Etsy Success Writing Workshop

Recently Etsy promoted a writing workshop.  If you missed it, not to worry – you can still watch it online!
Turn your shop and your descriptions into pages that people stay and read, not just skim and move on.  You’re more likely to have return customers, and sales.

Click on the link below to watch:

Etsy Success Writing Workshop

mtraubStory by mtraub

Published on May 4, 2011 in Seller Handbook

Photo by thePhotoZoo

Update: For those who missed the workshop, scroll down to watch the recording or find it on our Livestream channel! Be sure to download and print out the worksheet.

As one of the editors for the Etsy Blog and a long-time shopper, I’m trawling your profiles and item descriptions all day long, and let me tell you, it is a sad state of affairs! To me, a lackluster piece of text misses the point of Etsy. Your MFA and press mentions are all well and good, but I’m far more persuaded to buy your resin sculpture because of your weekend zydeco band and passion for coleslaw.

When you hold an heirloom in your palm, you can feel the soft weight of familial mythology, vivid memories, engaging anecdotes. The object’s value transcends its physicality and becomes a treasured vessel of storytelling. How do you apply the power of the narrative to your shop’s creations and collections?  Join me for a writing workshop focused on telling your story in your profile, your item descriptions, your blog posts, and your tweets. On Etsy, you have a unique shopping audience that’s actually yearning for a good schmooze. Are your words living up to your compelling potential?

We’ll spend an evening applying fundamental tools of storytelling to your shop, exercising new creative muscles in the craft of wordplay, and exchanging feedback that will serve you no matter what new, shiny communication platform comes out tomorrow.

The transformation will be magical! Right: Excerpt of AdrienArt‘s exemplary profile.

Click on the link below to view:

When: Wednesday, May 4 from 7 – 8:30 p.m. ET
Where: Etsy Labs at 55 Washington Street, Suite 712 (7th floor) Brooklyn, NY


Community Advice: Tagging Woes

Community Advice: Tagging Woes

daniellexoStory by daniellexo

Published on Apr 18, 2011 in Seller Handbook

Photo by Oldies But Goodies

Today I was browsing the Etsy Success Team forum and I saw a thread titled “Tags are the bane of my existence.” I thought, surely I can help. The seller who started this thread, Ecobota, sells dried and pressed botanical art. What category should this work go in and what tags should she use to get people finding her work? 

Most of the tips I share have been picked up from an Etsy teammate (a big thank you goes out to MICE and EtsyMetal for rockin’ my socks back in the day), from chatting with other successful sellers online and at events, or from one of my crafty coworkers. I put a lot of this advice to use when I ran my full-time biz, and I saw what worked and what didn’t. And now, as Etsy’s Seller Education coordinator, I keep my eye on your shops and see how you grow. Now let’s get down to business and help Ecobota.

Botanical Art from Ecobata.

Before I had a chance to strike a single key, AndersonBraid responded with a few thoughtful and intuitive tips: 

“Definitely [the] ART [category].  

“I stopped relying on Google Analytics to see what keywords people were using to get to me. Now I use Craftopolis. Craftopolis will tell you exactly which of your tags brought in the views. 

“For keyword/tag selection, try Google Adwords. Check out this informative video post by Everything Etsy blog to see how it works. It’s a bit long, but very helpful. 

“Etsy also puts out a monthly merchandising report that’s great for trend and keyword ideas. There are a few April trends that would apply to your work. Here’s this month’s [report]

“Another place I look for commonly used keywords is on the Treasury page. There is a list on the right hand side of the page with popular keywords/tags.

“Good luck!”

There you have it. Great (and succinct) advice from a fellow seller given on the same evening the call for help was posted. Gotta love our community!

The Etsy Success Team is open to everyone. We just surpassed 5,000 members and would love you to join us!  Come on by and let’s chat. 

