Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sellers, Buyers and the Friendliness Factor

Contributed by: Midnightcoiler

How many times have you been ignored by sales people when you need help in a store? How about standing in a checkout line and your smiling "hi, how are you?" is ignored by a scowling clerk with an attitude who slams your items into a bag and generally treats you like you're the enemy? Or have you been on the other side of the counter, and treated like a non-person by a buyer with a superiority complex who either ignores you or orders you around like a dog? I've been on both sides of the counter, and there's just no excuse for these behaviors. It's totally counterproductive.

I live in the Southern part of the US, and it's customary here to exchange pleasantries, a few friendly words, when doing business. I imagine it's like that in a lot of places. It's amazing how those few words from both buyer and seller can instantly build good will.

It seems like common sense to apply the friendliness standard to doing business on Etsy. As a buyer, when you've had a friendly transaction with a seller who communicates with you, doesn't that make you want to come back and give them your business again or recommend them to a friend? When you're a seller and a customer writes a friendly little note in "message to the seller" or convo, doesn't that make you want to do a little more for them, if possible?
A big part of the handmade experience is the personal connection between buyer and seller with a common interest: the work. When both parties take a few moments of time to build a little rapport, the experience can be much more rewarding for each. When the personal connection isn't there, the transaction becomes merely that, and is no different from an impersonal order from a large mail order company selling thousands of the same thing to faceless people.

So, what can you do to make that personal connection and build good will and a good reputation as a seller or buyer ?

Sellers:  Respond promptly to any inquiries before, during and after purchase.

Acknowledge a purchase and any message from the buyer as soon as possible, give shipping information, answer any questions or offer future help. You might include a few words about your work or product or their enjoyment of it. Say "thank you" and sign your name. A little warmth goes a long way.

Leave positive feedback unique to the positive experience. If a convo or email is received after the sale, follow up.

Buyers:  Even if you don't have questions or instructions, write a little note in the "message to seller" or convo the seller if you want to say more. If you're excited about the work in general or the item, share that with the seller. They will love you for it.

Leave positive feedback specific to the service and the item. Sellers love to know if you or your recipient were happy.

Good communications are a two way street, it builds loyalty and good will, and costs nothing but a few moments of time.

About the author: ETTEAM Founder, Lynn Hoyt of Midnightcoiler creates bowls and baskets, birdhouses, and decorative items from gourds and naturals. She also supplies organically grown raw gourds and creates rustic stoneware pottery medallions and wall pockets. Lynn, her husband and two dogs live on 75 acres of natural beauty in the country. *The pictures included in this blog article are from Midnightcoiler's Etsy Shop!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Featured Etsy Seller

Contributed by:  NiftyKnits

Our first Etteam featured Etsy seller is with Pamela Jean Lacasse, who runs pjlacasse, a store with beautiful handmade jewellery and original artwork.

Tell us all about you, Pamela :-)

Cats or dogs?

I have a cat, Milow and Two chocolate labs, jack and logan.

Star Wars of Star Trek?

I love both Star wars and I grew up with Star Trek.

Fruit or Chocolate?

Chocolate: life is too short, so enjoy it while we are here, Eat what you want.

A woman after my own heart there!

Favourite colour?


Yes, I think I could already tell that from your shop!

Favourite meal?

Thanksgiving with all the fixings!!

I confess I don't know a lot about Thanksgiving (I'm in the UK) but I've seen Friends, of course. Thanksgiving will be the meal where Joey gets his head stuck in the turkey!

City break or weekend in the country?

A long walk in the woods, in winter,spring,summer or fall

And Pamela's love of nature really shines through in her work, I think.

How did you get started on Etsy?

Before I came to Etsy, I sold antiques, and jewelry on ebay . I got tired of shipping large packages! and jewelry is harder to sell on ebay. A friend told me about Etsy, I use to sell out of a small shop in New London, NH but her consignment fees went to 50% and it was either cut my price or the item just sat there.

I also do a Christmas fair but all I sell there is my art work and broken china ornaments, similar to the broken china pins, and earrings I sell now.

