Social Media and Your Shop with Natwar from Around.io

This week we take our first ever deep dive into social media with Natwar from Around.io. Natwar shares insights into the big social platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter but it doesn’t stop there. We also chat about how to find and learn from your customers, making a transition from corporate job to self employed and much much more. Stick around for another great Etsy Jam! Continue reading Social Media and Your Shop with Natwar from Around.io

Beautify your Branding with Jade from Marmalead

Are you making the most of the visual tools Etsy provides you to tell your shop’s story? In this episode, our very own Jade (hey guys that’s me!) has some great tips for your cover photo, shop icon, about page and more. You may recognize me as the author of our Etsy Jam blog post each week – but I also help out with a ton of other things at Marmalead including graphic design – which I have a passion for. Stick around to get to know me a little better and learn how you can do a quick self assessment on your shop’s visual storytelling. Continue reading Beautify your Branding with Jade from Marmalead

Episode 61: Pivoting to Follow Your Passion with Toni from UnderTheVeil

In this episode, we talk with Toni from UnderTheVeil. Toni is a singer, seamstress, and Etsy seller extraordinaire. She talks with us about selling on eBay before Etsy was a thing, her live handmade boutique, legal issues with copying by one of the largest wedding companies in the world, and her pivot from aprons to weddings to teaching! And as we sometimes do, the
pre-conversation for this Jam rolled right into the actual Jam conversation. So hold onto your hats because we’re gonna drop you right into it! Enjoy!

Backstory

Toni has been on Etsy since 2009. She migrated over as an eBay power seller where she was making handmade products. She says this was the worst, since eBay is like the Walmart of the internet! Ha, we find this hilarious and an accurate description. A friend who was an Etsy seller told her she really needed to try Etsy out, but Toni wasn’t totally sold on the idea. But after watching her friend have success, she decided to take the plunge.

Etsy free for all

When Toni started on Etsy she says it was basically a free for all. There was no SEO on Etsy at the time and the SEO tactics she’d learned on eBay didn’t work on Etsy. It felt somewhat like shooting in the dark. She’d post listings over and over again trying to figure out what worked and what didn’t. She finally landed on what worked for her and things steadily increased from there. Toni also began making wedding veils that she shipped out once a week.

Going backwards

When everything changed for Etsy in January and February of this year, however, things started to drop off. Toni had no idea what was going on and started to get scared. She tried everything she knew to do, but her shop on Etsy kept tanking. It was at this time that she decided to open a brick and mortar boutique in her local downtown area. She really was concerned that Etsy was no longer going to work for her. This felt somewhat like going backwards as she knew brick and mortar stores were trying to follow online store sales.

Back to the drawing board 

At this point, Toni went back to the drawing board. She found Clickfunnels and decided to try it out before she gave up on her Etsy business. Toni knew she didn’t want to sew for the rest of her life since she’d been doing it for the past twenty years. She thought about teaching others how to use Etsy…but this only led to conviction about how her store was doing. Toni couldn’t teach something, say it was awesome and promote it, when it wasn’t working for her! She knew that her Etsy store in the past had allowed her to do amazing things, so it was time to get serious and figure out why it wasn’t working and what she needed to do to fix the problems she faced.

Perfect match 

It wasn’t long after deciding all this that Toni stumbled across Marmalead. After watching several of our videos on Youtube she knew Marmalead was exactly what she’d been looking for. Toni started working her way slowly through her 250+ listings, cleaning them up and correcting her SEO. It’s been a slow process but she says this has literally tripled her revenue stream! She also pulls the right customers in now which helped her conversion go from ten percent to thirty percent. Toni says this not only saved her Etsy shop but also her boutique, as her Etsy shop pays the rent for her boutique. She had to recently hire someone to help her sew and is selling more than ever!

Workin’ it 

Toni says she definitely uses Marmalead to check all her new listings. She will post a listing and then run to Marmalead to see if she has an A+! Toni loves being able to check and see how each listing is doing and improve where she needs to. She definitely recommends Marmalead to anyone not currently using it.

