Etsy Jam Episode 41: Makers Biz Summit Announcement with Deb from Tizzit

In this episode, Deb from Tizzit joins us to announce the 2017 Makers Biz Summit. Deb created Tizzit to help online handmade sellers find success. In this episode, she talks with us about the importance of great photography, value-based pricing, how water in the morning can replace coffee, and of course the Makers Biz Summit.

Meet Deb from Tizzit

Hi! I’m Deb and I grew up in France. I have a Masters in Marketing and Business Management. After attending University, I started working in Sephora, the cosmetic company up in Paris. It was all very interesting but wasn’t really my cup of tea because I wasn’t feeling the corporate Parisian lifestyle.  I finished my Masters in Australia and then I started working for small companies around Sydney.  I’ve been doing freelance, online marketing, and design work for clients in Sydney.

Because I love studying (ha ha), I went back to school to do graphic design for another year just to learn Adobe software and all that kind of stuff. From there I was able to mix graphic design skills into my offerings. Since then, I’ve been working with small businesses and doing a little bit of everything for them (which I quite like) so instead of doing just graphic design or web design; I look at their whole strategies and when there are gaps, I fill them up with my skills.

Where did the name Tizzit come from?

The more I think about it, the more I think I really should have a story behind it – but I really don’t! The name Tizzit came to me when I was playing with letters and I liked it because you can read it forward and backward.

I have a friend who sells jewelry and she needed a website but she didn’t know where to start. She’s amazing and she makes lots of beautiful creations but she didn’t know how to put crafting and marketing together. She just wasn’t very interested in the sales and marketing stuff and I knew it was something that I could help with. So she let me help her and I loved that project so much that it made me begin to wonder what I am doing working for other small companies when this personal experience was so much more rewarding.

I have lots of other friends doing handmade on the side and I wanted to help them too.  I quickly realized that a lot of people who had these amazing skills to create beautiful products were really struggling with how to market them. I thought I could be most helpful by starting a blog. As people started to find the kind of information they were looking for, my audience grew. Then, Tizzit was born!

The 3 Big Pitfalls For Online Sellers

1. Photography

It’s so crucial. We have really had good cameras in our pockets now. But if you’re not a photographer, then you don’t know how to play with the lights, the styling of the product photo, and all the other things that go into it. Yes, you can learn; it’s not that hard but you need to be able to either invest in time or just invest in someone that can do it for you. There are so many Etsy Shops and their products are amazing but sometimes, I see some with a shady gray background or the angle is shot in a way that you’re not sure of the proportion and the size of the product. People are not going to buy that. If it’s a $60 product, I’m buying a $60 picture. I see a lot of people still aren’t putting enough effort into it. I feel that it’s more important than your brand, or your logo, or the banner in your shop. Pictures are what come up when you search and they are what make someone click – not the title. So it has to be perfect.

2. Pricing

Lots of people just struggle with what their price should be. There’s a formula online, I think it’s Cost + Labor x 2 = Pricing and it’s so painful to watch people fall for that. It’s hard because you are going to overwork yourself and never be able to make a profit because you’re underpaying yourself. What you need to do is really dive into the numbers.

It’s just so hard to see people working so many hours putting their product together and then they sell it and it works because they’ve got an amazing product. But I talked to a lot of them and they say they still feel like they’re struggling, still not making money, and still working too many hours. My response is “maybe you’re not charging enough.” I’ve heard lots of stories over the years where people substantially increase their prices and to their surprise, they get just as many or even more orders. There are some that quadruple their prices and still sell the same quantity.

This goes back to the first one too which is photos. If you are pricing yourself as the high-end product and you don’t have the photos to back it up, it’s going to be even harder to communicate that to your customers. You have to invest ahead of time – get some nice photos and make sure your listings look great. Make sure that the website you’re selling off looks fantastic too. It’s not like you can just increase your prices and everything would be hunky dory. You need to make sure you’re communicating that through all your channels, too.

