Examples of Best-Selling Etsy® Shops
The main focus of our next block of time together is going to be talking about how to get found on Etsy. And we're gonna look at a few tricks of the trade, and I've invited Timothy Adam, he's an Etsy veteran, he's an Etsy expert, you probably have heard of his website, which is handmadeology.com. I've invited him on, he's gonna come and discuss and help us get found on Etsy. And he has some valuable tools and he's a valuable resource in growing your business online as well. But he's also gonna give us some real-time Etsy SEO tips, he's going to show us exactly, using some of your shops as the examples, he's gonna show you exactly what search engines are looking for when you build an Etsy shop online, and he's gonna give you some search tips that will help you utilize every key area of your storefront and your product listing and make the most of them, to help more customers find you. We're gonna use live examples and show you some things you can do today to improve your searchability. ...
So, it's gonna be a fabulous, fabulous lesson. But before we get to that, I wanna go back on the total packages, the examples I pulled up earlier. These shops are excellent examples of shop cohesion. They were Four Strange Women, Pixiebell, and Pole Star, and I wanna come back and have a closer look at everything, talk more about their shop cohesion. So, this again is Four Strange Women, this storefront is owned by Jill. Now, I don't know what her branding example is, but if I had to do it for her, I would say that her site is refreshing, earthy, and honest. I feel that in every picture she creates, and everything she lists. There's texture in her photographs, there's texture in her brand. And she adds a dimension and a flavor that I feel comes up off the page and really pulls you in. The mental imagery that she has built provokes the feeling, provokes the experience, and I think it's just an incomparable experience to anything else I've ever seen on Etsy, I think she's a fabulous example of shop cohesion. So, I love the composition of her photos, and I feel like when you're looking through this, this is another page than the one that I pulled up earlier, but I feel like when you're looking through it can you not imagine the feeling of those metal lockets in your hand? I mean, I can feel, like, the cold metal lockets, and then the copy writing that she uses in her product listing titles, she has trademarked names of her scents. So, she calls these different scents things like sand dollar, London fog, poison ivy, I mean, everything just evokes all of this mental imagery and this experience that she's creating. And with every listing in the title, she lists the ingredients, the things you can expect to smell if you bring this product home. And she does it a way that's not stuffed. And so, it's also proof that you can say a little bit more in your product listing without saying too much. And so, if you would open any of those, it would start to say scents. And I think that's important, especially for her brand, because that's the first thing the customer's asking, what's this gonna smell like? And she has to do a good job of describing that before the customer even brings the product home. She has to help them envision what the experience, what the scents are gonna be like. So, if you visit her shop, and I highly recommend you do, she's fourstrangewomen.com, but she's fourstrangewomen.etsy.com, to visit this Etsy storefront. Every detail in her storefront draws you closer, it's like a rabbit hole to explore and it's really a neat experience. The next example we used was by a lady named Diane and her husband Christopher, and this is Pixiebell. And the first thing that stands out to me, we hinted on it earlier, is that she's used models and mannequins. This is not the easiest thing to set up. I know sometimes when we talk about product photography or we talk about some of the investment in the work that goes in, I understand being a shop owner myself, really the time and the commitment and the obstacles you'd have to overcome, that becomes a task list all of its own. Use models? Okay. You mean, that's a long list of things I'm gonna have to do to pull in models. I get it. I know it's overwhelming. But when you have a product like this specifically, and you can see those models are necessary to sell that product. The hats are shaped in all kinds of different ways, they're doing all kinds, some stick up at the top. Some of them have ears and stuff like that. She just could not create the same effect, did she do flat lays for that product, sorry. So, this is not easy to set up. But what's nice about this is when you have a repeatable product. Meaning, once it sells, I can renew it and I can keep selling that listing. If you have that, if it's not all one of a kind, this is a great investment to make. This is a worthy obstacle to tackle, because once you have it set up, then your storefront is all set, you have great visuals. So, I think especially in Pixiebell's case, especially when you have that item that's a little different, a little unique, not something everybody can immediately envision using, it's great to show it on people using them. And show them how the hat fits. Also, I wanna look at, notice how she switches between live models and mannequins. Yet, you're not confused. How does she do that? 