Toni says Etsy changed her life as well. She was a college career counselor and never saw her daughter. She feels very fortunate that her Etsy shop allowed her to have her time back with her daughter most of all. Pushing through the hard times and figuring out what worked for her on Etsy was one of the best things Toni ever did.

What she’s known for 

Aprons! The idea actually came to her in a dream. When she was first married, she was on the hunt for a sexy apron, but couldn’t find what she was looking for anywhere. Fast forward years later and the apron from her dream came back to her in a flash! She decided to try making and selling the apron she’d seen in her dream and within twenty-four hours, it had sold!

At the time, no one was making “sexy aprons” which gave her a head start on the trend. Her big break came when Dennis Rodman’s best friend bought an apron. She was in magazines and calendars and pretty much everywhere, wearing one of Toni’s aprons! And just like that, her aprons took off! All over the world, people were fighting to purchase one of Toni’s famous aprons. She was even written up in a couple magazines and the paper in her town.

Slow down 

After selling like crazy, Toni suddenly experienced a slowdown in sales. She said she wouldn’t have figured why this was happening without the help of Marmalead. Apparently, her aprons were no longer being called “aprons” but instead were known as “pinafores” online. Her aprons are known mostly by this word in the U.K. which is where the majority of her customers are located. She added this word into her listings and just like that, sales took off once again. The value of knowing international keywords is huge and Marmalead is here to help!

From aprons to weddings 

Toni’s transition to wedding veils and accessories came over the course of a couple years. She knew early on that she wanted to step away from making aprons and break into the wedding industry. When the vast majority of your income is brought in by the item you’re thinking of cutting back on though, it’s kinda scary! It took Toni a lot of time to learn the wedding industry in general, but after her experience with her own wedding, she realized she really had something to offer. What she wanted to make she knew cost very little up front. She was seeing a huge markup on these items when she searched for them online. She knew if she could offer the same quality at a smaller markup she might really be onto something. This is exactly what happened.

The strategy 

Toni always suggests that sellers look for things they can make quickly and sell fast. A one size fits all kind of product. She sat down and strategized different things she could make, but ultimately landed on aprons (and later veils) because they don’t normally have to be a custom size. Several can be made at quickly that will work for many people across the board.

She does think that having variations on the same products is very helpful. This is something we talk about at Marmalead also. For example, her top-selling polka-dot apron has several listings in her shop, the only difference being that you can choose different color trim on each.

Listen away

Toni loves Marmalead! We love that she loves us so much. As a fairly new customer, Toni has been trying to listen to a Jam episode regularly to catch up and hear them all. She’s doing absolutely everything she can to be on top of her SEO for her shop and all the other tips we give. Three months ago she was freaking out about where her shop was at, but now she’s more excited than ever about how it’s all going!

What she loves 

Toni is so excited to be able to offer what she does at a lower cost. Most of her wedding veils would normally cost around eight hundred dollars. Toni sells them for around one hundred and twenty-five dollars. The funny thing is she’s already raised the prices several times. We talk often about pricing your items correctly and this is a perfect example of that. Toni’s veils were priced so low buyers didn’t trust what she was selling. So she raised her price (even though they’re still much lower than most) to accommodate the price range her buyers were looking for.

She also received a couple notifications from Etsy telling her to raise her prices so that her work would be listed in the correct quality level. She does have a two week processing time and says she doesn’t mind being paid a lower amount as long as she can keep her turnaround time where it is. It’s important to her that she doesn’t have to rush through the process and be stressed about it.

Her channel

Toni actually has a Youtube channel. She says she drives a ton of traffic into her Etsy shop through her Youtube channel. You can check out her  Youtube channel here. When she looks at where traffic is coming from most of the direct traffic she’s receiving is coming from her Youtube channel. She does unboxing videos and tutorials, which are very helpful in helping brides know how to measure correctly and which colors will work best for them. This also shows them exactly what to expect when their package arrives. Another thing that’s important to Toni is the packaging she sends her products in. All of this makes a difference to her buyers and it’s fun to watch it all unfold on her channel.

