As you are aware, we like to share the wealth here at printed.com and our most recent case of this was with our wonderful Etsy offer, where we helped customers set up their own shop, free of charge. As we had such good feedback from you about it, we thought we would speak to printed.com customer and Etsy pro David Burgess, also known under the brand name “no such disco” about his creative exploits and Etsy experiences.
So, Dave, tell us a bit about you and what you do.
I’ve always liked doodling, coming up with characters and making stories. I was working in a job a few years ago that didn’t really allow much creative freedom, so it seemed natural to build up a bank of weird and wonderful characters in my own time. Originally starting out as a bit of a creative hobby and outlet, it eventually led to something much, much bigger.
Oh, do tell?
I’d had a bit of success with a picture book I made about a worm that got bullied because he was different: he had a fin.
A fin, you say?
Yes! A fin… “Waldo the worm” was created after I took part in a series of workshops to create a narrative that revolved around social issues relevant to young people. With help from Unltd, Unity; Young People’s Project, Stoke on Trent’s Uth Service and The Stoke on Trent NHS Primary Care Trust, I got to work with two groups of young people aged between 8 and 16. After these works shops were completed, I took these ideas, drawings, doodles and other creative treasures and created Waldo the worm. It was after this I decided to start sharing my creative works with the world – but things really didn’t take off on Etsy until I made Fat Kitty!
I’d been on Etsy since about November 2009. It was recommended to me by a fellow crafter along with some other platforms, which unfortunately didn’t make the cut quite like Etsy.
So how long was it until you started to see results via Etsy?
Admittedly, I didn’t really give it the care and attention it needed initially. I had made about five sales in two years, which considering the work I did is impressive, but then in January 2012 I became inspired again and created “Fat Kitty” and the whole thing just took off. It was just a simple illustration of a fat white cat holding a balloon. I made it with the intention of being a Valentine’s Day Card. I uploaded it to Etsy, decided to publically push it and the rest is as they say…
How do you promote it?
I found Etsy easy enough to set up and manage. There’s a lot of support from the online community (Seller’s teams) and Etsy have produced a Seller’s Handbook for tips on keywords, SEO and photography.
What common pitfalls, if any, you have come across?
I’ve found that some people can get overwhelmed by it and be perturbed by the amount of work that they need to do themselves. But with the right products and keywords, it can be very successful. I suppose the sheer scale of Etsy can be a bit scary and put a lot of people off. As with everything in life you don’t really see results from the get go and you certainly won’t if you don’t maintain it. But there is help there to guide you and I personally promote Etsy using mainly Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter. I try not to let my pages be an endless feed of ‘buy my stuff’. I try to engage my followers with funny pictures, questions and competitions.
Sounds great! So what are the positives of your Etsy experience?
So many! I really like the supportive nature of the online community, I joined a team called Craft Britannia, and they have chat threads where you can ask for advice on your products, keywords, photography etc. Its very supportive. Also, you can just chat about your day if you want, so I like the social aspect too.
So there you have it, a first-hand account of the magic that Etsy can do for you, which we have summed up in the three P’s –
- Product – Make sure the product you want to sell is the best it can be and you believe in it (or at least enjoy making it!)
- Promote – There is no point having the prettiest billboard if isn’t facing the busy road but is facing a block of empty flats. Let people know about you through social media, your own digital and printed marketing and word of mouth – which leads us to…
- Please – Make sure you please your customer. If they love the product, they will spread the word. Why not get them to provide testimonials and like your social pages as a token of their appreciation?
We’d love to hear more about how you all run your businesses, be they big, small, digital or tangible. Leave a comment below and as always make sure to #showitoff your products so that we get to see your wonderful work in all its glory.
Until next time, lovely people!