3. Investing on Yourself

This is a tricky one for makers. We live in this world where you can find everything on the internet that can teach you how to do something on a budget, or do it yourself. I agree with that and there’s definitely a way to start a business and not spend a dime but there’s also a stage where you need to invest in something and you need to be comfortable with that. I’m not saying that you need $2,000 on your product photography, or pricing strategy specialist straight away, but also don’t expect that everything’s gonna be $0. A few hundred dollars is probably a good way to start.  You can at least have the basics right and you’re gonna save yourself so much time and probably would be able to make more sales way quicker than trying to do everything yourself. Be smart when you decide what things you want to learn to do yourself and which ones are too important to neglect. Get help because it is just so crucial.

Makers Biz Summit | Tizzit

My biggest project so far with Tizzit is Makers Biz Summit – a free online conference for Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs. It’s a total of 10 days. It’s organized like a roadmap so every day we focus on one topic. The first day would be the legal setup, the business plan, bookkeeping, and all the foundational work that needs to be done for business. Then we go to pricing, branding, different sales channels like Etsy. There’s a day for setting your own website, setting your retail store, selling online, and then marketing and sales strategies for the last couple of days. We release it in a way that every day we have time to dive into the topic. There are also study guides and 6 workshops where I go into the nitty-gritty side of things. There’s a very wide range of topics that we will cover and that’s only possible with the help of many different presenters. It made me realize how great of a community we have because the presenters are so passionate about helping Makers and Handmade Entrepreneurs make a living from their craft.

Get Your Free Access Pass to Makers Biz Summit!


In this episode, Deb from Tizzit joins us to announce the 2017 Makers Biz Summit. Deb created Tizzit to help online handmade sellers find success. In this episode, she talks with us about the importance of great photography, value-based pricing, how water in the morning can replace coffee and of course the Makers Biz Summit.


Scoops from this Episode:

Etsy Jam Episode 40: 6 Tips to Boost YOUR Conversion Rate

Conversion means converting your views into sales. The point is not necessarily more traffic – in fact, you can have less traffic but more sales if you have a high conversion rate. Conversion rate is the most powerful statistic you have in your shop because that’s where the rubber meets the road.

The formula for conversion rate is sales / views x 100.

It is a really good indication of the health of your business. More so than your overall views or traffic numbers. Because sales is what this is all coming down to. Etsy also suggests that you should be getting a 3% conversion rate and that’s because that number is the industry standard in retail e-commerce.

The average across Etsy is more like 1%. This is what we have seen in our Shop Fitness Calculator. Across all that data set of people who took the test, the average conversion rate for shops is almost exactly 1%.

Etsy knows what your conversion rate is. They don’t want you to be average. They want you to do better than that. Etsy wants to show and feature your listings more often than other listings especially the ones that have have a better conversion rate because that means more money for you and more money for them.

1. Improve your Photos

These are your photos in general. But also specifically, your non-featured photos. Improving your featured photo is going to increase your chance of someone clicking your listing in the search results and be counted as a view. But that’s not necessarily going to directly impact your conversion rate. You might get more people in the door because they see a cool featured photo but to improve your conversion rate, take a look at the other 4 photos that Etsy lets you put and make sure those too are top-notch.

The other 4 photo slots are not just slots to fill, they should have an actual purpose. Think about it, when you’re buying online; you don’t get the opportunity to pick it up, spin it around and see what the item looks like all around. So you have to do the best job you can and a very powerful way to do that is to use photos.

2. Pick More Niche Keywords

This one seems a little counterintuitive. If I’m picking more niche keywords, wouldn’t that mean I’m getting less views on my listings? Yes, it sure would. Basically, instead of covering more ground with your keywords and being very spread out, you would want to target keywords that are very specific. You’re not gonna get as much traffic with niche keywords but you’re gonna get more buyers. You are going to get more people with intent to actually buy. You’re going to get a higher conversion rate because people already have an idea of what they want.

3. Avoid Spammy Views

How do you avoid spammy views? First of all, don’t invite people into your shop with no interest in buying.