Etsy Success

photo by PhotoGrunt
Join us for an interactive workshop exploring how to fuel your creative business using the challenges of modern DIY entrepreneurship. Instead of focusing on the difficulties of building a business, find out how to tap into your DIY ethic to create exciting ideas and opportunities for your business. Read about how to attend online, or in person on the Etsy Blog


photo by ATeaLeaf
Free and open to the public on April 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. PT. Find out more on the Etsy Blog


photo by OptimisticArt
I’ve scoured the small business blogosphere to find these five must-read posts:
Find out what other two blog posts I recommend in this team thread. 

7 Ways to Establish That Your Art Has Value

7 Ways to Establish That Your Art Has Value

by Alyson Stanfield on March 30, 2011

Whether or not you have a sales track record for your art, you can still take actions to show people that your art has value. Here are seven ways.

Alyson Champ, Omelette. Oil on linen.Alyson Champ, Omelette. Oil on linen, 20 x 24 inches. ©The Artist

1. Make great art.

I mean really great art. The kind of art that makes the heavens sing. Don’t settle for mediocre or “good enough” where your work is concerned. It’s time to stand out!

2. Treat your art with care.

One of the first newsletters I wrote back in 2002 begged you to treat your art like it belongs in a museum. I repeat this mantra often. This means keeping a detailed inventory, using high-quality materials, handling (and shipping) your art with great care, and talking about it with respect. This brings me to . . .

3. Don’t ever belittle your art.

Don’t talk disparagingly about what you have created. Don’t point out the flaws. Don’t reveal how easy it was to make.

4. Speak the words “I’m an artist” with confidence.

Learn to talk about yourself and your art like the pro you are. Spend lots of time writing your artist statement and honing the words you use to define your art. The rest of the world is waiting for you to embrace your role.

(Heads up: THIS is what my October 15-16 workshop in Golden, Colorado will be all about. Save the date!)

5. Keep a price list handy.

Don’t appear to be grasping for figures when someone asks you a price. Print out your price list so that you can refer quickly to the numbers. Making up prices on the spot (or not showing confidence in the number you give) doesn’t instill confidence.

6. Maintain a list of collectors and collections.

You won’t have a long list immediately, but you will steadily grow your connections. People will be impressed when you tell them you sold 24 pairs of earrings, 10 bracelets, and 14 necklaces at your recent show. But imagine if you had a list of all your buyers. That’s a visual!

Better yet: Snap photos of buyers in your booth wearing their new jewelry or showing off their new painting.

7. Mention your venues and galleries.

Potential buyers gain confidence knowing that your work has been given a stamp of approval by professionals who exhibit art.

Practice these ideas whenever you can in order to establish value for your art. It’s not just for your potential collectors. Each one of these suggestions will help you gain confidence in your work.

How do you relate to yourself and to others that your art has value?

The Art Of ReUSE Contest

What are you ReUsing? Submit your project for a chance to win!

Green is Universal has partnered with, the world’s handmade marketplace and destination for eco-friendly, upcycled and recycled products.

Prizes include gift cards, green merchandise packs, and an all-expenses paid family trip to Universal Studios Orlando!

To enter your project:

Create an account by clicking on “Login.” Once you create an account and login, go to “My Account” and then click on “NEW PROJECT” under My Projects.

Already a member? Login, go to “My Account” and then click on “NEW PROJECT” under My Projects.

If you’re not the DIY type, check back on April 9th to vote for your favorite projects and enter our sweepstakes to win a $500 Etsy shopping spree!

