;)

I will be starting featuring handmade in February, would you like to be featured in my blog?? you know it's a humble blog but i'd love to have you there!

Best of luck in this coming 2013 Cynthia!

Jane of The Jewels said...

I love that you're keeping the Shiva - it's wonderful 'trademark' piece.

BeadedTail said...

I'm not good at the sales part either which is probably why I 'hide' behind my cats doing the selling most of the time! You've made great strides these past few months and I'm looking forward to seeing what all you do in 2013! I'm really glad you're part of our wonderful BBA team too! :)

Craftymoose Crafts said...

You've done a good job in sprucing up your Etsy store. I try to add a few items a week or at least relist to keep my shop up in the searches. I am always trying to improve my photos, too.

Janet Bocciardi said...

I could've written this whole post! lol! I like to call it my business, but my husband says what business could ever survive run this way? I told him that my goal now, after realizing I wasn't going to become Vera Wang, is to pay for all my beads, tools and classes. I've been doing that for a few years now so I felt that was safe.

Anyway - you've done some positive things here. I still struggle with being a sales person and I think most of us do. I've heard of folks getting an agent, but that isn't comfortable for me, because I actually do want to meet (at least via the web) my buyers. They've connected to our work and part of that connection is us.

BBA are awesome! Some day I hope to be able to go back and commit the time needed to keep up, but I've met some wonderful people there and stay in contact best I can.

(btw, I think blogger was having trouble or something, because I revd no comments yesterday and then got yours that said you had trouble just a short while ago. I've entered you several times for all the support.)

Good luck with your new goals and wishing you much success in the new year!

pasqueflower said...

Changing up your photos is an ambitious goal, but I'm sure you will accomplish it, and feel better about the "selling" part of the business in the process. 30 items in a month. Yikes!! Beware of burnout at that piece! Best wishes for a great 2013.

Kashmira said...

Like everyone else, there is a TON i want to do as well. But I need to sit down for an hour and prioritize them and all and see what is feasible.

Learning how to get the most out of my dSLR is on top of the list though.

As for photos for the shop: I have one recommendation for you. Try to take at least one picture of your item on a plain white background, and use that as the main thumbnail for your product. This way, the focus will truly be on what you are trying to sell without creating any distractions, and the main page of your store will be cohesive. You can add the more artistic pictures in the listing.

Etsy mini is another recommendation I have. I have gotten visitors from there every time i post something on my blog. Which is something I need to get more regular with!

All the very very best with breaking even! May 2013 be that year! For so many of us!!

Magic Love Crow said...

Good for you! Having an Etsy shop, is like having a real shop! You have to work at it! I have just finished revamping all my pictures! And, I have many new items to add for 2013. I have taken off some old items too. Treasuries are great and so are groups! I wish you all the best! Happy New Year!! Many blessings ;o)

EWA gyöngyös világa! / EWA's World of Beads! said...

I wish you a very happy New Year !

Ashley of Southern (California) Belle said...

I never even knew I could buy your jewelry on Etsy! I definitely think you should link it to your blog, it's so easy and it will bring so much more traffic :)



Southern (California) Belle

P.S. Happy new year and I love your new blog header!

memoriesforlifescrapbooks said...

You've got lots of great new ideas for your shop! And I love your new blog banner!

Judy Nolan said...

I like what you are doing with your photography! And boy, do I hear you about "working the sale!" I used to tweet and post on Facebook every time I had a new listing, but I have stopped doing this because it feels like I am shouting in the marketplace: "Look at me!" Instead, I am blogging more--and not necessarily about my products. My shop stats show that this brings views to my shops.

storybeader said...

the Shiva is beautiful. How about using it in all your backdrops, or to hold your gemstone jewelry? I don't make a lot of new products so I renew all my items before they expire. This year I plan to introduce a new line... another section! {:-D

AntiquityTravelers on Etsy