Thursday, July 5, 2007

JBT Top Ten Do's and Don'ts of Etsy

I was thinking this morning about Etsy and how much it has consumed my life. It's a managable thing, but it's taken me almost 6 months now, to figure out how to be profitable there. The following is a list of my top ten do's and don'ts for success on Etsy. I'm not saying I have all the answers, but I just wanted to pass on the personal knowledge that I've acquired.

The Don'ts

  1. One thought on the forum, enter with caution!! Do not get caught up in what other seller's are doing or saying. Just be positive, add your items to posts, and for god sakes do not talk about religion or politics!! Remember, everything you say on the forum, stays on the forum forever!!

  2. If you like recycling, that's fine. But if you send me a package that's dirty, disheveled, and not presentable, you will lose out on future sales.

  3. Please, oh please, do not tell us too much about your personal life in your store or profile! Customers buy things because they feel that it will fit into their home, life, etc. They don't want too much background information, or they may decide it's a personality clash with your products.

  4. When describing products, customers don't want to read about your personal musings on nature, colors, and childhood stories! They really want a great technical description, so they don't have to convo you!

  5. Pictures say 1,000 words, so even if you take wonderful artistic photos, please put pictures that show all the angles of your actual product.

  6. Don't ask your customers to contact you regarding shipping prices, choices of product, or customization. Spell it out for them somewhere on your site. I can guarantee that almost 100% of people (myself included), will run screaming from asking a seller questions.

  7. Over promotion happens! It is extremely immature and irritating, to see people on MySpace telling us every time they have a new color for a $5 pair of earrings! This applies to email too. Sending out a monthly newsletter or an appropriate sales bulletin, will do the trick.

  8. Do not let your shop ever have less than a full page of listings. Imagine going into a shop and only seeing 5 items? If you don't immediately like one, it's over for that store.

  9. When answering customer questions, please use real words and terms. Even if they are a seller on Etsy, we all like to see grown-up behavior. No funny symbols, just direct answers, and polite words.

  10. Please do not pretend you're an expert on everything! I am not an expert on anything! I admit when I've mislabeled, shipped incorrectly, or sent you a broken item. Accidents happen, we're all human, customers will respect your honesty more than excuses.

The Do's

  1. If you want to make part-time money on the internet, work full-time. Want full-time income? You need to work 24 hours a day/seven days a week!

  2. Blog, MySpace, Stylehive, Ebay, Technoratti, have your own personal site, etc. Live it, breathe it, and update it daily!!

  3. You will always be an artist, even if you have reasonable prices:) Buy wholesale!

  4. Do unto others... I would say that the first four months I was on Etsy, I spent 75% of my time helping others with Street Teams, graphics, listings, etc. You will be greatly rewarded for this and it feels good too:)

  5. Join and/or start a Street Team.

  6. You may hear people complaining about avatars, banners, etc. Stick with what represents you. Only you know what your company and style is.

  7. Prices are personal and you shouldn't change them often. Different things command different amounts, but you should never start out with insanely high prices. Building a good customer base that trusts you takes years! Please don't scare customers off, list something for everyone's market.

  8. Do take into account that if you want sales on Etsy, you might not have a product that is popular now. If you don't care about this, then please don't complain in the forums that you have no sales. If you do care, study stylehive, Etsy, and other trendy places for an idea of what is going on this season. FYI, I am not suggesting you copy others, just take a look at colors, season, lifestyles, and trends.

  9. Have cut and dry policies in your store that are not too wordy. Don't change these unless it's necessary. Customers like consistancy, and they don't want a different shipping cost or return policy every time they visit you.

  10. Give the customer their way. You may hate this particular customer, but you have to do it. They don't know you're seething inside, and it usually has a very positive outcome.

These are some of my best tips. I have to tell you that I wish I'd read them when I started! I have done most of the don'ts and I continue to remind myself not to repeat them! Thankfully, most other human's are forgiving:)

Hope some or all of these help you out, and good luck to everyone on Etsy!


BeadsDeep said...

Thanks Tara! Good advice. I appreciate you taking the time to do this. It will certainly help us newbies out.

Pirate Pigsey said...

GREAT tips, I agree with pretty much everything on here - especially people getting to personal (OMG I need sales for surgery to add an extra tail to my cat) or if they over promote (sale every 10 minutes!)

ap said...

Hi, Tara, you're so great about sharing info and help with everybody. You're building up some great karma :)
LOL at #4 - actually I think some people do enjoy hearing all about the creative process, communing with nature, etc. Although when it takes a page and a half, then not so much!
I wish you much continued success.
Alissa (divadea)

Anastazia said...

I just found your blog via Myspace and I have to say these are some awesome do's and don'ts. "If you want to make part-time money on the internet, work full-time." Sad but SO true!

blest said...

Good stuff! I agree with all of it.

Patience is another good one. I just saw someone in the past day or so who has been on Etsy for FIVE days and is upset about no sales yet.

Patience, patience Young Jedis!!

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Great, well thought out list :-)
Thanks for sharing.
Smiles, Karen

Marysusan Noll said...

Very nice, concise and accurate list. Thanks Tara for compiling something that would be a resource to any of us!

project_wonderland said...

awesome list! Thanks so much for taking the time to share what you've learned!

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

These are marvellous suggestions -- thank you so much!


I am one of your customers and I have to say that you have EXCELLENT customer service and wonderful products. You are the BOMB!!

LazyTcrochet said...

Thanks for the run-down. Quite helpful!

Noemi said...

A lot of things that I thinbk everyone should keep in mind. I think I'd add one thing to your first don't, the one about the forums:

know when to not get involved in a thread or walk away when it gets ugly, it'll save your sanity


noemi (aka ravenshold)

Eveline said...

Great list! Very helpful, even if I have been on Etsy for a while now. It's always good to remind yourself ;)

(Timeless on Etsy)

Obsidian Kitten said...

i've been on etsy for about a month now and this is a *great* do and don't list--thanks so much!

Felicia said...

Overall great tips. Its hard to start an online business. There is so much to learn and so many mistakes to make :) Hopefully your list will help folks out.

Skein Queen said...

So useful. Thanks for that.

KnowNatural said...

Thanks so much for this info. I am just setting up an etsy shop and it helps to have some advice from someone who's done this!

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