I have been really lucky to have some great help in the shop critiques team, an open, supportive team that's all about helping anybody with anything. One of my coleaders runs two amazing shops on Etsy: Twisted Wristers and SewMuchFabric2010. She's really helpful and has offered some great advice to the team, so I asked her to share some insights here on the blog.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
My first love is sewing. I've been quilting, making clothes, bags and household items for almost 30 years. Wow that kind of dates me :) I started sewing when I was 12 and haven't stopped since. I have flirted with other crafts over the years as well. Painting ceremics, podging...remember podging, that disturbing craft of the 1980's? I'm not talking about beautiful art here, I'm talking about podging the garbage can! Thankfully I outgrew that. I've also dabbled in embroidery, cross stitch and needlepoint among others. No "secondary crafts" stuck until beads came crashing into my life. I've discovered an obsession to rival the thread and fabric in my life. I'm thrilled, my husband not so much.
What got you to open your shop on etsy?
I opened my bag shop to give me another outlet for selling my work. I thought, what I think so many other people think, that it would be easy. I'd throw up some pics, write a few descriptions and sales would just...you know happen! Wow, that was crazy!
What inspires you?
I love color. I love the way different shades interact with one another. Drama in palattes and the play of hue and tint in combination inspire every combination I come up with.
What's the most important thing you've changed about your shop since starting on Etsy?
It's advice that gets repeated all the time, in almost every critique. Pictures really, really matter. I'm still working on the pics for my jewelry shop, improving the color saturation and appearance. I still see room for improvement in both shops and I continue to work on photography.
What's the biggest mistake you see new people making when they start out?
Well a couple of things really. They don't realize how important their pictures are. A really, really awesome unique product can be sold with bad pictures. But a "regular" product needs really striking pictures to stand out among the all the other people selling similar items. We all want to believe our craft is so much more special than everyone else's but the truth is, there is very little completely original and new for sale...anywhere. Well except my items of course...they're very, very special ;)
You mention Search Engine Optimization a lot - it's a big topic that can be an overwhelming concept to new shop owners. What advice do you give to people who feel like they don't know where to start?
I always recommend my favorite team, Etsy Relevancy SEO and Stats and the reasons why are pretty simple. I don't begin to claim to understand everything (or even a small portion) of the useful information that exists about seo. I really prefer to rely on well-researched, relevant information and that's why I recommend the team. I don't have the skill (or honestly the interest) to keep up with SEO even though I know it's really, really important. Making a few simple changes in my shops really helped me be found more in search. "Echoing" tags and titles is one of the easiest changes to make and can net really solid results. Just remember not to repeat words more than twice and use phrases in the tags.
What information do you see people leaving out of descriptions most often?
I have to admit, my descriptions are pretty thin in the jewelry shop. I get so excited to post something new that I tend to not do such a great job. I think including measurements is really valuable.
Any specific advice for other jewelry sellers trying to break into this popular category?
Think twice...three times...four times. Honestly, I really think it should be something you love. Going into jewelry especially, thinking you're going to make a lot of money right away is probably going to lead to disappointment. That being said though, if sellers are prepared to do the work, take great pictures, learn something about SEO, and have a product buyers want they can be successful. I didn't really start working on my jewelry shop until a few months ago, and frankly, I'd forgotten how slow the slogging is with a new shop. There are so many things to learn. However, if you're willing to learn them... :)