Thursday, October 4, 2012

New Changes // Getting Our Etsy Shop Holiday Ready

old look
For those of you who have been following the team here at Make. Shop. Live. for a while you have noticed the massive overhaul and major work we have been doing to the company this year. It is hard to believe what we have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time, but it is truly amazing what you can achieve with some determination and the right people in place.

new look
One thing I have realized since we did our re-branding and website redesign this summer is how wonderful things come together when you realize your strengths as well as weaknesses. It is hard when you have a DIY attitude sometimes to admit that there are somethings that maybe you could do but you should enlist someone else to do instead. I am so thankful to have had the pleasure to work with such amazing and talented people such as Sharon Fain of Fain Consulting, Steph of Hearts and Laserbeams, and my wonderful husband Kevin Sears as we put together all of our public image facets of Make. Shop. Live.! If I had not worked with these talented artists there is no way our website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Etsy Shop would all be cohesive and comprehensive in time for the holiday shopping rush. Not only would working on all of these things taken me away from being able to focus on making my crafts, I also wouldn't have been able to elevate the end result to the level achieved using my basic Photoshop and photography skills. I want to take a quick moment to not only thank everyone for their hard work, but to point out that you too have time to enlist the help of a graphic designer, photographer, and social media strategist in time for the holiday business, if you act quickly.

If all you do is tweak your photography, it is amazing how just investing in a few professional shots can elevate your products and brand! Plus, it can actually be more affordable than you'd expect. Here are a few examples of what we have been up to reworking our holiday inventory for 2012-

Upcycled Address Books:
Address Book (Before)

Address Book (After)

Reinbeer Holiday Ornament (Before)
Reinbeer Holiday Ornament (After)

Pincushion Rings:

Pincushion Ring (Before)
Pincushion Ring (After)

We understand that all small businesses run on a tight budget and some aspects (like hiring a graphic designer or photographer) may not be an option for you. We have compiled some suggestions below that can still make a huge difference for your business while being easy enough that you can do it yourself.

You can make a lightbox inexpensively at home with this quick tutorial. Having pictures of your products on a white background help your items make it onto Etsy treasuries helping with sales and other promotions.

Join an Etsy Team or sellers group.

Participate in common interest twitter chats and promotions.

Try a new social media platform like Instagram or Tumblr to gain followers while creating content for your business effortlessly. Here's a post we recently did that explains how easy and effortless it really is.

Promoting others helps promote you! By creating your own treasuries on Etsy not only do you do something nice for your fellow artists but your treasury can be seen and promoted by tons of other folks. Another great tip for spreading the love, while making treasuries know what types of products and pricing are on the market. Sometimes you can realize a gap in services and be inspired to make something that isn't yet available just by seeing what is already out there.

Send a handwritten letters to family and friends that you have been neglecting. It is always nice to receive a letter in the mail and what better way to spread the warm fuzzies then with a thoughtful note. By writing someone a letter that you haven't spoken with in a while you put your life in perspective and you realize just what things matter to you and what goals/plans you may have. I find that while writing people concisely what your plans are, you ultimately cut out the fluff and streamline what works and doesn't work for you.

Take a well deserved break and ask for help! No one expects you to be a craft super hero. If you begin to feel overwhelmed or a task is getting out of control for you, ask a peer for help/suggestions/critique to manage your task. They may just come up with a solution that blows yours outta the water and cuts the time! Then, you can cross promote both parties involvement and the collaboration becomes a win-win for everyone!!

And lastly, I must stress this one: force yourself to try something new that is stimulating each week. Maybe it's trying a new computer task like a plug-in or program, or maybe it is going to a place or event you have never been to. There has been so many times I have wanted to flake out on something that has been an invaluable and inspirational experience. If I had allowed myself to skip something I had planned on I would have missed out majorly. Life has a wonderful way of presenting exactly what you need to you. Make yourself available for these opportunities to come to you and welcoming new things by being flexible. You never know when opportunity comes knocking until you open the door!

I hope this info is helpful for you. If you have any additional advice or helpful tips to get others inspired and ready for the holidays feel free to leave the info in our comments section. :)

I hope to see you at CAFAM's Etsy Craft Night tonight!!!


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