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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Tips and Tricks to Growing Your Etsy Business!

I started off my Etsy shop with just three items. It has grown from those three items, to now 62 items and over 1,600 sales. While I had hope that the store would grow into something bigger, I didn't think it would happen so fast. I want to provide some tips on how to make a successful Etsy shop and what my husband and I did with our shop that worked for us:
Our First Three Jewelry Items

1. Invest in Yourself - When we bought the materials for our first three items, it was a big investment for us. I believe it cost me around $300 at the time. Imagine, we have no shop, no sales, nothing. We just have an idea, and we decide to spend $300 of our own money to buy some materials. I felt like I was taking a big risk. What if nothing we made sold? That would be a total waste of $300. However, I kept telling myself I could just price it lower and lower. There is no way I would lose ALL my money because I could always just sell my product for a loss and earn back some of my personal expenses. Well - it turns out I didn't need to worry. People bought our product and we started earning back the money we spent plus more! It's scary to put in money on your business endeavors, but think about other ways we invest in ourselves and don't think twice about it. My college education and living cost expenses were around $75k for four years and I never thought about how that was such a large investment. Spending $300 on your small business is chump change compared to the investments you've made in education for example. Don't be afraid of taking that risk if you really believe in your product.

2. Continuing to Invest! - I can't stress this enough. This is where my husband really helped with the business. I was okay with our three items. They were doing well - but my husband knew if we wanted to seriously grow our shop, we needed more designs and more items. He kept pushing for us to do more designs and spend more on materials. So we did! And it kept paying off! There were hits and misses along the way of course. Some of our designs were just plain not good and did not sell very well. Some were just total misses - that I never let them go up on our shop because I wasn't proud of them. But we kept pushing for more new designs and were able to find out what worked. If you have three items that sell well - why not add three more? And three more after that? That is how the shop really began to scale and see a lot more revenue.

These are the same flower crowns and the same model (me) - but the photo on the left sells more than the photo on the right.

3. Photography! - This is a must must MUST for Etsy. It cannot be downplayed. You need good photography. If you don't have a good camera, you can rent one from a photography store. Rickard and I have a DSLR with a lens, but even then, we have rented a better lens for a photoshoot. I am always tweaking my photos, and changing the main photo if something is selling slow. I've even re-taken product photos. Above you can see the exact same item, but taking a better photo of it immediately got us more sales. Photography is VERY important to any Etsy shop. Lighting or a hair style (in my case) can make a big difference in the product photography and can ultimately make a difference in your revenue

4. Etsy Ads - We spend on Etsy ads and it has been worth it. We've tried Facebook ads and Google ads, but Etsy got us by far the best return for our money. Make that investment! If you don't get good sales from the ads, consider revising your product or photo.

The cheap kitchen scale we bought to weigh our shipping

5. Ship Same Day! - Rickard helped me with this one too. I didn't understand printing shipping labels at home and how much things cost to ship depending on weight. This was a nightmare for me as I would drive to the post office and have them figure out how much it cost to ship every single time I made a sale, but now I see how simple it is. I would recommend getting a cheap kitchen weigh scale for weighing your items for shipping. Now we just print labels from home and put them in the mailroom of our condo, instead of me driving everyday to the post office. In addition to printing shipping labels from home, make sure to ship the same day! Your customers will really appreciate the fast shipping and it will show in your reviews.

6. Customer Service - We get a handful of questions a day from our Etsy customers and respond almost immediately if possible. This way we make sure we don't miss out on a sales opportunity. If you wait too long to respond, they may lose interest. If you respond right away, the customer will be impressed not only with your customer service, but will also trust you more when buying from your shop. It is more likely to translate into a same-day sales.

One of our best-selling items

7. Product - The product is important. It has to be good quality because you want customers to be happy with the product at the end of the day. Try to make your product something that will provide a solution for someone. For me, I started selling hair jewelry because when I was getting married, I was looking for Indian headpieces and I couldn't find anything. During my wedding I had friends comment and ask me where I found a headpiece. I didn't know other people were interested in these types of items and they were really difficult to find online so I decided to find a solution for demand that was out there. And that is how NaynaJewelry.com was born. We have tried many different designs over the last year, but we keep tweaking and trying to make things better and offer more designs. We often get requests and try to accommodate them as well. For example, we had customers asking for hair jewelry without the chain going down the center because you can't wear it with a side-part. So I started doing the jewelry without the center part. We try different colors, and different materials and just keep on tweaking and making it better. At the end of the day, even if you have the best photography and best marketing, if it's not a product that you believe in or will really connect with a consumer then it just won't work. However, just because one product or design doesn't work, don't give up either! Keep trying to improve and make it better!

I hope you find some of my tips helpful. I would love to hear any comments below and any other advice any of you may be searching for in regards to running a successful Etsy shop.

Cheers,
Nayna

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