Etsy Jam Episode 26: The NEW Marmalead

We have got some sweet new Marmalead Announcements for you today so stay tuned!

One of the big things that we hear from Etsy sellers all the time when they’re sitting down to work on their SEO is that it’s not always easy to know where to start. Let’s say I’ve got 300 listings in my shop; maybe I even have multiple shops and that means I’ve got a slew of listings and I need to figure out which ones need the most SEO help.

I can look at my Etsy stats and I can easily see which listings are performing well. But as we all know; there are so many factors that go into sales that I can’t really use that information to know how I’m doing SEO-wise. So that’s not always the best place to go.

That is what we’re trying to solve here, letting you know what needs work.

Let’s cut to the chase and talk about the new Marmalead!

We’ve got a handful of really cool features that we’re releasing and by the time you read this, they’re already out there. So go ahead and check it out!

We’re going to be talking about some of these new features today and what they mean for the Etsy community.

My Listings section

My Listings

The first big feature we’re rolling out with the new Marmalead is the “My Listings” section. When you log in, you will be asked to tie in your Etsy shop and when you do that, Marmalead is going to go through all of your listings in that shop and we’re going to analyze your listings looking at things that will impact your SEO.

We then present you with a giant grid of all of your listings and each one has an easy to understand letter-grade on it showing you how that listing is doing for SEO. It will range from an A+ all the way down to an F. By looking at this grid, its gonna be really quick and easy to see which of your listings stand out and what can you do to bump the other listings’ scores up.

The Listing Detail page

Listing Detail

When you get to your listing detail page, you will see plenty of information on how your listing is set up to perform on Etsy. Whether you are using all of your tags, how many tags you’re using in your title, and if you are using all of your photos.

Description Information

We’ve looked across the industry and at e-commerce in general – what we’ve found are killer information about where you should be targeting different spots in your description in order to make those listings perform their best.

There are studies that have been done to find out what descriptions work best and what’s the right number of words to target. You don’t want to have something that’s too short that it isn’t going to answer someone’s question. You don’t want it to be too long either that it scares people away and they don’t even want to read it.

There are studies out there and we’ve pulled that information into Marmalead and scored your descriptions based on that knowledge. How many words are in there? How many sentences you’re using in your descriptions? We even look at ‘sentiment’ of your descriptions!

What is ‘Sentiment’?

Sentiment is that positivity or negativity of how the description feels when you read it. Does it make people feel better or worse after they read it? You want people to feel good because when they feel good after reading your description, they’re going to feel good about your product. And that is how you would want to present it.

What is Readability?

This may shock you as it normally shocks those who first come across this. But regardless of the education level of the audience, apparently communicating at a fourth grade reading level is more effective across the board.

If you’re familiar with blogging and you use the Yoast plugin in your WordPress blog, you’re already probably familiar with the concept of readability level of the content that you’re writing. It’s a good thing to be aware of.

Tags Table

Tags Table

Also, there’s a table at the bottom that will show all of your tags that you’re using on that listing. Now if you are not using all 13 tags, it calls it out so you can make changes. We also show you what the strength of each tag is in your title so you can know how strongly you’re targeting that keyword. It’s important to put the keywords that you really want to target in both your tags and in your title. The best place for those tags that you’re targeting is at the very beginning of your title. Etsy has told us that the tags that you put at the beginning of your title carries more weight than the ones further back.

Related: How Etsy Search Works

We also show Marma-meters in that same table for each of the tags. So you can easily see at a glance what the engagement is on all the tags that you’re using, what the level of competition is on Etsy, and whether or not any of those tags will likely result in any of those dreaded category pages.

Circling back to keyword targeting and ranking – Etsy confirmed that they will rank higher for listings that people are buying. This means that if you have listings that keeps getting traffic but no sales; Etsy is going to prioritize you less and less. Because if you are in the position of physically selling something, you’re not going to keep offering people items that they won’t buy. The one that sells is what you’ll keep presenting. The same principle applies on Etsy.

Multiple Etsy Shop Support

Multiple Etsy Shops

With the new Marmalead update, we can now handle multiple shops! You can connect as many shops as you have and you can also get your listings graded for all of them!

Keyword Storm

Keyword Storm

This whole process of keyword ideation is a challenge for a lot of people. It’s a hard thing to do and that is why we came up with a new tool!

