Kensie Kate

Happy, colorful design & hand lettering


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!

kensie kate guide to selling on etsy | part 1: before you open a shop

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kensie kate guide to selling on etsy part 1 of 6 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!