Thursday, March 17, 2011

100 Sales

A few days ago I hit 100 sales on Etsy. When I first opened up my Etsy shop last February, I had envisioned this day; the journey to get to 100 has been both trying and wonderful. Some things I have learned so far (in no particular order):
  1. A lot of people are willing to help. Maybe I'm just lucky to have a really great support system, but I found that when I reached out, a lot of friends and family genuinely wanted to help in a variety of ways. Many willingly spread the word about Gypsy Lane Designs, and I believe that word of mouth has really helped pushed me to sale number 100.  
  2. Check out your competition. Don't just briefly scan through the products that are similar to yours. You really need to see who you are up against. Check out their products, photos of their products, prices, and policies. Why do you think that shop may be successful/struggling? How do you compare? If there are a lot of products like the ones you offer, what can you do to stand out? I even decided to contact some sellers whose shops really impressed and inspired me. I found that most Etsy sellers were happy to respond to my questions and offer advice.
  3. Stay true to your style. Let your talents shine. Make sure you are passionate about what you are creating. If you are not, I think that it shows. 
  4. Constantly re-evaluate yourself and your ideas. Don't be afraid to make a change. You have to be honest with yourself. If something isn't working, there is usually a reason why. I kind of had to find my niche as I developed my Etsy shop, and it has definitely evolved in the year since I opened. There are many ideas I just had to do away with.
  5. Connect with other people on Etsy. If you sell on Etsy, do yourself a favor and start conversing in the forums now. I can't believe how much valuable information I obtained. I discovered how to ship as cheap and efficiently as possible; other artists were willing to offer critiques; or even just offer kind words during rough patches. Even though I have a great support system through my family and friends, they can't completely empathize with me as they personally haven't experienced the specific frustrations that go into maintaining an Etsy shop.
  6. You need to be willing to put in even more time than you thought. I literally feel as if I am working two full time jobs right now. Expect to feel overwhelmed. Etsy is constantly on my mind; thinking about new product ideas, packaging in a visually appealing way, making sure I shipped everything on time, communicating with customers, finding the lowest prices for my supplies, taking the best possible pictures, keeping myself visible through a blog and on Facebook, branding my shop with logos, deciding if I want to offer discounts/sales, making sure my customers are satisfied. I believe many people think I'm just having fun and painting. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE making my creations, but after a full day of work, it can be exhausting. 
  7. Show your buyers great customer service. They really do seem to appreciate it. I personally like being able to email with customers to make a connection. It's nice knowing a bit more about who I am designing for.
  8. There is always more to learn. Always. My shop is still very much a work in progress....

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