The next big feature in Marmalead that we want to talk about is the Keyword Storm. You can find it in the left hand side of the app; it’s called Storm and has an icon of a lightning bolt. The whole goal of this feature inside Marmalead is to generate as many different keyword suggestions as we can that are relevant to you. The same Marma-meters that we use across Marmalead to show you bits of information about keywords are also present in Keyword Storm.

You can go there and type in any keyword you want. It’s going to pull up a bunch of suggestions for you based on that keyword. Of this list that you’re looking at, you can either ignore some of these keywords, or add keywords that you like to a list that’s gonna grow.

As you add words to your bucket of keywords that you want to keep, that list you’re pulling from is only going to get longer and longer. Not only because we’re pulling that first set of suggestions but every time you tell us you found a keyword; we’re gonna use that keyword to find even more suggestions for you.

It is going to be hard to go through that entire list. We’re basing this off of over 2,300,000 Etsy specific keywords. These aren’t garbage keywords that you’re gonna find all over the place. These are keywords that are going to be relevant to you.

The other cool thing with this Storm is as you create these things; you can save them off inside Marmalead and come back to them. It’s always going to show you your same Storm list, your same suggestions, all the ones you have saved, and will even remember the ones that you told it to ignore. You can have as many storms as you like, too!

Entrepreneur’s Course Library

Entrepreneur's Course Library

The last thing that we want to talk about here with you guys is about the Entrepreneur’s Course Library. Marmalead has been very focused on SEO and how your SEO can perform on Etsy. Lots of our tools are geared around that. Lots of the stuff that we talk about in Etsy Jam, and on our Blog are all geared around that too.

SEO is not everything. SEO is a huge component that helps you bring audiences, shoppers, and traffic to your shop but it’s not the only thing that matters. We talked a little bit before about descriptions, we talked about photos – but there’s a world out there that is bigger than SEO. You need to have a bigger understanding and a knowledge of concepts that span farther than just SEO on Etsy.

There are other skills involved and that is why we launched the Entrepreneur’s Course Library. We started out by seeding it with a couple of courses. We have a collaboration with Michelle from FourLetterWordCards and it’s about 5 Days to Holiday Bliss. It’s all about getting you prepared for the holidays because at this time of the year, people are gearing up for the holidays. That’s the type of courses that we’re putting in the Entrepreneur’s Course Library.

The very next course that we are about to put in is about AIDA. AIDA is something that you can use in your photos and descriptions. The main idea of this course is to increase your conversion rate and this is our channel for getting that information out to you. We know you have big plans, and big plans need big education to back it up.

We’re going to keep adding courses to this library. Anybody who is a Marmalead Entrepreneur is going to have access to this library of courses. It’s a huge asset to you as an Etsy seller to not only have a good tool to help with Etsy SEO but to have a really good understanding of lots of these other areas too.

Closing Thoughts

A whole lot of awesomeness for you guys that we talked to you about this week. Head out to Marmalead, check it out; and let us hear your feedback! Get out there, hook up your shops to Marmalead, check out how your listings are scoring, and what grades you’re getting on your things. Focus on the ones you know you’re doing really well but also check out the ones that need a little bit of help.

Try a Keyword Storm, go out there and create your own storms! Start building a list! Come up with some cool keywords and save it so you can come back to it later. Check out the Marmalead Entrepreneur’s Library while you’re there too.

From aiding you in brainstorming keywords for your tags, to grading your listings, to improving your copy. We've got fresh new features in store for you!

Etsy Jam Episode 16: Jenni from FuzzyAndBirch

We chat with Jenni from FuzzyAndBirch, FuzzyAndBirchWedding and TattoosByFuzzy. Jenni talks about her batch strategy using Marmalead, seasonality, Brexit, systems she uses to stay on track, massive flooding, her method for finding shop helpers, the weather, and her new Etsy course called “The Path to 1k.”


Tell us the story of how you came up with your shop name

Originally, I was going to sell photography because me and my husband take photographs. I wanted to call it “Fuzzy and Lumberjack Photography” because my husband looks like a giant homo-slumberjack! So I sat down and I thought about it and realized it was pretty long so I decided to drop the “Lumberjack Photography”. I kept the “Fuzzy” and my favorite tree is a birch tree so I added that on and it turned into “Fuzzy and Birch”.

