Etsy Jam Episode 44: What Worked on Etsy and What Didn’t Work with Andrew from MorganPeter.co.uk

On this episode we talk to Andrew from MorganPeter.co.uk and two Etsy shops by nearly the same name. He was kind enough to share his story with us along with many things he’s tried that did and didn’t work!

Getting Started Story

Andrew’s getting started story might sound familiar. He was on a simple mission, to find a picture frame he really liked. He’ll tell you it’s not that there was anything wrong with the frames in store. It’s just that they weren’t what he wanted himself. He did what many makers would do, he set out to make his own aka scratching your own itch. This turned out well and even set the stage for making more as gifts for family and friends. Handmade can make for a thoughtful yet frugal gift, which was perfect for his young family so he made 10 or 12 of them.
Naturally, a co-worker commented on one of Andrew’s frames. When he explained that he made it, his co-worker introduced him to Etsy. It’s probably a good time to mention that Andrew’s background is in finance, which is still his day job. Staying up long nights with his young sleepless daughter gave him plenty of time to think about the numbers. Something surprising was how inexpensive he could get a full frame at the store that while the surround wasn’t desirable, the glass and backing was perfectly suitable.
So what are these picture frames? They’re solid hardwoods and rather minimalist to showcase the beauty of the grain. As Gordon quickly found out, they are not stained, but instead have a totally transparent breathable finish. They’re sold in his first shop MorganPeterFrame.
If we’re mentioning a first, there must be a second… Andrew’s second shop is MorganPeterGift and you’ve already seen one of their products. It’s the heart candle holder in the background of the first picture frame image above!

Photos That Work

Let’s take a moment to look at these product photos. There’s a lot we think he’s doing right.
  1. Cross promotion between shops is cool. Just looking at these pictures it’s easy to want to take home the whole set!
  2. They’re interesting. They aren’t on plain white backgrounds.
  3. They have character, they show context, and I can see them in my home.
  4. They’re consistent between shops

Things That Worked

Two Shops; Double Sales

Full disclosure, Andrew said this is a pain to administer. However, he’s had great results from it. After he split the shop, sales doubled! This isn’t to say just split your shop and watch your sales double. There are likely various factors at work. For one the shop is entirely cohesive within itself. Yes, they both have a similar look and feel anyway, but as two shops, they really nail it. Regardless of why it worked, Andrew certainly isn’t losing sleep over it.

Different SEO Strokes for Different Folks

SEO isn’t a casual activity for Andrew, it’s a thorough one. His #1 goal is getting people into his shop. His strategy is all about exposure. He doesn’t have a large variety of products or even listings. He has about 30 listings and spreads 200+ keywords over them to cast the net far and wide. In his experience, there’s a lag of a week or more between views and sales.

Thanks For Your Order Hacks

Every time someone buys from Etsy, they get a “thank you for your order” email. The seller gets to write whatever they want in there. This is a great opportunity to say something unique vs the standard “Thank you, we’ll ship ASAP message”. Andrew likes to use this opportunity to ask for feedback. It’s great timing because the customer just purchased and everything is fresh on their mind. As an incentive for responding, he offers 25% off their next order.

Researching What Else Shoppers Are Favoriting

Andrew does something interesting here. When someone favorites his listings, he goes to check on what else they’re favoriting. This research is important because it explains, “shoppers that look at my shop also look at ____”. He rightfully looks at these other listings as his competition. As a seller of any product, it’s important to be the better choice. It’s hard to do that if you’re not aware of what their shopping you against.

Winning with a Website

As far as standalone sites go, Andrew does this a good way. On the back of every picture frame he has a sticker with his company on it. Scroll up and look at it in the photo if you need to. This makes sure if someone wants to know where  it came from, there’s no question. They can go directly to his website where they can buy their own. The site pays for itself and for whatever reason, customers will find him on Etsy and end up buying on his website.