So let’s say you have a gym and you want people to sign up for a gym membership. You thought it’s a cool idea to offer a free pizza. A lot of people are probably going to show up but they are showing up only because of the free pizza and not because they are stoked about working out. If you’re doing team games where someone would view and favorite your listing and you reciprocate – then you’re kind of offering a pizza in a sense.

A real world of example of this too is Pokémon Go. It’s a game where it sets you on a quest to find Pokémons throughout the real world. This was causing people to go all over the place and sometimes it would bring them over to businesses. A lot of business owners got really upset about it. It’s pulling a bunch of people into their stores with zero intention of buying anything because they’re just there to find Pokémons. A lot of people got frustrated by it because it clogs up the stores and they’re only getting in the way of the real customers.

Etsy can see this spammy views too. They are seeing these extra amounts of views coming into your listing and people are not buying. That’s not going to bump you higher in search – you’re working against yourself at this point. People are visiting your listings and they should be interested in it, but instead they’re turning away from it. Something must be wrong. Really, you should be keeping an eye out for these kinds of stuff for yourself and keeping your numbers as true as possible because it’s also an indicator to you whether or not something is wrong.

4. Answer Customer Questions In Your Descriptions

Answer their questions before they even ask you. Answer as many of those common questions as you possibly can in your descriptions. If it’s something handmade – can I customize it? If it’s something vintage, did you clean this? or polish? did you do any restorations on this thing? Make sure you answer those kinds of questions because people are interested to know.

Even some of the texts you have in your Shop Policy or About Page are worth talking about. It might be worth pulling a portion of those details forward so you can talk about it in the individual descriptions. Newer shoppers on Etsy probably don’t know how to get to these sections of your shop themselves. Put together anything that you think is important especially if you have gotten these questions from many customers in the past. Other people probably have the same questions so that’s a good chance for when they have that question, you’re already answering it for them.

5. Tell The Customer To Buy. Tell Them The Next Steps.

Tell them to buy. Let them know how to buy too. I think something that a lot of people take for granted is that everyone must or should already know how these things work. There’s a lot of other steps going on. Once someone buys once, it becomes automatic and it’s easy. But keep in mind that a lot of people are finding out about Etsy every single day. Everyone doesn’t always start out online-savvy. They don’t exactly know what’s going on.

If they get 3 steps out of 5 on buying and something happens that they’re not expecting, there is a good chance that they’re going to bail and abandon the cart.

Fun Fact:

Etsy has told us in 2015 that their mobile sales were more than their desktop sales. I’ve also read an article the other day that was talking about mobile sales and it’s saying that 60% of people abandon their shopping carts before they finish the transaction. So do everything in your power to make sure that it is not going to happen to you. Try to make the buying experience as smooth as possible for your customers.

6. Have The Customer Make A Decision Before Buying

The idea here is you want to build some mental ownership. Just like if you’re trying to buy a car, the car dealership wants you to feel right at home in that car. They want to encourage you to even drive that car home. See what it looks like in your driveway. Have your neighbors see you driving that car and understand how it feels to be in that nice new car. Anyone who has bought a car understands that and it has probably happened to you.

But how do you get there? You would want to make a lot of little decisions along the way. For handmade, you make little decisions like sizes and color options. If you’re selling a T-shirt, the person would want to pick their size. Maybe they get to pick the color of the shirt too and the color of the print. The more you can customize these things, the more decisions you’re making about it and the more you are building this mental image of them with the product.

This is something too that you don’t have to tell them to do all the time. Look at Apple ads that have iPhones next to one another. They show all the different possible colors of iPhones. Apple does it all the time and it’s a subtle way of having the customer make a choice. When you see 4 or 5 iPhones next to one another with all the colors available, you are already subconsciously picking one.

Marmalead Copywriting Course

Extra bonus piece of information for you guys. If you sign up as an Entrepreneur for Marmalead, you have access to a bunch of courses that we put together for Entrepreneurs. One of those being Marmalead’s Copywriting Course. Few of these tips that we talked about dealt with descriptions and the copywriting course goes hand in hand with that. There is even more information in there about writing the perfect copy. So if you want to dive a little bit deeper, that’s definitely a resource that you guys can check out if you’re an Entrepreneur!