How to Balance Time

I compartmentalize my businesses from each other. So Etsy is one business, the blog is another; and I kinda look at my personal life as another thing that I have to do that’s kinda like a business.

I used to be a hot mess. But I didn’t have any epiphany moment. I just realized that “Okay, I need to rejig this”. What I ended up doing is:

  • I wake up in the morning and I fulfill my orders. Right now I’m using fulfillment for my mugs because after the BuzzFeed thing, I decided that maybe it’s time for fulfillment.
  • I get on Etsy, on Amazon, on notonthehighstreet, and all the other places I sell.
  • I print out all my invoices
  • I print out all all my custom tattoos
  • I do all my customer service stuff and;
  • I go ahead and get them ready to be sent out for the day. I have a mailman who comes at around 3PM which is great because I don’t have to waste an hour going to the city.

I wake up between 7 and 8 depending on how lazy I am the day before. That will usually take me sometime between 11 and noon to get that done. So now I am at the point where I can stop, I can eat lunch, I can make food, I can sit in front of the television and be a pointless human being for 20 minutes and then I will switch gears and work on the blog. I basically divided my day in half and that has allowed me to run two businesses at once.

What’s your method for finding shop helpers?

Students are great. You know you can rely on them because they go to class and they show up on time. They understand the value of a job. Some days I’ll need a person and some days I won’t. For example, a product launch for the blog – I won’t be able to fulfill orders that week and I will do nothing but blog that weekend. Someone will come in for me during those days so even though I’m here, they will still fulfill those orders for me.

Students are great because I am showing them how I have built myself a business. A lot of students especially in business and marketing schools ~ that sort of experience is invaluable to them.

How do you deal with different seasons?

It’s definitely effective to have multiple shops to fill those gaps in income. My shops go slow depending on seasons and having multiple shops and multiple product lines smooths out those slow months. The other thing about tattoos is that they are ‘festival fashion’. Marmalead gave me that tag! I tagged everything with that and it just went nuts!

Basically we do a lot of work on the tattoos in the summer and then family tattoos for the winter. But I will say that tattoos don’t do as well in the winter as my home decors do. So we’re basically taking the seasons and filling the gaps which is great. It’s really nice because you don’t have to worry every month.

This is also the reason why I sell on Amazon Handmade and notonthehighstreet. Because even storefronts have different seasons and things will be popular in different ones. I think it’s a part of an Etsy strategy to diversify just enough that you get those extra income streams but not so much that you’re completely overwhelmed. The great thing about Marmalead is that the tags that the app gives me are very effective on those other platforms too. The only thing I have to adjust for is notonthehighstreet since it’s a British platform. I have to search for British terms and do the British spellings. While Marmalead is very effective on Amazon Handmade.

Do you have a stand-alone shop?

I do have a stand alone website, it’s on Shopify. As an ex-SEO consultant I moderately hate it because you’re driving traffic to all these different places. In order to really do well, the best thing to do is to focus on driving all your traffic into one place. I do that with Etsy. Notonthehighstreet takes care of itself, Amazon Handmade takes care of itself. Etsy doesn’t.

Etsy is the one that I focus on driving traffic to and a lot of the people that work with me on the blog – I say to them; “If you are not ready to have a website yet or if you don’t want to maintain it, buy yourself a domain name, like fuzzyandbirch.com and redirect it to your Etsy shop.” That way you can tell people that “You can find me on fuzzyandbirch.com!” and when they go there, your Etsy shop pops up.

What are the systems that you use?

One of the things I do as a very busy person is that if I’m doing something either an email or on Etsy; once it’s opened and I touched it, my rule is I have to complete it. A lot of busy people have a rule that says if it takes more than 20 minutes – you won’t do it. Well, I kinda have the opposite.

I’m only going to be in my inbox once or twice a day because otherwise, I’ll drown. So if I’m on my emails, I’m going to touch it once, finish it and get on with my life. That has been very effective in terms of customer service for me since we do so much stuff and we get a lot of conversations every single day. So I really want to make sure everyone gets answered on time and in order to do that, sometimes I just need to sit down and space a time in the morning and one at night to go through all the customer service stuff. That makes you feel very streamlined.

It makes a huge difference throughout the day. That system is what gives me the time to sit down and write for the blog, develop a program, or create a new line of products in the afternoon.

What I also do with my time is I do all the Etsy stuff in the morning and do all the blog stuff in the afternoon.

