We are super excited to have Rachel join us again from IndigoTangerine. Rachel chatted with us back in Spring of 2016. Since then she’s been super busy working on her shop. One year later she’s seen an 800% increase in sales. Keep reading to learn about Rachel’s Etsy specific product development strategy, why she doesn’t have her own website, the challenges of scaling an Etsy shop and some tools outside of Etsy that she has found super useful!
Facts about Rachel
1.) 70% of Rachel’s Etsy shop sales in 2017 were from Etsy SEO. (How cool is that?!)
2.) Her shop growth between May 2016 when she started using Marmalead until May 2017 was over 800%! 70% of which was from Etsy SEO.
3.) Her Etsy shop is her full time job! It supports five boys and a new fluffy, small puppy;)
4.) Rachel also has another Etsy shop called LovePerks, which are coffee wedding favors!
5.) She’s changed locations twice since May 2016 to accommodate her growing business. She went from her home to her parents basement with no windows. Now she’s in a cottage her parents own that includes windows!
6.) She’s offering classes in Chattanooga introducing Etsy sellers to SEO on Etsy. Rachel is passionate about talking SEO with other sellers since she’s had SO much success because of it. She’s a firm believer that there’s enough business to go around. She is more than willing to talk about her experience and what others can do to have more success on Etsy. If you’re interested in learning more about Rachel’s upcoming classes, visit her instagram page at indigotangerineshop. She posts info about her upcoming classes in the link in her profile.
In the last year
Rachel says she doesn’t want to over simplify her amazing growth. But she really does owe most of it to SEO and Marmalead helping her with that. Now, there were other things Rachel did like bringing someone on to help with production. Charlotte, Rachel’s full time employee, focuses on the small details and getting orders out right away. This really helped to free Rachel up to focus on growth.
Coming to a realization
Rachel believes that the moment she’s working in her business instead of on it, it’s time to look for some outside help. This only prevents her from being able to grow when the details and small jobs are bogging her down. Rachel’s first employee, Charlotte, was renting a room from Rachel near the college she attended. What started out as a ten hour a week job for Charlotte soon grew to be forty to fifty hours. Rachel is a huge believer that hiring someone to fit a job well is very important. Charlotte naturally grew into her position and complimented Rachel’s strengths as IndigoTangerine blossomed.
What’s the mystery?
In her write up to us, Rachel mentioned her Etsy specific product development strategy and why she thinks it’s important. It’s kind of like which comes first, the horse or the cart question: do you go on Etsy with a product and then try and find your market or do you get on Etsy and try to find out what the Etsy market demands first? Rachel did a lot of research on what was trending in the world and what was trending on Etsy. This is how she landed on personalized goods. She mostly does what she likes to call “rustically inspired personalized goods” with her biggest seller being burlap tote bags.
Rachel believes that the biggest thing Etsy itself brings to the table is Etsy search. She says that as a seller you pay Etsy decent money to have a shop. Since this is the case, she’s going to make Etsy work for her instead of vis versa. With this thought in mind a lot of her growth stemmed from here. As she was developing a keyword strategy she was also paying attention to how her good ideas looked once they were researched using Marmalead and other platforms. Finding which keywords worked and were doing well on Etsy was a huge part of this. Doing so allowed her to tweak her ideas in order to implement more keywords. She says it was really about coming to Etsy’s table with an idea of what she wanted to sell. Then she allowed Etsy to determine for her how to really develop that product for the Etsy market. When you go about it this way you truly get Etsy search to work for you because you’ve already identified that this is a product that customers on Etsy are demanding. This is the key to her Etsy specific product development strategy. She really does stay inside of Etsy and demand that it works on her behalf.
Compromise is key
Rachel says that as crafters or artists it’s hard to think about changing what you’re making in order to make sales. This is hard for any artist to hear without feeling like they’re selling themselves out. She says it doesn’t have to be this black and white though. Come to Etsy with a willingness to be open to what the market demands. It may be that a small tweak here or there to your product will allow sales to increase. You have to be willing to compromise some on this though. There is something to be said for selling what consumers want most. It’s all a balancing act between staying true to your craft and having an open mind to new or slightly different possibilities.
Where is the website?
Rachel knows that some people might be critical of the fact that she doesn’t have her own website. For her it’s important that she works more on building up her social media sites and seeing direct traffic come into her Etsy shop before she takes the website plunge. She definitely doesn’t want to pay Etsy for sales that she’s bringing into her own shop. Until she feels really confident that these products that sell so well on Etsy will also sell well outside of Etsy, she’s not ready to stretch herself that much thinner with her own site. It’s important to remember how different Google SEO is from Etsy SEO. Also, the web is a much larger audience than Etsy offers. The web is definitely its own beast.
