Creative Entrepreneurship

Posts tagged ‘Handmadeology’

Why You’re Not Getting Sales at Craft Shows

The list from Handmadeology is about Etsy sales but many of these are relevant to sales at craft shows and art fairs too.

There are several things that usually jump out at me about items I see for sale at these type of events:

11. Your items don’t stand out.
If you’re selling the same bracelet as at least 12 other Sellers on Etsy, then you are competing on price. (That’s a race to the bottom you really don’t want to be a part of.) Being unique and different is the easiest and most sincere way to direct browsers to your Etsy shop. And when other less creative sellers catch on and start copying you? You’ll already be developing and listing even more unique and different products for them to scramble over.

If people are walking past your booth and saying, “I could make that,” they probably can. Will they? Maybe not. But still – consider honing your skills to such a level, using such amazing materials, that you only hear the opposite, “Wow, I could never do what you do!”

Needle Felted Creatures by Casey Wright of Peaches Products, now available at Fairport Pharmacy

Needle Felted Creatures by Casey Wright of Peaches Products, now available at Fairport Pharmacy

19. Your shop is all over the place.
A cohesive shop not only speaks of a strong brand, but keeps the browser from feeling overwhelmed with scattered product options. A little tailoring and trimming goes a long way towards presenting a more fluid storefront.

I’ve seen spaces that offer so many different types of products, instead of seeing all, I see nothing, my brain is too overwhelmed. Is this person a jewelry designer, fiber artist or candle maker? I feel like it looks a little desperate. “I can make all of these things – please like something!”

Along the same line, I’ve made the mistake of thinking I should be using every inch of real estate in my booth. When I participated in the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair in 2013, I worked really hard to use my 3′ x 4′ of table space to the fullest. I filled the 4′ wide and went vertical as well. I thought I was so clever. In real life, I couldn’t interact with my customers easily and it was all just too much. Less is more and finding the right balance is important.

I must have deleted, out of embarrassment, any photos I took of my overcrowded space at the 2013 Buffalo Small Press Book Fair – so instead I’ll show you how it’s done simply, correctly and beautiful!

28. You look like a faceless corporation.
Most shoppers on Etsy want the personal touch of buying form an individual, or at least from a small company. If everything looks like it’s been taken from a stock photo website, and there is little to no voice in your written content, you may be getting confused with a massive reseller as a brand. A few personal touches, sprinkled in your product descriptions, photography, and packaging can go a long way in having you recognized as the one-of-a-kind individual you are.

This goes along with something I’ve been wanting to write about for a long time but it’s such a huge hot button for me, I haven’t been able to figure out how to take a breath and write calmly and rationally.

I visit a lot of artist websites and Facebook pages. A lot. My number one pet peeve is when I can’t find the artist’s actual name. People like to know who they are buying from! My second pet peeve is when there is little to no contact information. I dislike the comment form on websites but I understand why people use them. I’m also not a big fan of sales@mycompany.com or info@mycompany.com. Even just a firstname@mycompany.com is way more personal. And when Facebook went to that ridiculous format where they changed everyone’s primary email address to stefani.tadio@facebook.com, for example, I about lost my mind. And now this Ask For Stefani’s Phone Number, etc. business? Pul-ease! Are you in business or not? Be accessible. If I have to work too hard to figure out who someone is, I lose interest. I rarely connect with anyone on any social media if they haven’t even changed their profile pic or avatar from the generic one that comes with the service. Sorry, you bore me. Be there or don’t.

To be clear, I’m only talking about business pages. If you’re a security freak or worried about spam, maybe an online presence isn’t for you. To me, spam filters are so sophisticated these days, I honestly have to deal with very little spam. I glance over my Junk Folder before I delete the emails, done.

This is obviously my opinion about what works for me, but I really think the possible opportunities missed far outweigh any negative results from making your business personal and accessible.

Here is the article that got me thinking about all this today. 50 Reasons You’re Not Getting Etsy Sales, by Megan Peterson.

Search Engine Optimization

BS Pottery will be at this weekend's Hilton Apple Fest.

BS Pottery will be at this weekend’s Hilton Apple Fest.

Let me guess. You’ve heard the term SEO until you’re blue in the face. Even I, who lives on the Internet, found it overwhelming. Then I took a class on social media at Rochester Brainery, where it was explained in my language. Now I focus on just word, relevance.

Yesterday’s post on Handmadeology explains it the same way it was explained to me in that class. Etsy seller Yvette Perri uses examples to make her SEO explanation even more clear.

I can’t say enough good things about Handmadeology. They offer paid services and a lot of information for free. I’ve taken a few of their webinars. Lots of it is geared towards Etsy sellers but that same knowledge can be applied to all sorts of online shops and it reaches far beyond online selling. The site offers a ton of guest posts written by people who have the experience to back-up their guidance.

I love small business success stories!

Painting by Ann. Ann Campbell's work is also available at the Fairport Pharmacy Gift Shop

Painting by Ann. Ann Campbell’s work is also available at the Fairport Pharmacy Gift Shop and at this weekend’s Hilton Apple Fest.

Etsy Tools

I mentioned in a previous post that one of my goals for 2012 is to reopen my Etsy shop.

I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Etsy – not even sure I can explain why. There are pros and cons to it and all online selling platforms. To quote hilarious Rochester Artisan Kevin Schoonover, “Potato/Tomahto”. (See? Told ya!)

The first step was to completely re-design my Pine Tree Designs website, which I’ve done, using some sage advice I learned on the Rochester Artisans email list. I used Weebly.com and am quite happy with the way it turned out.

I discontinued the blog I had on my previous site, originally started as a personal blog, And Another Thing…, on Sept 4, 2001. It had run it’s course, as things do. I found I was far more interested in blogging here because Rochester Artisans is ALL I want to talk about anymore!

After I was satisfied with the website, I started work on the Etsy shop. I’ve adjusted some of the text and was thrilled to find a free banner that I could add my shop name to that suites my product style perfectly. Adorable, yes?

I have to smile every time my page of Etsy Favorites shows up – there’s such a common theme among the things I’ve tagged as favorites. Definitely colorful and more times than not, round and symmetrical. Yep, that’s me!

I’ve also mentioned before how much I am loving Handmadeology these days. I generally glance at the daily email, then save them so I can really read everything that night or over the weekend.

Today, the article on a tool that allows you to easily add an Etsy Treasury to your website or blog instantly caught my eye. (And check out that stunning paper bead necklace in the treasury used as an example.) I spent a ridiculous amount of time a few years ago, trying to do just that – using the free Screen Grab program I’d downloaded. It was kind of a nightmare so I thought it must User Error, even though I consider myself of average computer intelligence. I just read through some comments under the article and apparently it wasn’t just me.

I’ve never created a Treasury or paid a ton of attention to them, but they are definitely a cool thing – and very Stefani – squares of art all lined up in a grid – are you kidding me?? 🙂

An using this new tool – the selections in the treasury are clickable, linked right to the Etsy shop that sells that piece. Genius!

Speaking of squares of art all lined up in a grid, I’ve swooned over Pinterest here before – and my addiction has certainly not decreased one iota. Now I see Etsy has a built in Pin It button on each item listed. That is a dream come true! I’ve been wanting to create a board of my own art, once I get it loaded to Etsy. And I’ve been wanting to create a board called Art Made by Rochester Artisans or something.

Because yeah, I’m pretty sure I need to spend even more time on Pinterest. At least I’ll be able to justify it “for business”. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

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