Things That Didn’t Work

Business Cards with Coupon Codes

Andrew tried putting business cards with a coupon code in his packaging and not a single one has been redeemed. The coupon code was good for 12 months for simplicity. However, he’d like to try a shorter time period thinking customers aren’t feeling a sense of urgency when the code is good that far into the future.

Mo Options; Mo Problems

Being super flexible and offering infinite options didn’t work. It generated a lot of messages and work for him, but most of those shoppers were never heard from again. Having too many choices is a studied area where a lot of options overwhelms people and they decline to make a choice at all.

The Blogging Blues

Blogging about his journey selling on Etsy wasn’t all that popular. Couple that with a classic case of writer’s block and the blog just wasn’t a successful endeavor. Blogging often seems like a lot of fun, then people try it out and the magic quickly fades away. It’s been suggested by many bloggers that if you’re interested in blogging, you should write out months worth of posts before doing anything else. Content is the hard part so if you can stick with it for let’s say 10 articles and still have that passion, maybe you’re a good fit for it.

Facebook and Twitter Crickets

Described as a “total waste of time” Facebook and Twitter were not effective here. People “like” a lot of stuff. Unfortunately they don’t often act on those by making a purchase. It’s become somewhat of an expectation to like things.

The Day Job Balancing Act

For those of you that either have been or are currently balancing a day job with your business, this probably sounds familiar as well. You’re not quite in a spot where you can jump 100% into your business and still support your family, but it also feels like you’re maxed out on time. Well that’s exactly where Andrew is right now. Fortunately he comes off as patient and optimistic about finding the right time to make those future transitions. It’s one of those situations where when you find yourself with extra time and motivation, you put it into the business. When you find yourself short on time, you just have to wait it out. Looking to the future, he also hopes that when his son Morgan reaches a working age he might pick up the business. Otherwise he’ll have to rename it after his daughter Zoe. Cheers to the future Andrew!

Where To Find Andrew

You’re certainly going to want to check out Andrew’s shops:
 
 

On this episode we talk to Andrew from MorganPeter.co.uk and two Etsy shops by nearly the same name. He was kind enough to share his story with us along with many things he's tried that did and didn't work!

 

Etsy Jam Scoops:

0 thoughts on “Etsy Jam Episode 44: What Worked on Etsy and What Didn’t Work with Andrew from MorganPeter.co.uk”

  1. I’ll put some of these tips to good use ? I’ve toyed with the idea of a second shop for a while to split up my polymer clay jewelry and my molds. I create my own molds based on my clay designs and I’d like to focus on that in my second shop.

  2. In full agreement about the blogging and social media writing. I devote that time to listing more items, reaching out to new customers with personalized notes and giving myself a few extra minutes each day.

  3. Ah! Such a great tip on looking at your “likers” other “likes”. I never thought of that as a way to research competition and your target market. Thanks!

  4. The 2 shops = double sales is good proof of the etsy sales caps. I have researched these caps extensively and let me tell you they are mathematical formulas that correspond to views, favorites, shop favorites, etc. The formulas and tricks they use even involve binary math (cutting off a zero in binary halves the number). Basically etsy has a sales machine that uses email marketing (cart reminders, remember this), ‘market pages’ , and similar items to generate sales when your stats are in the right ranges. Within 5 minutes of getting the stats in the right range, I can watch google analytical activity that shows the ‘sales machine’ in action. I don’t think they very often ‘stop people’ from making purchases, but they can easily throttle and move your placement in search to slow down your sales at the right moment. One thing I am learning is that etsy as a marketplace is nothing like what it appears to be.

  5. Thanks, Marmalead team, for breaking down the pieces of this interview into bite-sized chunks – lovely and easy to skim and read!!!

    I watched (Youtube) and read (above) with interest the section on the shop separation. I’m considering doing the same with my own shop, despite the pain, as I’ll soon have tow slightly different product categories, that might work better in separate shops.

    Are you able to refer me to any other interviews you’ve done where one maker had more than one Etsy shop?

    Thanks much!

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