How NOT to run an Etsy shop

I just wanted to take a minute and publicly laugh at myself after looking at my Wonderland Bath Etsy shop.  I’ve let things go to heck while working on the rebranding, so my shop is an good example of how NOT to do it on Etsy.  Maybe laughing at my own shop will help others fix any problems in their shops?

Come and have a laugh with me, at my own expense.  But hurry because the crappiness won’t last long.  I will be fixing my problems very soon.  If the banner says Ballyhoo when you get there, then you missed the Wonderland Carnage.

http://www.etsy.com/shop/wonderlandbath

OK, so my photos are not as sharp and crisp as I would like on some products but that’s not the worst of it.  Look how many different styles of pictures there are!  And the photoshopped conditioners floating in thin air are ridiculous alongside the other photos.  Obviously this chick (that is me) couldn’t make up her mind what she was doing here.

solid hair conditioner

For that matter, my style of making soap is not consistent either.  Are they square or textured?  Swirled or solid?  My new soaps will have a more consistent look and feel.  Having products that look like they are related can make a big difference on Etsy.  It kinda looks like I hadn’t figured out my soaping style yet – because I hadn’t.  Customer’s don’t like the undefined artist.  It’s too confusing.

Does that banner match the look and feel of the products?  I think not.  It could be great with a little re-work.

banner

And oh, those pesky product descriptions.  Who reads multiple paragraphs about soap?  Very few people.

I should be ashamed of myself operating such a messy online storefront.  I know the RIGHT way to do it, I just haven’t.  I’ll do better next time.  REally, I wiLL. And my DuhBe fiber arts shop is not much better, but I really need to wind that business down this year.  (Heads up to the rose buyers!!)

We all have excuses about why our Etsy shop is not a great as it could be.  We know HOW to make it better, but we don’t always take the TIME to apply that knowledge.  There’s always the “I would, but….”

There’s a good Etsylabs video on the subject called “Let’s get off our buts” which has great info and the presenter is very funny.   (that’s “but” and not “butt” because we always have excuses, but…)

And of course you could always go into Etsy labs or forums and ask for a shop critique.  They sting – but it’s worth it to see how others view your shop.

  • If you have an Etsy shop – what do you KNOW you should be doing differently and what is stopping you from fixing it?
  • If you’re an Etsy shopper – what seller practices really turn you off?

Just curious to hear what others think.

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More on Names

Finding a business name can be super easy, or it can be one of the most challenging parts of starting a business.  Sometimes the perfect name falls in your lap, and sometimes it eludes you for months.

I appreciate all the suggestions in the last post.  Even if I don’t like a name, that helps me narrow things down to what I like or not.  Here are some words I’m playing with, but my direction could change on a dime!

Wordle: whimsy bath

Sometimes it helps to see words like that, but it hasn’t worked for me yet.  Neither has the thesaurus, rhyming dictionaries, name generators, or a dozen other methods I’ve used to spark the name genie.  I’m waiting for the name that reaches down from the sky and just smacks me upside the head!  DuhBe did that, and so did Wonderland.  (But I don’t want to use DuhBe because everybody pronounces it Doobie and it sounds like a named my biz after smoking pot.  You were pronouncing it that way too, weren’t cha?? )

Why is it so difficult to rename this biz?

I think because I’ve read about branding a business and as Kate alluded in the last comments – the name is tantamount to the success or failure of your product.  Not only should the name be easy to remember, but there is a subliminal message sent in your business name that can make or break you.  Knowing that can change the whole game.

So I know I don’t want my name in the business name.  It’s too personal.  I know I don’t want words like luscious or lather or moist – because (this is crazy) those words have pornographic connotations for many people.  (told you it was crazy!)

I also don’t want too much of a “down home” kind of feel, because I want my items to be sold in boutiques and salons where that “I made this in my kitchen” kind of message is not well received.  (BTW-I don’t make things in my kitchen)  But I still want something that says – “this is a micro-business.”  And I would really like something that says “this is a secret company and only the smartest customers discover us”

Bubble, Bubble, toil and trouble…This name thing has been kicking my ass for too long now.  Soon it will be time to cut and run.  It might be time to start putting words in a hat. 

And now I shuffle off, looking for a good hat…

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Etsy Weather Report Graph – August 2010

Attention!! This will be the last time I publish the charted data from Etsy weather reports. Then the charts are moving to a new home. Read more…

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Reminder on FTC laws for sewists

Are you selling your clothing, quilts, scarves and other textile items illegally?

The National Textile Association put out a reminder on FTC label requirements for country of origin, and I thought it would be useful to summarize it.  Even if you think this doesn’t apply to you – you should know it anyway.

handmade clothing label

Read more…

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Etsy front page love

Toot, toot!  (that’s the sound of my own horn I’m tooting on)

The screenshot below is the front page of Etsy from last Thursday.  See the 3rd column, 2nd row?  That’s my neck ruff perched upon my daughter’s neck.

022510

After selling on Etsy for over a year, it’s still nice to finally get some front page love.  I gave up on it a long time ago.  So the reward is even sweeter now.  (I’m feeling like Sally Field with her “you like me, you really like me” speech.  Maybe because the Oscars are next week?)

My lips are getting numb, so I’ll stop tooting that horn now.

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For my next trick – graphic design

As stated before, I want to update the look of my blog with something original.  I’ve designed websites before, but I’ve always relied on free graphics.  This time I want something original.  So I went looking for ideas to inspire me.  And I unlocked the secret to graphic design that has eluded me for years.  Read more…

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More packaging ideas

I just ran across a  blog today called The Gifted Blog, which has great ideas for gift wrapping.  Etsy sellers who want “boutique” type packaging at a reasonable cost should check out the ideas from the Gifted Blog.  Of co ourse the site is also handy for Christmas or other gift wrap events.

The Gifted Blog has some great ideas for reusing materials, including a recent entry for a mylar ribbon recycled from food packaging:

(She’s also in love with Kraft paper, so of course I have to like her)

Thanks to the CraftStylish blog for helping me find this new Gift Wrap blog!

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A plethora of Etsy tools

Another gift for Etsy sellers…

I’ve found many, many tools on the internet that are intended to help Etsy sellers. All of my favorites can be found on this Etsy Sellers Tools page I created at Sqworl. There are 34 links today, and the list keeps growing. Each link has my note about why the site is helpful, as well as a small screenshot of that website.

Go ahead and add it to your browser bookmarks:

http://sqworl.com/e00997

I created the link page at the free Sqworl website to keep track of all those neat tools for myself personally, but it’s public so others can benefit as well.   Here are just a few of the websites you’ll find over there.

subscribe to email notification if/when you make Etsy’s front page

get a shopbot that showcases all your items and banner in a widget to use on your blog, facebook,etc


Etsy FAQ by Loose Wire Studios

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Another Etsy tool – Sellit

Now that Etsy opened up their API for code writers to interface with Etsy, there are more new tools out there everyday. The sellit shopbot puts your shop and items in a neat little widget that you can share on your blog, website, facebook, myspace, twitter, and more.

Here’s my free shopbot. Pretty cool, ain’t it?

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Craftweasel Tag tool

Attention buyers and sellers on Etsy.  You should check out this tool called Tag Finder on Craftweasel.

You tell it your main tag, then it suggests other tags for your items and also tells you things like typical views and prices for other items with those tags.

Let me show you. Read more…

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