Tuesday, April 19, 2016

6 Must-Read Articles for Selling Vintage Online

Selling vintage can be really fun.  You get to go on treasure hunts and discover cool, unique items that you've never seen before.  Then there's the business side of things that can also be fun (connecting with customers, collaborating with other vintage sellers), but the business aspect can also sometimes feel overwhelming (managing a large inventory, writing individual item descriptions, pricing, marketing).  We have a lot of vintage shop owners here at Etsy On Sale who love using our suite of tools to help manage their shops to run sales events- especially when their inventory gets into the hundreds or even 1,000+ range.  

We also heard in our recent customer feedback survey that our vintage sellers would like to have more tips and resources for selling in their market.  We put together a round-up of articles geared for vintage sellers that we think can help the newbie seller as well as the seasoned shop owner looking to rethink some of their business strategies.  We hope you find some useful advice here!

How to Take Your Vintage Shop to the Next Level
Etsy Seller Handbook
This post from a seasoned vintage seller has great advice and tips whether you’re just starting out or need to re-focus your current shop strategy.

Time-Saving Photography Tips for Vintage Sellers
Etsy Seller Handbook
You’ve heard it time and time again: photos are everything when selling online. These tips from the Etsy seller handbook are geared specifically for vintage sellers, so if you haven’t read this, it’s worthwhile.

Interview with Vintage Seller Cindy Funk of Neatokeen
Brilliant Business Moms
Great insight from a current vintage seller on how she finds her items and decided to focus on a particular niche market. Also must-read advice on how she keeps her shop current through a variety of marketing efforts.

6 Ways to Make Your Vintage Shop Shine
Etsy blog
Some great beginner vintage seller tips

On Instagram, a Bazaar Where You Least Expect It

The New York Times
Eye-opening interview with a vintage store owner on how Instagram significantly boosted sales to her shop.

Edgar blog
Good beginner’s guide to understanding Instagram and how to market your shop on Instagram regardless of what you sell.  Promote your products, sales events on Instagram.  Just be sure to put your web link in your Instagram profile to direct people to your shop or sales event.

Are you a vintage seller who has some helpful tips or useful resources?  Feel free to share your insight in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

EOS FAQs: Sizing Your Photos

Today, Jason explains how to properly size your Etsy listing photos so that the EOS Regular Price Banner appears on your thumbnail images.  When running a sales event, most sellers choose to add the Regular Price Banner to their listings so that customers can clearly see that an item is on sale and see both the regular price and sale price on each listing.  This helps customers easily see the value they are getting from the sales event.

Check out the video below:

Etsy On Sale's YouTube channel also has helpful video tutorials to walk you through:

Etsy On Sale's Help page also has lots of useful info.

And, as always, feel free to contact us at support@etsyonsale.com whenever you have questions or suggestions for us.  We're here to help!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Build Your Brand: Finding Your Customer

Today we are going to focus on identifying your niche market and target customer.  
“Everyone” is not your target customer. Crafting your brand message to a specific audience helps people get a real sense of your product line and of you as the maker.  Think about how you would describe your business to someone you met at a party. Saying, “I make handmade jewelry, mostly for weddings” is vague and too generalized.  But, a response such as, “I specialize in creating bridal jewelry with a bohemian, earthy vibe” is much more visually descriptive.  This second statement gives a better sense of who your ideal customer might be.

You have a “niche” audience - you just need to find them and speak to their needs and wants. Figuring out who your audience is will help you tailor your branding message to your ideal buyer.  

Let’s use an example.  Say we make handmade soap.  You might think, “everyone uses soap, so I don’t have a target customer”.  However, people have all kinds of needs and preferences when it comes to the kind of soap they buy.  Your goal is to identify a specific personality to whom you want to target your products.

Here are some questions to ask when imagining your ideal customer persona:

Gender:  Male or Female?
Age range
Personal style:  traditional, contemporary, quirky, etc?
Relationship status:  Single, Married?
Location:  Urban, Country, Suburban, Mountains, etc?
Hobbies/Activities:  What does your ideal customer like to do for fun?
Favorite shows/movies/books

These questions will help you identify for whom you are making your products.  By honing in on a specific customer base, your products, branding, product descriptions, everything can speak to that customer.  Your shop will have a specific look, feel, and identity that people can immediately see and connect with.  You may feel by doing this that you are then excluding other people, but in fact, you speak to more people when you have a specific message and focus.  When you have a specific focus people know when they land on your shop page what kind of vibe you are presenting.  You cannot be all things to all people - when you do not focus your products/shop to a certain audience, you run the risk of your shop just appearing generic and plain. You could also survey your customers to find out what their likes and dislikes are to help jumpstart your thinking on who your ideal customer is.