I do all my morning stuff from 8AM to about 12PM and I’ll just block all distractions off at once and during that time – it’s like nothing else exist. I do that because I’ve learned that fulfillment can get out of hand really quickly at any time. I purposely want to make that the beginning part of my day so that I have the time for the second half of my day and do the blog. Write articles, plan products, do sort of things that I need to do on anything big, and just generally go through and make sure that everything is functioning correctly.

Myths that you fell for when you first started out:

I have keyword stuffed my titles. I thought that was really effective but based on how Google works, it’s actually the first few lines of the descriptions and the tags themselves that I think matters. So I’ve been gradually fixing some of them. I originally think it was making a difference but now, I don’t think that keyword stuffing your title makes any real difference.

The other thing I fell for hard when I first started was “The more products you have, the more you will sell”. So when I first started out, I was a digital download art print shop and I made 5 new prints per day for about 3 months until I had over 500 products. As you’ll see with any Etsy shop, there’s always items that are more popular and the rest of their items are just fillers. If you look at your stats in Etsy for the individual listings, you can see how many people are viewing what.

Now I’m at a point where I think I had 500 digital downloads and I only have 50 now. Those are the ones that sell constantly.

A Thousand True Fans

People think that a thousand people is not that many but you know if you can get a thousand people on your mailing list or get a thousand people in your Facebook Group or whatever it is that you’re doing, you have a huge community there. It’s clear that you have something that’s viable and important to people. That’s why so many people say “Get your first 1k subscribers!” and when you got your first thousand – you know who you are as an online personality and you know where you’re going. That feeling is so amazing but getting there is absolute hell.

It’s totally worth it when you get there because everything gets easier. It’s just so nice to have people that support you and you support them too.

Your First 1k on Etsy

I’m launching a course right now and it’s called Your First 1k on Etsy. It’s all about the tactics that you can use to make your first thousand dollars on Etsy. My logic is this; When I first started on Etsy, it was that first thousand dollars that was really just awfully difficult to get. This course takes you past all that awkward stuff and shows you the things that if I had told myself when I started a year and a half ago, would have made me succeed much faster and would have made me waste a lot less time.

The course basically walks you through how to do all those things and what you need to do to get that first 1k. At the end, my logic is once you made your first 1k, you can make 10k, you can make 20k. Once you get the ball rolling, it becomes easier. You can turn this into a full time job that is worth quitting a day job over. On the blog you’ll see the webinar that Richie and I did – talking about the course and one of the major things in there is that we offer a 14-day free trial of Marmalead because it’s a huge part of your first 1k on Etsy.

One of the reasons I chose to include Marmalead was because when I opened my second shop FuzzyAndBirchWedding, I made my first sale in 4 days vs. my other shop where it took 30 days to make a single sale! The only thing I did differently between the two shops is that one used Marmalead and the other did not (because I did not know Marmalead during that time) and I would say that’s a pretty strong evidence that it was a huge asset.

I encourage you guys to have a look around the blog and see if it’s for you. There is a webinar replay available for free so you can watch it and see what’s in the course!

We chat with Jenni from FuzzyAndBirch, FuzzyAndBirchWedding and TattoosByFuzzy. Jenni talks about her batch strategy using Marmalead, seasonality, Brexit, systems she uses to stay on track, massive flooding, her method for finding shop helpers, the weather, and her new Etsy course called “The Path to 1k.”

11 Etsy Mistakes You’re Probably Making

Special guest post from our friends at Shoplo!


At first glance, you’ve probably thought ‘great, another Etsy mistakes blog’. Well, yes, but this one is a little different.

Firstly, the same tips are mentioned over and over again because we all see seller’s making the same mistakes over and over again.

But rather than drill home the information that is already out there, we thought we would take some old (and new) tips and put a different spin on them to help our beloved Etsy sellers fix some Etsy mistakes that you’re probably making.

Missing information

Does everything that can have information, have information? Nothing turns me away from a store quicker than seeing a default avatar. When I click on your name, do I see the teams you are in and the products you love? If any of this information is missing, it makes me feel like you don’t really care about your Etsy store.

