Etsy Success Strategies For DIY Makers | David Miller | Skillshare
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7 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Etsy Strategies Intro

    • 2. Filling The Shelves

    • 3. Photographing Your Etsy Listings

    • 4. Customer Service + The App

    • 5. Coupons + Campaigns

    • 6. Packaging and Shipping

    • 7. Etsy Strategies Wrap Up

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About This Class

Successfully running a creative business from your home or mobile phone is a goal for many DIY independent makers, and Etsy is the largest platform dedicated to that goal.  In this course I detail the tools Etsy has for implementing such success, and discuss the ins and outs of coupons, product photography, packaging and shipping, and more.  See you in class!

Meet Your Teacher

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David Miller

Multimedia Artist For Primordial Creative studio


I'm David, a multimedia artist in Phoenix, and my studio is Primordial Creative.  


I have always been interested in the visual arts from an early age- drawing, painting, and clay- but around my high school years I became interested in photography for the social aspect of involving other people, the adventure inherent in seeking out pictures, and the presentation of reality that wasn't limited by my drawing skills.


One thing in my work that has stayed consistent over the decades since then is I have an equal interest in the reality of the lens next to the fictions we can create in drawing, painting, animation, graphic design, and sound design.  As cameras have incorporated video and audio features, and as Adobe's Creative Cloud all... See full profile