So, back to answering our questions for the ideal customer:
Let’s say our ideal customer is female, in her 30s-40s, married with kids, lives in the city and likes to stay active and stay connected to nature.  She’s well-read, stays updated on current events and has her favorite guilty-pleasure reality shows she likes to watch at night. This is your niche market.

So, for our soap business, we can imagine this woman values the handmade process so she knows what ingredients are going into the product.  She may care about this not just for her own products, but also when buying for her kids.  She cares about natural ingredients, avoids synthetic fragrances. She cares about these attributes in other aspects of her life (food, health, etc).
Think further about the products you are creating.  What is unique about each of them?  
  • Do you offer a vegan line of soaps?  
  • Organic ingredients, dye-free products
  • Special line of scented soap for men or specialty line for children
  • Specialty ingredients:  essential oils for soothing certain ailments
  • Specialty process:  cold-process soaps

Now that you know who your customer is and what she likes and needs, you can use this to inform how you write your product descriptions and your shop page About section.  It’s so much easier to write about your products when you have a specific focus.  This customer cares about the ingredients in her soaps, so you want to emphasize this point in your product descriptions.  Your About page can also describe how these qualities fit into your shop’s brand identity and values.  

Finally, now that you have created your ideal niche customer, hang it up near your workstation so you remember her and what she likes.  Use it for inspiration when creating new pieces and it will also help you to remember who you are speaking to in your social media posts.  Posting about your handmade process, or better yet, showing your audience through photo posts on Instagram, Facebook, etc, helps attract your potential customer to your shop and gets them browsing through your awesome products.  Colorful photos of your jewelry sprawled across your workspace, a video of how you make handmade soap, or just seeing you in action making your next creation - all of these examples connect people to your product, your hard work, and they will become more interested in exploring your shop!

In case you missed it, be sure to check out our first article in the Build Your Brand series on Establishing Your Brand.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Friday Finds: Green Supplies

In case you just couldn't get enough green from St. Patrick's Day yesterday, our Thursday Finds has some delightful green treats to share with you!  After recovering from a small cold this week, I'm feeling in a crafty mood again and so I got to hunting around in the Supplies section of Shop the Sales.  Here are a few beautiful items I came across.  Now, what to make? Hmmm...

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Etsy On Sale FAQs: Include/Exclude Listings for Sale

Happy Tuesday!  The Etsy On Sale FAQs series is back with our second installment. This quick video will guide you through how to include or exclude specific listings when scheduling your sales events.  

How would this feature be useful to you?  There are several ways in which this feature comes in handy.  It is primarily used when you want to run a sale on specific items you hand pick for discount.  

Example scenarios:

  • Maybe you are running a Father's Day sale, so you want to select items you think would make great gifts for Dads.  And since these items are spread over several sections, you need to individually select them.  
  • Perhaps you have some older items in your inventory you want to put on sale in order to make room for a new product line coming up.  
  • You want to run a sale on everything in your shop except those two newest items you just made.  You can exclude those listings you do NOT want placed on sale.

The Include/Exclude feature enables you to customize your sales event beyond just a certain section or your entire shop.

Check out the full details here:

If you missed our first FAQ post about important Sales Event Guidelines, be sure to check it out! And for other questions on our tools and managing your EOS account, you can also check out our Help page.

As always, feel free to reach out to us at support@etsyonsale.com with any questions.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Thursday Finds - Vintage Dress Edition!

Happy Thursday, everyone!  There are so many great vintage sellers who use Etsy On Sale to run their sales events and today we thought it would be fun to focus our Thursday Finds post on vintage dresses!  Here are some delightful dresses we found on sale right now in the Vintage section of Shop the Sales.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Build Your Brand Series

Today we here at Etsy On Sale are kicking off our brand new series, Build Your Brand. This will be a long-term series on the Etsy On Sale blog where we discuss how to establish your brand, connect with your target audience, build marketing strategies, and help your business thrive in 2016.
First thing’s first:  You need to tell people who you are and what you do. Lovely, engaging, creative YOU.  You might think this isn’t important--that the focus should just be on your products.  However, people want to know with whom they are interacting, particularly when it comes to buying handmade or vintage items online.  You have an incredible opportunity to hook people in with your unique story behind your products.  It’s essential that customers see an authentic story behind your brand. Sounds intimidating, but we’re here to break it down into easy bites for you!
1. What do you do?  
Be specific here.  What is it that you make for your shop (or if you sell vintage, what kinds of vintage items do you sell? Where do you find your items?) For example, let’s say you are a knitter and you make hats, scarves and mittens.  Think a little further about your products and materials:
  • Are your items intended for the bone-chilling winters of Canada? 
  • Or, are they light, airy pieces you’d bring along to your beach house vacation for breezy nights?
  • What materials do you use in your products?  Merino wool, organic cotton, etc.
Instead of just saying, “I knit hats and scarves”, you can enhance your message by saying, “I specialize in creating one-of-a-kind winter knits with a sophisticated, feminine touch”.  This establishes 2 things:  what you do (knitting) and who you make items for (women).  This leads to point #2.

