July 5th marks 2 years since the opening of Kensie Kate! To celebrate this momentous occasion, I'm launching a new series called "Kensie Kate Guide to Selling on Etsy." This 6-part series will cover a lot of what I've learned these past 2 years, including: researching and opening a shop, utilizing several Etsy tools, making the most of each listing, customer service, and special events.
Today will be all about Part 1: before you open a shop.
My very first piece of advice is to make sure you're ready! Believe me, I know how tempting it can be to open an Etsy shop on a whim, but just a little pre-planning can make a big difference.
Start by familiarizing yourself with Etsy. Are there any shops currently selling items similar to what you have in mind? What do these shops have in common? Is there a shop that stands out from the others? Read through their policies and item descriptions. Look at their sales. Pay attention to their product photography and overall branding.
How is your shop going to be different from the others you've looked at? Are you going to have the best customer service? The quickest shipping? The largest selection? Something special about the way you produce your products? A fresh line of products customers won't find anywhere else?
Spend some time researching and planning how you will run your shop once it's open. What materials will you use? What is a reasonable processing time? How much will it cost to ship each item? How often will you ship? How will you package your products to be shipped safely? Will you offer international shipping?
How much will your items cost? Pricing is such an important element in running a successful shop! Many people will tell you to figure out your cost and multiply it by 2 to arrive at your final price. Please don't do this. Maybe this method will work just fine for you and your shop, but what will most likely end up happening is this: you will work tirelessly to create beautiful products only to find that over time you start to begrudge the process because you're not making enough money for it to be worth it. Many handmade crafters have a hard time pricing their items because they are thinking about what they would be willing to spend. Guess what! You are not your target market!
When I first opened my shop, I thought my prices were too high and I was tempted to lower them several times. Now that I'm wholesaling, I'm so glad I didn't. Here's my pricing formula: multiply your cost by 4. Why is this? If you ever want to venture into wholesaling, your vendors will expect a 50% discount. Too many Etsy sellers price their items too low and can't wholesale because they didn't leave enough room in their selling price for it to be profitable. If your selling price is 4x your cost, that leaves room for advertising, buying new equipment, branding, and paying yourself.
Now that you've thought about how your shop will stand out from the rest, how you will produce and ship items, and what your prices will be, I'd say you're ready to open your shop! Part 2 of this series will be all about those first few steps once you take the leap. It will cover how many items you need to have, branding, photography, and setting up your shop.
Overwhelmed? More excited than ever? Leave any questions you have in the comments!