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1. Etsy Strategies Intro: Hello out there. I am David Miller, a being spares in a multimedia artist and educator. I wanna welcome with Force on Running an indie artist Etsy shop and I have been a member of Etc. On and off for a very, very long time at least eight years. At this stage, I've run a few different shops, and I've done it where I basically post stuff with the price and watch it fail completely to take off. And in recent years, I've decided I was gonna take a little more seriously was gonna run this shop like people run their real shops. And I tell you what. My traffic and sales have grown and grown and grown to the point where I really want to share what I've done, to course correct with a whole bunch of you other indie artists out there. Now my shop is filled with material that I make that's mostly photographic. It's mostly based on portrait photography. There's some publications there. There are view masters, Polaroids, art prints, a few other unique, distinct items that are all generated by me. They're not works that are collaged or collaborated on with other artists. They're not things that I mass produce or three D prints in large quantities like cake toppers. All of those things, of course, have their place on etc. But I'm a kind of artist who is probably closer to the traditional painter illustrator in that I'm trying to make work that would be suitable for a gallery but is in such small scale that finding a gallery, setting up shop in there and then splitting profits 50% with the gallery owner isn't really ideal for me. They're artists who create, like one off zines and other kinds of smaller works that they make their money because they can produce it at a relatively quick rate. And the work is affordable enough to be bought by somebody who has, like, a regular job and and isn't necessarily geared towards somebody you as a lot of money to spend on art. I personally want to make art that other people can buy, and I want to buy art that other people make. That is for me. So, uh, that's kind of the basics of my Etsy shop. Currently, I have about 200 items going in the shop and I sell something every day every other day. It's been that way for a few months now. Ah, lot of it has to do with actual things I'm doing in the shop besides filling it up with my stuff. It isn't just a matter of putting up your shingle and saying Hey, world, I've got things for sale. Come on down. There are a lot of things you can do as a shop owner as an artist to make those sales happen. There are a lot of strategies have incorporated that have worked for me, and they're something that haven't worked at all. So I am here to share all of that with you. And hopefully, if you are an independent artist, if you're somebody running on Etsy shop, you're gonna gain some wisdom and knowledge and be able to course correct. Some things that you might be doing that aren't working in your favor. Maybe you'll get some ideas that you never considered when running your own Etsy shop throughout this course. But listen, this is my story. I'm gonna share it with you, and I'm sure that wherever you are in your Etsy shop running, you're going to get some value and benefit out of this class. So let's dive right in 2. Filling The Shelves: Honestly, a lot of my advice about running your Etsy shop is very similar to what you would assume any business would do if they're trying to stay in business. That means a great customer service experience, very organized shelf space, a lot of products so on and so forth. It's a little different for the indie artist in something like Walmart, WalMart or Target or any of the big box stores has a lot of big ticket items. They have a lot of small ticket items. They have a wide selection of stuff, so some people go for food. Some people go for clothing, so on and so forth. You're an independent artist. You're not able to do that. They are able to ship a lot of things and a lot of different ways and offer free shipping as part of a perk. They have rewards programs. They have a lot of employees who may have specialized knowledge so on and so forth, un presuming your Etsy shop is just you. So we're going to take the best lessons we can from how other businesses operate and apply them to our online shop run by one person. That's more of an arts and Crafts creative boutique, and I go back to a store more than once. It's because I had a good experience. I was treated well and they had something I wanted or needed, and they took the store experience seriously. And I want to speak initially about what it means for us as artists to take our store seriously. It means checking in very frequently, I would say on a daily basis, putting new product on the shelves on your virtual online space on a regular basis. For me, that's a few times a week for you might be something different. Honestly, you have to have a certain number of product. And just like any other form of social media, if you only post sporadically if you post a bunch of stuff on one day and then go, ah, long period of time without showing up, that is going to cut down the amount of traffic considerably that comes to your store. In my experience, I get way more traffic when I post a couple things every day every other day, even if it's 20 cents to list it, it doesn't matter. I'm putting something new in and that new thing is showing up when people are searching for things that are new. If something is a week old, it's gonna be behind everything else that people are searching for because it's been up for a while. Not to mention that your listings have an expiration date, you can choose to automatically renew these. But if everything expires all the same time in your shop, if you have AH 100 items in there and you listed them all on a weekend in May and it's July and August and they're all expiring at once, then it's up to you to realist everything at the same exact time. If you're putting up things everyday every couple days, then they're going to expire at different times. And it's not gonna be such a big hit all at once. The number of items that you should have in your shop, it really depends on what you make. Of course, I have found having over 100 listings helps a lot. No matter how homogeneous your store items are, meaning how similar they are, how similarly you have them grouped or tag by having over 100 items, you become a spike that people will notice. And if you have ah, 100 items that match the same aesthetic in my case, things that are focused on art model photography I have a lot of options for somebody who's interested in art. Model photography sees the one item in their search. They come to my site and they see 99 other choices. More choices means more opportunity for them to buy more than one thing. 