Kensie Kate

Happy, colorful design & hand lettering

photography

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy | part 2: taking the leap

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kensie kate guide to selling on etsy part 2 | what you need to know about branding, photography, how many listings you should have, and more! Have you read Part 1? It's all about everything you should consider before opening a shop. Today is all about taking the leap and starting a business!

If you're getting ready to open a shop or have recently done so, congrats! This is such an exciting time and I wish you the best. Here's my advice as you embark on this new adventure!

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy: get organized

Step 1: Get organized

If you've gotten to this point, you probably have a pretty good idea of what you're going to list, but how many listings do you need to launch a shop? A good rule of thumb is 24 listings or a full first page. Having the appearance of a full shop helps instill credibility in the shopper's mind. But wait! What if you don't have that many items to list? You can stretch the number of listings you have by creating a separate listing for different variations. For example, if you are selling shirts, you can have a listing for each color and each size.

Plan out how will keep your finances organized so you don't want to scream come tax season. Keeping your finances organized also allows you to see just how much your getting from your business at any given time. Keep track of business expenses like props you buy for product photos or packing tape and other shipping supplies. Even little expenses add up quick!

Establish your policies. (Ideally you should write your "about page" too, but it can wait.) You can't open your shop until you post your policies. Look at other shops for reference. Think about how you will handle things like returns or items damaged in the mail. Your policies should be as clear as possible. 

Okay, this one is hard for me, but part of getting organized is having a plan of attack for social media. How often will you post? How will you generate unique content for each of your platforms? Will your shop and personal accounts be separate?

Step 2: Branding

Kensie Kate Guide to selling on Etsy: example of excellent branding

Branding is everything! Look at the image about. Even though Michiemay has several different products for sale, everything in this shop is cohesive. The header image, listing images, and profile picture are consistent and convey the same message–quality, non-tacky party products that you won't find at your local party store.

Even if you have several types of products you want to sell, they should look like they belong together. Your listing images should reflect the branding on your header image, profile picture, and business cards.

If you can't create your own branding, find someone who can! Find a friend who can take stellar product photos. There are tons of Etsy shops that sell branding packages. With so many options available, you're sure to find one that fits your budget and aesthetic. The trick to branding is to make sure it stands out and is appropriate for the items you're selling.

Kensie Kate guide to selling on Etsy: example of excellent packaging

Knot & Bow does an excellent job of branding. Each product has a label or sticker that clearly identifies the shop. You may not be ready to brand your products quite to this extent, but you should include some type of branding with every order. It could be a sticker that you put on the outside of each order or simply including a business card in the package.

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy: business cards

My branding and style have definitely changed since I first opened my shop. In order to stay true to my branding, I regularly evaluate my shop and deactivate any listings that aren't in line with the overall feel of Kensie Kate. Sometimes I'm able to redesign some of the prints that are no longer working and re-list them once they fit in.

Step 3: Photography

A big part of your shop's branding will be in the form of photography. (Note: You might notice that, right now, my listings don't feature photographed images. I have some photos of my prints on my blog, instagram, and my shop's about page, but if I had to photograph every single print I sell, it would take away a lot of the time I spend designing. Maybe someday that will change, but for right now I find that a digital image works just fine.)

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy: product photography

When taking product photos, here's my 2 cents:

Take pictures that are going to show off your product. This sounds obvious, but take pictures of your product in use or any way that otherwise shows it at it's best. Your photos can convey a lot that you might not be able to in your description–size, color, material, etc.

Take way more pictures than you need. This allows you to sort through and find the very best ones instead of being stuck with only a couple of options.

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy: product photography

I've already mentioned this, but make sure that your photos are consistent with your branding–the props you use, the lighting, background, and editing can all influence the style of your pictures.

Step 4: Advertise

While Etsy does a great job promoting listing and helping people find your shop, simply creating a listing is not enough to sell. You need to advertise! Tell your friends, family, neighbors, and everyone you meet that you're opening a shop. Host a giveaway on your personal social media accounts.

Always carry business cards with you! You never know when you might get the chance to hand one out.

Get involved! Attend local markets and comment on relevant social media.

Hopefully this was helpful and gave you some ideas to consider. Let me know if you have any questions!

Next up: Learn about all the tools Etsy has to help you. Etsy wants you to succeed!