2. Who are you making products for?  
In our knitting example, say you make items primarily for women.  What do you imagine her personal style to be?  Is she a nature-loving mama? A trendsetting urbanite? A quirky, geek-chic type?  We’ll discuss in more depth identifying your ideal customer later in this series, but this is also a good time to start thinking about who you imagine your target audience to be.
Here you are targeting your audience message to women who are looking for unique, sophisticated winter items.  Do you enjoy creating custom pieces or combo sets that would make the perfect gift?  Here’s your chance to appeal to your customer base.
3. Your creative process:  
This section is critical.  This is where you get to differentiate yourself from the competition. You have a unique way of creating your items.  Tell your audience about it. 
  • Do you use a specialty yarn?  
  • Do you spin your own yarn or hand-dye it?  Or do you use yarn from someone who does spin it themselves?
  • Do you offer to customize pieces?
  • Do you have yarn options for people allergic to wool? (say, organic cotton, as an alternative?)
  • Did you create your own pattern for your clothing pieces?  
  • Perhaps you have a unique life experience that led you to knitting?  
  • Who taught you to knit?
  • How is your handmade knitted hat superior to the mass-produced department store knitted hat? 
The more you can describe to people how you go about making your creations, the more appreciation they will have for all that hard work you put into every item!  The key is to tell your story.  With a succinct, genuine description of who you are and what your shop offers, customers will better understand the person behind the shop they are visiting.

Once we've brainstormed these 3 steps, we are ready to put it all together into a cohesive, succinct statement. Here's an example:

"I am Mitsu of Brown Sparrow’s Nest.  I specialize in creating one-of-a-kind winter knits for the gal who likes to show off her personal style without compromising warmth!  Having hunkered down in the Chicago winters for over a decade, I came to appreciate a warm, cozy hat and scarf.  I love to use bright colors in my work to combat the dreary winter days. I especially enjoy experimenting with new patterns I’ve created.  I use materials that are super soft - think baby alpaca wool, organic cotton, and soft, chunky wool/acrylic blends.  

I started making scarves and cowls for friends, who encouraged me to venture into selling my items. I started my Etsy shop as a fun experiment, which soon led to my involvement in Renegade Craft Fair here in Chicago for several years.  

I also welcome custom orders if you need an item tailored to your specific need.  Please feel free to contact me to discuss further options. Enjoy browsing through my shop!"
Now, what do you do with this statement you worked so hard on? You'll want to post it in the About section of your profile page in your Etsy shop. You can also use it as part of your Etsy shop announcement. You want to place it anywhere shoppers are going to find out more about you and your shop. Don't forget about your social media profiles like on Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram. You can trim this statement down to a sentence or two for those profiles.

Then, pat yourself on the back for taking the time to craft the beginnings of your brand message! Your business is a brand and only you can shape its identity through the stories you tell. We hope you found these tips useful and we have more tips still to come this month!
Here are a couple additional resources you may also find helpful on branding:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Our Credit Sale is Here!

Did you know we are running a credit sale right now?  Purchase our 100 pack of credits and you'll automatically receive 25 bonus credits FREE!  The sale ends February 29th, so stock up now before it's too late!   (To purchase credits, log in to your Etsy On Sale account, click on "My Account", and then click the orange button "Add Credits")
And then use Etsy On Sale to get all of your spring and summer sales events set up in advance.
Upcoming Holidays:
  • St. Patrick's Day - March 17
  • Spring Break
  • Easter - March 27
  • Passover - April 22-30
  • Earth Day - April 22
  • Cinco de Mayo - May 5
  • Mother's Day - May 8
Future Sale Opportunities to Keep In Mind:
  • Spring Cleaning (March/April)
  • Spring Fashion (March/April)
  • Graduation (May/June)
  • Wedding season
Spring Forward Alert! Don't forget that Daylight Savings Time starts on Sunday, March 13 (at 2am in the U.S.)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Fun Finds Thursday

Happy Thursday, everyone!  Where did this week go already? I feel like February is just flying by so quickly.  It's 36 degrees here in Chicago, but we are so looking forward to a heat wave of 55 this weekend - woohoo!  I'm so ready for spring - anyone else?

Found these awesome items on the Shop the Sales page this morning.  I'm especially loving those vintage earrings from peachandtweed.  They'd be perfect for dressing up my usual outfit of t-shirt and jeans  :)

Take a look at each below and hope you enjoy your day!

Three:  “Happy Thoughts” 5x7 art print from solocosmo

Four:  Floral pre-cut quilt fabric squares from daisygiggles

Five:  Vintage turquoise floral earrings from peachandtweed

Six:  Kitchen Wall Art from Freshline