3. Photographing Your Etsy Listings: probably the most common question I hear people ask about creating Etsy shop and the listings is how do I photograph my stuff? Do I need a really nice, expensive camera to do it? We need to hire a photographer, don't need to have a model, wear it if it is like a piece of jewelry or clothing. And the easiest answer, all those questions is to simply follow at CES guidelines. Now. The reason why I recommend following Etsy's guidelines is because the entire aesthetic around at sea is built around this clean, clear look. It's been well researched by the staff, it etc. The people who shop on Etsy are looking for a particular kind of aesthetic when they're shopping, and when you deviate from that, even if you're super creative, even if you have great ideas, that deviation is going to he be pretty hard because it's totally different from what everybody working for at sea and everybody's shopping on Etsy is looking for. So I'm gonna go ahead and create a new listing. Go ahead and pick bags and purses and we're going to take photos directly with our device. Before I do that, I want to showcase fact that Etc. Can host 10 photos for your item, and there's simple icons that lets you know how to position your item. If you want to use all 10 that's fine. If you want to use one, that's fine. The fact that you have 10 options is something I think people should take advantage of. Most of my artwork is very flat artwork, and it might just be a Polaroid. So in the case of mine, I would probably use a regular image of the Polaroid of scan for the very first image. And then some of the other ones include the scale of the item. So how it fits alongside other things. Somebody wearing the item, the item in the room, variations of the item and the item from every direction. A Polaroid. It could be held in somebody's hand. It could be placed next to other objects that could be placed on display on a shelf. Those air always that I can help sell this product. This isn't unique toe, etc. Of course, he never bought it. Item on a catalogue on your lifetime. Even if it's through Amazon, there's gonna be multiple angles. Is gonna be an image of it next to other items. So you get a sense of how big this thing actually is when we take our photos. The recommendations on Etsy used natural light no flash in a simple background and will say that on camera flash, whether it's on a DSLR Amir list camera or some kind of cell phone flash is really ugly lighting. And if you think you need a flash to take your photo because it's a dark environment, then don't take your photo in the dark environment. Wait until you have natural light toe work with or go find yourself some natural light because the flash on your cell phone on your DSLR camera is hideous. All it will do is highlight the amateurish nature of your photograph and make your object devalued by association. A simple background means not a lot of easy stuff behind it. So in my home environment, that might mean this simple white fence it might mean against the blue sky, but it wouldn't mean against, uh, random tree in my backyard. It wouldn't mean shooting the object against a contrast ing bunch of other clothes or other bags this is a messenger bag, so we want to show that it can hold something like Mac book Air or an iPad or a sketchbook , because the brand of this reflects having a simple lifestyle making do with things that you already have. Emphasizing the crafty nature of it. Having a sketchbook go in seems to suit it a lot better than having, like technology, go into the bag, think simply, work simply and adhere to the standards. 4. Customer Service + The App: now back to the concept of taking things seriously. Besides showing up on a regular basis besides listing frequently Besides having lots of listings for your customers, you should have every item as described as well as it can be in every possible sense, the tagging area, the category, the item specifics, uh, anything that is valuable Information. Height with vertical horizontal. All of those details make sure everything is filled in each one of those could be the key to your sale. Each one of those is also a question that you will get from a customer if you don't have them. Village. So good customer service means you've already assumed their questions and you've answered them in advance. People are going to write you with questions about items. It's up to you to respond to them as quickly as possible, and etc. Lets them know how quickly you respond to questions. If you never respond to questions, if you fail to check your email, if you don't have notifications from the APP, turn on your phone and you miss questions from your customers, etc. Shows that you will fail to respond within a certain timeframe, and that's going to dissuade a lot of people from wanting to buy something from you because , honestly, an inattentive shop owner may failed to send an item. Sometimes it looks like a scam. I've had plenty of stores in the real world where I've walked in. Nobody said anything to me. You know, Nobody said, welcome to the store. Is there anything I can do for you? So on so forth. And you know what I didn't feel like? I, uh, was obligated to spend any time there, spend any money, do anything for that store. I walk in, look around, be ignored, walk right out. It's a sign of respect when you address the concerns of somebody that's speaking to you and you address them promptly and you give them the time of day, make them feel important. That is such a big deal. When you're trying to get money out of somebody, if you don't respect them, they have no reason to spend their money. They have no personal connection to you, and you're an independent artist. You cannot trade on the fact that you have the cheapest price of food or furniture or any of the other things that a big box store like Target or Wal Mart or Best Buy can rely on even when maybe their employees don't give the best customer service. I personally would never shop at Walmart if I didn't have to. But when I'm on a road trip and I'm in a small town that has only a Walmart for sure, I'm gonna shop there because I know they have the thing I want to buy. It doesn't matter what the customer services, the independent artists that I buy stuff from on a regular basis that I ordered things from through the mail. I know. I'm going to get my things in the mail as quickly as possible. I'm not gonna be ignored. I'm not gonna be treated like garbage. That's what taking your shop seriously means now. One great way to stay on top of everything. Make sure that you get notifications as they happen is to utilize the Etsy shop app on your smartphone and make sure you have those notifications turned on. So whenever there's any activity in your shop, you can respond to it The moment it happens. A quick response is the best way to close a sale even waiting a few hours means that person has left their computer has left their smartphone is no longer in the mindset to spend money on Etsy. Maybe they already spent money and etc on somebody else who answered their question quicker . 