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Thursday, June 13, 2013

what works for me...Etsy tips

Well heeeelllllloooo:))  How are my sweet peeps?!!! Seriously I've been missing you girls.  I can't believe I haven't blogged since May 31st.  That's a record for me.  But with all honesty I feel like I just climbed out of a fox hole and I'm a little shell shocked!

I'm talking about my "occasional" shop that has turned into a big deal in my life!  It's a weird thing...this blessing/curse lol!  I have to just laugh because I'm totally not prepared for a full time j.o.b., but that's what my store has become.  I thank you for the support.  I'm humbled by the love.  I honestly can see God's hand in it.  I just have some major growing pains.  Hopefully I can figure it out before my family disowns me and I'm drivin' to drinking.  Just kidding...sorta;)

(**Hire someone amazing to help you get to the next level)

So you know what blesses my socks off??  It's letters from people who've bought a cuff and they are wearing them as a witness.  You know what else blesses my heart.  That you guys are gifting these to people and they are meaningful...word affirming.  It's love come down, it's reminders from's a beautiful thing.  And I'm beyond overwhelmed to have even a little bitty part in it! 

I occasionally get letters from people asking for business advice.  This totally cracks me up because I'm a "trial and error" kinda girl.  If it's painful and I hate it then I change.  So what works for me might not work for you, but here are a few things I've learned over the last few years:

1.) Pray for favor 
If He is behind whatever you're doing it will be successful.  I'm just a vessel.  I want to be used by the Lord.  When I turn it over and give Him the glory...He blesses it.  True story.

2.) Be generous
I don't know how many cuffs I've given away...a lot.  Just do it and don't think about it.  It will come back.  He blesses generosity.  Also cheerlead and root others on.  Be generous with supporting your peeps. 

3.) Make friends 
I have the most wonderful blogging and instagram friends in the world.  Seriously I don't deserve these people.  Each month I ask some of them to promote my shop and they do...because they are generous and that's what friends do.

4.)  Ask for help!!
When I first set up shop, a friend of mine who owned her own Etsy space practically walked me through every single step.  I remember that night on the phone.  I was a nervous wreck and she took me under her very capable wing and told me how to do it.  She encouraged me so much, and I think she was my very first Esty sale.  Find that friend. 

I find this step challenging because I'm a little control freak when it comes to work. But when friends offer to help you...take them up on it. I'm beyond blessed that I have a Tamara girl. She'd jump through hoops to help me and I appreciate her so much. Taking her up on it was/is the hard part.  Now I have SIX helpers.  SIX!  If I never would have been obedient with this step it wouldn't have grown. Pray about it and then JUST DO IT!

5.)  Give discounts 
I did give-aways for a long time.  When I switched over to discounts my sales did a huge jump.  People love a bargain.  I know I do.  It makes sense.

6.)  Provide great customer service
I try to answer questions as quickly as possible.  We do our best to give a fast turn around.  I send out shipping notifications.  We work really hard to make our customers happy.  The Golden Rule unto others. 

Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, blogging etc...  I can't say enough about this.  My social peeps are my marketing team.  My success lies in them.  Thank you!

8.) Be specific in your listings

9.) Invest in a nice quality camera 
The pictures definitely help sell the product.

10.)  Buy wholesale if you can 
Finally after much hunting I found most of supplies online at wholesale prices.  This helped the bottom line a lot.  Do your research.  Having a dependable supplier is major!

11.) Simplify shipping
 I used to dread shipping.  Like majorly hated it.  The post office wasn't close.  The lines were long.  It was a real pain in the rear.  Then I bought a regulated USPS scale, and started buying postage from Etsy...even international orders...and it's cheaper!!!  Hallelujah.  No more custom forms.  Amazing.  I bought the scale right at the post office for around $40.  Then I made nice with my mailman.  If I have too much for my mailbox I put a sticky note in there and he walks up to the porch and grabs it all for me.  I love my mailman:)  Finally it's easy.  You just have to find what works for you.

12.)  Be obedient
I felt like the Lord was telling me to pull back long before I actually followed through.  Once I went occasional is when the demand really spiked.  Make sure your priorities are in order and He will bless your efforts.

13.) Figure out how to relax and let go!
Since every single thing I make is custom, it can be demanding. There are usually multiple emails ironing out details. It's time consuming. I'm texting and emailing customers at all hours of the day. It's not a 9-5 job and sometimes it can be stressful.

I haven't mastered this last step. I tend to take problems personally. I let myself go a bit when I work, and sometimes I feel like my shop is running me. Like I said "trial and error", but I'm working on it;)  I think pacing myself...allowing grace for mess ups (which are inevitable) and down time are vital. A bubble bath, a walk around the block, maybe a phone call with a friend...anything to take a mandatory break throughout the day is important. Baby steps...

When I started out on Etsy (several years ago) I was painting a little.  Then I started making glass pendants, and then eventually I added the cuffs.  I took a stamping class at a jewelry supply store. I fell in love with the whole concept of words on my jewelry. I'm a word person:) I brainstormed different ways to wear them and started turning belts into cuffs for myself.  Pretty soon all my friends wanted one and people would ask me about them at the grocery store etc...  That's how it happens.  Make something you love and others will too:)  

15.) Pay attention to detail
Either make a pretty Etsy banner or hire someone.  The cost is minimal and it really makes all the difference.  I hired Jill at Sweet Sycamore to tweak my Etsy Banner.  I painted it and she helped design it.  We made a nice team. 

(**Buy a Dymo you never have to cut labels again!)

Brand yourself a bit.  Have nice business cards/inserts/logo/watermark etc made up.  I painted my design, then had my amazingly talented friend Jill (hire her!) help me do some logo and brand design with Vistaprint printing them. They did my notecards too for thanks yous.  Office Depot made up my address and Farmgirl Paints stamps.  They did a great job.  Really the sky is the limit to making it personal.  Pay attention to detail when you package your product.  Make it pretty.  Be thoughtful, gracious, and always...always say thank you.  It's the little things...

So there you have it, some Etsy tips that have worked for me:)  I'm sure there are some things I failed to mention, but you get the idea.  Good luck to you girls wanting to start something.  Being creative is a wonderful gift.  It's worth the hard work doing something you love.  It's a privilege working from home...serving others.  Put in the time and effort, and eventually there will be a beautiful reward!

Be a blessing.

weeks to relax and let go
a plane ticket home
future plans to visit a dear friend
a few new summer items in my closet
that i made it through my june shop time;)
cuff sales that exceeded my imagination
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