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Monday, August 16, 2010

Improving Your Shop – Part 1: Products

After a few months of studying Etsy guides, taking advice from some of the best shops, and putting what I’ve learned into practice, I wanted to share some advice with fellow shops.  I hope you’ll find my blogs useful and improve your shop as I have!

The first step to creating a successful shop is, of course, going to be your product themselves.  Start with items that you know how to make and don’t fret if it’s not much, because I guarantee you’ll find inspiration to expand.  Here are a few things to think about when making your products.

Uniqueness:  It can be really hard to sell the same item as everyone else, especially on Etsy.  By all means it’s a nice idea to offer simple, common items in your shop, but add your own twist to some items and make it unique.  Before long, you may even have a signature piece that people will immediately recognize as yours and yours alone.

Variety:  If you have the same style of item in your whole shop, you’ll only draw in people that like that style.  You can’t please everyone, but you can definitely take a stab at it by using variety.  Varying colors is the easiest thing you can do to please the masses.  Have a look at the shopping section on Etsy and look at the category your items fall under for ideas on what else you can make.  Here are some ideas for some of the common shop themes:

  • Jewelry: Bracelets, necklaces, earrings, anklets, rings.

  • Apparel: Seasonal clothing, wide variety of styles, multi-use jackets and shawls.

  • Cards: General, birthday, wedding, congratulations, get well soon.

  • Housewares: Cloths, pillows, wall hangings, throw blanket, table runners.

  • Art: Originals, prints (different sizes), ACEOs, greeting cards and post cards, bookmarks.

Target:  Think about who you are making your items for.  If your item is quite age specific, think about what kind of colors and patterns are popular for that age group.  For example, you probably wouldn’t want to make an evening dress out of a fabric with rubber duckies all over it.  Sure, there might be someone out there who would love a rubber duckie evening dress, but I’m betting there are many MORE people who would like a traditional, elegant evening dress.  If your items are not age specific, then you can have a lot of fun making them so!  As I mentioned before, variety is key.  Having a variety of items that cater to many different age groups can be a great boost to your shop.

Quality:  We all know what it feels like to buy something only to discover the quality is drastically under what we expected.  It changes your whole view on the shop or store you bought it from, and you aren’t likely to ever buy again.  Make sure your items are excellent condition.  If your items are fragile, let your customers know that.  Most of the time it’s obvious what sort of items need extra care.  Offering great quality items means return customers!

Check back next week to find out more about pricing your products properly!

1 comment:

  1. Great advice, Karilan. Thanks for putting this together!