Do you have a favourite piece?

My green bracelet, that I use for my avatar!

Do you have a top tip for new Etsians?

The best lesson is to network! I opened my shop in August of 08, and I spent money on advertising which was a big waste! It gets you looks but no sales, and then I joined ETTEAM and things have looked up! I have 11 sales and 182 hearts! It may not seam like much but on a site where competition is stiff I think it's not bad, I can't quit my day job yet!

I would like to do enough business to someday quit my day job, as a florist! Like anything in life it takes hard work. I work two jobs (a small part time one at night) I can work at Etsy and take my time!

One last marketing tip: diversify your shop to bring in more and off etsy. I did a home party before Christmas and did very well...I felt I was not in the other girls league but I held my own. It's hard to sell from a picture, if the customer can't hold it in their hand it's harder to sell it. So when people ask me how to sell on etsy I always say, pictures, pictures, pictures, then description and network!

Thanks Pam - good luck with
your shop!

About the author: Heather Leavers has a lovely Etsy shop Nifty Knits, where she sells the most charming hand knitted "critters", beautiful flowers and fabulous knitwear!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Links, links, links!!!

Contributed by:  Zaftig Delights

People are always asking for links to this and that - so to make things easier here is a great group of links to things that are on Etsy or Etsy related to help you with your Etsy business!  If you have a link you would like to add to our list, just drop me a comment or email zaftig2k (at) yahoo (dot) com and I will be happy to include it.  

Here goes...
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------    -   Great resourse of wisdom from seasoned sellers.  -   Treasury tutorial.   -   Prepare a treasury.   -   Tag Fractal Etsy Search. Cool! - Help with names of colors and hues. - Wiki list of names of colors and hues - Troubleshooting your treasury.   -   Treasury screenshot archive. Check to see if you were in a treasury.   -   Picture hosting site.   -  Help for the photography challenged.   -   The old Resources page, which has the postcards.   -   One more postcard.  -   Check here if Etsy is down or experiencing problems.  -  See hearts and views in one place.   -   Paypal shipping link - print label.  -   Etsy fee calculator. - List of Etsy acronyms.   -  Calculate USPS postage.   -   Cross platform means to screen shots.   -   Another screen shot capture site.   -   Make long links short.  -   Special characters - alt keyboard sequence.  -   Convert anything.  -   Picture editing site - Picture editing site.  -   Picture resizing tool  -   Convert any document to a PDF!  -   Spreadsheet for pricing your work.   -  How to make your own banner. And lots more!

Happy linking everyone!!

About the author: ETTEAM BlogMistress, Sandie Russo is the owner of Zaftig Delights, an Etsy Boutique. She designs and makes plus sized clothing, knitwear, OOAK jewelry, handbags and accessories. She also loves to write (Sandie's Blog) and spoil her husband, daughter and grandson! 

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tutorial: How to make a great Etsy Treasury.

Contributed by:  The House of Mouse

Learning to make a great treasury is an art. It is also an important education for any seller who wants to get their work featured on the Front Page of Etsy. If you take the time to learn what makes a treasury the kind that an Admin will choose for the Etsy Front Page, you will quickly learn how to make your listings the kind that will get chosen for that honor.

Take a look at the Etsy Front Page
Flickr group. This is full of screencaps of treasuries that have been on the front page. Notice how each one looks amazing, the photos are top quality and the treasury always has a theme, be it a shape, color or something else.

As a seller who was been both curator for and featured in Etsy Home Page treasuries, here are my top 10 tips for making a Front Page worthy treasury.

1) Use the Etsy Poster Sketch. You can build as many treasuries as you like there, although only you can see them. You can always save your sketches to use when you actually manage to grab a treasury. (Bookmark it in your browser because the link to it is hard to find on Etsy.)

2) Choose a theme. The theme can be colour, tone, shape, emotion , keyword or anything else you like. You can try picking one listing from your favorites to start with; try to find other listings that match it in some way. Think of your entire treasury as a piece of art, each listing should go well with the others.

