*Why Etsy? Was Etsy your first online store? Do you sell elsewhere?
I had an online shop connected to my personal website for awhile, but it was incredibly time consuming without the desired results. At a show, another fabulous vendor pointed me in the direction of Etsy and I figured it was worth a shot since the listing is so reasonable and the template is easy to follow.
In addition to Etsy, I sell at a few craft shows and home parties each year and have my work in a gallery.
*How long have you been on Etsy as a seller?
I started an account in the late fall of 2006. I began listing jewelry in my shop in January of 2007. I had intended on opening sooner, but my second son showed up a couple months premature and knocked me off course.
I opened a destash shop "Jewelry Supplies" in January of 2007 and began listing pretty much immediately. "Avery Winslow" opened in September 2007.
*Why do you sell what you sell? What is your inspiration?
I sell jewelry because I enjoy designing and have gotten a good response to my work. I also sell my own line because I like having a creative outlet and, while it certainly isn't paying the mortgage each month, the income that I do have helps with medical bills and the occasional guilt free family trip.
I'm mostly inspired by people, as general as that sounds. I've always been the type of person who is content to sit and watch others go about their days. I'm inspired by the stories that I create for these strangers. I also find inspiration in fashion magazines, vintage clothing books, the supplies themselves, and that incredibly fascinating time each day where I drift between wakefulness and sleep.
*How long did it take to get your first sale?
It certainly felt like a lifetime! Even though I knew that wasn't the case, I really wanted to post and have that first item sell...as if to tell me "this is the place for you." In reality, I think it was around 3 weeks and I had around 30 items in my shop.
*What is the hardest thing about selling online for you and what have you done to help you do this?
No question, my biggest challenge online is photography and descriptions. When I sell in person, size is obvious (rather than struggling with a ruler when purchasing online) and the shoppers can see the sparkle and clarity of a piece with no question as to its quality. It's difficult for me to translate the beauty of each piece online. I'm working on it though. :) I've tried different styles of photography, different backgrounds, and experimented with ways to show scale. I'm still working on the best way to do descriptions that blends factual information with the fun details.
Additionally, I think selling in general is difficult for me since I'm so busy with other responsibilities and short on time. I feel like I have a million ideas for pieces, advertising, and marketing...I just need 48 hours in a day (or a full time nanny!).
* What do you think is the BEST most effective way to get your name out?
This is a question that I still struggle with. I think it's most important to first figure out who your market is and plan your advertising with that market in mind. Although I've heard a lot about MySpace working for other sellers, I know that my typical clients do not use MySpace so that isn't the best way to get my name out. I also know that many of the online features do not appeal to my customers. As more and more shopping takes place on line, I'm hoping that an online form of advertising will stand out as effective. At this point, I've received the most traffic following magazine publications or features. In my budget for 2008, I am planning to spend more advertising dollars on print ads.
Anyone selling should have business cards with them always and give those out to family and friends who are comfortable sharing information about the business. That's the easiest way to get your name out.
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