Compare and contrast 

Toni says when she compares her Etsy shop with her brick and mortar boutique they’re more alike than she ever thought they would be. One of the biggest similarities she’s noticed is that across the board, customers want to be “sold.” They want to know what the value of an item is. In both her boutique and her Etsy shop she uses a system called C.A.R.E. This acronym stands for Contact, Ask questions, Recommend, and Encourage. Toni says if you use this system every time you’re dealing with a customer, you’ll usually close a sale correctly. She talks in more detail about what each word really means below:

-Contact: The rule here is that within three seconds a buyer will make up their mind if they want to do business with you. They’ll decide in this time if you said hello fast enough and if you were cordial to them. On the internet, Toni tries to bridge the physical gap by sending lots of XOXO’s (hugs and kisses) since a lot of her clientele are women. She also uses lots of smiley faces when writing replies.

-Ask questions: Toni says she always asks open-ended questions like, when is your wedding or what are you wearing this for? She wouldn’t ask, is this for you? This would only require a simple answer. She wants her customers to open up and engage with her.

-Recommend: Toni always recommends specific instructions for her customers. This is one of the reasons she’s done videos on Youtube. They are full of examples of what she needs her customers to do in order to have a smooth buying experience with her. Most of her customers are already stretched thin with planning a wedding. Recommending that they do very specific things is a huge help.

-Encourage: Always be encouraging to your customers. Stay positive and this will help reflect back positivity to you from your customers.

Youtube really does help 

Toni highly recommends that every Etsy seller do quick Youtube videos. Whether they’re informational or unboxing, whatever it may be, the more views you get the better. You can also look into monetizing your Youtube channel as well which can help with income. You can make a slideshow for your Etsy shop with Youtube which adds a lot. This is a great way to get pictures moving on your shop and is a simple solution if you don’t have a ton of video editing experience. Toni actually does everything from her iPhone. 

Marmalead really helped 

Toni says when she found Marmalead (which wasn’t very long ago) she was so excited she was almost hanging from the rafters in her house! She said it was exactly what she’d been looking for and helped quadruple her business. She wants new users of Marmalead to understand, however, that you have to go slow, make the changes a little at a time and don’t expect that things are going to change overnight. If you put in the work and follow the tips, she knows it can help anyone trying to sell on Etsy.

Our closing thoughts

Toni was a vibrant and hilarious guest on our Jam! More than ever we want to stress that you go and listen to her Jam. There is a ton included there and lots of tips I didn’t cover in this write-up. Also, make sure to check out Toni’s shop at UnderTheVeil. Thank you to Toni for being such a positive promoter of Marmalead and for being too willing to chat with us! We wish her the best in all her endeavors on Etsy:)

Happy selling everyone!

 

In this episode we talk with Toni from UnderTheVeil. Toni is a singer, seamstress, and Etsy seller extraordinaire. She talks with us about selling on eBay before Etsy was a thing, her live handmade boutique, legal issues with copying by one of the largest wedding companies in the world, and her pivot from aprons to weddings to teaching!

Etsy Jam Scoops

Episode 60: Are you an amateur or a professional?

How serious are you about your Etsy shop? Would you consider yourself an amateur or a professional? In this jam, we look at 14 different opportunities for self-reflection which will help you have a better understanding of yourself and take your shop to the next level.

Asking questions

A friend of Gordon’s shared with him the article we’re basing this jam off of. Gordon found it very interesting and if you’d like to read it for yourself, it can be found here.

This particular article is called “The difference between amateurs and professionals”. It really helps you take a step back and ask some solid questions of yourself. If you’re more in line with what the article calls an amateur but you aspire to be a professional, to take your shop to the next level, or to take your Etsy shop to full-time, the points we’ll go through will be right up your alley. There were lots to choose from, but we chose the following fourteen points because we felt they would be most relevant to Etsy sellers. We hope some of these will resonate with you and give you ideas and tools to help you go from where you are now, to where you want to be. If you’re not wanting to grow your shop and are happy where you are, this might not be the jam for you. For those that are looking for that next level, read on!