Etsy Jam Scoops from this Episode:

Are your listings performing as well as they can? In this episode we share 6 tips that will help you boost your conversion rate on Etsy. These are simple strategies that you can apply to your listings to start enjoying better quality views and ultimately more sales. Stick around for our top six tips next on Etsy Jam.

Etsy Jam Episode 39: Kara from ACakeToRemember

In this episode we talked to Kara Buntin from ACaketoRemember. Two years ago Kara made the transition from selling wedding cakes full time to selling DIY cake supplies on Etsy. Join us for an awesome chat where Kara covers time management, pivoting her product line the misguided belief in 99 cent pricing, delivering wedding cakes through tropical storms and much, much more.

Etsy Jam Scoops

Before we start, we want to mention the Etsy Jam Scoops that we’re making. Etsy Jam Scoops are short clips of 1 to 5-minute chunks from the Jam that we pull out so for some of you who don’t have the time to listen to the entire episode can still skim the important topics out. We have a separate playlist on Youtube for these.

Here are the scoops from this jam!

How did Kara get started on Etsy?

In my late twenties, I decided to go back to Culinary School to do wedding cakes because I like to bake. At that point, we were up in Boston so I said that was something I could do from home. But in between that, I worked at a department store in downtown Boston. I was in Jordan Marsh. That was a big store and it was very busy so I learned a lot about retail there. When I had the idea of starting a business, I already half knew what I need to be doing. Fast forward when we moved back to Virginia where my husband is from. At that point when we had my daughter, I started doing cakes. So that’s when I had experience running a home-based business.

That is how I ended up doing cakes and then when the economy went into recession in 2008, all the brides started wanting things for cheap. Everybody wanted to DIY their own wedding. To them, DIY-ing isn’t to save money. They do it because they like to and they want to personalize their own wedding by doing it themselves. I knew then that I can’t raise my cake prices that year because no one is paying for a big cake.

To supplement my income, I decided that I’m going to open a shop and sell some stuffs online for the DIY brides. I was selling sugar flowers and things that they could put in a plain cake to fancy it up. But then along the way, I realized that people who weren’t DIY brides were buying my stuff too. Other cake decorators were buying the sugar flowers and they were starting to buy some of the supplies as well. My target market became very strange because it’s cake decorators, it’s brides, and people who were making their first birthday cakes.

Transition from the Wedding Cake Business into Full-time Online Etsy Shop Business

I was doing both Etsy and my wedding cake business full time. I made a lot of money back then. But I knew I can’t keep this pace up and honestly, Etsy was a lot easier in terms of having to constantly seek out customers.

When you think of an online business, you think it’s so uncertain. So I was reluctant to take the leap and quit my wedding business and just do Etsy. But then I realized, wedding cakes are also uncertain. I’m out looking for customers and I can’t be guaranteed of an income either. I don’t know what kind of bookings I’m going to get so why not just do Etsy full time? That’s when I decided to not do any more cakes.

Are You Prepared When Something Goes Wrong?

There are a lot of things that could happen. But since I had been doing cakes for so long, I wasn’t afraid of the cakes anymore. Usually, the bad things happen when you’re delivering it. It’s because if you bake something and it doesn’t work, you can always rebake it. But if you’re delivering the cakes and you slam the brakes on; and the cakes goes into the box or whatever, you can’t redo it so that’s the nerve wrecking part.

Time Management

It’s especially hard if you have little kids. My kids are now older so once they’re in school, you’ll have tons of time and you can do the work. I will say this: if you have a chunk of time, do the work. People think that they should go and get their groceries when the kids are not around. No. Go home and work and get things done so you don’t have to stay until 2 in the morning. It’s just a lot easier to do some work when there are no interruptions around.