'Cause that's something right there, that's a thing to explore all on its own. So, how is she getting all of these different pictures and all of these live but mannequin, all making it look like one cohesive storefront in a way that they work together and they don't overwhelm or confuse anybody. And I want you to notice how that's done by using neutral backgrounds in every setting. She keeps the focus on the main product but you can see that when she shoots with a mannequin, she shoots in front of a white wooden background. She keeps that consistent. When she shoots with models, she takes them out to the woods. So, her branding is coming through strong and she's staying consistent with it even though that backdrop's changed drastically. It does not confuse us, it does not overwhelm us and she did that with great intention. So, that's a fabulous example of adding some style, adding personality, but keeping it real. At first glance, with each of these examples, notice how you get a strong first impression. You really get a sense of that seller's style and that's really important. There's a completeness to the storefront. There's a completeness to the offer. And there's a completeness to the product and the product is being showcased and being showcased well. There's also always a professional atmosphere to the storefront. You can really trust that the seller has taken some time and invested the time there. And again, this is my favorite example for product photography. I picked a different page. I would ideally like product photo, blah, product photography be pages upon pages of Pole Star putting this together. Jennifer putting this together for Pole Star. I love the mood when she takes pictures of her jewelry. It's so refreshing and natural-feeling and I find that the pieces, I'm drawn to the pieces, I wanna click on each one, I wanna bring a piece of it home. I think her presentation is spectacular, I think it's flawless and I love the way that she represents her products in the photography. I also, like I said, the best thing about this and how well branded she is, I would recognize one of her pictures anywhere. She's been on Etsy longer than I have, since 2008, she's always been a presence since I've been watching Etsy, and I've always immediately seen, no matter where her pictures are placed, I always see it and notice it. I'm immediately drawn in, and that has a lot to do with the presentation, remember, is it mouthwatering delicious? And does it make you hungry to click and eager to browse and get in there and look around? Also, let's look at how there is a mix of products here. There's some necklaces and some earrings, yet it's all seamless and your eye isn't jerked around or she's not making you like, squint to come in closer to the earrings. Everything is coming together beautifully and letting your eye just flow nicely across the page. Also, look at her backgrounds. She's using all different backgrounds with all kinds of different products, yet she has a knack for crop and center. She is the reason that I realized that as long as they're cropped center in the page, you can make just about anything that you photograph online look uniform. So, she keeps her product in the center of the page and it doesn't matter if one's going off this way in the listing and another's going off that way or another one's coming down here, or back into the picture, you notice that as long as the focal point, the main part of that is in the center, it still works and it all works together. So, it's really interesting. There's a lot going on there. So, I just want to take a minute to thank each one of these business owners for letting me use their Etsy storefront as an example. We had Jill from Four Strange Women, Diane from Pixiebell, and Jennifer from Pole Star. I wanna thank each one of those businesses for allowing me to showcase their expertise and their experience here with me today.
So, Bob asks, I'm just wondering how much time you spend on photography of an item and the entire listing process. How do you keep it profitable? You can't spend hours listing something that will net you $30, for instance.