Your ‘About me’ section should tell me where I can find you on social media and your bio should tell me why you started doing what it is that you’re doing. Etsy has a lot of features to tell your story. Using each and every one of them correctly makes me see that you are an engaged and contributing member of the Etsy community. I want to give my money to someone like that.

missinginfo

The two worst images to see in an Etsy store

Not backing up your data

Recently, we have lost a little faith in the Etsy team. Not only was the WorldPay drama a massive let down, but we have seen more and more genuine accounts get suspended for (what seems like) no reason at all. It seems unfair to say that Etsy goes around randomly suspending shops, but, you can never be too sure.

For this reason (and many others), we think it’s always a good habit to backup your store contents offline. An excel file with a different sheet for every listing. Word documents with your ‘About me’ section and well-categorized files containing all your images. Making regular backups of your content can save you from a disaster that, right now, no one thinks will ever happen.

Bonus tip – Once you have made backups, make backups of your backups. Anyone in I.T. knows the value in backing up your backups.

backupsolution

Backup your data to one (or all) of these

Targeted Marketing

Who buys your product? Who do you market to? The simple answer is ‘everyone’. Well, yeah, everyone can buy your product, but whose nose are you putting your product in front of? Twitter? All 313 million of them? Facebook? All 1.71 billion of them?

I’m asking a lot of rhetorical questions, but you need to define your target audience to have your best return per click. Simply throwing your Etsy URL out into the social media void is not going to get you sales.

New mums would want to buy your baby blankets, but first-time new mums between 18 and 22 in the bay area are even more likely!

Find and engage with Facebook groups, Google+ groups and other forums and communities that are relevant to your target audience.

Making and marketing quality content.

Part of having a brand in 2016 is marketing content. A brand rarely succeeds by marketing products alone. A recent study by Aberdeen shows that unique site traffic is almost 8 times higher for people who make unique content and market it compared to that those that don’t.

Adding content to your brand is a good way to build a rapport with your customers. Be it in the form of blogs where you voice an opinion about your industry or a series of Youtube videos explaining how you make your things.

When someone knows where their product is from and how it is made, it has more of a story and much more emotional value. This kind of quality content is what can help a seller build a good relationship with followers. Content draws attention and increases brand awareness, especially if your opinion is, shall we say, a little controversial.

marketingquality

Your opinion or a story in blog form is simple but effective content

Forgetting the past

Never forget where your first sales came from and who bought them. Mastering the art of returning business is a difficult one. It involves precise timing and having something new, but similar, to offer.

It can be a handy skill to employ for a multitude of reasons. If sales are dry, you may be able to generate a few extra by offering discounts to people who have already purchased from you. Put a discount code in a newsletter and send it out to people who have bought from you – maybe even those who are subscribed to you but haven’t made a purchase.

A small discount may be all that’s needed to push a few dozen sales over the line. Not only is it simply a nice gesture, you’re more likely to encourage brand loyalty as well as increase the chances of your brand being spread via word of mouth.

happydog

Encourage loyalty and your customers will be happy to buy again

Photography 101

It doesn’t matter if you’ve just won National Geographics ‘Photo of the year’ competition, your product photos can be improved.

Time and time again we see it. Jewellery placed on cheap plastic mannequins, undetailed images of artwork on the wall or incorrect use of the flash. Even if your products are great, your bad photography will make me (and 99% of other buyers) look elsewhere.

For both clothes and jewellery, we love seeing friends being used as models. It’s a great way to show how your products look when they are actually on someone. For closeup shots, place products on a solid, somewhat neutrally coloured and natural texture. Rock, timber, leaves for example. Learn how to make and use a lightbox. It’s oh so simple and can help me choose your product over someone else’s.

If words like ISO and aperture are over your head, consider hiring a professional photographer and their studio. Online sales are built on visuals. If your product photos are taken on a cell phone with your laundry in the background, it will not sell.

photography101

ArtDecoDiamonds does photography correctly

Practical packaging first, then pretty packaging.

In this day and age, we all know first impressions last. The way your product is delivered to a buyer goes a long way in building a positive relationship. But never sacrifice practicality over prettiness.

Recently, I purchased a small, hand-blown glass ornament for a friends wedding gift. It arrived and it was packaged beautifully. I’d have been even more impressed had the ornament not been smashed into thousands of pieces. Unfortunately, the packaging was pretty but not functional.

Make sure your product is safely packed and can withstand a fall from waist height. Only then worry about making your packing aesthetically pleasing.

Side note: My glass ornament was replaced, no questions asked. That’s what a good returns policy does!