March 28, 2011 – April 8, 2011

The Green is Universal Contest (“Contest”) is open only to persons who are permanent, legal residents of, and physically located within, one (1) of the fifty (50) United States (“U.S.”) or D.C., who are eighteen (18) years of age or older and the age of majority as of the start of the Contest Period (as defined below). Employees of Green Is Universal, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112 (“Sponsor”), and respective parent and subsidiary companies, the Administrator (as defined below), as well as advertising, promotional and fulfillment agencies of each of them (individually and collectively, the “Contest Entities”) and members of their households and immediate families (defined as parent, child, spouse, siblings and the spouses of each) are all ineligible to participate in the Contest. Neither the Contest Entities, nor any of their officers, directors, shareholders, employees, agents or representatives are responsible for Entries (as defined below) from persons residing, or physically located, outside the fifty (50) U.S. or D.C.; entries that are altered, delayed, deleted, destroyed, forged, fraudulent, illegible, improperly accessed, inaccurate, incomplete, interrupted, irregular in any way, late, lost, misrouted, multiple, mutilated, non-delivered, stolen, tampered with, unauthorized, unintelligible, or otherwise not in compliance with these Official Rules; or for lost, interrupted or unavailable network, server, Internet Service Provider, Website or other connections; miscommunications; failed computer, satellite, telephone or cable transmissions, lines or technical failure; failed phone, computer hardware or software, failures, technical errors or difficulties; telephone transmissions; technical failures; unauthorized human intervention; traffic congestion; garbled or jumbled transmissions; undeliverable emails resulting from any form of active or passive email filtering; insufficient space in Entrant’s (as defined below) email account to receive email; or other errors of any kind, whether due to electronic, human, mechanical, printing, production or technical errors or other causes; even if caused by the negligence of any of the Contest Entities. Each of such potential Entries will be disqualified. Contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law and is subject to all applicable federal, state, local and municipal laws and regulations.


You may enter this Contest by logging onto and follow the provided instructions. You must provide all information requested. Contest will be conducted during the period commencing at 12:00:01 A.M. ET, March 28, 2011 and ending at 11:59:59 P.M. ET, April 8, 2011 (“Contest Period”). For purposes of these Official Rules, all times and dates are Eastern Time (“ET”). Limit: one (1) Entry per person/household/address per day during the Contest Period.


The purpose of this Contest is for the entrant (“Entrant”) to submit either a video that is two (2) minutes or less (“Video”) OR before, during, and after photographs that show how you recycle/reuse/upcycle an item to keep it out of the landfill (“Entry”). Item should be from one (1) of the following categories: Home Décor, Fashion, Jewelry, Toys, Games, Gadgets or Pets. Items must be “found objects” that are traditionally thrown away at the end of the lifecycle (i.e., plastic bottles, plastic bags, cardboard boxes, cartons, old clothing, etc.). New materials should not be purchased to serve as the primary building material for the Entry. Video must be no longer than two (2) minutes in length and must be an embedded link from an existing video site (YouTube or similar). Only the first two (2) minutes will be judged.


(a) Content and Originality: Each Entry must be the original work of the Entrant, may not have been previously published and may not have won previous awards.

(b) No Names and Likeness Without Permission: Entries must not: use individuals’ names, in whole or in part (except for the Entrant’s first name); refer to public figures; or contain materials embodying the names, likenesses, or other identifying elements of any person, living, or dead without permission.

(c) No Illegal, Offensive or Inappropriate Content: Entries must not, in the sole and unfettered judgment of the Sponsor, contain words, images or statements considered offensive to individuals of any race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic group nor contain material that is unlawful, sexually explicit, libelous or content that potentially infringes on third party rights. Content must be in keeping with Sponsor’s reputation and image, at Sponsor’s sole discretion. (All of the above requirements and criteria collectively named the “Requirements & Clearances”). Any failure to meet the Requirements & Clearances may result in disqualification subject to Sponsor’s sole discretion.

5. Entrant’s Warranty and Authorization to Sponsor:

By submitting an Entry, Entrant warrants and represents that the Entry has been created by the Entrant as an original work, and all required third party releases (if any) have been obtained in writing and that the Entrant consents to the Entry and to its posting on the Internet in connection with the Contest.

