Four months into our Etsy shop and I’m definitely not claiming to be a pro 😉 But what I can tell you is that we have been blown away by the response to opening our shop. I’ve learned a lot in my 6 years of blogging and my several failed attempts at Etsy right after I graduated college. I always loved the idea of Etsy but I never really had something perfect to sell. It wasn’t until my engineer husband told me he was making me a surprise on the 3D printer one day in October of 2016. It was Luna (one of our most popular designs) because he knew how obsessed I was with mini succulents. I feel in love with it instantly (exclaiming something like “This is actually really cool!”) and he made me more for our house. Soon our friends & family started asking where we got them and upon telling them we made them, told us to sell them. I remember the first time I thought that we actually found something that not only could sell but also filled us with such joy as we created them as a team. I was afraid to put our dream out there (knowing how my other 3 failed tries at Etsy had been) but I knew I needed to jump in and just see where things went. We’ve now already printed and sold over 200 planters since our soft launch in November 2016.
CREATE FROM PASSION
Create from passion and not because you think you can make money off something. I started several Etsy shops over the years selling random things I made. I thought, hey, I made this and I think people could buy it. So I would list it and I made some sales to friends and family – that were few and far between. Every order I received, meant I had to make twine letters or silk headbands or chicken wire frames again and I didn’t love it. I was passionate about making money (I’ve always wanted to own my own business) not actually making the product. I could do it but I didn’t enjoy the process. I burnt out of each of those ventures because they were not speaking to my passions. I read so many articles on making money as a blogger (even writing one myself) suggesting to open a shop to sell a product but I never had a product to sell even though I wanted one. It wasn’t until Bruce and I started making 3D planters for our own house, that we stumbled into our sweet spot. The desire to make money can only take you so long (before you move onto the next money making idea) but when you find something that you truly enjoy and would make without even getting a sale, then you’ve found your passion.
NOTE: I do think it takes some time to discover your passions. Don’t be afraid to try something because you don’t know how much you love it or how it will be received. It’s okay if your journey takes you through a couple products before you find your sweet spot.
PHOTOGRAPHY IS IMPORTANT
I know how important photography is. I am a consumer who buys things in the store because of the packaging and purchases from accounts on Instagram with pretty feeds – it’s totally true. I have learned the importance of good photography over my years of blogging and that has forced me to get better at photos. But I also know the benefit of working with others for brand photography! I wanted a good chunk of images of our planters early on (before a lot of our shoppers started tagging us in posts) so that I could post pretty pictures on our Instagram account. I also wanted header images for FB & Etsy. I worked with Samantha of Elah Tree Photography to get those initial images. I could have spent a lot of time trying to create brand images or I could just pay someone to do it and be able to use those photos forever. It was 100% worth it and has really helped me communicate what I do what the Shop Oak + Oats brand to be.
If you are looking for brand photography or just kick booty stock photos, you should check out Elah Tree!
We just added a Facebook Page (YAY!) and we already have an account on Instagram. It was really important for me to have a home base for Shop Oak + Oats. I wanted a place where people could follow us to stay updated on what is happening. I also wanted to be able to have a place to reach out and get other people and brands excited about Shop Oak + Oats. Having an Etsy is great (and people can find you through their search engines) but you miss out on the community you already have when you skip the social side of things. Another great thing about getting on social is that you have a place for those who buy from you to share with you! I encourage everyone who makes a purchase to share it on FB or Instagram and use our hashtag so we see it! I love regraming (with credit of course!) photos from my community!
BE DETAILED ON THE LISTING
Creating a listing feels like it takes forever. You have to add photos, fill out names, add descriptions, find tags, and click a bunch of boxes. It is easy to cut corners to just get your listing up but that will not help you in the long run! Take the time to be super detailed as you fill out each listing. The tags you enter will help people find you when searching Etsy. Make sure you include a description of your product with information about the listing. You may not know everything to list at first, but you’ll figure it out when people message you on Etsy to clarify! It is best to be as detailed as possible in your descriptions!
FIGURE OUT PACKAGING
It is kind of easy to forget about packaging but it is the other half of the presentation. First you share photos of your product to help shoppers see how your product could fit into their life and then you encourage them they made the right choice. Not only do you have to make sure you are shipping your product safely, but you also have to think of what you are saying about your shop and product in the presentation. I was a little intimidated by this (and don’t feel like I have 100% nailed it down) but I’ve come up with a good method. Try different packing boxes or bubble mailers. You’ll start figuring out what works, what fits your budget, and what helps tell your story!
Here are some things I include in my packaging:
- White boxes ( I love the look more than classic craft brown)
- Bubble Out Pouches
- Business cards (telling people to tag us on @shopoakandoats & use hashtag #oakandoats)
- Logo Stickers
- Succulent Thank You Cards (to write a personal Thank You!)
BONUS TIP: JUST START!
Just jump in. It is so easy to let so many things hold you back from opening your shop. Opening up our shop gave us the freedom to start small and see how it would go. We’re still building our collection. I have so many ideas for planters in all shapes and styles. When we first launched, we had 8 listings. The Modern Set, The Geometric Set, and each one of the planters individually (all in white). I knew we needed to get our planters out there (and I had a feeling people would buy them) but I didn’t want to just sit back making a bunch of planters trying to reach some magic number. I also knew that uploading 8 listings at a time would be a lot of work let alone 25+. It is okay to start small. It starts building your brand, sales, and hype. Plus, even when you are in your sweet spot, it takes some time to discover what you really want your brand to be all about. We have designed & printed several planters that never made the shop because they just didn’t feel right but that is okay. Don’t let big dreams and perfection hold you back. Start small, jump in, and add later!
ARE YOU READY TO JUMP IN AND OPEN YOUR ETSY SHOP? Click here to get 40 free listings to start off your journey!