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 Etsy business thrive.
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 Etsy 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?
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 Etsy 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:
Etsy Seller Handbook: Branding 101: How to Build a Memorable Etsy Shop
Handmadeology: Creating a Brand Identity for the Creative Business