There’s a really good book by Julie Morgenstern, Time Management from the Inside Out, and she says that you have to pick a schedule that fits your circumstances. For people who have families they have to balance, you have to look at yourself as the “Crisis Manager”; because you don’t know what’s going to happen on any given day. You have to build in extra time. If you think a work is going to take you an hour, give yourself 3. If you think it’s going to take you half an hour, give yourself two hours.

How to Know if Something is Worth Your Time or Not

I think this is a work in progress for most people. But I told myself this year and my resolution is to always say “What’s the best use of my time right now?” and a lot of times, asking yourself that question will pull you back from checking your email or checking your Facebook.

Kara’s Tip on Product Development

I love customer questions. I develop a lot of my products from customer questions. If someone asks; “Hey, can you do this in purple?” and a lot of other ones follow, then I take that as a cue that maybe purple is a popular color this year. Basically, you want to take your cues from what your customers are ordering, what they’re asking about, and try to get ahead of that.

Pricing your Listings

When you’re pricing your stuff, don’t try tricks. Just figure out your cost and figure out your labor. Think about all your overheads including your subscription to Marmalead. Figure out every single thing you pay for – all that goes to the pricing of your product. You don’t need to worry about tricks like the .99 cents at the end because the .99 cent studies don’t hold any truth.

How do you get new Customers?

Most of my customers are not repeat customers. I’m getting customers through SEO. I have a separate website and a stand-alone website and it doesn’t get the traffic that my Etsy shop does. That is because Etsy has such a built-in customer base. If you can’t get them into your shop, then there are things you can do in your shop to keep them there – like putting links or listings from one link to another. Second, making sure your pictures are good.

What Kara likes about Marmalead

I have a problem with finding good keywords. But you can go to Marmalead and use the Storm. I love that because I found some really weird keywords that I would never have thought of. So just be willing to look outside of what you are thinking of for your products and see what and where you can use it for.

Having a YouTube Channel for Your Shop

A lot of things that people don’t do but they should – is to have a YouTube channel for their shop. You can have a video of you showing the item and just turning it around. Having a 360-degree view of the product gives shoppers more confidence in buying it. People like to see that.

Personally, I use my YouTube channel to demonstrate how to use silicone molds. This is especially helpful if you’re getting reviews from people saying that they couldn’t get it to work. You can do a Youtube video showing it and explain how to get around that problem so that people can go and see it.

It’s a better shopping experience if the customers can see something in real-time rather than just describing it or looking at the pictures. It really makes a lot of difference for people.

Watch the Scoops from this jam

In this episode we talked to Kara Buntin from ACaketoRemember. Two years ago Kara made the transition from selling wedding cakes full time to selling DIY cake supplies on Etsy. Join us for an awesome chat where Karen covers time management, pivoting her product line the misguided belief in 99 cent pricing, delivering wedding cakes through tropical storms and much, much more.

Etsy Jam Episode 38: Where the Driveway Ends

In this episode, we discuss how to know when you should close your Etsy shop. When is the best time to move on? What do you need to focus on when you do? And how much traffic drives past the end of your driveway? Find out next on Etsy Jam!

Why you should NOT close your Etsy shop

No matter how successful you get online, if your Etsy shop is working for you, why would you close it? Why would you close an avenue that’s working. Why stop what’s working? Do more of what’s working.

The way I see it, you’re gonna find shoppers that know what Etsy is, and if they know what Etsy is, they are probably looking for a particular thing that is on Etsy. Now, there is this chance that they are going to find YOU. But ask that same person if they remember your shop name, and chances are they have no clue what that is. In fact, a lot of people that buy on Etsy might not even remember the shop names. They just remember that they got it from Etsy. These are sales you wouldn’t otherwise get if you have a separate website.

“It would be like having a lemonade stand in a food court. And I decide that I don’t really want to be in the food court anymore and so I moved it to the end of my driveway.”

If you think you are someone that needs an off-Etsy shop, you should keep your Etsy shop assuming it’s going well for you. Don’t stop doing what’s working.

