Opening up your first shop, putting your handiwork on display and worrying about whether you'll make any sales can understandably leave you stressed. But it doesn't have to! Christine, the successful owner of Etsy jewellery shop Cbiji Collection, shares what she has learned from her experience with the popular buying and selling site.
Don't rely solely on people performing Etsy searches as a way to make sales. Getting people interested in your shop can come from many sources. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook are effective means of getting friends, family, acquaintances, new customers and strangers interested in what you're selling. Christine, for example, has both a blog and a Facebook page dedicated to promoting her exquisite products. Buying a handmade item online, she explains, is very different from buying a generic one from a store. People like to get to know the designer behind the brand, and social media can help make that happen.
Opening a successful shop certainly involves having great products to offer, but it also relies heavily on your putting in the time to do all the necessary research. Christine encourages new owners to check out other shops with similar products to see what they're charging. You don't want to overcharge and have customers go elsewhere, but you also don't want to undercharge and not get what you should for your hard work. So do some research before settling on prices you can feel good about.
Christine admits that being found on Etsy can be challenging considering how many unique and beautiful products are available. But what she finds can help with that is learning a bit about search engine optimization (SEO). This is the process of improving the visibility of a website through the lens of a search engine. By using optimal terms and keywords, you can help get your products to the top of the search. Check out the Etsy SEO help section to make sure you get your shop set up right!
Although you may have sold a piece or two to friends and family over the years, selling online brings some new challenges into the equation. One of the biggest issues new owners may face is having to deal with shipping. When you sell on Etsy, you list your shipping fees, and they get tacked on to the price of the item when it is sold. If you overcharge, people may not think it's worth it and give up on the product. But if you undercharge, your fees might not cover the shipping, and you'll have to cover it yourself out of your profits. So before you settle on shipping costs, pay a visit to your local Canada Post to find out more about what different packages cost to send. Christine advises becoming comfortable with the rates and prices of shipping before choosing to ship to the U.S. or the rest of the world.
Unlike some selling websites, where it's every man for himself, Etsy prides itself on providing more of a community feel. The website allows you to become part of a team with other shop owners so you can share your ideas, suggestions and knowledge. Some of them are free for anyone to join, and others require that you apply. This is a great way to meet people with common interests and collaborate. So join one of the many Etsy teams, and get involved.
If there's one thing Christine hopes to impart to anyone new to the field, it's this: "Have patience." She wisely states that it takes time to create a brand and a business. And if after a few months you only have a couple sales? "Don't quit. Work harder. The more effort you put into your store, the better the outcome!"
Check out Christine's Etsy shop to browse her stunning bracelets, earrings, pendants and more. And while you're there, seize the opportunity to witness an example of what a great shop looks like.
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