Treating peers as competitors

The handmade community, Etsy in particular, is flooded with contributors. With all these contributors comes a wealth of knowledge. Treating experienced colleagues as competition is not a healthy habit. Etsy teams and forums, as well as Facebook groups, are swimming in knowledge.

Not sure how to word your returns policy? There’s an Etsy forum for that! Make connections with people selling similar products, you can learn a lot from working with, not against them. Don’t compare your success to that of others on the internet.

Omni-channel selling

As the old saying goes: A successful seller is everywhere his customers are.

Only being on Etsy means your brand is only in front of Etsy buyers. Being present in all the channels is certainly important, but has its price too. Both financially and timewise.

Being a DIY or Fashion retailer you certainly have many opportunities ahead. Etsy, eBay, Amazon, Dawanda, Folksy, Facebook, your own online store, just to name a few. Sounds confusing- but it doesn’t have to be.

That’s why tools like Shoplo Multichannel can help you get your product in front of new audiences and allow you to discover which sales channel work best for you.

shoplo

Why limit yourself to just one?

Not talking

Social media is obviously a great way to promote your product. Twitter and Instagram in particular. But they are much more than an advertising platforms. Talk to people! Tweetdeck is our weapon of choice for Twitter.

Don’t be bashful, jump into a conversation with strangers if you can contribute to it, whether it’s related to your product or not. Never let a comment on an Instagram photo of yours go without a reply, even if it is just a simple smiley face- or our favourite, the eggplant emoji. ?

I find Twitter to be the most fun when I use it to have a conversation with followers. Try having a conversation exclusively with .gifs!

Not having a grand plan

Etsy sells the dream of quitting your day job and working for yourself, and they sell that dream very well indeed. It’s just very unfortunate that not every store takes off overnight.

Some stores don’t make their first sale for 6 months, some stores take 5 years to break 10 sales. This happens for a multitude of reasons, but regardless of where your Etsy store is, having a plan is always a good plan. What happens if you suddenly double your sales this coming holiday period? What happens if you get no sales until Christmas?

Planning for your sales to go both north and south, now and in the long term, is a clever way to avoid heartbreak, wasted time and financial ruin.

grandplan

Those that fail to plan, plan to fail.

Our final tip is to make sure you take care of the finer points, like descriptions, analysis and SEO. But since you’re already with Marmalead, you’re in the best possible hands.

Employ our tips, tools and suggestions and couple them with the powerful Marmalead tools and, well…we don’t want to sell the dream of quitting your day job, but I wouldn’t rule it out…

 


shoplo

This is a guest post from our friends over at Shoplo, a professional tool designed for multichannel online sales. Check them out by clicking here!

Etsy Jam Episode 15: Nora from BeesHandstampedGifts

In this episode we talk with Nora from BeesHandStampedGifts and BeePrintableQuoteArt . Nora is a professional musician who has had shops that range from crocheted hats to pillows to polymer clay jewelry to keychains. She shares how she first realized that her customers typically weren’t buying for themselves. And as a special treat, Nora agreed to help us kick off this episode with some of her musical stylings. Enjoy!


Nora’s background before Etsy

Where I was before Etsy? I wasn’t anywhere, really. My background story is that I’ve been earning money as a professional musician for 18 years. I’m always teaching guitar or playing in gigs; basically. So then I thought “Okay, let’s try something artistic and entrepreneurial”. I started crocheting. I crocheted a few hats, then put them up on Etsy. I didn’t have any sales because I didn’t know anything about Etsy or anything about SEO.

So I put up these hats, and then the season was over and no one were buying hats anymore. So I tried something else. The next thing that I started crocheting are pillows. I put them up and since I still don’t know anything about SEO, not many people bought them and it’s not really working out – so I tried something else again.

I dove into making jewelries. I ordered polymer clay except this time, crafting jewelries is something I have not done before. Took me a while to get the hang of it. So basically I was learning to make jewelry while also learning to sell in Etsy at the same time.

Since I don’t know anything about SEO, I was basically experimenting all the time. I was researching stuff on Etsy, listening to all kinds of podcasts, watching, learning, and reading. Then in my research, I realized that polymer clay jewelries isn’t what sells in general. Jewelry sells in Etsy, but apparently there isn’t much demand on polymer clay kinds of jewelry.

Then I hired a virtual assistant once. He was trying to do something with my shop to make it better. As he was doing that, I researched all kind of things and discovered that hand-stamped stuff is where the gold is. So I ordered the letters and started doing it.