6. Judging:

Between April 9, 2011 and April 15, 2011 (the “Voting Period”), all eligible Entries will be randomly posted on for the public to vote on their favorite Entry. After the Voting Period is over, the ten (10) Entries with the highest number of public votes will be judged by an independent judging panel selected by the Sponsor (“Judges”) based on the following criteria: relevance to item category (50%) and originality and creativity (50%). The Judges will select one (1) potential grand prize winner (“Grand Prize Winner”), one (1) potential second prize winner (“Second Prize Winner”) and one (1) potential third prize winner (“Third Prize Winner”) and together with Grand Prize Winner and Second Prize Winner will be referred to herein as “Winners”). In the event of a tie, the tied-Entry with the highest originality and creativity score will be deemed the winner. Judges decisions are final and binding on all matters relating to the Contest.

7. Prizes and approximate retail values (“ARV”):

There will be one (1) grand prize (“Grand Prize”) awarded to the Grand Prize Winner. Grand Prize consists of an opportunity to have winning Entry mentioned on the TODAY show (subject to availability) and a four (4) day / three (3) night trip for Grand Prize Winner and up to three (3) guests (each a “Guest” or “Guests” collectively) to Orlando, Florida (“City”) on Sponsor-selected dates (“Trip”). Trip consists of: [1] hotel accommodations (two standard rooms/double occupancy, including room tax) for three (3) nights (“Hotel”); [2] three (3) day Universal Park (“Park”) passes for Grand Prize Winner and Guests (“Park Passes”); [3] transportation to and from Hotel and Park; [4] if Grand Prize Winner’s residence is located more than two hundred fifty (250) miles from City, round-trip coach air transportation for Grand Prize Winner and Guests on a Sponsor-selected carrier between a Sponsor-selected major metropolitan airport near Grand Prize Winner’s residence to a Sponsor-selected major airport in or near City; but if Grand Prize Winner’s residence is located two hundred fifty (250) miles or less from City, then round-trip ground transportation for Grand Prize Winner and Guests via a Sponsor-selected method between Grand Prize Winner’s residence and City. Approximate Retail Value (“ARV”) of Grand Prize is five thousand, three hundred and thirty-three dollars ($5,333), which will vary depending upon points of departure and destination and seasonal fluctuation of hotel rates and airfares. All taxes and expenses not specifically mentioned herein are not included and are solely the Grand Prize Winner’s responsibility, including but not limited to: round trip transportation between the winner’s residence and any airport of origin, alcoholic beverages, faxes, food, gratuities and tips, insurance, laundry service, merchandise, parking, room service, service charges, souvenirs and telephone calls. Sponsor will furnish an Internal Revenue Service Form 1099 to the Grand Prize Winner for the actual retail value of the Grand Prize for the tax year in which the Grand Prize Trip was taken. Travel and lodging are subject to availability, certain restrictions, blackout dates and Sponsor’s approval. Airline carrier and hotel regulations and conditions apply. Grand Prize Winner must take Trip on Sponsor-selected dates, or Grand Prize will be forfeited in its entirety and, at Sponsor’s discretion, awarded to an alternate winner. Travel must be made through Sponsor’s agent and Sponsor shall determine airline and flight itinerary in its sole discretion. Sponsor is not responsible for airline cancellations or delays. If the actual value of a prize is less than the stated ARV, the difference will not be awarded.