TJ & Brandi | Bridal Pictures

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You may remember seeing TJ and Brandi's engagement pictures here... About an hour before we were supposed to start taking pictures, it started pouring rain. I had my windshield wipers at full speed and just kept praying we would be able to get some decent pictures. We began taking pictures right in front of the Jordan River Temple, the only covered spot available. I kept telling Brandi and TJ that the rain was going to stop and finally, voila!, it did. We rushed out into the open area near the fountain and I started shooting furiously, just in case the rain paid us another visit. I had so much fun taking these pictures. Despite the stress of the rain, there was so much laughter, as you can see in the pictures below. Enjoy!

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TJ & Brandi | Engagement pictures

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I met Brandi while I was serving a mission in Philadelphia. The first day we met, I told her I would design her wedding invitation someday. We were both planning on that being a year or so from now, but I could not be happier for Brandi and TJ and I was so excited to get to take their engagement pictures! We ventured out to Antelope Island, as per TJ's request. I was giddy with delight when I saw all the gorgeous places to shoot. And then we got out of the car. Oh my BUGS! I'm still in amazement that you can't see a single flying critter in any of the pictures. See that blanket? Yeah, it's sole purpose was to afford (albeit limited) protection from the sheets of bugs. I could only take a few pictures in a row before I had to shake the gnats off my arm and out of my nose. It was insane! But this gorgeous couple suffered through it and laughed the whole time.

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finley foo

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This is Finley. She's almost 8. That's a pretty big year for us. 8 is when you are eligible to be baptized as a member of our church. My dad was grilling up some dinner and the lighting was dreamy so I took the chance to snap some pictures of this girlie. She has always been pretty willing to pose for me.

My mom and dad have tried incredibly hard to ingrain the 80s in me. Especially the music. Well, here's an 80s reference for you: She has "the most unbelievable blue eyes I've ever seen."

Finley loves people and has since she was tiny. She loves to serve and entertain. She loves talking to new people and makes it very hard for them to leave.

I was a little surprised she let me take these pictures without brushing her hair first. Ainsley doesn't seem that much older than her and since Ainsley gets to wear make up, Finley thinks she ought to act grown up too. I caught her wearing mascara and told her 7 was too young for that kind of thing. She looked at me incredulously and said in her best sassy tone, "I had a meeting!"

Finley has been able to do the splits since she was 2. It's her favorite party trick. Up until she was 6, she would introduce herself saying, "I'm Finley and I can do the splits!" And down she would go, into perfect little splits. She has recently started taking gymnastics classes. In fact, I think the reason she was outside in the first place was to practice.

This girl is mighty persuasive. Once she knows what she wants, she is unrelenting. She has the art of begging with puppy dog eyes mastered.

For example: See those little stars in her ears? Ainsley and I had to wait until we were 11 to get our ears pierced.

Our neighbors are letting us borrow their keyboard until they get moved into their new house (which happens to be right through our backyard). Finley plays that thing at least 3 times a day. I don't know what she'll do when we have to give it back. Finley has herself convinced that I know how to play the piano. I may be able to read music, but I certainly don't know how to play the piano. I had to mark middle C with a piece of washi tape. I'm not even a little bit kidding. I can figure out the right hand of most of her favorite songs. She can't read music, but she memorizes songs from watching me stumble through them.

My mom and dad have always said that she is a miniature version of me. She is definitely as klutzy as I am. Quite often we will hear a bump, smack, or crash, and before she even has time to process the situation, she yells, "I'm okay!"

You never have to wonder how Finley is feeling. She wears every emotion plainly. She is extremely excitable and just as easily heartbroken.

She is also a goofball. Which makes for entertaining pictures.

Given the choice, Finley would wear leggings every day of the week.

Yup. Goofball. And she loves to put together outfits like this.

She held this pose for a solid minute until she was sure I had taken a picture.

This is about as gangster as she gets.

Finley is extremely tender. If she gets into trouble or thinks she's hurt someone, she's in hysterics.

Here's a better view of that outfit she picked out.

birthday photo shoot

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Since we were gone for Ainsley's birthday, Owen's is tomorrow, and Finley's is at the end of the month, I decided some birthday pictures were in order. Ainsley wanted some pictures with her best friend, Jordan. We like Jordan. She makes our home a happy place. She might move to Washington. And I might cry. We moved around our yard a little bit as the sun was going down, giving us some really spectacular lighting. My favorite spot was in front of my neighbor's worn storage shed. Really it's worth looking through all of them just to find the one of Owen that cracks me up every time I see it.