>

Etsy Pattern Needs To be Lit On Fire

If you missed my last post about Etsy, you can check it out here. It breaks down several of the reasons you should run and hide from the platform if you are a serious Maker. Several members of the Successful Makers’ Society asked me about Etsy Pattern and that turned into a whole new host of blood pressure raising moments. Here are my Top 5 6 7 reasons you should run far away from Etsy Pattern.

 
  1. Etsy Pattern is changes a monthly fee, listing fee, AND takes a percentage of your transaction. Oh, and we can’t forget the cost if the customer checks out with paypal. WHAT! This is outrageous. Considering the ways in which you game the Etsy algorithm, your store can easily become cluttered and cost your a fortune. Compare this to Shopify - that charges a monthly fee and a credit card swipe fee - you can see how your underpriced goods are not making you any profit whatsoever and we are only on point 1.
     
  2. The listing themselves - Do you try to upsell by placing other links to your items in the description? Since Etsy Pattern & Etsy don’t offer great ways for Makers to upsell - and BOTH platforms pull from the same listings - this means your links direct back to the main location you point them to. In the instances I’ve tested - this has all been the main portion of Etsy, which is VERY CONFUSING for your customer. It gives them an outbound link to go searching for something different. They don’t know how or why they got to where they are because they thought they were on your site trying to look at a new (in my instance) dog return address stamp. But now I am on an Etsy listing? Might as well see if someone else has a better offering and you just lost your customer.
     
  3. SEO lacks. Since Etsy Pattern pulls your listings from Etsy, it is duplicating your content and degrading your SEO (google doesn’t like this at all). Since it mirrors your original listings, you don’t have the options to change your tags, titles, or other metadata to improve your search ability or google likability. From a marketing standpoint this is a monstrous disappointment. If you watch Shark Tank at all, you know Mark Cuban jumps all over the investments that understands how good SEO works - this is NOT one of those instances.
     
  4. The setup allows for very limited customization. With 10 templates to chose from, there isn’t enough variety OR enough room for the shop owner to make enough tweaks to differentiate her shop form the others running the same platform. Eventually, all of the shops are going to start to look and feel the same because there are only a few templates to pick from with extremely limited options for “customization”.
     
  5. Etsy can STILL shut you down for because they say so - insert toddler temper tantrum here. It happens day in and day out. You are just renting your listing space versus owning it. Instead of working with you to solve whatever issue they have, they just train the next wave of Makers.
     
  6. No Upselling automation.With a grownup e-commerce solution you have the ability to upsell to your hearts content. Does that lip balm come in other flavors? Show that below the listing for the one that customer is browsing - but wait - on Pattern you can’t. So you lost that opportunity to have a larger transaction.  
     
  7. Have you noticed how ALL Pattern sites say “powered by etsy” in the footer? Etsy is a household name now, which means people are now curious. I clicked on “Powered by Etsy” and it takes you directly to etsy.com 100% NOT where you want your potential customers going. Outbound links are a disadvantage for e-commerce sites. They encourage the shopper to keep browsing the web and not make a purchase. So, Etsy has just asked the shopper you have driven to “your” site to not make a purchase and to take look at their eBay of handmade goods. And this my friends, you are paying $15 a month plus several fees for. 

Etsy Pattern is a company decision that was based off of successful Makers moving away from the platform. They are trying to salvage their reputation and keep Makers on their site - because without you they don’t make money. They have already capitalized on the indie craft movement and now they are trying to continue to ride on its coattails. 

How To Find Sales & Money When You Need Them

Cash flow when you are starting out is one of the hardest parts of running your handmade business - at least it was for me. It always seemed like I had something I needed to pay TODAY or another bill due tomorrow. It was (and is) never ending. The difference between starting out and being a mature business is I can general predict my cash flow. But, what about those times I am just NOT comfortable with the coffers and there is something that needs attention? Here are a few ways to generate sales NOW so you can pay the bills, take advantage of supply sales, or even hire a coach. 

  1. Send out an email to your list. Reminder your past customers it is time to reorder! Or better yet, check out your new stock. To increase their chances of ordering, offer the ever popular free shipping over a certain purchase amount. Amazon and the like have Primed us (sorry, it fit) to look for free shipping so we might as well exploit the need to not pay shipping by hitting that order amount. 
     