Growing pains and challenges
The biggest challenge for Rachel has been inventory management. There are a lot of discussions that go on in different forums about how Etsy hasn’t stepped up to the plate concerning this. Rachel has decided to view it as a double edged sword. There really isn’t a clear cut solution to this. She has gotten to the point where she feels she’s managing it a little better outside of what Etsy offers. Luckily, she has a friend who made some spread sheets for her with another system. However, it’s a bummer it can’t be inside Etsy because it’s just one more step in the process, but it works.
Stats can also be difficult in terms of tracking how well a particular product is doing. When Rachel is trying to list the same product multiple different ways and they aren’t all automatically calculated it can become very frustrating. Especially when there are many different variations in listings. She says you can’t just rely on Etsy stats to help with this and she’s had to rely on outside sources to help as well.
Tools outside the toolbox
Rachel has four main tools she uses that are outside of Etsy. If you looked on Rachel’s computer the main tabs you’d see open while she’s working are definitely Etsy and Marmalead. Along with Charlotte, Rachel also has Kelly working for her helping with Etsy SEO strategy. Both Charlotte and Kelly monitor listings to make sure they’re ranking where they should be. Since there isn’t a messaging platform on Etsy that works well Rachel has chosen to utilize Asana. She also does a lot of renewing especially when there are certain keywords she’s trying to rank for. To help out with auto renewing she uses etsyonsale.com. She has a schedule set up for her listings to renew and keeps close track of these renewals in Asana. Last but not least she uses Ship Station for all of her shipping.
Rachel says that approximately seventy-five percent of her listings are on a renewal schedule. Some listings are on a three hour schedule to renew while others are every three days. Basically, the more competitive a keyword is that she’s trying to rank for the more often she’s renewing. With the new changes to the shop manager, however, it seems stats are being delayed which can be frustrating when you’re trying to stay on top of renewing your listings.
Rachel says she used to be able to follow these stats more closely in this sense: when there was a listing that would sell you could go inside that listing and go to the stats for that particular listing. It would show you on the same day what keywords brought a buyer into that listing. She could immediately go into that listing and make changes according to what keywords were working and which ones weren’t. Now that the feedback for stats usually takes around seven days, she keeps a close eye on the top three as they come in. She definitely spends more time in her individual listings monitoring stats than she does in her overall shop.
Etsy SEO vs. Social Media
Something else Rachel talks about is why she thinks Etsy exclusive sellers should be focusing less on their social media campaigns and more on Etsy SEO. She does think it’s very important to have a presence on social media and she definitely uses it as a way to connect, relate, and bring overall brand awareness to her customers. But, in the first six months of 2016 when Rachel saw such an amazing amount of growth with her shop it had more to do with Etsy SEO than social media. She says she’s convinced that if she’d put even half her energy into social media she wouldn’t have seen nearly the amount of growth that she did.
If you’re trying to seriously get going on Etsy your time would be better spent pouring into your SEO management. The audience coming to you on Etsy through their marketing is a hot market, meaning they’re on Etsy to purchase most of the time. While social media is an entertainment platform and generally serves as a better brand awareness avenue. So, while Rachel is absolutely not discounting social media, she wouldn’t recommend that this is where your focus needs to be.
Another important strategy of Rachel’s is promoting her listings, which she says she does with all of them. There were a few months where she saw a decrease in her sales and realized she’d done something different with promoting her listings. Once she was back to her normal schedule on her promotions things picked right back up. For better or worse she’s a believer in them though she doesn’t have a particular strategy for them.
Things were and are going fantastic with Rachel’s main Etsy shop IndigoTangerine. We asked her what brought her to the place where she felt she could open another shop with a business partner. Weddings were already a big seller for Rachel as she sells a lot of bridesmaid’s gifts. She came to the realization that if buyers were seeking her out for bridal party gifts she could also break into the market of wedding favors for guests. It just so happened that Kelly (whom Rachel started LovePerks with) and her husband are partners in a local coffee roasting company. This was a perfect partnership as they decided to personalize wedding coffee favors. And LovePerks was born! Rachel did research the market before jumping into this new endeavor. Giving people what they want while still doing something she enjoys has definitely been a theme in her Etsy career so far!
Advice for newbies
Her advice to new shop owners? Focus on Etsy. Don’t get too distracted by all the people telling you to focus more on social media. Again, she’s not discounting social media she just believes it’s all one step at a time. If you really want to be successful in launching an Etsy shop go after the Etsy market. Stay open to tweaking your products if you don’t see results right away.
As we mentioned earlier, Rachel offers an amazing Etsy SEO course. If you’re interested in more info on that just visit her Instagram page here. And definitely check out both her shops IndigoTangerine and LovePerks on Etsy! She also loves talking to people and says she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org as well. Thanks so much for chatting with us Rachel! And as always, go check out this week’s Jam!
Happy selling everyone!