Autumn Lane Paperie got its start on Etsy, like many businesses do. Etsy is & has been amazing to us — not only is the dashboard super easy to use, but Etsy has been super attentive to our needs when we have questions or when issues arise. We’re really happy with how things have gone with Etsy, and the clients it’s helped us reach. We’ve found that there’s a little bit of a negative stigma around doing business with Etsy, though. People seem to have their own ideas about what an Etsy business is, or is not.
Incorrect Assumption #1: You’re not a real business.
I still encounter this a lot, where people assume that because you’re using Etsy as a method of setting up a storefront, it means you aren’t a legitimate, full-time business. Tell that to a six-figure business doing this seven days a week! A lot of shop owners use Etsy *with* their website, or even open up a shop after they’ve established their own website. Simply because not everyone has the capital or inclination to go out on their own doesn’t make their Etsy shop any less of a business. Furthermore, when you sign up for Etsy as a seller, you *must* provide tax information. Sorry, but that seems legit to me!
Incorrect Assumption #2: You are obviously a hobby shop.
No, not like a hobby shop crafty type of store…I’m talking about a shop that someone has opened up because they have a hobby and want to profit from it. This assumption also ties in with #1 — not all Etsy shops are opened because the owner has a hobby that they’d like to profit from. I’ve had conversations with folks before and when we mention that we’re on Etsy, they’ve said, “Oh, I didn’t know you were doing it part-time.” or “It must be nice to have a hobby that pays well!”
I’m not sure what it is about the mention of the word Etsy and people tying it to hobbies or part-time work, but so many shop owners rely solely on Etsy to have a paycheck! We don’t rely solely on Etsy now (we did before) but at least half of our income is a direct result of sales on Etsy. We also work morning, noon, and night…and although we don’t communicate with clients 7 days a week, you best believe we’re working on something for the business.
It’s not a hobby — it’s how we put food on the table for our family. Period.
How to “Legitimize” Your Etsy Shop
Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do about the assumptions people make if you’re an Etsy business owner, but there are a few things you can do to set yourself apart — if your Etsy shop is your bread + butter, treat it better and be freakin’ proud of it!
Whether it’s with us, or someone else, brand yourself! Make it obvious and known throughout your Etsy shop. Etsy allows you to use a large cover photo and an avatar, which are great places to get your brand in front of people’s faces. You can also use such things as custom or reserved Etsy listings that are also branded for your business. If it’s feasible to put your brand on all product images, either by keeping the same layout on each photograph or putting a watermark there, do it. Often, being branded appropriately can make or break the sale — it shows that you are taking the time to give your business the best start possible and that you’re taking it seriously by trying to establish consistency and cohesion for your business.
WRITE MO’ BETTER.
Funny, huh? Seriously, though. Take the time to write your product listing details. Take the time to give people a solid introduction to your shop. Let’s not forget, introduce yourself, too! It is 100% possible to write well AND still inject your personality into it so that it’s not boring and sterile. Spend the extra time on it, because these prospective clients? They’re judgin’ you. Similarly, make sure you have a solid policies section.
Etsy gives you tips for your images — take the tips seriously, and do it. Product presentation is going to be HUGE when it comes to setting yourself apart. Think about it…if you are searching for penguin salt & pepper shakers and you find identical listings them, same price, but different product pictures, you’ll probably pick the one that looks the best, right? The one that has the best lighting, cleanest images, and clearly displays the product….not the one that is like Nokia cell phone quality, dimly lit, and painful to look at. This is another small detail that will have a huge impact on whether someone chooses to click that “buy” button.
Find a way to communicate better through messages. Some people have a real knack for making an e-mail sound fabulous and fun. And then, others seem a little drab and unexcited. I know, I know — reading tone into an e-mail…who does that?! Um, how about everyone?? You’ve been there. Your significant other sends a text to you that simply says “ok” — no punctuation, nothing else, and you’re all… “ok???” Ok like, great? Or ok like, leave me alone I’m busy?
Don’t forget your punctuation in your communications. Always ensure that you’ve found a way that jives with your personality to let people know you’re excited or happy to hear from them. It makes for a more positive experience for the customer. It also means they’re much more likely to refer you, and so on.
What are some misconceptions that you hear about an Etsy business, and how do you deal with them?