So I started a shop a couple of months ago, and I thought it would be pretty darn straightforward. Have some items ready made, take a pic, upload, and some basic info TADAH! You're good to go w. your Etsy shop. (Please pay no attention to the current me laughing and pointing at the ill informed me from two months ago.)
Etsy=EASY. Ummmmm, going with a big ole "NO" on this one!
Ok, maybe if you are just working strictly off the hobby mentality and you need a place to help your own home from getting inundated with all your crafts, then sure, it can be that simple. If you want to really make a go of things, my suggestion before actually starting up a shop, join a few teams, brush up on SEO and get ready to become reaaaaaaaallly good at taking good pictures, or at least dealing w. fixing them on Photoshop or Picasa, or whatever you use. Also, check out how you fare in comparison to like minded owners and products, and be ready to spend lots of time figuring out how to create treasuries, and use other social networks to your advantage.
Still want to take the Etsy plunge?
In all seriousness though, this is all something I wish I knew going into it. I've been spending so many hours, and quite honestly, days, fixing and improving as I go along. There is definitely a learning curve to take into account when you first get up and running. But don't get me wrong, I'm still glad I am getting my stuff out there.
Like I said though, you definitely need to figure out a few things initially.
1. Your market audience- Don't expect everyone to love what you do. You have to be ready to target a certain market. Best way to figure out if your market is there is to search the web for similar things to what you make and then see the quantity and for how much these things are selling for at the moment. I did this before starting up and glad I did. Sure, there are a good number of crochet shops and items out there, but I started noticing that even though there is a good amount of options, there were definitely different veins of tastes and presentation. I knew that my stuff had a different appeal than some other things out there, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's actually why I felt ok taking the plunge.
What did it mean to me? Well, basically, I decided I would keep working w. nicer yarn, and finer stitch detail to aim for a middle to upper quality market. Sure, I could go quick and dirty and get the cheapest yarn possible and create faster to make patterns, but then I wouldn't really be doing what I love.
What did I learn? I needed to make sure that I still have items of varying prices to help draw in more people. I purposely created some items in the $10-20 bracket to help bring in some people wanting to work w. a lower budget. By doing so, they get to see the quality at which I do my work, but still feel comfortable placing an order w. me. Guess what, just because you use cheaper materials, and keep prices lower, doesn't exactly mean it will draw in the crowds. The old adage "You get what you pay for" holds true, especially in the artisan, crafter market. People are going to be able to tell something is cheap and if they are looking for something special and well made, they are not going to be so willing to save a few bucks for something that doesn't exactly scream quality.
2. Figure out how to take good pictures and various shots of your items!!!
I mean it. Go to the Team section on Etsy and research your little heart out. There are some really great sources for picture taking and presentation on Etsy alone. Heck, hit Pinterest and look for photography pins there and even that will help.
Biggest factors when taking pictures. Solid background (white or light color if you can), good lighting (natural is best, but there are some great photo cubes w artificial lighting options as well), more than one shot (in other words lots of different angles), basic understanding of a photo editing program.
Why a solid background? It presents your items far better than a cluttered up shot of your item propped up on a table w. various brick-a-brack. You want the buyers to see what you are selling, not wondering what is for sale in the shot. Lighter colors seem to be the mode on Etsy. If you scope out treasuries and highly favorited items, the trend is a lighter background. Use that to your advantage.
Good lighting is necessary because it will show off the details of your items better. Simple as that.
Purpose of more than one shot? Think about it, you don't have the advantage online to pick up the item, flip it over, feel it, and get and all around sense of it. It's your job as the seller to try as capture all this in the 5 slots Etsy provides. You want your buyers to feel like they have a great feel for it just by looking at photos.
Here's a link to one of my own listings for you to get an idea of what I mean:https://www.etsy.com/listing/124182862/girls-crochet-easter-ruffle-purse-easter
3.SEO and Tags
This is another important factor that quite frankly I am still trying to perfect, and that's ok.
It boils down to making sure the title of your items and the tags you give them are searchable on both Google and Etsy.
Since I am still learning, I'm suggesting this particular team on Etsy to help you out. The captain has some incredible advice and is so helpful!!http://www.etsy.com/teams/12360/friendly-seo
Make sure to read the discussion posts and take notes!
4. Team Building, Treasuries and Circles
You may feel like you are all alone out there in the Etsy world, and when you start, it is a bit true. But, if you make an effort to join a few teams, add people to your circle/follower list, and create treasuries of items you favorite, suddenly you'll realize there are like minded people out there who want to help each other.
It's basically built in networking in the Etsy community!
Here are a couple of teams I'm a part of and recommend:http://www.etsy.com/teams/15088/promotingrus?ref=pr_teamshttp://www.etsy.com/teams/14959/etsy-promotion-and-advertising
Hopefully, this hasn't overwhelmed you. My point for this is to give the Etsy newbs a heads up and a little bit of a better understanding of what you'll face when starting. Once things start to click the majority will become second nature. Creating a listing is a heck of a lot easier now than it was just a few months ago!
Good luck to you and see you on the Etsy side of life!
Want to see my shop in action? Please visit me at:http://www.etsy.com/shop/VSMHandcraftedDesign