So after all that trial and error, I opened up a new shop. I called it BeesHandStampedGifts and the reason I opened a new one is because one of the things I’ve learned in my previous shops is that people like one of the same stuff in a shop with not so much variety.

I did learn a couple of things about photos, design, and how to write good descriptions that tell everyone everything about my product. Then I discovered Marmalead and started fiddling around with keywords. After a month I had a sale and sales started going since.

Did you already know how to crochet or did you teach yourself along the way?

Crocheting was something I tried when I was young. I still memorize some of the bits and maybe a watched a few Youtube videos – but not too much because I still knew how to do it anyway.

How did you figure out that your customers buy your products as gifts and not for themselves?

First, I don’t know if that will work for all the shops out there, but it seems like my stuff is what it is – a gift material. Because the quotes – for example; “I hope your day is as nice as your butt” isn’t something you’re going to buy for yourself but you are gonna buy it for someone else. So things like that and other quotes too that people would want to give to someone. I actually use more ‘gift’ keywords than ‘key rings’. I didn’t use really obvious terms like ‘handstamped key rings’ but instead different variations of the keyword ‘gifts’.

Why do you think you have such a high conversion rate?

I think people just like quotes. Also maybe the fact that they are stamped by hand. And it’s a good gift, I guess. So when they search for keywords like ‘boyfriend gifts’ they see my listings and maybe they just like what they see.

How do you do your product photography?

I’m taking them myself. I like photography as well. That is one of the million hobbies that I have! Sometimes I ride my bicycle around London by the canals and sometimes I take a lot of photos. I actually was thinking of selling photography as well but I did my research and it didn’t seem like it’s something that people will buy.

But regarding my photos, I do it myself mostly. I have a camera and a professional light. I just put it really close and take photos and fiddle it around with the colors. I go to Pixlr and then I edit my pictures to make them brighter. Make it really close so people can see it and not too far. Also I make all my backgrounds of the same color and all my listing photos looks almost the same because I discovered that’s what works as I did all these researches. The shops that have everything very similar are what works.

What are some mistakes that you have made along the way that you think can benefit newer sellers?

Research keywords in Marmalead is one of the things on top of my head. Regarding the pictures, the best thing is to make them pretty similar to each other. I’m sure there are shops out there that don’t do that and still have success so I don’t know if that is a crucial thing but I kinda notice that in a lot of shops. If they have very similar designs it looks better and more professional.

I also have blue backgrounds. I used to think that white backgrounds are the best but blue worked for me. I think that white are better for shops on the web but Etsy is a handmade place so people are more into things that are interesting and unique.

There’s something to be said too for standing out. So if someone is doing a search for boyfriend gifts and they’re presented with a page full of search results and thumbnails – white backgrounds are popular so almost everybody will have either white or a light-colored background. So if your listing is standing out in blue – their eyes are gonna go right to that first because it stands out and that gives you a bit of a competitive advantage.

What do you think might be the next area you might dabble in?

A lot of things have been popping in my head. I’m going to try drop-shipping but also keeping the design aspect of the quotes. Because I figured out that quotes are what people like. So I’m trying this drop-shipping thing now with quotes on all kinds of items like mugs, t-shirts, etc. I tried blogging as well but I got bored on it because it feels like you have to write on it all the time. But I might get back to that one day.

The other thing was that I was just thinking of selling guitar lesson videos.

What are your goals in 2016?

I’m gonna put up Christmas gifts when the Christmas season comes in!

Closing Thoughts

Don’t be afraid to try new things. Don’t think that you have to know everything in order to start. Just jump in.

The only way to really know if something works is to try it. You can do a little bit of research before you fully jump in but if it looks like it might work – give it a shot! Don’t feel like you need to understand all of it before you give it a shot. There’s always one more book to read, one more article to read, podcast to listen to, piece of advice – always. You’ll never be done learning.

Take a look at all of Nora’s collection at Bees Gift Ideas!

In this episode we talk with Nora from BeesHandStampedGifts and BeePrintableQuoteArt. Nora is a professional musician who has had shops that range from crocheted hats to pillows to polymer clay jewelry to keychains. She shares how she first realized that her customers typically weren’t buying for themselves. And as a special treat, Nora agreed to help us kick off this episode with some of her musical stylings. Enjoy!