Etsy Shop Reading List

Lately I’ve been overwhelmed and overjoyed at the number of friends of mine who have taken on the challenge of opening up their own Etsy shop. I’ve had my own shop, FrostedTreats for almost three years. It was the best decision I could have made.

Originally I set up shop to thin out the ridiculous stock of charms I had made for fun. Then came the realization that I could also help fund my creative hobbies with the proceeds from my sales. From there my little mini business has continued to grow. Not only am I able to showcase the nifty little trinkets I make to the world, but I’ve also been able to answer questions and illuminate the online craft marketplace for my real life friends. How to take quality image photos, shipping dilemmas, custom order etiquette, and beyond.

 

The best bit of advice I can give anyone just starting out with an Etsy shop is to READ UP! Find resources everywhere. Don’t assume that you know exactly what you’re doing. There are tons of experts out there who can point you in the right direction – don’t neglect the wealth of information around you. Here is a quick list of recent articles around the Etsy-verse.

Starting an Etsy Shop from the Bottom Up by Handmadeology

Though I’ve only highlighted one post from this site, Handmadeology is a terrific resource! Look through and try to absorb all of the wisdom and knowledge available! This article here isn’t quite a step-by-step look at setting up a shop, but more of a “get your head right” pep talk. Valuable advice right there!

Photography Tips for Crafters by Elizabeth Carls

Since your potential customers cannot touch, hold, examine, or try on your creations, the only way they can fall in love is through photos. The perfect product photos are hard to come by if you don’t know what you’re doing. The biggest tip I can give is to use natural light. Set your photo shoot up outside or in a bright room with big windows. Indoor lighting and your camera’s flash result in pretty bland, poorly lit photos. Other than that little tidbit, read through Elizabeth Carls’ article and find out other ways to enhance your images!

Etsy Checklist – Tips to Sell More by Handmade Marketing

Another great seller resource with a myriad of articles aimed at Etsy success. This post gives a brief but well-rounded look at the basics of online craft selling. Photos, SEO (search engine optimization), networking, tagging, social media, etc.

20 Tips for Selling on Etsy by Everything Etsy

More brief snippets of advice on set up and success. Everything Etsy is another good resource to dig through… This site also features Etsy finds, giveaways, a shop directory and sales on occasion. The biggest tip here? Whatever you plan to do with your Etsy shop – have fun with it!

The Great Pricing Debate by IndieFixx

Sooooo, you want to sell your creations. Good – now how much should you charge? This question is one that everyone who endeavors to market their crafts has to battle with. You don’t want to charge too much and scare off buyers, but you don’t want to charge too little and end up broke. This post helps to calm some fears and steer the would-be entrepreneur in the right direction to find that delicate pricing balance. Bottom line – be fair to yourself. If you cannot support your hobby/business with bargain basement type prices – raise them! Don’t feel bad about it either. If you’re creating quality items, higher prices are not unreasonable. Take into account the cost of materials, time and labor, and your talent.

The Etsy Seller Handbook by The Storque

This link will bring you to more links – tons of links – wonderful links. The Storque is run by Etsy itself and posts a number of helpful articles on how to succeed with your shop as well as adorable tutorials and DIY projects! Definitely a must-read.

 

I hope these resources help calm your nerves and answer some questions. Feel free to ask questions here, too! We will gladly impart some of our knowledge :) Take a look now at some wonderful Etsy shops run by some wonderful people!

 

Adina and Gem

High quality jewelry made with colorful beads, sterling silver, and a keen eye for style.

 

Yardsale Press

Funky art prints, cool coasters, and LOTS of great color!

 

Enjoy, makers!

 

 

Books: The Handmade Marketplace

I’m going to be honest here, when I was a child I was a bit of a handful. Not only was I one of those kids you would see in the amusement park strapped to a leash, but I was also a master of knock-knock jokes and a perpetual tormentor to my two younger brothers. Many times have I heard the words, “be patient!” and “who broke this?!”

Somewhere in my path from 4 to 14 to 24, I’ve mellowed out a bit. The exact cause cannot be pinpointed, but I think it had to do with the fact that I love to read. Quiet time with a book seemed to soothe the little beast that I was. I’ll always remember something my Grandma told me after she busted me tossing some books around and stomping on them,

“Jessie, books are our friends.”

For some reason or another, this little statement has stuck with me. Eventually shelves filled with Babysitters Club, Goosebumps, and Nancy Drew novels gave way to college text books, though those were usually sold back to the bookstore promptly at the end of each semester. Today my bookshelf – or rather pile of books that can no longer fit on my bookshelf – is cluttered with everything from Anne Rice to ancient Greece to Abigail and John Adams (two of my faaaaavorite historical figures) to books filled with sewing patterns and cutesy projects.

Whatever you choose to read, there’s a lot to be said of both quality and quantity. To read too much, in my opinion, is nearly impossible. Recently I’ve taken to reading as much as humanly possible on turning creative thought into something tangible and worthwhile. There is a ton of information around the internet about how to make your handmade art into more than just a hobby. Though that may be the in-a-pinch way to read up on the subject, nothing can beat the wealth of knowledge that can be gained from sources in print.

One of the most informative works I’ve read so far in terms of handmade marketing has to be The Handmade Marketplace: How to Sell Your Crafts Locally, Globally, and On-Line by Kari Chapin.

Not only is this book beautifully illustrated, the information is presented in a way that makes marketing actually quite interesting and understandable. How to decide if your craft is in demand, how to set up your online presence, how to build your brand, even how to get involved in selling your creations at local fairs and markets – it’s all here. While I’m no book reviewer – nor do I really feel the need to try to be – once I read this book, I knew I had to tell people about it. I first handed my copy off to Alex (a fellow misc•maker, whom you shall meet soon) as she was just beginning to sell her crochet masterpieces. Next, the book was passed to Elizabeth, another collaborator here. pssst – Liz, give me back my book. Now I’ve taken my praise to the internet – Do you see what you’ve done, Kari Chapin?! What I’m getting at here is that if you’re interested in learning how to market your work as an artisan, this book will definitely take the edge off that big “M” word – Marketing. If you’re on the search for a sort of text book for crafty business models and resources, I’d highly suggest taking a look at this book. This book is definitely my friend :)

-Jessica

(Disclaimer: I have received absolutely no compensation to prompt this review.
I’ve merely enjoyed learning from this book and I wanted to share the knowledge.)