Gemma Hotchkiss is the illustration talent behind Jurassic Panda. She creates a world inhabited by panda bears and dinosaurs, which adorn items from bags to T-shirts, badges and cards.She sells her products through online selling platform Etsy and she's here to run you through how you can set up your own Etsy store.
So you have decided to turn your designs into products and want to sell them online. Etsy is a fantastic place to start! Even with limited experience, you can set up your shop quickly and easily without the hassle or expense of website creation or creating an e-commerce platform. It is ideal for small businesses based at home, and if you get stuck or have any questions, Etsy has a community of crafters who will only be too happy to help!
What is Etsy?
Etsy is an American site, which allows users to create a shop to sell items that are handmade or designed by you and printed by someone else. It is free to set up, provides you with an analysis of shop and product views, and has integrated Google search engine optimisation and Google listing ads (paid for by Etsy).
Like eBay, there is a seller fee, and listing an item it costs $0.20; all fees are paid in dollars but don’t worry, your bank will sort it all out for you! Each listing lasts for four months, at which point it ‘expires’ and you will be required to re-list it. Etsy take a small commission of 3.5% on every sale, billed to you monthly.
Decided Etsy is for you?
An important thing to consider when starting an Etsy shop is the amount of items you have for sale. A shop with many items will do better than one with a few, this is because Etsy search will show up more of your products and also because it looks more professional and offers your potential customers much more choice. If you have a great design, think about applying it to a postcard or poster as well as a greetings card.
Making sure all of your items are beautifully photographed is one of the most important things you can do. The photographs in your shop are all the customer has when deciding whether to purchase.
Your main photograph should be clear and show the product off. Selling a greetings card? Why not display it on a mantel piece next to a complimentary ornament and some flowers? Whatever you choose think carefully about whether you can see the product clearly and whether it draws in the eye. Don’t be afraid to check out other sellers’ products for inspiration too! After your main shot I recommend a few nice close ups of your items to show off any details- if it’s a card you are selling why not show a shot of that lovely coloured envelope that comes with it?
Now you have your items and you have photographed them, it’s time to think carefully about your shop name. You may already have a name you’ve been using, in which case you are set! Keep in mind that you might want to change direction or your product, so think twice before you name it something like ‘Clara’s Cards’ if you are thinking of selling scarves you have knitted in the future. If all else fails and you can’t think of anything as unique as you would like, use your own name: ‘Betty Smith Designs’ is just great!
Ready, set, GO!
Ok, so you have spent hours designing, you have got your designs printed onto products and you have decided on your shop name, the hardest part is over!! What you need to do now is click onto Etsy and sign up!
Etsy automatically starts people off with a ‘buyers account’, once you have gone through the registration part (which is a breeze, don’t worry) all you have to do to convert your shop is to click the ‘Sell’ icon on the top bar to start your first listing.
Listing your items
Listing an item takes a little bit of time but it is important to make sure that you give as much detail as possible, and that your item description talks about what your product is made from, the size, the finish, anything you can think of! If a customer views an item in your shop and doesn’t know whether it’s exactly right, they might just move on to the next shop or message you about the item. If there is something you have forgotten to put into the description or you notice a mistake, you can edit the listing at any time to amend it.
When listing your products make sure you use up all of the keywords. Keywords are your friends and will help bump your listing up so people can find it, not only on the Etsy website, but also on search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Think like a shopper and imagine what you would type in if you were looking for your item. Examples of keywords include style, size, product and colours.
Once you have listed all of your products and are happy with everything, there are a few finishing touches you can do to really make your shop sparkle!
One of the things you can do is to add a banner; the dimensions for this are 760 pixels by 100 pixels, your banner could be your logo, a photograph of your products, anything you choose! You could even update it regularly to reflect different times of year or holidays.
I also recommend creating a welcome message- treat this as an advertisement for your brand as the first few lines of the welcome message show up on the google search listings. Towards busy periods or bank holidays use this space to talk about postal delays beyond your control (or at Christmas ordering deadlines).
If you have a shop with lots of products, I would recommend creating sections to make your shop easier to browse. This could be as simple as a ‘card’ section for all your cards and a ‘badges’ section for all your badges. I created a ‘Christmas shop’ section for all my seasonal items and a ‘special offers’ section to put my multi-buy deals in. It makes your shop look more professional and makes it much easier for customers to locate specific products.
So you have now set up your shop! This is a really exciting time with hopefully lots of sales ahead, it will be slow to begin with (unless you are really, really lucky) so don’t be disheartened! With time and some quick and simple marketing tips, your shop will be busy before you know it! Enjoy!
You can view some of Gemma's own creations over at her Etsy Shop.
Already using Etsy? Tell us about your experiences in the comments below.