  2. Host a class or webinar. I love teaching, I guess that is obvious being a coach and all! But teaching others entry level craft skills is a great way to build your community and your wallet. Classes are very low cost to host in your studio but have a relatively high ticket price. For our entry level soap classes of 1 pound of soap (4 bars) I was charging nearly $80 with the option to increase the amount of soap made for an additional cost. What can you teach online or in-person that will wow your customers?
     
  3. Unload unneeded supplies. We've all been there and had shiny object syndrome and purchased that tool, ingredient, packaging, or other item that we really didn't need. Selling items to others in your industry is a quick way to help out other makers and help you out. Just make sure it is something you truly won't need.

    Tip: Facebook B/S/T groups are where I tend to unload my unused soap making goods. 
     
  4. Presale. Have a line that is about ready to launch? Get it up online for a presale at a special price! This works for a short amount of time and IF you are so close to launching that it is in your best interest to burn the oil to get some orders coming in for your new line. Be sure to make sure your customers know they are purchasing a presale and when their purchases will ship. 
     
  5. Take it personal. Have you reminded your friends and family that you have your own business? this is one of the things I wish I had done more of when I was first launching. I wish I would have told people more and asked them to support my new adventure. Post photos or even go live on Facebook of your best sellers and tell your friends why your customers LOVE your products. Post about your wins and your recent successes. Plus, give them the link to make their purchase. Be sure to remind them that orders over X amount get free shipping! 

Have you tried any of these tactics to get sales now? Let us know in the Successful Makers Society! 

If You Are Serious About Your Business: Etsy is NOT Your Sales Platform

It seems like it's an epidemic the last few weeks, I log into Facebook and in every.single.group I belong to that is meant to help small business owners and someone is asking why they aren't getting sales. They built their shop on Etsy because that is what they think you are suppose to do to start (I know, I did it too).

I try to help. I ask very pointed questions to get to the issue as soon as I can. But it's always the same.

Here is why I always advise handmade business owners to be on their own platform and sites:

  • You are driving traffic to a site you do not own when you are on Etsy. This means your shop can be shut down for any reason and at any time and you have no rights or recourse to get it back. What happens if Etsy goes under and that is the only way someone knows how to find you? You don't have your own domain so you've lost all traffic and you have to start 100% over again. 
  • All SEO and google recognition is to a site you may not use in the future. Everything is being driven to a domain you don't own. Instead of the seo being for your own URL or domain, it is for etsy's. You are helping their brand advance instead of your own.  
  • Etsy is expensive. To game the system you have to continue to relist your products daily plus have a large inventory. When compared to the amount you could be spending on a simple shop on another platform, Etsy is grossly over priced
  • Etsy allows for comparison shopping and for devaluing artistic work. People like a deal. When they want something specific, such as handmade baby shoes, they are going to look around on the platform since it is large and they know they are going to find multiple options. It aids and helps the person search for the cheapest option. Etsy places its value on making sure Makers are not paying themselves what they are worth and turning a profit. 
  • Etsy encourages Maker laziness with the "if you build it they will come" mentality. See the point above with comparison shopping. Markers think because they can be found on Etsy that they don't have to drive traffic to their shop, be marketing, sending out newsletters, and so on. But, that puts you right back into the Etsy cycle of driving traffic to something you do not own. 

There you have it. Here are just a few of the reasons why I firmly believe handmade businesses need to be on their own sites and on domains they own. Do you need help on deciding on which platform is best for your small business? Join us over on the Successful Makers Society

 

Meet The Maker: Stephanie Moon

Photo Credit: Stephanie Moon 

Photo Credit: Stephanie Moon 

This week, we have a West Coast based Maker and Stephanie Wong has not one but two handmade businesses! (High five girl!) Her handmade jewelry is to die for, so be sure to head over to her site and Instagram

Why did you start your handmade business?

I've always loved making things and wanted to share what I made with the people around me (partially because how many scarves and necklaces can one person have)? For years, I've been making accessories and jewelry for myself. Every time I wore something I made, people asked about it. My philosophy has always been to create simple and elegant jewelry that can be worn everyday instead of just special occasions. In addition to making necklaces, my husband and I have started a spice rub company called Moon Rub. Can you tell we like to use our last name, Moon, in everything?  My husband used this spice rub on a piece of salmon that he made the first time he met my family.  We make the spice rub in small batches in our kitchen in Seattle. We even passed out Moon Rub at our wedding as favors. The spice rub can be used on meat, fish and veggies! (I have pics of the Moon Rub at our wedding)

Tell us about your handmade business

Jewelry - Moon Made aims to bring simple elegance to the everyday. Each necklace is handmade with care in Seattle. Stephanie is inspired by the idea that even the most ordinary day should have a bit of whimsy. 