If things are going great for you and let’s say you want to move to Shopify or Amazon Handmade, you are closing your Etsy shop because you don’t want the extra business? Then the problem isn’t really Etsy, it’s that you can’t handle that much extra business. Solve that problem. Pull someone in. Pull a friend, or a family member in or pay someone to come help you out. Don’t solve the problem by cutting off the business!

But selling on Etsy is expensive!

I hear people telling that Etsy is expensive. Well, business is expensive! You might not realize how much things cost until you go out there and actually pay for all these individual services that you have to string together. It adds up!

If you’re going to have your own site I’m pretty sure you want to be taking peoples’ credit cards. There’s a fee associated with that. That’s just the way credit card transactions work. You are going to have to pay a fee to be able to process those credit cards. So just like you’re paying Etsy a certain amount for every listing that sold, part of that goes towards covering the fees that Etsy has to pay.

Their hosting is fast too. When you’re on Etsy, you have good and fast CDN networks meaning that all around the world, people are seeing your stuff fast. Shared hosting platforms like Bluehost and Hostgator are not as fast. Yes, they are cheap, but not as fast. Also, you want to be serving up things like videos and images for your external website and once you get into all these stuff – it gets expensive! Etsy handles a lot of that stuff for you.

Etsy is so restrictive about my customers!

The other valid reason we keep hearing is – who owns the customer? Etsy doesn’t want you to spam your customers and get all promotional and we get it. No one wants their inbox being blown full of promotions all the time. But it’s not that hard to just don’t be spammy. Don’t go messaging people or throw people in an email list they didn’t subscribe to. If you have your own website, would you do that otherwise? Would you want to spam people if you had your own site because Etsy won’t let you do it? I don’t think so. Right?

A great way to ask for feedback is to ask for it. Follow up with customers. If you want reviews – follow up with them. Ask them if they are satisfied or if you exceed their expectations.

Every time I buy on Amazon, they send me an email saying:

“Hey, I want to reach out and make sure that the product we sent you exceeded your expectations. And if it did, we really appreciate if you would leave us a review.”

Are they selling me anything? No. They’re just following up. Because when someone buys a product from you, and they didn’t have a good experience, don’t you wanna know that?

How to validate your idea before setting up an external shop

Another thing you could do too that involves a little bit of testing, is to set up your separate website. Set up this site but don’t set up processing payments yet, just make everything on that site link back to your Etsy shop. So if they see a product over there, you send them to the product page on Etsy. It’s an extra step but they are gonna recognize the fact that it is Etsy and they can make a purchase right from that page. Then, check your stats in your Etsy shop and see how many people are actually coming from your external site that you’ve put together. Compare that with the amount of traffic that you’re getting straight off of Etsy. If you’re really going to get rid of Etsy, you need to make sure that this other page you built is doing an insane amount of traffic.

I just don’t want to drive my traffic over to Etsy.

There’s one more thing about Etsy that people complain about too. They say “I don’t wanna drive my traffic over to Etsy. Because then, the customer might see other shops too!”. Well, last time I checked, the internet is an even bigger place than Etsy. So if you think there are lots of shops on Etsy, the internet is a superset of that place.

That would be like Etsy telling Google “We don’t want to be included in Google shopping results because there are other people selling there”. When in fact, they just championed their relationship with Google to make it so they show up more in those results.

While there are other shops out there selling the same thing, if you have a strong offering, then you’re gonna be okay.

What I’ve noticed is, there could be competing products of the same kind and if I don’t know which one to get, I always go with the one that seems most helpful. The one that seemed to help me the most along the journey – I tend to reward them with my purchase. So if you’re thinking that there are shops that make a product just like yours too, you can still differentiate by offering the equivalent of someone walking into a shop and the person is there to be very helpful to you.

It's not hard to be better than the majority because the average is so much lower than you think!Click To Tweet

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In this episode, we discuss how to know when you should close your Etsy shop. When is the best time to move on? What do you need to focus on when you do? And how much traffic drives past the end of your driveway? Find out next on Etsy Jam!