Amateurs show up inconsistently. Professionals show up every day. 

This is SO important. Some even say it’s 9/10ths of success. To have true confidence in what you’re doing you have to actually, well, do it! Just like with riding a bike. Do you forget how to ride it? No. But if you haven’t been on a bike in ten years, how confident will you be compared to someone who’s been riding every day? It’s the same with whatever you’re doing business wise. Show up consistently and be proficient in your craft. It makes all the difference in the world.

Amateurs focus on the short term. Professionals focus on the long term. 

We do tend to be wired for short-term gratification, but there is a lot to be gained by looking beyond the here and now. We’re huge fans around here of living in the moment. It’s important to remember this. However, even in this, balance is key. You can’t live in the moment so much that it’s at the expense of the next moment. You can totally live in the moment, but don’t expect to make huge strides forward if that’s all you ever do. It’s easy to look at your Etsy stats for the last day or even the last week and put a lot of weight on those. But you’ll probably get a whole lot further by focusing on those stats long term. What were they last month, last quarter, last year? It’s better to look at these numbers than to work yourself up about much shorter chunks of time.

Even traffic can be a short-term vs long-term thing. People often get caught up in trying to jam a ton of traffic into a day. But what you really need to be asking is: Are these people actually going to do something for you as a seller, or are they literally just traffic? Another thing to think about is how you’re measuring things. This is very important, especially in e-commerce. Don’t just measure small chunks, you need to measure enough to see if the things you’re trying out are really working for you. Haven’t had any views in the last hour and feel like the sky is falling?? Probably not the case. Look back at a larger chunk of time and see how things measure up then.

Amateurs have a goal. Professionals have a process. 

So maybe a goal for you is to make as much from your Etsy shop in a year as you do at your day job so you can get the heck outta there and do Etsy full time. Unless you have a structured way of achieving this, a process, something you can combine with that whole “showing up everyday thing”, then it’s really just something nice to talk about. Just because you have a goal that it’s gonna be sunny every day for the next year, and you say it, and it’s on your vision board…that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. A goal on its own isn’t going to fulfill itself. But a process that allows you to show up every day and forwards you along your path to achieving your goal is where it’s at. 

Amateurs think they are good (or bad) at everything. Professionals understand their circles of competence.

These are the things you excel at vs the things you aren’t fantastic at. Both of these are totally ok, but you have to be aware of them. You can’t get caught up in either of these. No one is absolutely good at everything. No one is absolutely horrible at everything. Everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses. Having a good understanding of these things is very important. Identify what your strengths are and run with those!

Amateurs focus on identifying their weaknesses and improving them. Professionals focus on their strengths and on finding people who are strong where they are weak.

We’ve definitely talked about this concept before. In fact, there’s a book called “Strengths Finders” that we highly recommend on this topic. It goes through and helps you identify your strengths and grow them. One thing the book touches on is: If you come across an area where you’re weak, do you immediately rush out to find someone to do it, or do you take a long hard look at it and weigh in the balance how necessary that particular thing is? Yes, there will be times when you need to find someone to come alongside you and fill in the gaps, but there is also value in taking a step back and really thinking about letting certain things go if they aren’t a strength. Those things might not be that important.

A great example of this was in last week’s jam with Rachel from IndigoTangerine. We talked with her about how she doesn’t have a website. She readily admits to not being the most tech-savvy person in the world. Could she run out and find someone to build a site for her? Absolutely! However, for the time being, she’s decided that it honestly isn’t that important for her where she’s currently at. Clearly, this isn’t having a negative effect on her growth at all, and though she might need a site one day, for now, she’d rather focus on growing her strengths and continuing along the path she’s on.

Amateurs take feedback from amateurs. Professionals know which feedback they should pay attention to.

Very similar to parenting, you’re always going to get advice especially from people who haven’t done what you’re doing. This would be the time to find a mentor. The way to find a great mentor is to look at those who are doing what you’re doing and then find someone who is a level above where you currently are. This keeps the gap between you and them smaller, assuring they remember what it was like to be where you are. If someone is too far ahead of you, there could be a lot of “Hmm…I think I did this or that” and not as much practical advice.

