I try to keep my shop and this blog a bit separate, but today — my  1 year “etsy”versary —  I decided to share some tips on the Etsy boards (as is sometimes tradition with shop anniversaries), and I thought I’d do a bit of a re-post here to inspire any other Etsy sellers out there!

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It’s been a whirlwind year here at the Copper Poppy – and we’re taking this Valentine’s Day to celebrate our 1st year Etsyversary!
What stemmed from looking at Etsy as a buyer for my own pet’s tags, to rediscovering my creative side and ordering my own metalworking tools, turned into hammering away after my evening commute, and then on weekends to keep up with demand. 7 months after the shop opened (and in conjunction with a cross-country move for my husband’s job), I decided to take my business full-time after being in the corporate world for over 8 years.
I’m always scouring the boards for advice, so… in the spirit of community, I wanted to take a moment to leave a few tips I’ve learned in my first year on Etsy….

Price competitively– even lower — when you start out. Years of working as a Business Development Manager helped me with pricing (even though this was a completely different product). I started prices slightly lower than my competition to snag a bit of market share. When business starts getting a bit steadier, try leveling off your pricing with the competition — or if you feel comfortable enough that you’ll still retain sales —  price slightly higher, if you feel your product merits it. Beware of starting your prices too low, it’ll project an inferior product.

Identify your competition and keep an eye on them. When do they repost? What sort of products sell best in their shop? What does their feedback say? Learning from other’s successes (or failures) can help you too, especially in the same category.

-Post and repost often. In a category that gets buried with new product often, it was important for me to repost new product regularly. Be aware of time – just because you’re at your computer at 7am Eastern, doesn’t means the rest of the US is ready to buy. Use item views to gauge how ‘busy’ things are that day … if I post something and see I’ve had low views in the first 30 minutes, I might wait before I spend a few more dollars posting more product.

-Go into your shop with fresh eyes… often. Would you buy from you? Ask an impartial friend or family member to go in and critique your shop, if you need to.  Do things make sense? Are policies thought out? Are descriptions well written and consistent?

-Take the best photos you can, or find a friend who can help. I’ve taken all my photos with a point and shoot camera, and learned how to use editing software to make my pics even better. While it might help, you don’t need a top-of-the line DSLR or to hire a photographer to have a successful shop.

– People want to work with a responsive seller. Buyers — especially today — want quick answers, speedy turnaround, and fast shipping. Try to be as quick as you can, while still turning out an exceptional product. When I see that competitors are making items within 10 days, I strive to make mine within 5. I know that, as a buyer, I’d go with a seller who can get me a good product faster.

– Always, ALWAYS go the extra mile for your customer, and it will always come back in your favor. I dig envelopes out of the mail when buyers give me the wrong address, throw in freebies when I make a mistake, include thank-yous with each orders, and make sure I responded to convos the same day I receive them. Buyers come to Etsy for exceptional, personal service – make sure you give it!

-Say Yes. Try your best to get involved with everything that comes your way — giveaway offers for blogs, silent raffle items for local charities, offers for craft shows … While it takes work, time, and free product – it will almost always come back to you with at least another order or two.

– I’m sure that having a Facebook page, Twitter account, Blog, and countless other ways to market socially, views will come to you, but in my opinion, that always seemed like a backwards way to sell. I focused on my shop, orders, customer service, referrals from buyers, and local opportunities. To me, maintaining social networking pages with interesting content was as much as a full-time job as my Etsy shop was!

-Be positive. It reflects in your shop, your write-ups, your tone with customers, and ultimately affects sales. If something’s not working, don’t get down on yourself — change it up until it works. Keep a positive attitude and don’t be afraid to ask for help!

Best of luck to all sellers — experienced AND new! Here’s to another great year!

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