If you want to make more money from your Esty jewelry shop then do these 3 things immediately

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Starting a jewelry business on Etsy can be terrifying. There's fees, SEO, listings, dashboards, and stats. You have to make amazing jewelry AND market it?!? Being a business owner can be rough.

 

After nearly a year selling jewelry on Etsy, here are the 3 hacks I wish I had known when I started out to get more Etsy sales:

1. Renew Your Listings Often. Listings automatically renew after you've made a sale. However, if you don't make a sale within a week, then it impacts your ranking in search results. In other words, you're less likely to show up on the first page even if your tags and pictures are perfect (more on that later).

Etsy wants all shops to have an opportunity to sale while showing shoppers products that are the most relevant to their searches. Your goal? Stay relevant! At $.20 cents a listing, it doesn't hurt to at least try renewing your listing to watch the impact.

 

2. Improve YourS.E.O. It's a dirty little word on the web. However you can't ignore it. First, learn what it is.

Search. This is what people do when they are looking for products. People typically don't search based on an initial image They search based on words. Are your words descriptive enough to get your jewelry noticed? Saying, "Jewelry" or event "trendy jewelry" isn't going to set you apart from the crowd. 

Engine. There's a machine that's processing the search. This means that Etsy's staff doesn't have it in for you. They rely on what you've said about your products to deliver the best results to shoppers.

Optimization. This is a fancy word that means that they are taking many factors into consideration before showing a listing in the search results. These factors include:

  • Completeness of your Etsy jewelry shop "About" section
  • Your Etsy jewelry shop's ranking (everything from average reviews to number of sales)
  • How closely your tags match that of the shopper who initiated the search
  • Tags in the title match the 13 manual tags you add and the same tags are also present in your description

Learn how to make SEO work for you. Words matter. For starters, use a service like Marmalead or EtsyRank to help you understand SEO for your listings. These services will "grade" each listing based on the factors that Etsy uses for its rankings. You get an A+ when you listing is less than a day old, your product titles match your 13 tags, and your product copy isn't written for anyone older than 10 years old.

 

3. Promote Your Jewelry Pieces Unapologetically. Get your jewelry in front of people. Some Etsy products can be difficult to find brand influencers for (think Instagram lifestyle bloggers). Jewelry is not one of those products! Where is your target audience hanging out? Be there! All the time. Using #jewelry isn't going to drive views and sales to your Etsy jewelry shop. Use keywords that have importance to your audience. You can go though this handy activity to figure out who your target audience: Target Audience Worksheet.

For even more social media guidance, check out the Jewelryosophy 360  Guides.

Etsy is a powerful platform that can bring your jewelry business great success. The challenge will be learning how the system works so that you can stay one step ahead. Work with technology, not against it. SEO is your friend and promotion is not a bad word.

P.S. Is this type of information perfect for you? If so, you'll love the Jewelryosophy 360 community. We're a group of jewelry makers who are committed to getting results for our businesses. We share tips, advice, and just talk shop. We'd love to have you!

Jewelry Photography Tips: How to Take Professional Photos

Learn tips and tricks to showcase your handcrafted jewelry in the best "light". Whether you sell on Etsy, your own website or another online platform- photos matter. Make sure yours standout. I may be an affiliate for products, services, and tools that I recommend. If you purchase items through my links I will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my links. In fact, I am able to negotiate special rates for you. It also helps keep content like this free for you. Thanks in advance for your support!

Learn tips and tricks to showcase your handcrafted jewelry in the best "light". Whether you sell on Etsy, your own website or another online platform- photos matter. Make sure yours standout.

I may be an affiliate for products, services, and tools that I recommend. If you purchase items through my links I will earn a commission. You will not pay more when buying a product through my links. In fact, I am able to negotiate special rates for you. It also helps keep content like this free for you. Thanks in advance for your support!

In this article we’ll talk about jewelry photography tips to make your photos look professional and buy-worthy.

One of the discussions that has been active over in the Jewelryosophy 360 Community is how to take professional looking jewelry photos without hiring a professional jewelry photographer.

Here are some of the major takeaways:

1. Shoot Outdoors or Use a Lightbox 

Outdoors

Whenever I can, I take photos outdoors because natural sunlight does something amazing for photos. Here are a few examples of outdoor shots I took using natural light:

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However, we all know that taking pictures in natural light is not always possible. Maybe it’s been raining or you need to get an order out to a customer quickly. In those situations, a photo light box can help.

Light Box

Here’s an example of a couple of photo shoots for products and Instagram that I’ve taken using lights and a photo light box.

Jewelry Product Photo

Jewelry Product Photo

Jewelry Instagram Photo

Jewelry Instagram Photo

I bought the light kit (a set of two lights) in February 2015 and have been using them for my product photography ever since. I bought the "cub diffusion" box around the same time and absolutely love the shots I take with them. However, I will admit that I haven't used the other color backdrops. They were a little "fuzzzy" for me and get wrinkly easily. Instead, I found a plastic poster board that I use for a perfect white backdrop. 