Another thing to think about is that amateurs aren’t the best at taking criticism. Especially where feedback from customers is concerned. A serious seller will take a long hard look at feedback, think about what’s going on with the comments that are negative, weigh if this person really knows what they’re talking about and if so, figure out how to turn those negative comments into positive results?

Amateurs value isolated performance. Professionals value consistency.

This goes back to measuring things. Don’t pat yourself on the back for small pockets of success, instead measure if you’re consistently able to deliver at this level. Now, if you do happen to have, say, a week of amazing success, what can you learn from that? Go back and try to find what you did differently than other weeks. Maybe it was being more on top of convos or keywords or whatever but try and identify this. Again, on the flip side of this don’t get down about isolated bad performance. Some things are simply out of your control. Concern yourself with learning from your successes and mistakes and applying those lessons to the future.

Amateurs give up at the first sign of trouble and assume they’re failures. Professionals see failure as part of the path to growth and mastery.

This goes back to our very first jam! We had an entire jam on failing forward and how these are opportunities to learn and grow. Don’t let yourself get bogged down in them. Everything won’t go amazingly all the time, but these failures can be our best teachers.

Amateurs don’t have any idea what improves the odds of achieving good outcomes. Professionals do. | Amateurs think good outcomes are the result of their brilliance. Professionals understand when outcomes are the result of luck.

There is definitely a pattern here. You get this by measuring things. You know what numbers are important to keep track of and you keep track of them. Otherwise, you’ll have those amazing weeks in sales and you’ll have zero ideas of why it was so good.

Amateurs think knowledge is power. Professionals pass on wisdom and advice. | Amateurs focus on tearing other people down. Professionals focus on making everyone better.

We see this a lot on our facebook group. The people who understand what they’re doing and who have been successful with Etsy are way more willing to jump into a convo and give feedback. It’s awesome to see this happen! There are probably a lot of sellers out there who think knowledge is power. They may lurk around Facebook and other forums trying to simply learn what others are doing, thinking they’ll make a super shop from all the knowledge they’ve gleaned. But you know, it’s night and day when you see a seller that’s successful jumping in there, freely giving all they know, the best they know how. We see them seriously building up other sellers and not falling into the trap of negativity, even when things aren’t going swimmingly.

Amateurs blame others. Professionals accept responsibility.

It’s easy to blame others and point fingers when things are going wrong. Maybe the reason things aren’t going great isn’t totally your fault. You might only be partially to blame. It’s hard to admit that, but when we accept our own part in whatever it may be, it can be a wonderful lesson. Even when something is totally our fault, accepting responsibility for whatever the situation is will only bring freedom and positive lessons in the future.

Amateurs stop when they achieve something. Professionals understand that the initial achievement is just the beginning.

It’s kinda that whole goals and process thing. It’s like hey, the process worked! Now, can we make it even better? Let’s say you set a goal that this year you’ll pay for your family’s summer vacation with what your Etsy shop brings in. Sweet you hit that goal! Now, don’t see that as the end, this is just the beginning. What’s the next goal? Make it bigger whatever it is. Set up your goals so they fall into sequence with each other. Always look at the next step and how you can grow what you’re doing even more. If you’re not working at being better and growing whatever you’re doing, you must not be that into it. So….not professional;)

Final thoughts

Again, if you’re interested in reading the full article where we found these awesome tips, you can find it here. As always, thanks for reading/listening/watching! We hope these points help you to step back and reflect on how you’re doing and where you’re at. Make sure to listen to this week’s jam! Also, check out the Strengths Finders book that Gordon mentioned and when you find out what yours are, we’d love to hear about them!

Happy selling everyone!

How serious are you about your Esty shop? Would you consider yourself an amateur or a professional? In this jam, we look at 14 different opportunities for self reflection which will help you have a better understanding of yourself and take your shop to the next level.

 

Etsy Jam Scoops