I like that question. I like it a lot. Thank you so much. Well, you know, the first thing that pops to my mind when I hear that is how long it takes me to write a blog post and it takes me four hours to write a blog post. At least, four hours on a good day. And then I get that blog post out, I give it away for free, and so, that's the first thing that pops to my mind. Because I have to invest in what I'm writing, I have to invest in the reader, I always have to invest in the potential visitor to my shop. The same thing goes with the listing. There needs to be time invested and if you can make your products repeatable, then by all means, make them repeatable, make sure that you can create that listing once and then renew it over and over again. I'm all for stocking inventory. But if it is a one-of-a-kind item, if it's not something that you can repeat, in that case, you're gonna have to up your prices in order to pay yourself for the upgraded listings that you need. Really time needs to go into this. That's why I say don't underestimate your customer. Don't think that you can take pictures really quickly, upload it, and people are going to buy from you. If you want them to buy, you have to invest in that offer that you're making and really invest in it with heart and patience and time and do it in a way that respects them and does not underestimate them. When you repeat listings and say you've spent two hours batching your product photography and you write a valuable copy writing product listing for that item, but then you can repeat it, then look at how that time invested will pay off over time. And you've spent a lot of time on it and then if you can keep renewing it and repeating it and recreating that product, then obviously that listing is gonna pay out over time. And again, you know, just like Jill's quote about you have to be willing to invest ten to 20,000 dollars and if you don't have it going into business, expect for your profits to pay for it. And I did. And I have reinvested that much, way more by this point, five years later. I've invested tens of thousands of dollars into my business. This is no joke for me. I'm here, I don't think just because I listed online I'm entitled to sell, I'm building a business and I want everything that I put out there to represent my hard work. So, in the beginning, if I'm spending a lot of time, hours, in product photography, hours in product listings to make everything seamless, hours in shop cohesion, it's because I want it to pay out over time. It's 'cause I'm making it here for the long term. I'm gonna be here in five years too. You know, I started in 2010, and I'm not going anywhere and I knew that from the beginning, so I was willing to take back everything I made and put it back into the business for a couple of years. I wanted this business more than I wanted quick profits.
One question is, I run a vintage shop on Etsy with a focus on vintage clothing, shoes, and accessories. Do you have any tips for keeping an Etsy vintage shop looking cohesive, since there's so many different items involved?
Yes, I do. So, if you have a vintage shop, you don't go shopping for all vintage and then re-list it. You still have a brand. There's things that people will still expect from you, right? You are attracted and you are reselling vintage that is your style vintage. And so, you still should have the same brand adjectives, you still should have that focus on three things that represent everything that you sell and then take your own photographs, because you have an eye for those products because you picked them out because you love them, so take your own photographs and as you take your own photographs and they're gonna be different things, they're gonna be different accessories and shoes, use Pole Star as the example. As long as the products stay centered from a pretty similar focal point, a pretty similar perspective distance away, then you're gonna be in good shape in your storefront and your pictures are gonna represent your brand and the things that you love. And your customers are coming to you not because they like vintage but because they like your style vintage. So, you wanna really represent that and home in on the style of vintage you're collecting.
Great. And Amanda S. had a question. Do you feel the first impression is the storefront versus the individual listing in a search result? Like, which one is more the first impression?
On Etsy, the individual listing is going to be the first impression for your shop. And if people are shopping in Etsy, well, when we're working here and tomorrow we're gonna do market your Etsy shop to sold out success, our focus is not gonna be from within the Etsy marketplace. My focus is never products from within the, I like to use people who find the product on Etsy as bonus sales. To me, I call it organic because they found me. So, it's to me all bonus, but my marketing is always directing people to my storefront. And that's where my focus is. Again, I'm gonna do it again, I'm gonna say this again, and I don't mind repeating it 'cause I think it's something that Etsy sellers really need to hear. When you're a creative business, you are not one in a million on an Etsy marketplace. You are someone with a product that millions of people have yet to see. So, our focus is not within that marketplace, our focus is outside in the world, where millions of people have yet to see the product where you can bring it home.
And then we have one more question from Kyle A, or Kylea, I'm not sure which one it is. And a lot of votes online for this question. In terms of brand distinction that we're talking about, did you always know what your focus would be with your store? I have such a wide, varied array of interests when it comes to handmade goods, so I'm having a hard time narrowing it down to find my niche. Do you have any advice?