2. Experiment with Different Backgrounds and Props

Have fun with your jewelry photos One of my best selling bangles on Etsy has a shoe with an iconic red sole featured in the photo. Photos are a great opportunity to highlight what your brand is about and appeal to your target audience.

jewelry-photo-shoot

This shoe is perfect for my target audience and this photo has even been featured in PopSugar. You can read about how that feature happened here.

3. Understand Your Camera

Having an amazing camera to shoot your products is a huge advantage. However, shooting with good lighting, using editing tools, and experimenting with camera settings can help make up for a less-than professional camera.

The camera I use for everyday shooting is the Cannon Rebel T3 (pictured below) with either a macro lens or a 35mm lens.

 
 

I also use a Canon EOS 7D. This camera is able to capture more mega pixels than a camera phone or even the Rebel. It's on the expensive side, however, and is not necessary to take great photos.  

If the idea of putting different lenses on your camera sounds intimidating, don’t worry! This isn’t necessary when you’re just starting out either. I’ve seen people take amazing shots with their camera phone!

Check out step 4 to see how you can take any picture from basic to excellent with simple (free) photo editing tools.

 

4. Use Photo Editing Tools

In the world of ‘selfies’ and ‘snaps’, there are more than a few photo editing programs to choose from.  Here are a few I've used for quickly editing photos:

"Photos” on Mac

This is as simple as it gets. When I’m in serious crunch, I edit photos directly on my phone or on my desktop with my built in software. I can do things like lighten a photo and sharpen the image.

Here’s a “before” and “after” shot that I took with the Canon Rebel 7D and macro lens. I simply edited by adjusting the brightness in ‘Photos’.

Before Editing in 'Photos'

Before Editing in 'Photos'

After Editing in 'Photos'

After Editing in 'Photos'

Over

The Over app is so cool. You can add text, filters, and quotes over photos for a nice effect. I especially like this tool for the photos I post in Instagram!

Here’s an example photo:

Edited with the 'Over' App on iPhone 6

Edited with the 'Over' App on iPhone 6

Canva

Canva is great for creating stylized posts for social media. It has nice editing capabilities including filters, transparency layers, and the ability to insert a photo into a desired shape (e.g. circle). You can use Canva on desktop and mobile and share your draft designs with other contributors. 

Here’s an example photo:

Edited with 'Canva' on Desktop

Edited with 'Canva' on Desktop

Give it a try yourself and let me know what you think!

That’s it for now! I would love to hear how you’re taking jewelry photographs! I definitely don’t have all the answers and am learning more and more everyday.

If you’d like to join our on-going conversation, head over to the Jewelryosophy Community. You can get more info by clicking the button below.

How to Create a Wholesale Line Sheet

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A TUTORIAL FOR JEWELRY MAKERS & SELLERS  

Creating a wholesale line sheet template for your jewelry business doesn’t have to be complicated.

In this article, we’ll break down the steps to creating a wholesale line sheet for jewelry so that you can get back to making!

If you need a wholesale line sheet template immediately and don’t have time to make it yourself, skip to the end of this article and download the wholesale line sheet template that you can customize with your jewelry business information, photos, logos, and prices right now.

What You’ll Need:

  • PICTURES OF YOUR WHOLESALE INVENTORY

Unlike photos you take for your target jewelry customer, wholesale photos should be simple and free of props. You want to retailer to focus on your jewelery and be able to quickly understand the various options available to them. Consider a white background.

  • MICROSOFT WORD

Don’t have Microsoft Word? No worries! You can download a free trail version for Mac or Windows here: http://products.office.com/en-us/try

Let's Get Started!

STEP 1: OPEN MICROSOFT WORD

For this tutorial, I’m using Microsoft Word 2011 on a Mac. However, the general steps apply to any version of Microsoft Word you may be using. 

Woohoo...A blank sheet of paper! 

Woohoo...A blank sheet of paper! 

STEP 2: MAKE YOUR PAGE LANDSCAPE

Why landscape? Retailers often file wholesale line sheets, so making it landscape will make them easy for retailers to find them later!

Step 2, Part 1: To make your document landscape, go to the ‘File’ tab, select ‘Page Setup’. 

Selecting 'File', then 'Page Setup'

Selecting 'File', then 'Page Setup'

Step 2, Part 2: Switch the orientation from portrait (default for most) to landscape under “Orientation’. 

Switching the Orientation from 'Portrait' to 'Landscape'

Switching the Orientation from 'Portrait' to 'Landscape'

Now your page should be landscape!

STEP 3: OPEN THE PAGE HEADER

To open the header of your page, double click near the top of your document (the white space). This will open the header space, which will allow you to complete the next step.  

Opening the 'Header' space. Note that the footer opens automatically too.

Opening the 'Header' space. Note that the footer opens automatically too.

STEP 4: INSERT A TEXT BOX AND ADD CONTACT INFORMATION

In the header space that you opened in Step 3, insert a text box. The text button button is available in the “Home” toolbar or you can navigate there by clicking the “Insert” tab and then clicking, “Text Box”. 

Selecting 'Text Box' from the Toolbar Menu under 'Home' 

Selecting 'Text Box' from the Toolbar Menu under 'Home' 

Once you have a text box, enter your name on one line. Enter the following contact information:

  • Your Name
  • Your Website Address
  • Your Email Address
  • Your Phone Number 
Entering Contact Info Into Your Text Box

Entering Contact Info Into Your Text Box

STEP 5: INSERT A LOGO

Once you have your contact info inserted in the text box, then you can insert your logo.

Go to the ‘Insert’ tab, select a ‘Photo’, then ‘Picture from File’. A window with your files will appear. Navigate to your logo and ‘Insert’ the picture you want to appear as your wholesale line sheet logo. For the purposes of this article, I’ve created a fake business called, Jewels & Baubles and already made a fake logo for the business.

Inserting a Logo From File

Inserting a Logo From File

This is what the new logo looks like in the header space. You can play around with the logo to position it exactly how you want using the photo alignment tools. 

Formatting the Logo in the Header

Formatting the Logo in the Header

STEP 6: INSERT A TABLE

Go to the ‘Insert’ tab, select ‘Table’. For this table, there are 3 columns and 2 rows. You can make as many rows and columns as you prefer, but remember to keep the sheet as simple and easy to read as possible. This isn’t for your target customer audience, but for a potential retailer. 

Inserting a Table

Inserting a Table

STEP 7: INSERT PRODUCT PHOTOS INTO THE TABLE

Insert a photo of your first product into the first cell of your table.

Step 7, Part 1: Go to the ‘Insert” tab, select “Photo from File” and the navigate to your chosen product shot and choose ‘Insert’.  

Inserting A Product 'Picture From File'

Inserting A Product 'Picture From File'

You’re now ready to start formatting.

Step 7, Part 2: We’ll center the photos that will serve as the placeholders for our example products. 

Formatting the Product

Formatting the Product

Step 7, Part 3: Repeate step 7 as many times as needed for the volume of your wholesale inventory. Create as many different cells as you need for all of your products. This may result in multiple pages.  

STEP 8: ENTER PRODUCT INFORMATION

You’re now ready to enter product information for your prospective retailer including:

  • Product Name
    • What is the title of this product? 
    • Tip: Keep it short and simple so that retailers can refer to it later
  • Product Material
    • What is your jewelry product made out of? 
    • Tip: Be as specific as possible (e.g. sterling silver versus metal)
  • Product Size
    • What sizes are you offering? 
    • Tip: Options might include One Size Fits All, Ring Sizes, Necklace Lengths, etc. 
  • Product Price
    • What is the wholesale price per item? 
    • Tip: A good starting place is half (1/2) the amount you charge for retail
    • Bonus: If you won't cover the cost of your materials and labor by cutting your retail prices in half, then your retail prices may not be high enough
  • Product Minimum Wholesale Order Amount
    • How many pieces of this product does a retailer need to buy for a single order?
    • Tip: The more expensive your material are and the harder it is to produce the product, the higher your minimum order should be 
  • Product Item #
    • What is the product number in your inventory? 
    • Tip: This will make you look like a professional. You can always make this number up. As you grow, you'll have lots of products. This number helps if you have a corresponding order form. It is a short hand for your product title that allows you to quickly find your inventory
Entering Product Information

Entering Product Information

In the picture above, we've shown you the product information categories in the top row and provided some examples of possible information in the second row. The possibilities are endless! Do what works best for your jewelry collection. If you're selling the same ring in multiple sizes, you can put product sizes and then list the range you will sell. Just remember that the retailer will need to be specific about how many sizes of each ring they want when they place the order. 

STEP 9: REMOVE BORDERS

Step 9, Part 1: Double-click on the entire table so that it is selected. 

Selecting The Entire Table

Selecting The Entire Table

Step 9, Part 2: Under “Tab’, select ‘Properties’. A dialogue box will pop-up. 

Remove all of the borders (left right, top, bottom, and middle) until the preview shows a borderless table. 

Removing All The Borders

Removing All The Borders

FINAL STEP: ADD PAGE NUMBERS

This step is especially important if you have multiple pages. It will give your document a polished look and feel. 

Go to the ‘Insert’ tab and select ‘Page Numbers’.  

Selecting Page Numbers from the Insert Tab

Selecting Page Numbers from the Insert Tab

A window will pop up that will allow you to customize your page numbers for this tutorial, the page numbers are aligned at the center of the page at the bottom. 

Customizing Page Numbers

Customizing Page Numbers

And here’s the finished product: 

Voila! You're ready to go!

Voila! You're ready to go!

If you want to skip these steps and download this exact wholesale line sheet template, check out the Jewelryosophy 360 Shop for the digital file that is available for purchase.

If this tutorial was helpful, then you'll love the Jewelryosophy 360 Community where we share tips, tricks, and strategies for improving our jewelry and growing our business at every stage. You can find out more information and join today by clicking below.

Starting an Etsy Shop, Part 3 of 3

Two weeks, I shared the infographic below along with some highlights of my first year selling jewelry on Etsy. This is the final part of that series. If you haven't read part 1 or 2 yet, you can check it out here.

how-to-start-an-etsy-jewelry-shop

 

Social Media Presence is Critical For Growth

Chances are good that if you tell someone about your business, they will almost instinctively ask you where they can find you online. If you’re savvy, then you may rattle off every single social media platform you’re on, plus some! Of course, some of the most popular for jewelry businesses are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

But what exactly will they find when they get to your page? Is there a picture of you so that they can easily match you from a previous encounter? Do you link to your eCommerce platform? Do you have contact info or maybe a physical address or phone number to reach you? All of the things will factor into what happens next. And ultimately, how they view your business.

Once of the key words in this section title is ‘presence’. You can have a social media profile (on any platform) and still be absent from what’s going on. In order to have a social media presence, you must ENGAGE.

I talk a lot about the strategies you can use to engage on Instagram in this guide:. Before you pay another company to get likes or sales for you, really try some of the strategies I lay out in the guide. Key, of course, is engaging with the right people- your audience.

If you sell sea glass, then your audience isn’t people who enjoy punk rock jewelry. If you make jewelry with a positive message or mantra, then you likely aren’t going to get much engagement from pessimists.

HERE’S A QUICK CASE STUDY:

Fact #1: Sally sells sea glass necklaces and rings that are wire wrapped with sterling silver

Fact #2: Sally plans her Instagram feed so that her jewelry product photos are themed around sea glass (e.g. beach scenes, seas shells, sand, flip slops, pina coladas, sun, etc.

Fact #3: Sally’s target audience (or avatar) is a 32 year old mom with 1 child (2 years old) who grew up by the beach but now lives in the Midwest. She left her corporate career in order to homeschool her first child and is planning to have a few more kids over the next few years.

Question #1: How did Sally come up with that avatar (in other words, her target audience)!?!?

Answer #1: She made it up! And that’s what you can do too. Many times, people develop avatars based on their personality or who they want to be. But you can also think of who you want to serve. People can buy jewelry from ANYWHERE. Why should they buy from YOU? You have to make them understand that you’re speaking directly to them and their needs at this particular stage of their life.

Bonus: It’s ok if your avatar changes over time or grows with your audience. It’s also ok for people to outgrow your avatar. Just start somewhere rather than try to make jewelry for everyone.

Question #2: What hashtags should Sally use?

Answer #2: Start with a free tool at a site like hashtagify.me for hashtag research. Hashtagify.me will allow you to start with one keyword and then create a spiderweb of others. It will also show you popularity and trends with hastags along with a list of the related hashtags. Do this until you get to thirty (yes, 30!) hashtags.

Bonus: It’s ok (and by ok, I mean...the fewer the better) to use some jewelry-related keywords to describe your jewelry, but generally, your hashtags should be things your avatar would use, not you.

Here’s a brief example of hashtags that jewelry makers typically overuse when trying to target new customers:

  • #jewelrymaker, #jewelrydesigner, etc.
  • #onmybench, #atmybench, etc.
  • #jewelry, jewellery, etc.
  • #etsyjewelry, #etsyjewellery, etc.
  • #bracelets, #beads, #necklaces
  • #jewelryforsale

Remember: It’s not about you! You want people to discover your jewelry who didn’t even know they wanted to buy jewelry. Your target market is NOT other jewelry makers unless you're selling jewelry supplies services to jewelry businesses.

Here are some better keywords for Sally’s target audience that I found using hashtagify.me:

  • #lovemyfamily
  • #grateful
  • #love
  • #fun
  • #happy  

These are pretty generic and broad examples. Typically, you want to find hashtags that don't have too many posts (your post will quickly be stale), but also not too few posts (it's not popular, so no one will see it). Start researching phrases and sayings that resonate with your avatar. Maybe your ideal customer is spirtual, so it's #blessings or #wildthing if they are adventurous!

 

This is just a small example of the type of research that's possible. You can then narrow this down and do more research by finding people on Instagram who are using these hashtags, seeing what other tags they are using, and then adding them to your tags too! The possibilities are endless.

hashtagify.me ideas

Craft Fearlessly With Love

Finally, never forget to craft fearlessly. Your jewelry designs are what make your pieces uniquely yours. Remember to always have fun and never get too stressed about the business and sales side of jewelry that you forget why you began in the first place.

If you’re looking for a community that can encourage you in the good times and the tough ones, you’re in the right place. You can join the Jewelryosophy 360 community today!

Starting an Etsy Shop, Part 2

how-to-start-an-etsy-jewelry-shop

Last week, I shared the infographic below along with some highlights of my first year selling jewelry on Etsy. This is part two of that series. If you haven't read part 1 yet, you can check it out here.

 

PROFITS SHOULD INFORM SHOP DECISIONS

Sharing how much you make has historically been a taboo topic among handcrafted makers. People are very sensitive to other artists selling at prices too low, too high, or simply not the way they do it.

The only way the handmade community will get past the misconceptions and misunderstanding of pricing is to TALK about prices. As I mentioned in the previous installment of this series, I did not start out thinking about my Etsy shop as a business. I should have, but the only way to drive that home is to use a case study that I’m very familiar with: my own shop.

I've gone back and forth on whether to share my actual income and spending numbers and have decided to do so for a few reasons:

  1. I am proud of my sales over the past year. I started as a somewhat hobbyist and quickly became immersed in the eCommerce world. I don't want to pretend that I have everything figured out financially or that I am perfect. I am not. 
  2. This is real. Are there people who will tell you that they made thousands and thousands selling XYZ on Etsy. Sure! Might it be true? Sure! However, the vast majority of Etsy sellersdo not make anywhere near enough to quit their day job. Specifically, Slate reports that 65% of Etsy sellers do not make more than $100 a year. My numbers reflect that reality. So, before you go giving some guru your hard-earned hand-crafted money, check your facts. Do they have an ACTIVE Etsy shop? When was the last time they sold on Etsy? What were they selling? The market has changed, so don't trust everyone who tells you they have all the answers you've been looking for. Building a brand takes time (in years, not months!), so you can't expect overnight or 1 year success. 
  3. We need to kickstart a conversation about the difference between revenue and profit. To do so, we need to start somewhere. Here’s a start. Profit does not equal revenue. It’s so important to critically examine how much you’re actually spending on your business. Most people don’t realize that some of the largest start-ups and companies took years to make a profit. Revenue is not profit. Profit is the difference between the amount earned from sales and the amount spent.

FEEDBACK IS A GIFT

Another key component of a successful shop is the customers. Duh, right? After any length of time selling on Etsy, it can become easy to forget that your customers are at the center of your success. There are the fees for listings, shipping, social media, live vendor events, taxes, and so much more. But at the heart of all of that is the voice of the customer.

What are your customers telling you? Are they saying anything at all? Getting feedback is harder than you’d expect. The people who give reviews organically (read: without any prompting) tend to be on the extremes. They either absolutely LOVE their purchase or absolutely HATE it. How can you capture everyone else who is in the middle?

After a little over 100 sales, 30% feedback isn’t awful. It’s not great either. To capture those 30% of reviews, my main tactic was to ask for feedback repeatedly. I asked in my initial listing copy and then again when a customer checked out and again in their package. It still only worked 30% of the time.  

FOLLOW THE RULES

When you’re first starting an Etsy shop, another factor that you might not consider is the limitation on using existing brands to market your products. It’s very tempting to want to connect your products to whatever inspired you to create it in the first place.

Maybe it’s a song, a doll company, a celebrity, a movie, or a sports team that inspired your listings or even your shop. Tagging this inspiration in your product listing helps others know what it’s all about. However, it also means that you’re infringing on the legal rights of the entity that own that brand. 

In my first few months on Etsy, I followed this strategy with a very popular bracelet. I also included an SEO (Search Engine Optimization) tag that named the artist that inspired the bracelet. Bad idea. The is only one example of “not following the rules”. There are others. The important part to not having your Etsy shop shutdown are stalled before you’ve even gotten started is to make sure you know the rules.

Have you started an Etsy shop selling jewelry recently and feel like you’re in this alone? Or have you been selling for years and feel like you have advice to share with other jewelry makers? We’d love to have you join the Jewelryosophy 360 community!  

Starting an Etsy Shop

how-to-start-an-etsy-jewelry-shop

In December 2015, I opened my very first Etsy shop. Over the course of a year, I've learned a lot about what to do and what not to do.

While there are plenty of articles that will tell you about how a shop owner made hundreds of thousands (or even millions!) of dollars in their first year, I will warn you now: this is not that article. In fact, my story is the furthest thing you can get from a unicorn story.

This is the anti-unicorn story of starting an Etsy shop. Why? Because the majority of people are not unicorns. They will not make six figures in their first year or even within two years. In fact, according to Slate, 65% of Etsy sellers do not make more than $100 in their first year. It's time we talked about the reality of selling and the real work involved in starting a brand from the bottom up.

Real business growth and development takes time, intentional work, and an honest assessment of your operations. In this article, I'll take a deep dive on how I started my Etsy shop in the jewelry category and where I am after year 1... for better or for worse. 

I started my Etsy shop under the following conditions:

  1. I did not have any business goals. It was a hobby and was not a source of income.
  2. I was still learning to make jewelry and deciding what I liked.
  3. I did not have a lot of inventory.
  4. I did not have a plan to scale in place. 
  5. I did not have a target audience. 

If you're taking notes, then the 5 things above are things that you should definitely avoid if you want to run your Etsy shop to make a profit. And while I won't claim to have every single answer today or every business detail figured out, I feel much more confident going into 2017 for the following reasons:

  1. I have identified SMART goals for my business
    1. Specific
    2. Measurable
    3. Actionable
    4. Realistic
    5. Time Bound
  2. I know my target audience.
  3. I have a strategy for scaling.
  4. I have more technical skills after additional training.
  5. I know what I'm going to make and sell.  

What follows is a deepdive of the first block of the infographic above: Etsy Drives Customers to Your Shop. The infographic summarizes my first year selling on Etsy and what you can expect when you start an Etsy shop (especially in the jewelry category!).

This article is part one of a multi-article series where I'll explore starting an Etsy shop. Each week, I'll share tips and guidance from each block on the infographic.

Etsy Drives Customers to Your Shop

 While it might seem obvious that Etsy drives customers to your shop, it is not a given when you're just starting out. Unless you already have an Etsy store and are familiar with how it works, it's not crazy to explore your eCommerce platform options. This will help you determine what will be best for your business growth.

I have heard many people ask why they should sell on Etsy over some other platforms. The answer for me is easy. I look at my shop traffic. When I started out, I researched multiple platforms including Fancy, Etsy, Amazon Handmade, Sundry Style, and a standalone website.

“I have heard many people ask why they should sell on Etsy over some other platforms. The answer for me is easy. I look at my shop traffic. 

FANCY

I got frustrated setting up my Fancy.com site after a few visits. I tried to import my Etsy listings via a .csv file and found the entire process annoying. I didn't find the user interface on Fancy.com as user friendly as Etsy. My understanding of everything I'd need to run a business was already minimal, so I didn’t want to pile on my list of things to have to learn. Trying to learn about Etsy and Fancy was just too overwhelming. Fancy had to go.

AMAZON HANDMADE

Amazon Handmade ended up on the discard list too. The fees did not make financial sense for me given that I had barely even dipped my toes in the selling waters. I wanted to steer clear of racking up fees before I had a chance to decide if I enjoyed selling.

I've since read reviews from other people who use Amazon Handmade and also say that the user interface is just not the same as Etsy. Maybe in a few years I'll try selling on Amazon Handmade, but right now, it seems like they are still getting a handle on their user interface for handmade sellers.

SUNDRY STYLE

Sundry Style is another site for curated, handmade content. I opened a shop on the platform and still sell a few of my items there. While I received a few sales (including a few very loyal customers who now buy directly from my website), the fees (a percentage per sale) are much higher than Etsy. I could only afford to list a few items on the site after negotiating with the site owner. 

Originally, the site owner requested that sellers not raise prices above what we're selling elsewhere online, but that model would have led me to not sell on the platform at all. While the site is a great idea and I love the opportunity to be apart of that community, the user interface is still in its earliest stages. There isn't an ability to easily update listing, deactivate listings, or put your shop on "vacation mode". Those were features that I otherwise would have taken for granted with Etsy.

“Finally, it was important for me to establish my own website from day one. I cannot stress the importance of this enough.

STANDALONE SITE: LOVEYANZ.COM

Finally, it was important for me to establish my own website from day one. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. I’ve heard horror stories of very successful Etsy shops being shutdown for reasons entirely outside of the seller's control. Furthermore, Etsy can go down or close their doors at any point. Why would you want to put your entire business in someone else’s hands?

Having a standalone site allows you to generate unique traffic that you can use to assess interest in your brand. It gives you an opportunity to look very polished and professional when you share links and advertisements. And it allows you a one stop shop for interacting directly with your customers. The opportunities are endless for customization, interactions, and content. For instance, even with new features added daily, Etsy still doesn’t allow for videos within listings. This is something some of the biggest companies like Zappos use all of the time and it’s something you can offer too if you have your own website.

In the end, I've been very happy with the balance I've struck between maintaining my own brand through loveyanz.com and finding new customers through Etsy. While I can't say for certain what platforms I'll dive into this year, I am sure that Etsy will remain at the top of my list due to the amount of traffic and new sales I’ve been able to generate.

If the idea of making and selling jewelry interests you- either because you’re thinking about about opening up an Etsy jewelry shop or already have a shop, then you’ve come to the right place! Join the Jewelryosophy 360 community for even more tips and tricks to take your jewelry business to the next level.

 

P.S. I'll post the next article in this series next week. Follow the Jewelryosophy 360 Facebook page or subscribe to get the latest!

Tagged: EtsyentrepreneurHow to Make Money on EtsyStart and Etsy ShopHow to Make and Sell Jewelry

3 Ways Handcrafted Jewelry Designers Can Engage More Jewelry Customers

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You've launched your jewelry brand! Congrats! So, now what? Here are the best ways to start engaging more jewelry customers who are looking to buy your products.

1. Start blogging. 

Blogging is a great way to help people get to know you before they make a purchase. People who read your blog are more likely to take the time to browse your site and sign up for your email list. So, what are you waiting for? Start blogging! You can write about jewelry trends you're watching, offer tips for cleaning jewelry as a way to establish your creativity and discuss the inspiration for every item in your collection. It's the perfect opportunity to get to know your customers better. Since you're providing them with information for free, they will feel like they have a better understanding of you and be more likely to purchase your products.

2. Master your marketing strategy. 

Do you get most of your sales in-person? From Instagram? Etsy? The only way to know is to put yourself out there and start tracking results. If you understand your audience and try to test a variety of platforms in your early days, then you'll quickly be able to tell what gets traction and what doesn't. Yes, test the waters, but don't spread yourself too thin. Once you figure out which platforms work best, narrow your cope and refine your strategy for that platform. Learn the ins and outs of one platform that has already showed promise rather than spreading your time on activities that may or may not produce tangible results. Master a platform, Automate your sales strategy for that platform, then move on to another platform.

If you know that photos are not your strong point but that people fall in love with your jewelry in-person, then focus your efforts on increasing your brand awareness at a local level. Sign-up for local vending events. Not sure where to find out about events? Check out this guide: Jewelryosophy 360 Guide to Jewelry Vendor Events and Shows.

If you get great engagement on Instagram photos, then focus your strategy on making the flow from Instagram to checkout as seamless as possible. Make sure you include a link to your product in your Instagram bio. People will not take time to look all around your website for the latest piece you advertised on Instagram. Make it easy for them by linking directly to the piece in Instagram. Check out the Jewelryosophy 360 Guide to Instagram for Jewelry Makers for more Instagram strategies.

3. Collaborate.

Reach out to subscription box services, boutiques, and other curated services that align with your brand. Subscription boxes are always looking for products for their next box. You can negotiate how much they'll pay you (typically wholesale) for units and they may replenish for multiple rounds! Boutiques, museums, and other curated services are always looking for local, handcrafted work to buy and sell. Put yourself out there and find partnerships that align with your brand. Even if they say no, you will have initiated a conversation and will have practice for when the perfect deal comes your way.

Have you joined one of the fastest growing communities for jewelry makers yet? If not, what are you waiting for?

5 Things I Wish I'd Known When I Started Selling Handcrafted Jewelry

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What was your first introduction to jewelry? For many, it starts as a fun hobby that grows into something more serious. When this is the case, there is no nice way to plan your business strategy- it seems to happen to you. Here are some takeaways you can learn from if you're just starting your jewelry business: 

1. Your Prices Determine Your Audience

I recently took some jewelry classes with a new instructor and I showed him some of my best selling pieces. I explained that my audience loves my mantra bangles but I have conflicting feelings about selling copper jewelry. I love that copper is affordable and a nice alternative to rose gold, which is very popular right now. The problem? Copper tarnishes relatively quickly. While I've been looking for solutions like waxing and including a polishing pad with every order, the copper (no matter the quality) presents complications. 

His advice? Start all over and build a new jewelry brand from the bottom up. That's sage advice from someone who has been entrenched in the jewelry industry for over two decades. Specifically, he said that an ideal audience will save up their money if they truly want your pieces. You put in the same amount of work regardless of whether a piece is gold or copper, so you might as well set your prices to reflect a collection that values your time. 

While I haven't completely abandoned the brand that launched my business, his advice sticks with me. In some ways, it haunts me. Am I doomed for failure before I've even really begun?Since my earliest days, I've started purging my inventory of any materials that aren't representative of my current brand. I don't buy any new materials that won't represent the brand I aspire to be. If I were to do it all over again, I'd definitely take my instructor's advice. 

2. Every Customer is a Potential Repeat Customer

Repeat it until you've committed it to memory. I've had a handful of customers that have come back for multiple orders over the past year. It was totally unexpected. Customers don't come with a notification that says, "Hey, I'm coming back for more." It's not always the person who spends the most that will return either. You can't know in advance who will come back and who won't, so treat every customer like a potential repeat customer. Not once, not twice, but three and more times the same customers have bought pieces from me. I was shocked every time! I shouldn't have been. When you deliver great products, you should expect customers to come back for more. That's what some of the best and biggest brands are built on. 

3. The Quality of Your Jewelry Matters

This is closely related to number 1 on my list of lessons learned. All the marketing in the world doesn't matter if your products are not able to withstand wear and tear. Your jewelry speaks for your brand long after it's left your shop, so make sure you can stand by the quality of your work. One thing I've started offering is guarantees for the wedding jewelry I make for customers. This means that I'll offer complimentary repairs, cleaning, and re-work on the piece for the life of my company. Even with the best materials, things happen. Chains break, people wear their jewelry while swimming and cleaning and a host of other things happen. Don't freak out when a customers lets you know that something's gone astray. Just be gracious and work as quickly as possible to fix the problem for them. If you're following the advice in #1, then this will make complete sense. If you're not charging enough for your pieces upfront, then it will become frustrating for you. The time and energy you'll spend working to replace and fix lower priced items will cost you in the long run. Avoid the problem before it starts by offering the highest quality pieces and craftsmanship that you can. 

4. Make Items You Love That Can Scale (Quality Over Quantity) or Be Willing to Sell OAK

What's your strategy for making handcrafted jewelry? Are your pieces one-of-a-kind (OAK) or are you prepared to make multiples of the same item? While I love making OAK pieces, my strategy for my first year was to practice the same technique over and over again- and make a little money while doing so. If you choose to go the route of making the same piece over and over, make sure you really enjoy the pieces you're making because someone just might ask you to make dozens or more of them at once. I had a few requests for wholesale orders my first year and I wasn't ready. Because of my lack of preparation, the opportunities completely slipped away. It was disappointing, but I had no one to blame but myself. What was the problem? How could this have been avoided? 

I wasn't prepared to make the requested products in bulk because of the time and skill it would have taken me to make each piece perfectly (or to quality standards). What started out as an experimental piece, turned into a "test" product in my shop and that turned into a wholesale request. Since then, I've learned to only list products that I would enjoy making over and over again or that I'm willing to list as one-of-a-kind. At the time, there was no way I was confident that I could replicate my success with my piece even one time, let alone 100 or more! Basically, I wasn't confident in my technical skill. That's where lesson 5 comes in...

5. It's Ok to Ask For Help... And To Say No

There's no way you can be expected to know every jewelry skill, technique, and tool when you're just starting out (or even years after).  Especially when selling to a global audience, be prepared to say no to some requests. If your shop isn't equipped with technology for arc welding, there's no reason to beat yourself up about it. Just be honest with your customers about what your current shop allows for and be comfortable with that. Don't drive yourself into debt or unhappiness by comparing your shop to others or buying every new product or tool based on a single request. Scale at your own pace and make the best decisions for your business. 

When things in your business get overwhelming, don't be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. The Jewelryosophy 360 community was designed to offer support to your business at every stage. As we grow, we'll have a wealth of experiences that we can share with each other so that you never feel alone. Not a member yet? You can find out more and join today by clicking below.

How I Accidentally Got My Jewelry Featured in POPSUGAR

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Every Saturday, I do a detailed analysis of how my Etsy jewelry shop is performing. I'll take note of what people are looking at when they visit my shop and how they found out about my shop (in other words, what were the referral sources). The majority of the time, they find my shop through organic Etsy searches. That makes sense to me because I've never paid for Etsy promotions and I don't advertise on Google. I advertise my standalone jewelry website through FB ads and Instagram engagement, but I leave everything else up to search engine optimization (SEO) and word of mouth.

Last week, however, I noticed a huge spike in referrers from a website called popsugar.com. POPSUGAR is a media company focused on pop culture. They have tons of articles about the hottest trends in beauty, fashion, fitness, and more. I won't pretend to be a cool girl. I had never heard of the site until I saw it on my Etsy dashboard as one of the primary sources of my shop traffic for that week.

My first reaction was pure delight and excitement. This explained why I had seen an increase in orders earlier in the week. Then confusion set in. Why didn't I know about this feature beforehand and how could I find the actual feature (the only source information I had was popsugar.com)?

In a matter of no time, I was searching the popsugar.com website for any hint of my jewelry or shop. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Google searches also didn't return anything useful. I went back to my stats and realized that the spike in views came on Tuesday, so that gave me a narrower time frame to search the POPSUGAR website. Eventually, I found the article, "25 Flawless Gifts for Beyonce Fans".  Bingo. I immediately knew that they were featuring a hand stamped bangle that has been a top seller for me. And there it was - photo 19 of 26!

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That's something I made! Yes, I took screenshots. Wouldn't you?!?

Was this how I planned my first large media feature to turn out? Hardly. For starters, the product is a mantra band. But I'm not complaining! After many failed attempts at media kits this past year, this unexpected feature in the midst of the holiday shopping season was a welcome surprise.

I wish I could have titled this article, "How to Intentionally Land Your First POPSUGAR Etsy Jewelry Feature," but I'm not there yet. This experience is an excellent example of how random a first year in jewelry making and selling can be. So many in the jewelry industry share stories of how they made it to the top, but far fewer are willing to talk in detail about the years of hard work, rejection, and random-luck occurrences that it took to get their jewelry in big name department stores. My hope in sharing this story is that encourages other jewelry designers.

It's also a good reminder to me of why Jewelryosophy 360 matters. There is no neatly defined path in this industry. Everyone's experiences are unique and we can all learn so much from each other- even when things do happen on accident. If we're all willing to give a sneak peek behind our studio curtains, then we can truly become accountable for the success of our businesses. We can take daily steps towards living our passion.

Any piece you make can speak to anyone at any time. Your next accidental feature may be just around the corner too. Stay encouraged and keep making!

P.S. If you haven't already, be sure to join our little jewelry maker community. We encourage each other in our businesses, discuss our jewelry making adventures, and talk shop!