work | etsy success symposium


hello, hello! as previously mentioned, i went to the etsy success symposium at their headquarters in brooklyn to learn more about the nuts & bolts of having a successful etsy business. there were great speakers and it was nice to meet other crafty people. although most of the presentations i attended are online, here are some highlights -

etsy stats
  • gross merchandise sales : 2005 - $166,000; 2010 - $300 million!
  • members - 7 million
  • sellers - 400,000

elevator pitch

it's essential to be able to concisely answer the question what do you sell? when it comes to your shop and feel good about it. a carefully-crafted sentence or two about what you create will go a long way to helping people understand what makes your products unique. michelle ward's presentation about ascertaining your awesomeness included some thought-provoking questions on the topic and her worksheets can be downloaded -
  • what do you enjoy about being a crafter and the things you make?
  • what do you want to be known for?
  • what difference do you want to make in the lives of your customers?

customer profiles

april bowles provided a great pdf (download worksheet #1) for this exercise and it was eye-opening. although one of your customer profiles might resemble yourself, it's helpful to think of your buyers based on -
  • physical attributes, age, income, gender, marital status, hobbies, beliefs, interests.
  • what problems do your products solve? and yes, buying jewelry, art, etc. does solve problems.
  • what are your customers thinking when they consider purchasing your products? how can you craft your product descriptions to respond to these needs and make them irresistible?
  • circles are great ways to learn more about your customers. who has included you in their circle and the other people they are following can add a lot to your customer profiles.


a compelling story about your products can help sell them, but get to the point. be sure to address the usual product information, but what is interesting and unique about your products? for example, if you're a painter what was your inspiration for the piece? sharing this kind of information will help make a personal connection with your customer and give them a deeper sense of who you are as an artist.

etsy is a visual marketplace, and since buyers can not actually touch and feel the items, strong product photography is essential. although natural lighting is best, day light bulbs can emulate it and there might be a place where you can set up a small studio or light box. one way to see how your photos stack up, is to create a treasury of products you love and then add one of your own. how does it fit in?

many people neglect to market their shops and get discouraged. they think if they build it they will come is all it takes, and with so much competition for discretionary spending in general, the significance of marketing can not be underestimated. some things to consider -
  • keep your pitches to sites, magazines, blogs short and sweet. make them personal and relevant. danielle maveal of etsy suggested listing a spectacular item in your shop even though it might be expensive to garner coverage.
  • incoming links from other sites (backlinks) to your shop are used in google search rankings to measure site relevance (search engine optimization). guest posts, tutorials, targeted giveaways are great ways to increase backlinks, and sales we hope, but for giveaways be sure to include a reason for people to visit by asking them to reference something in your shop, i.e. what is their favorite product, etc?
  • be sure to tag your photos as google does not capture images in its search results nor does it include links from twitter.
  • the first three words in your product title and description are the most important as is proper tagging.

i would recommend accessing lorrie vesasey's presentation & pdf let's get off our 'buts' because she offers great advice and tons of resources, especially for marketing. opening an etsy shop can be a wonderful hobby where you simply recoup your expenses. or, a full-fledged business allowing you to quit your day job. even though there is no simple answer for success (business takes work), i hope these tips are helpful and please let me know if you have any questions.

xo, cindy

ps noah scalin's presentation about generating creative energy was really fun. he turned creating a skull a day for a year into fantastic business generating book deals, art shows and speaking engagements. i thought his most meaningful tip was - perfection is over-rated!


erin said...

lovely recap, cindy!

Jamie said...

Sounds like a great class! I love etsy and want to see it continue to grow.

We Blog Artists said...

Oh...fantastic, thanks for a BRILLIANT and very useful post!

Krissy | Paper Schmaper said...

Very informative post! Thanks Cindy! I need a tattoo of that meaningful tip...

Joyce said...

Cindy, wow thanks for sharing the info!! xo

painted fish studio said...

wow. that's a ton of great information! thanks so much for sharing!

Unknown said...

that was a great symposium I can tell, cool recap!!!

Are you with Etsy!

Bella Sinclair said...

Thanks a bunch! I'm watching the videos now. I'm also trying to look for you in the audience, teeheeheee. :)

Elizabeth said...

Very timely, as I embark on my Etsy shop. :) I hope to enjoy the shop and not make it too stressful for myself.