3) Use the Etsy Tag Fractal. You can use the Tag Fractal to search for listings that fit your theme, you can search based on their titles and tags here. It is a great tool. (Bookmark this one too!)

4) Choose listings that look great as thumbnails. Take a look at this post for further explanation on this.

5) Vary the types of listings in your treasury. Unless your theme is a certain type or category of listing, try to avoid having too many of the same kind of listing in your treasury. For example, not more than 2 pairs of earrings, 2 toys, 2 illustrations, etc.

6) Vary the prices of the listings in your treasury. When Admin choose a treasury for the front page they make sure that the price range varies. they don't want everything to sell out before that front page's time is up. If everything is too inexpensive then the items will sell out too fast and cause technical difficulties for the front page. 

7) Fill up all the alternatives. When you make a treasury you get 16 slots to show off, but only the 12 on the left can be seen. The other 4 are called the alternatives. If your treasury makes it to the front page then when something sells one of your alternatives will take its place. Admin will only ever choose a treasury that is full, including the alternatives. Make sure your alternatives are just as good as the others.

8) Don't feature yourself.You are allowed to feature yourself in one listing of your own treasury, but if your treasury gets picked for the front page then your listing will get swapped out for an alternative. From an Admin's point of view you will only have 3 alternatives instead of 4 as they won't ever have the curator of a treasury featured on the FP too. It lowers your chances significantly and it is considered by some to be an "unwritten rule" of making treasuries.

9) Choose an interesting title. Titles are hard to come up with, so while you are filling your Poster Sketch try to think about your theme and what title would go well with it. A good title will get a few more people clicking on it, just to see what is in there. I should say that Etsy Admin has stated that they don't pay any attention to a treasury title, they are interested in how it looks and the price ranges it includes, so it's not essential.

10) Promote your treasury. When you have caught a treasury and filled it, tell your friends about it. If you belong to an Etsy Street Team then post it in your team thread. If you are on Twitter then post the link there too. If there are threads in the forums sharing the latest treasuries then post there too. (You get the idea.) The more views, clicks and comments your treasury gets the "hotter" it becomes and the higher up the treasury list it will go. The more people see that you make great treasuries, the more chances you have of making it to the Front Page one day.

Good luck and happy treasury making!

About the author: Etsy Treasury Team member, Anna, runs her store The House of Mouse from her home studio in Holland. She loves to make treasuries and her blog is full of tips for new and struggling sellers on Etsy.

Friday, February 6, 2009

What does the Etteam do?

Contributed by:  Zaftig Delights!

The Etsy Treasury Team (ETTEAM) is a great group of Etsy sellers that have cultivated the art of curating Etsy Treasuries and supporting each other!

If you are new to Etsy or just don't know what a Treasury is, the "Treasury" is that lovely collection of items that is on the front page of Etsy when you pop in to do some shopping for the fabulous handmade and vintage items sold there. They are curated by sellers, buyers and Etsy Admins by searching Etsy Shops for unique, interesting and appealing items to feature. The curated treasuries are then listed in the Treasury section on Etsy, from which the front page (FP) treasuries are decided upon by the Etsy Admins. They are picked for the FP based on many mysterious and unknown reasons, but we do know for sure that the more popular your treasury (the hotter it is), the more likely you will end up on the front page. And the
Front Page is a place that we all want to be!!

If you enjoy browsing Etsy as much as we do , I hope you will take the time to stop by the
Treasury section of Etsy.  Please be sure to leave comments and click on all the wonderful items that are featured. It is a great way to window shop and discover some fabulous new treasures on Etsy!

If you are interested in learning how to curate an Etsy treasury, this is the best tutorial on the subject.
Etsy Treasury Demo by Jen (SweetestPea). It's how I learned to curate treasuries, and I highly recommend it!!

Happy Shopping!

About the author:  ETTEAM BlogMistress, Sandie Russo is the owner of  Zaftig Delights, an Etsy Boutique.  She designs and makes plus sized clothing, knitwear, OOAK jewelry, handbags and accessories.  She also loves to write (Sandie's Blog) and spoil her husband, daughter and grandson!