5. Coupons + Campaigns: Let's take a moment and talk about the marketing tools that etc. Has within their shop manager. These tools include analytics, advertising, sales and coupons, social media and creating your own custom Web address. We're going to focus on this sales and coupons because when we look on the regular Etsy page as we scroll through the listings, there are plenty of them that have nothing of note like this $8 pin. But we also see ones with little green tags next to them. These beads 15% off. This has free shipping. It's a best seller. This is 70% off, 15% off. This catches my eye Ah, lot easier than these other ones that have no particular sales. No free shipping offers nothing special to mention about them. Whatever you can do on the shopping page to get eyeballs on your product, I think you need to do. And if you think of any other store that you go in target WalMart, the grocery store. They have something on sale every week. Something is on sale. It might not be the same things every week, but there is enticement for the consumer to enter that store seek out particular items, especially when their items that the store wants to move. If it is a product that is seasonal Christmas is coming. They have Christmas product that's on sale. And when that season's over, that product is clear. Inst. Very rarely is it the 100% posted price. There's always some discount if it's the sale or the clearance, and I feel like we should run our shops the same way, we should always have a sale. We should always have a reason to entice customers to part with their money and buy our product. Now, when we go into the sales and coupons, you have targeted campaigns and you have individual sales and coupons. Let's create a new special offer. Your choices run a sales and offers to interested shoppers and create a coupon. Well, the sale is pretty much what you think it is. It's going to be either a percentage off or free shipping. Ah, lot of my product. I have set up to be free shipping before I run this sale, and the reason for that is as we get back to our first page. Free shipping is a tag that is naturally offered on etc. We'll talk a little bit more about shipping down the road, but we're gonna focus on percentage off as he has these pre programmed discounts for you. My personal markup for most of my products is something the neighborhood of twice or three times the amount of money I paid to make it. In the case of Polaroids, I spent about $2 on the physical Polaroid to shoot it, and then I sell them for 25 years. They don't sell every single Polaroid, but selling one pays for the entire pack. And because my photography involves either travel or models, there's probably other expenses that went into generation of those Polaroids. So it's important to me that I make a little bit of money back on those. If I get them autographed by the model, then there's an increased markup point is that I'm okay. Taking 25% off on most of my products. I was still make somewhat of a prophet if it got people through the door to actually buy them. And as you proceed with your Etsy shop over time, you're gonna know what products move and what ones don't and which ones you might want to specify where the sale takes place. So where is this offer? Valid. You can pick your countries. You can set a minimum order to qualify. So if you say it's gonna be 25% off two or more items, that's how you would do that. Or you could specify if you spend $100 get 25% off. You can set up when you want your sail to run. When you want it to begin. When you want it to end any other restrictions, make sure you put them here and then you go ahead and name your sale. I'm gonna set 25% off for spring. We'll start on March 21st and March 28th 1 week long sale 25% off everywhere $100 off the social media already have integrated into etc. Is here. I'm not gonna tweet out a sale for March 21st because the day and recording this is February 16th a little bit off in the future. Now I have two kinds of targeted campaigns. Running the Bannon cart simply means that somebody was shopping. They saw something they liked of mind. They put it in their shopping cart and then they never finished buying it. I'd give them a 10% off. That's an email that's automatically sent by etc. I don't have to do anything extra. This has been created. A couple weeks ago, six emails have been sent. One has been used. I've made $27.50 off of having this left behind coupon. The other targeted campaign is recently Favorited. What I like about these targeted campaigns is even though they haven't generated a lot of revenue for me, they're fully automatic. They function with people who already have interest in my shop meeting that they already placed something in the cart. Or they've used the heart icon to know Tate that they like something. If this artist has a similar campaign, the fact that I heart icon to this means that in a few days or a week, I might get une male giving me a discount off. This $20 of is Polaroid, and I've noticed that with other e commerce site said, I've worked with I've created something, put it in a shopping cart, did not finalize the deal. One week later email, noticing that I abandon the car and here's a 15% off coupon to seal a deal. Of course, I'm gonna take advantage of that. 6. Packaging and Shipping: So let's talk about packing and shipping your products from, etc. First, The package and shipping experience is one of the greatest ways you can impress your customer and turn them into a repeat customer. Whatever item you sell, make sure you double packet, which means that it has a protective outer show and that it has a protective inner shell for something as small as a Polaroid. When I send it, I make sure that it is bagged in a sandwich bag. So in case the envelope be exposed to the elements water rain so forth it would never damage the artwork inside. If possible, dress up your package. This could be done with hand illustration, ribbons, stickers, tags. Other kinds of small embellishments that are gonna make your customer feel like this is a unique experience and not just something that got thrown in a bag or a box and shipped off to them. Make sure your packaging is safe and secure for what you're sending. So in the cases of photographs that I send, I don't just rely on the package to be a sturdy one. I also make sure the photograph is placed in a container within the package. That is not gonna bend. I usually utilize a foam core backing board, something that on angry mailman or neighbor, is not going to damage if they want to take their wrath out on a particular customers packages. There's always some small branded gift you can include with your package, and by this I mean a hand written note, possibly on some stationery that's unique to whatever business you're running stickers, so on and so forth. It's a really good idea to include these extras with any package you send. I can genuinely remember every company that sent me something a little bit extra, and certainly if it was something that I could utilize like a sticker, I put that thing on my laptop, and I'm reminded of that company on a daily basis. I actually placed a mini comic in all of my etc. Envelopes. That explains who I am and what my shop does, because sometimes sometimes it's not 100% clear to people that I do a lot more than photography. I'm involved in animation, film making, music videos and so on, so forth, and even though not a lot of that can be sold on Etsy shop because it's a digital video product. I want people to know what my studio does. So if they like this facet of my creative studio output, they may be interested in the other things they do. And it also contains, of course, all of my social media links and email way for them to get in touch if they wanna