Travel arrangements must be made through SponsorsSponsor’s agent, on a carrier of SponsorsSponsor’s choice. SponsorsSponsor have has the right in their its sole discretion to substitute ground transportation for air transportation depending on Grand Prize Winner’s place of residence. Grand Prize Winner and Guests must travel together on the same itinerary, including the same departure date, destination and return date, and must have valid travel documents (e.g., valid government issued photo ID and/or passport) prior to departure, and failure to do so will result in forfeiture of Prize. SponsorsSponsor will not replace any lost or stolen tickets, travel vouchers or certificates. Once travel commences, no unscheduled stopovers are permitted; if an unscheduled stopover occurs, full fare will be charged from stopover point for the remaining segments, including return, of the trip. SponsorsSponsor are is not liable for any expenses incurred as a consequence of flight cancellation/delay. Trip may not be combined with any other offer and travel may not qualify for frequent flyer miles. Park Passes are subject to certain terms and conditions as specified thereon and by applicable issuer. All travel and lodging will be at the risk of Grand Prize Winner and Guests. Grand Prize Winner is solely responsible for all expenses and costs associated with acceptance and/or use of Prize not specifically stated herein as being awarded, including, without limitation any and all taxes and other expenses, costs, or fees associated with the acceptance and/or use of Grand Prize, travel insurance, ground transportation (other than as described above), security and airport fees, taxes, insurance, gasoline, meals, gratuities, and souvenirs. SponsorsSponsor shall have the right, but not the obligation, to make any deductions and withholdings that SponsorsSponsor deems necessary or desirable under applicable federal, state and local tax laws, rules, regulations, codes or ordinances. Sponsor shall have no responsibility or liability for cancellations, delays, or any other change by any company or person providing any element of Grand Prize, and are not responsible or liable for any expenses incurred as a consequence thereof. If Grand Prize Winner chooses to take the Trip with fewer than three (3) Guests, or no Guests, the remaining elements of Prize shall constitute full satisfaction of SponsorsSponsor’s Prize obligation to Grand Prize Winner and no additional compensation will be awarded.


There will be one (1) second prize (“Second Prize”) awarded to the Second Prize Winner. Second Prize consists of a gift basket from the NBC Experience store, including store merchandise and a variety of environmentally friendly gifts (merchandise/gifts selected by Sponsor). ARV of Second Prize is two hundred and fifty dollars ($250). Second Prize will be awarded “as is” with no warranty or guarantee, either express or implied by Sponsor.


There will be one (1) third prize (“Third Prize”) awarded to the Third Prize Winner. Third Prize consists of a fifty dollar ($50) gift card to Gift card is subject to all restrictions, limitations, terms and conditions as specified by applicable issuer. ARV of Third Prize is fifty dollars ($50).

Grand Prize, Second Prize, and Third Prize herein referred to as “Prize” or “Prizes”. Total ARV of all Prizes: five thousand, six hundred and thirty three dollars ($5,633). Limit one (1) Prize per person/household/address. All details of Prize will be determined by SponsorsSponsor in their its sole discretion. Any depiction of Prizes is for illustrative purposes only. Prizes are not redeemable for cash or transferable, except Grand Prize is transferable to a surviving spouse residing in the same household. No substitution allowed except, at Sponsor’s sole discretion, a Prize of equal or greater value may be substituted. Sponsor will not replace any lost, mutilated or stolen tickets, travel vouchers, certificates or Prizes. Prize elements may not be separated. Airline tickets issued in conjunction with the Grand Prize are not eligible for frequent flyer miles, and no code share flights may be used. Grand Prize cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotion or offer. Prizes will be awarded provided a sufficient number of eligible Entries are received and Prizes are validly claimed by June 30, 2011, after which no alternate winners will be selected, nor unclaimed Prizes awarded.

8. Verification of Winners:

Winners will be notified by phone or email as the primary means, and overnight mail as the secondary means on or about April 21, 2011. At the sole discretion of the Sponsor, disqualification, forfeiture and the selection of an alternate winner may result from any of the following: [1] the return of any notice or Prize as undeliverable; [2] a potential Winner’s failure to provide Sponsor with satisfactory proof of age, identity and residency; [3] potential Grand Prize Winner’s failure to execute and return an Affidavit of Eligibility/Liability/Publicity Release within five (5) business days after it is mailed; [4] potential Grand Prize Winner’s failure to be available to make the Trip on Sponsor-selected dates; [5] a potential Winner’s failure to validly claim any Prize by June 30, 2011; and [6] any other non-compliance with these Official Rules. In the event of any Prize forfeiture, the Sponsor may, in its sole discretion, award or not award the forfeited Prize to an alternate winner. Grand Prize Winner and Guests will be required to execute a Release of Liability prior to ticketing. Guests must be the age of majority in their state of residency on the date that Grand Prize is awarded or Grand Prize Winner must be the parent or legal guardian of Guest(s).