Spice Rub - Moon Rub makes it easy to add depth and flavor to any meal. Use it to marinate meat, chicken, fish or sprinkle on top of veggies. This all purpose spice rub makes it easy to elevate your every day cooking. Paleo friendly.

What has been the most effective way of gaining awareness for your business and attracting new customers?

Word of mouth and social media! I started off selling at an employee craft fair and then when I left that company, started to post pictures on social media. The pictures have also lead to my first retail account!

What have been your biggest business challenges?

Keeping momentum going.

How did you overcome these challenges?

I'm relaunching my website in the next few weeks. The new site will have better pictures and allow people to place orders right on the page.

What do you love about having your own handmade business?

I get to share the things I make with the community around me!

What is the best business advice that you ever received?

Keep doing what you love. This can mean so many different things, but since I love to make jewelry, I should keep making them even if I don't sell them all.  With each necklace, I'll hone my skills more and also over time evolve my style.

My greatest fear is....

that people will not want to buy my jewelry.

What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

Try more new things. Travel more (even if you have a small budget) and don't be scared to take risks. What's the worst that can happen?

My favorite business tool is...

Pinterest. I love it for keeping track of inspiration, interesting articles and it's really easy to access anywhere!

Check out Moon Made over on their site and be sure to follow Stephanie over on Instagram

 

Want to be featured in Meet the Maker? 

Meet The Maker: Priscilla George

I have to just be upfront here. I have some serious girl crush going on over here for today's Meet the Maker post. For those of you who are new to my obsession, I'm a crazy dog lady. I am 100% obsessed with my 2 Cavaliers. I even have a sweater with a Cavalier on the front that I've worn to wholesale trade shows, famers markets, craft shows, holiday events, and you get the picture. So when I saw that Priscilla George does watercolor pet portraits I silent screamed because I could not wake the baby that took 2.5 hours to get to sleep. Plus, after some internet stalking (sorry Priscilla) I also found out that she lives in the same town as my cousins. Needless to say, I am a huge fan and will be following her tips on how to take a good pet photo so Bertie & Lizzie can have their portraits done. 

WHY DID YOU START YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS?

I started selling my watercolor paintings of animals and nature because I felt that I could pursue my passions n and make a living from it. Spreading my particular view on the beauty of the earth and being able to give people some happiness of evoke memories.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR HANDMADE BUSINESS

My paintings are all animals, natural treasures, and magical landscapes. I paint each piece with bright and vibrant watercolors. I'm a mom to a little girl, a wife, and nature enthusiast. My work can be found online and I actively participate in Art festivals in the mid-atlantic.

WHAT HAS BEEN THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY OF GAINING AWARENESS FOR YOUR BUSINESS AND ATTRACTING NEW CUSTOMERS?

Art festivals have helped me get my work out to locals and really connect with customers. Secondly Instagram since it is so visual has gotten my work in front of people from all over the world. I also sell on Etsy and that gets me new customers too.

WHAT HAVE BEEN YOUR BIGGEST BUSINESS CHALLENGES?

My biggest business challenges has been figuring out different ways to market my art. It's not as easy as just dropping work out there on the internet and money comes rolling in. So finding many avenues has been a challenge.

HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?

To over come I try out different things for about 6 months and evaluate if the outcome has been worth the effort. Putting my eggs in many different basics to have revenue coming from different areas.

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT HAVING YOUR OWN HANDMADE BUSINESS?

I love have a pretty flexible schedule. I can be here for my daughter when she is sick, I can up and leave on a vacation and not have to ask for time off. And of course I love using my talents!

WHAT IS THE BEST BUSINESS ADVICE THAT YOU EVER RECEIVED?

The best advice I have ever received was to just jump in. It's good to have plans but you'll never be fully ready and nothing will be 100% perfect. The best way to get through it is with experience and that means experiencing the set backs too

MY GREATEST FEAR IS....

My greatest fear is all of this coming to stop some day. I'm scared I'll have put all this work into just fail.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF 10 YEARS AGO?

10 years ago I would have told myself that my art is good enough and that I don't need a degree to start selling my artwork.

MY FAVORITE BUSINESS TOOL IS...

Trello! It helps me organize all my lists and things to do. I have it on my computer and phone

CHECK OUT Priscilla's site, BE SURE TO follow over on instagram, and checkout her youtube channel