I like that. So, she's a jack of all trades. We're all jack of all trades, I think that's very natural to us. Did I always know? With this product, I feel like this was very personal and once I found it and I wanted it as much as I wanted it, that's why I turned it into a business. But, I think it's important to know that I was trying, in my introduction I said since 2008, I was trying to find my niche, I was trying to find where I clicked and where I connected online. I knew I wanted to work from home, I knew I had an entrepreneurial spirit, but I was looking for the connection. With this product, I find out and then I really started to enhance what I had learned. So, she's still in a stage where she's doing everything and she's not sure how to focus in and become an expert or become experienced in one area. Then what she can do is keep putting it out there, keep trying and look for a place to connect. I love this because it's almost segwaying into what we are going to talk about in market your Etsy shop to sold out success, we're really gonna talk about exposure, gaining that exposure, and putting yourself out there, repeatedly, until you find where it clicks and where it connects.
Yeah, 'cause I think sometimes people get in the state of inertia when they have too many, like you were talking about, too many choices and then they don't know which path to take, 'cause they're interested in so many things. And sometimes I think when people put it out there, and they get at least the information of what's not working, so they can start diminishing the possibilities, right?
They have more information on what's not working that they have fewer left of what might work.
And if you're in the planning stages of a business like that, what you like as a hobby, you might not like as a business. Because the business turns into work. So, I talk to a lot of creatives that say, I don't like doing that part, I don't wanna do that part. Well, just because we love what we do and these businesses are based on passion and our own creativity, doesn't mean that this job isn't gonna feel like work sometimes, because it absolutely feels like work sometimes. And sometimes you are running through the mud or it feels like you are, and it feels like there's no light at the end of the tunnel and we go through seasons, and it's very difficult. That's actually something I talk about in your best year every year, because it's important to realize that once you commit to it, once it's your business and your path, there's gonna be a lot of long days of you doing that particular thing. So, if you're still in the planning stages and you're testing your hobbies and you're trying to see what's gonna connect, make sure that doing that 100 times this week wouldn't be a drag, because at some times, you're going to be called to do things 100 times this week, and it's not gonna feel like fun. It's gonna feel like work.
Now, we have one more comment, that someone said, Rowan says, loving this, thanks Lisa, clarity and honing in on one thing is just what I needed to hear. I occasionally suffer from Shiny Object Syndrome. (laughs)
Yeah. I hear that a lot, that goes hand in hand with that jack of all trades, we just love, I mean, it is the nature of us, we are creatives, so we love to go explore and learn more and try new things and I think one thing that I can say about all of us as a community, a generalization is that we love to learn what we end up selling, what we end up making, and there's no limit to that, there shouldn't be a limit to that. There is a limit to what gets listed online for sale and what becomes a business.
And that would be the difference between hobby and business, so yeah.
Great. So, oh, next question?
Quick question, so if you are in a kind of that jack of all trades stage and you're still trying to figure out how to focus in on what item to produce, and let's say that you have five ideas in your head about things that you can make, what's the best way to release them as you're testing? Should you put out all five and test the market at the same time, or put out, you know, two every few months? Before you get a good idea.
So, you're going to add it to your existing storefront, or are you just trying different business ideas?
To the existing storefront.
Okay. As long as it's brand cohesive, so it's gonna come in and not be a shocker, that it's next to that product, what I would do is I'm not afraid to put it out there, and if I know it's gonna match everything out there, I've had products that I've listed, this also goes hand in hand with exposure, I've had products that I've listed that I think like, this is the hottest thing and it's gonna be flying off these shelves and everything, and nobody's bought it. And so, I let it expire. But don't ever be afraid to try with that because one of those things could really click with your ideal customers, one of those things could really take off for your brand and really connect, so that too is ever-evolving and it's safe as long as it stays consistent with your brand message. It's a good thing to try and I wouldn't limit yourself to putting it out there and trying.