9. Limitations:

All Entries must be received by 11:59:59 P.M. ET on April 8, 2011. Entries are limited to one (1) Entry per person/household/address per day regardless of whether one (1) person has more than one (1) address or more than one (1) person uses the same address. In event of a dispute regarding the identity of the person submitting an Entry, the Entry will be deemed to be submitted by the person in whose name the address is registered. Any use of automated or programmed methods of effecting Entry is prohibited.

10. Conditions:

By entering the Contest, each Entrant agrees for Entrant and for Entrant’s heirs, executors, and administrators (a) to release and hold harmless Contest Entities and their respective officers, directors, and employees (collectively, “Released Parties”) from any liability, illness, injury, death, loss, litigation, or damage that may occur, directly or indirectly, whether caused by negligence or not, from such Entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or his/her acceptance, possession, use, or misuse of Prize or any portion thereof (including any travel related thereto); (b) to indemnify Released Parties from any and all liability resulting or arising from the Contest and to hereby acknowledge that Released Parties have neither made nor are in any manner responsible or liable for any warranty, representation, or guarantee, express or implied, in fact or in law, relative to Prize, including express warranties provided exclusively by Prize supplier that are sent along with Prize; (c) if selected as a Winner, to the posting of such Entrant’s name on Website and the use by Released Parties of such name, voice, image, and/or likeness for publicity, promotional, and advertising purposes in any and all media now or hereafter known, throughout the world in perpetuity, without additional compensation, notification, permission, or approval, and, upon request, to the giving of consent, in writing, to such use; and (d) to be bound by these Official Rules and to waive any right to claim any ambiguity or error therein or in the Contest itself, and to be bound by all decisions of the Sponsor, which are binding and final. Failure to comply with these conditions may result in disqualification from the Contest at Sponsor’s sole discretion.

11. Additional terms:

Sponsor reserves the right to permanently disqualify from any promotion any person they believe has intentionally violated these Official Rules. Any attempt to deliberately damage the Contest or the operation thereof is unlawful and subject to legal action by Sponsor, who may seek damages to the fullest extent permitted by law. The failure of Sponsor to comply with any provision of these Official Rules due to an act of God, hurricane, war, fire, riot, earthquake, terrorism, act of public enemies, actions of governmental authorities outside of the control of Sponsor (excepting compliance with applicable codes and regulations), or other “force majeure” event will not be considered a breach of these Official Rules. Released Parties assume no responsibility for any injury or damage to Entrants’ or to any other person’s computer relating to or resulting from entering or downloading materials or software in connection with the Contest. Released Parties are not responsible for telecommunications, network, electronic, technical, or computer failures of any kind; for inaccurate transcription of entry information; for errors in any promotional or marketing materials or in these Official Rules; for any human or electronic error; or for entries that are stolen, misdirected, garbled, delayed, lost, late, damaged, or returned. Sponsor reserves the right to cancel, modify, or suspend the Contest or any element thereof (including, without limitation, these Official Rules) without notice in any manner and for any reason (including, without limitation, in the event of any unanticipated occurrence that is not fully addressed in these Official Rules). In the event of cancellation, modification, or suspension, Sponsor reserves the right to select Winners in a random drawing from among all eligible, non-suspect entries received prior to the time of the event warranting such cancellation, modification, or suspension. Notice of such cancellation, modification, or suspension will be posted at Website. Sponsor may prohibit any Entrant or potential Entrant from participating in the Contest, if such Entrant or potential Entrant shows a disregard for these Official Rules; acts with an intent to annoy, abuse, threaten, or harass any other Entrant, Sponsor, or Sponsor’s agents or representatives; or behaves in any other disruptive manner (as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion).



12. Official rules & winners list:

For a Winners list (available after April 21, 2011) and/or a copy of these Official Rules (available after March 28, 2011), send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Green is Universal Contest, PMB 683, 10736 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90230 or just for Official Rules visit:

13. Administrator:

Ventura Associates Intl LLC, 1040 Sixth Avenue, New York, NY 10018, an independent judging organization whose decisions are final and binding with respect to this Contest.


