Last week, I closed my Etsy shop after 5 years of making and selling there. Those 5 years were really fun for me and taught me so much. More than anything, it helped develop my personal style and narrow my creative focus. I like doing a ton of different things, but having to create a product from start to finish was a unique challenge. Not only did I want to be proud of the finished product, but I wanted to enjoy the process of creating it. I still love the creative process, but I felt that it was time for me to move on from Etsy.
I might be taking a break from Etsy, but there are many people just starting up their new shops and creative journeys. I wanted to take some time to look back on those 5 years and what I learned in case it could help someone else. Etsy has exploded from a little known website to a huge online community in a few short years and there are a few key tips I've learned that will help set you apart from the crowd.
Keep it simple.
Simplicity is key. Focus on making one type of product really, really well. Etsy is saturated with makers and products and zeroing in on your particular strengths is what will set you apart from everyone else.
Keep it consistent.
Consistency both within your own shop and across the web is so important. Use the same profile photo and cover photo, logo, etc. on all your social media sites as well as in your shop. You don't want people wondering if they've found the right page or not.
Whenever someone sees one of your photo or products they should immediately be able to tell that came from YOUR shop. Consistency comes from knowing your personal style. Pick out 2-3 distinctive features of your style and work it into your branding whether it's color, line style, textures, or a pattern. This kind of consistency can take time to figure out, but once you do, stick to it!
Don't keep your awesome skills a secret! Post behind the scenes photos in your shop's about section, write about your creative process, and share your raw materials. This makes the customer feel like they're investing in a person, rather than just handing their money over to a faceless company.
Quality over quantity.
Don't worry if your shop doesn't have pages and pages of inventory. Again, focus on making one thing really, really well. Then work in some small variations if you feel confident with the end result. Customers will always come back for a handmade item of high quality even if you only make one type of item.
Focus on the customer experience.
Make your customer feel loved throughout the entire buying process. You want it to be an easy experience for them, from clearly explaining your shop policies to bright beautiful photos to clearly written item descriptions. Once they've purchased from you, show some appreciation! They're the reason you're doing this in the first place! I loved including a handwritten note or orders that included a postcard or other freebie to show some love to buyers. Hint: This is a great place to extend that consistent, unique branding of yours!
This is a lot of elements to consider and sometimes it's easier to see these things in action, so here are some Etsy shops to check out that do these things really well: