Over the last 10 years of having an Etsy store I’m often asked if it’s easy to set up?
Usually followed by the statement; “Etsy works for you doesn’t it?!” …then… “Is it easy to sell through Etsy? “
The simple answer to all those questions is, YES!
In saying that though, it’s not without effort, just like any other business venture there’s a lot of thought, time & energy that goes into making it work.
When I first opened it I did so as more of an online catalogue I could direct retail store owners to.While keeping in mind the added advantage of it being an e-commerce site without high set up costs (back then) especially with it’s inbuilt search facility allowing you to reach a targeted customer base.
Once sales started to flow in from across the globe realised just how powerful this selling portal was and began to take my Etsy shop a lot more seriously.
Part of this being the use of markets as a promotional tool.
Don’t be misled into believing opening up an Etsy store means you’ll automatically reach your market, just being within the Etsy web is enough to sell your work… and a lot of it.
I chose to treat my Etsy store like I would a commercial space in a retail hub, while there may be many passers-by, you still need to build your own following and customer base who’re willing to travel to loose themselves in your little oasis within the hub.
Rather than just put an open sign up in the window and hope your target market will enter your store, I believe you need to actively seek them out, let them know where they can find you and invite them to join you in this amazing little piece of inspiration you’ve established.
The value of person experiences
Attending markets, festivals & events that reach people who value handcrafted, one of a kind, unique products was one approach, I’d set up my market stall in a way that made shoppers feel like they were stepping into a snippet of what my bricks & mortar retail store would feel like, if I had one.
Trading in person at such events enabled me to talk to shoppers directly, give them even greater insight into what I did & what my work was about. As well as hear directly from them what captivated & inspired them to buy my products.
Market goers are not always out to get a bargain, there are shoppers who are looking for well crafted unique products, enjoy shopping small, supporting passionate makers. If you believe in your own work and its value then you shouldn’t have to sell your goods based on bargain prices, but quality & uniqueness instead.
Keep things interesting
I always took work with me to complete on the stall, hand stitching, braiding, anything easy to do while chatting to shoppers… it captured attention as people walked past, intrigued them enough to ask; “What are you doing there?”
While they weren’t visiting me in my studio they got the opportunity to see what goes into creating my products… ask questions this interaction triggered in their minds. It also demonstrated that the items on my stall are truly handcrafted, artisan crafted!
Shameless self promotion
I always kept a stash of business cards on hand to direct interested shoppers to my online store, especially if they weren’t ready to make a purchase there & then… most important for higher priced items and bespoke orders.
Shoppers would often asked: “Are you here every week?” if it was a weekly market I had a casual stall at OR “Do you sell anywhere else?”
Being able to direct them to my Etsy store, with its simple shopping process often meant they kept coming back to shop with me even when not trading at the market they met me at in the first place.
The fact I made my own business cards using translucent paper, Kraft card & a little machine stitch feature holding the layers together, was another thing that kept them chatting.
In turn developing a personal connection with me (the maker).
I didn’t start making my own business cards for this reason, but soon discovered the respect it gained me, adding authenticity to what I’m about, being a ‘handcrafted’ business, made these cards invaluable.
While I could’ve easily click a few buttons and had 1000 cards printed, I chose to continue making small batches of handcrafted cards in the same way I made small batches of handcrafted products.
Make it an experience
Treating a market or event as a promotional tool took the pressure off the ‘need’ to sell on the spot, by making it an adventure, an enjoyable experience for myself, my family & shoppers alike, I found I’d leave events inspired by the interactions with people, both fellow stall holders & shoppers.
Tracking where all leads/sales came from, I knew for a fact that even if sales on a market day were lower than usual, after sales made attending some events worth while.
After trying out (trading at) numerous different markets & events I learned the type that worked for me, then only selected a few over the course of the year, enough to keep life interesting for us as a family, allowing us to explore, enjoy little getaways while ‘promoting’ my work.
The key is trial, error, recording & analysing results, keeping clear records allowing you to make considered decisions based on fact.
Along with the benefit of after sales, plus sales that occur in the lead up to an event through the sharing of the preparation, products & journey on social media.
ACTIVTIY & TIPS:
Take out your journal:
- List the places you’d like to visit through travelling to trade? e.g. Orange, Newcastle, The Coal Coast
- Research markets held in those areas, create a spread sheet of market names, dates & costs.
- Plan for weekend getaways that’ll add to the adventure of your trading experience.
- Visit local markets to get a sense of the types of stall holders & shoppers they attract, observe shoppers, see what draws them to a stall, you might notice some the bigger markets are more like trade shows attracting retail store owners wishing to approach makers for wholesale. If you’re not ready for this and want to keep things small scale & manageable perhaps attending smaller markets would be a better way to start.
- Let online shoppers know when you’re at a market & place your store on vacation mode with location & times so they can visit you in person if they’re in the area.
- Track where online sales are coming from (locations) so you can try a market in that area.
Markets are no longer a part of my regular trading method for my by marie-nicole brand, however I have attended select events since opening Creators Nest as a way of promoting our bricks & mortar store.
Being savvy with which events you choose to attend & trade at, making it an enjoyable experience rather than just being focused on the outcome (sales) actually helps create treasured memories.
I hope you’ve found my series of business based posts helpful, if there’s anything you’d like to know more about please leave a message in the comments or stop by the shop & let me know in person.
Looking forward to soaring alongside of you!
Want to catch up on what you’ve missed out on in this series of posts?
Here’s a list of the previous posts:
- Want to start your own artisanal business but don’t know where to begin?
- What’s Branding & why it’s important for a small artisanal business.
- Who do you want to see too & where will you find them?
- Artisans live stories customers aspire to being a part of…
- Not sure how to go about sharing your story
- Life’s already so full… how will you fit in realising your own dreams?
- Let’s talk money… I know it’s a topic most creatives like to avoid!