What a $100 Investment in Your Etsy Store Will Get You
It’s easy to get caught up in the magic of starting your very first Etsy store. I remember when I opened up my very first store, a vintage clothing and jewelry shop called... you know, thinking about it now I couldn't tell you what the name of my first Etsy store was. I have zero recollection of what I ever called my first Etsy store. It was either Designs by Sophie (I'm talking EARLY days people) or Miss Mint Julep. I remember the first store that started to make sense to me but by then I had learned plenty of hard mistakes, and I feel an element of humor while writing this because while I can’t remember the store name, I remember the hours I spent deciding what to call it. Afterall, it had to be perfect.
If you are opening your first store, or second store or trying to make the store you opened three years ago and did nothing with into something well, don’t beat yourself up. I am now on store five, and that is just a guestimate. Each store I learned a valuable lesson and probably the grand thesis of all those lessons - don’t waste time on the little stuff. The name, the color scheme, the coupon codes. All of it is worthless without an audience to view it, and even then they aren't going to keep coming back to your shop because of those things. Your clients are going to come back, hopefully, because of the details you put into their order. Not just their product that they are buying but the experience of receiving their product. If you think back on some of your favorite purchases, there is a good chance the one that sticks out either had a deep and meaningful reason to invoke the purchase OR it was the details about the package. One of my favorite purchases I ever made on Etsy was years ago from a caramel company. The package arrived as if it were from the past, wrapped neatly with twine and when I unwrapped it, there was a gorgeous arrangement of decadent caramels, and a beautiful thank you card with a backstory about the mother-daughter duo who had created these artisan candies. Now, mind you this was way back in the day when Etsy was still Staunchly pro-artist and pro-vintage.
This is my long-winded way of saying, you could be sweating the wrong small details. I advocate for sweating the little things, but you could quite possibly be focusing on the wrong ones, such as the name and color schemes and what items to list as your favorite materials in your profile. This is not a judgement. This is an admittance of my own naive excitement because after the stars fade from the magic of picking the perfect name you have something more significant to worry about - running a store. This is where the hard reality hits that you might need to shell out some dough to run this Etsy business dream. It feels tight and scary at first, but it doesn't need to be. In fact, you could invest $100 into your Etsy store and get a strong foundation for the tools you would need to operate it with ease.
That’s right, just $100. Take a couple of weeks off from eating out or going to your favorite coffee shop and stash that cash away for an investment in yourself. Don’t believe that you can get a strong foundation for your store for $100? Check out my Amazon cart.
Every item in this cart I have purchased at one point or another and have found it to be an immense help for my Etsy store and all of it for $100 which is entirely doable and their value could go way beyond what you pay to your friendly corporation, Amazon.
In fact, let us break it my shopping cart down.
Out of everything I have purchased for my stores, this is one of my favorites. It has made my life so much easier when it comes to dealing with shipping. Back in the early days of Etsy when I had my first store, you had to go and do the calculations yourself. If you sucked at it, which I did, you might lose money, which I did. Now, because of Etsy's robust chest of sellers tools, if you know what your item weighs, the do all the calculating for you. They still give you the option to set it up yourself for those who like to punish themselves, but if you have a scale all you need to do is enter it. That’s it. All you have to do is provide the weight of your item shipped, and your headache is gone. If you have a store full of product (which I strongly suggest you strive for) which would you prefer do? Figure out the shipping cost for every single item which requires checking shipping rates and constant research OR weigh the damn thing? It saves time in the long run which will save you a headache.
This is another life changer. I used to tape every single shipping label to a package. So much tape. So much frustration. Now its all gone because I print, peel and stick. Remember those sellers tools I mentioned above? Another sweet little option for sellers when printing their labels is that they can print two to a page making the set up to use these labels virtually unnecessary since so much is already done for you.
Eventually, when running your own Etsy store, you will need a printer. You may have found some particular loophole, but I bet it isn’t as convenient as printing your labels at home. If you keep pushing and growing your store, your orders are going to get the best of you. I lived the days of going to a Kinkos (whoa, dating myself now) to get everything I needed to be printed. It slowed down shipping because there were days where I was too tired or lazy and its just not as conveient...or cheap especially when you can snag a simple HP inkjet printer on Amazon for $30. Yup, my $100 investment even includes a printer so that you can print your orders out at home and you don’t have to stop there. You can use it to create your own promotional flyers and postcards to include in your packages, which reminds me….
BECAUSE THEY STAND OUT! I mail almost all of my orders out in bright, fuschia pink poly mailers. Why? Because when my customers get their mail, my package is going to stand out like a sore thumb and they are going to * I think* rush to open it first unless that envelope with a big check is in front of it. The colorful, fun packaging isn’t just part of my pink branding, but a signal for my customers that their order has arrived and they can clearly see it. There is something fun and pretty waiting for them to open.
I can drone on and on and on about the packaging when mailing out orders because I think it is so important to your store. I have had friends who are sellers get bad reviews purely on the packaging and shipment of their product and not the product itself. Sure, anyone with a brain can see that that doesn’t affect the quality but when you're trying to grow your rating, those stars count. Just like the bright, colorful packaging stands out, so do the painfully bad ones which is why I like to dress my packaged orders out with fun pretty things, like washi tape! Washi tape is another affordable and easy way to snazz up your orders even more and give another aesthetically pleasing introduction to your customer.
You don’t have to order these obviously, you have no idea if your customer will ever look or use whatever you send. Although I have had a good response and reaction from the ones I have sent out.
I send stickers with my logo and website link on it as a gift and promotional value but back when I was beginning, and on a strict budget, you could often find me lurking around the dollar bin area at your local Target. Even for a dollar, these cute little erasers are a better deal since they even out to be about 0.19 a piece. Plus, 48 cute items to go out is 48 sales to get through before you need to reorder. It’s fun for your customer and motivation for you the seller because you don’t want to be holding onto these little tchotcke things. I have used everything from stickers to erasers to temporary tattoos. I’ve even received fun rolls of washi tape from other orders! There are just so many affordable resources out there! As I said, I include a cute little sparkle sticker of my logo which I get printed from Moo.com which usually ends up costing me about 0.23 per sticker. Even if your customer never uses said item, there is a good chance they are going to take a moment to appreciate it. Think about how you feel when you get a package with a little extra surprise for you. I bet there is a part of you that welcomes it.
Having good photos is imperative when starting an Etsy store, and for some, like me, it can be a huge struggle. Somewhere along the line, I started to believe that quality photos could only come from a quality camera but the truth is, you don’t need to have a fancy DSLR to take your pictures. in fact you can use your phone. You know, the thing 20% of you are reading this blog on. Most smartphones these days come equipped with capable cameras, but you can even step it up a notch from there with extra lenses. Perhaps you want to get the small details with a bright, crisp - if so then the macro lens is for you. Again, you’re not buying a DSLR, but you can add to your arsenal of tools to make your Etsy store even better.