have a further contact beyond being a patron of my shop. The cost of shipping are something that can really damage an online business if they're not paying attention to what they're doing, particularly international shipping, because this is where a photograph that costs me maybe $5 American to male ends up costing something like $14 just for the shipping alone, not including the packaging. If you are inclined to set your shipping rates to free shipping throughout your Etsy store , make sure that you have the cost of shipping included into the actual product. It does you no good to sell something that costs you more to ship than you actually make in profit. If you're looking for standard U. S. Shipping rates, they're available through the post office website. You certainly can go into the post office and check out the priority shipping samples. Currently something that would be like a nine by 12 photograph. I could priority ship it for $7.50. That would include the priority shipping envelope. Conversely, I could just by mailers from the post office that would fit the same size photograph and shipped them individually on my own without using the priority shipping. It comes out to roughly $5.50. This is all gonna be entirely dependent on what you sell, how large your packages, eso and so forth. I will say that anything you offer free shipping on gives you an extra tag when your products appear in searches. So it might be wise to offer free shipping. But make sure those shipping costs are entirely covered by what you are setting the price of your product at on the Etsy website under listings. When you scroll all the way down, you have your shipping options. This is also where you can create new kinds of shipping options. So for something that says Special order, I'm gonna go ahead, and it that tells you how long something takes to get to the customer. In my case, a special order would be something that somebody would order without me having as a listing . Maybe they want a particular variation, or they want something that I have to have manufactured by somebody else. That's why my processing time for special order is wanted. Two weeks. If I click the menu, I have a whole bunch of options. Generally, I go 1 to 2 business days. This is just unique to the special order. 1 to 2 weeks you have the shipping carrier you have what will charge if it's fixed price, then you can just go ahead and call it $5 5 50 Whatever you think is the shipping for this particular item. Currently, I have this as free shipping because it kind of depends on what the item is if they want a special order. If they're asking for something that's large and difficult for me to ship like a ceramic mask, I'll go ahead, include the shipping costs with the price of the item and charge them zero for shipping. You can have shipping unique to each destination. I might have different shipping for Japan, and I would have for the UK just because of how much it costs to ship to Asia. Or I can keep all my worldwide shipping just one single international price. You are also able to create shipping labels from ETC. Where you can use your home printer to print off labels and then schedule a pickup with the post office. Depending on the volume of your sales, this could be a huge time and money saver. 7. Etsy Strategies Wrap Up: well, friends. We've come to the end of our course on Etsy strategies. If you are new to at sea and you make a few sales, you're gonna realize that not only is there a fee for listing, but there's a fee for selling things. And if you print shipping labels, there's a feat for that. You might question whether or not the fees that etc takes is worth it to you as a maker. There's a few things I have to say about that. One is that we always should price our work what it's worth. So if there's fees they're shipping, there's materials. There's a lot of time involved on your end. You have to make sure that you are making a good enough profit off of what you make that covers everything and the people that are buying from you, people that are shopping on, etc. They already understand that people who live in Europe and buy things for me already understand that shipping to them is not going to be as cheap as it is for me to ship to somebody in California, Texas, Hawaii, Alaska. I never feel bad about pricing your item. What it is honestly worth, etc. Built itself on handmade goods aesthetic. It doesn't necessarily stick to that today, but that's what it built itself on. So if you make something with your own two hands that took a lot of time and then you go into target or wherever, and you see a similar item priced very cheaply because it was mass produced in a factory, you have no obligation to lower your price to match that factory price, you made something unique. It has the human touch. That's how you should price your work, not based off of what a mass produced version of that item would be priced. And to that end, I would also recommend that if you're taking the time to create something by hand, you should make it unique enough that it doesn't exactly correspond to something that somebody could buy in a target. A WalMart. No, it should be unique enough that it creates interest in the person who's gone to, etc. With a credit card in their hand or already saved on file so they can purchase something because that's the main reason why people goto, etc. To buy things they want to buy from you. So you need to make things that are interesting enough and enticing enough for them to buy from you. The other thing I have to say about that C is you have to let people know that your shop exists. Whatever social media channels you have, you should be talking about etc. There you should be mentioning the coupons and sales you have. Uh, you should be mentioning when you have new items there and the person who is too shy to talk about their store, their business will soon find that store in that business don't exist anymore. So don't be shy. Be proud of your online shop. There are many alternatives to etc. Out there. The only two sites I can name off the top of my head that have ah, corresponding audiences the larger than etc. Would be eBay and Amazon. You're in a relatively good company. If you're running your shop through that, you build your shop around a particular aesthetic and you find it's not working. Don't be afraid to change things up. Get a nicer banner change what kind of products you're offering? Uh, there are very few people who have ever been able to hang up their shingle. Say, Here's my style. Here is on my product line All this stuff, um, and get it right on the first try. You know, it's it's perseverance. But as I mentioned the beginning of our course, um, this is not my first Etsy shop that I have run, but because of all the changes I've implemented that I've talked about throughout the course, I have increased my sales 400% from where I am right now talking to you from last year. And the more that people are staying at home wanting to beautify their home, I'm finding that more people are looking to something like the Etsy shop versus the big box store. Those kind of stores air going out of fashion. Best of luck to you and all your creative endeavors. Talk to you next time