Entrants will have the opportunity to receive information from Sponsor and selected partners by checking the appropriate box(es). If, at any time, you no longer wish to receive materials from Sponsor or our partners, please go to our privacy policy, located at, or the applicable partner’s privacy policy and follow the procedures indicated.

4 ways to make your products more niche

By megan auman on March 22, 2011

I hear it at craft shows and trade shows all the time, “You’re so lucky you make X, because I make Y and so does everybody else.”

Regardless of whether you’re a jeweler, potter, or photographer, you probably feel the same way – like you’re in a very crowded product category.

{image via The Great Northern on Etsy}

The great thing about sites like Etsy is that the barrier to entry is so low that you can start a business really easily.  But the bad thing is that so can anyone else.

With each passing day, more and more people throw their hat in the ring when it comes to running a craft business.

And as your category gets more and more crowded, it can be a struggle to get your products to stand out.

But getting your products to stand out in the sea of jewelry, soap, photography, or screen printed t-shirts is essential if you want your business to be a success.

So how do you stand out in a crowded product category?

By focusing your products on a niche.

Focusing on a niche means picking out a specialized corner of the market and diving in.  It means making products for one special person, instead of making average products for average people.

Diving into a niche can be scary.  It can mean alienating a lot of people.  But it can also mean endearing yourself to a small, but passionate group of fans.

Making your products more niche doesn’t mean you have to completely abandon everything you’ve designed.  Instead, you can make your products more niche by focusing on one of four areas – material, subject matter, aesthetic or style, and branding.

Niche by material

When you look at your product category, are you working with the same material as everyone else?  Is there a dominant material in your product category?

While I understand that some categories (like pottery) are more limited in their material options, for others, like jewelry, the sky’s the limit.

And picking one signature, and unusual, material can be a great way to build a niche for your products.

Juliet Ames, who studied craft and jewelry in college, has a wide range of techniques in her repertoire.  But she’s built a business working with one unusual material – broken plates.

By embracing an unusual material, Juliet has created plenty of buzz and recognition for her jewelry.

Niche by subject matter

Can you sum up the subject matter of your designs in one sentence?  How about one word?

Or does your product line span a dictionary’s worth of topics?

A great way to create a niche product, regardless of the materials you work with, is to focus on one unique subject matter.

At the Etsy Success Symposium a few weeks ago, I was introduced to The Great Northern.  After struggling to sell embroidery on Etsy, the designers decided to only create pieces that pertain to the cult classic TV show Twin Peaks.

Now, they have a clear focus for their marketing efforts, and a group of loyal fans.

Niche by aesthetic or style

Is there a dominant aesthetic in your product category?  Does your work have a similar style to just about everything else on the market?

Another way to get your products to stand out is to find the dominant style in your niche, and do the opposite.

A quick browse through the photography listings on Etsy reveals soft, vintage-y images.  It’s not surprising – the photographers who originiated that style saw a lot of early success, leading to a wave of copycats.

But if I was a photographer looking to stand out, I would focus on dark, hard-edged images.

Niche by branding

Even if you love everything about your products, and don’t want to change, there’s still a way to carve out a niche for yourself through your branding.

On the surface, the I Believe in Myself bracelets from Pincurl Girls are just simple beaded bracelets.  But paired with fun characters and informational booklets, they become tools for empowering pre-teen girls.  It’s not the product, but the message behind it, that gives the brand a definitive niche.

Standing out in your product category doesn’t mean you have to niche your products in every way I’ve just described.  In fact, niche by all of them is probably overkill.

Instead, look at your current products and skill sets and ask yourself if there’s a way to dive deeper into a niche in one of these areas.

As makers, we have a seemingly infinite number of skills, techniques, and ideas at our disposal.  But as business people, it’s critical that we focus our attention on something a little narrower in order to make our products stand out.

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Frustrated with running your business? Feeling doubtful or broken down? How do you stay commited and on track – honing the craft of running a small business?  John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing compares running a commitment filled business to honing a craft in this must read blog post.
Drawing Lab workshop Did you miss Carla Sonheim’s live drawing how-to? Not to worry! Take a break from your usual day-to-day activities and loosen up those free drawing skills and view it online right here
Image by oktak
Guide To Twitter: Rethink Everything

I caught this question in the Etsy Success Forums, “I thought tweeting your listings was a good way to market oneself?” In short, the answer to this would be “No.”  Actually, with each item listing tweet, you could be losing Twitter-cred. The very best resource for Etsy sellers curious about using Twitter effectively, is this guide by another seller, CopperLeafStudios

From Etsy’s Merchandising Desk

From Etsy‘s Merchandising Desk: March(ing) Into Spring

marymary Story by marymary

Published on Feb 8, 2011 in Seller Handbook

Photo by Kristybee

According to Punxsutawney Phil, spring will be here before we know it. Today we’ll share our merchandising tips for March. It is our goal to create a healthy balance between promotions for traditional holidays, seasonal changes, cultural events, and lifestyle trends all while keeping you in the know with ideas, tips, and inspiration for the way you think about merchandising your Etsy business.

Rounding Out February:
Keep up with February’s seasonal themes, holidays and trends in the February edition of Merchandising Desk.

Promotional Opportunities for Sellers:

  1. Create and tag treasuries fitting February’s merchandising themes for a chance to have your collection featured on Etsy’s homepage or linked from promotional emails. Additionally, sharing these collections via your social networks during these relevant times will help increase traffic and engagement around your items and shop. Tip: We’re looking to introduce a wider variety of unisex, men-centric, and vintage niches into the more regular rotation. Make sure to tag lists appropriately for the best return.
  2. Update Your Location: Make sure your items can be found in Etsy’s Shop Local feature and Local Search by filling in your country, city, state.  Be sure to choose an automatically suggested location for your listings to appear correctly in buying features that use location data to surface items. 
  3. Stay on top of success tips and opportunities as they arise by signing up for the Etsy Success Newsletter.

Stay Engaged in March
Our central merchandising topics this month will focus on the coming of spring. Below you’ll find the extended list of topics we plan to reference. While emphasis will be placed upon the seasonality of the Northern Hemisphere, it’s important to remember the Southern Hemisphere is preparing for autumn. Maintaining seasonally appropriate options year-round is good practice for boosting international and overall sales.

  • Intro to Spring: March brings the spring equinox and a lighter outlook with it. Think in terms of how you can market towards and contribute to seasonal activities like spring cleaning, spring fashion, spring break, spring planting, a fresh outlook, rejuvenation and splashes of light, bright color.
  • Gardening: It’s time to go outdoors and cultivate nature. Trends this season center around tools, plant markers, composting solutions, gloves, scrubs, seeds, plantable papers, organic methods, farmers markets, seasonality, planting calendars, tips and recipes.
  • Saint Patrick’s Day: Parties, celebrations, parades, touches of green, shamrocks, feasting, beer drinking and a nod to the Irish.
  • Etsy’s Euro Week: We’ll be celebrating the 2nd annual Etsy Euro Week this month from Monday the 21st through Friday the 25th. Stay tuned for more details on how to get involved in this growing event and check out the festivities from Etsy’s 2010 Euro Week.
  • The World in Sports: Time for both college basketball and baseball spring training. Think in terms of teams, colors, brackets, predictions and wagers.
  • April Fools: Practical jokes, gag gifts and emphasis on the sillier side of handmade and vintage.
  • Easter and Mother’s Day: Now is the time to plan ahead for holidays right around the corner — Mothering Sunday: April 3, Easter: April 24, and Mother’s Day: May 8. Tag appropriate items with related terms and list your items for these holidays now. Press and media outlets are in the process of finalizing print features and will be looking for content to populate web features well in advance of the actual holidays.
  • Fashion: Spring fashion will emphasize basics, dresses, bags in lighter materials, sunglasses, hair accessories, jewelry and the return of open-toe shoes.
  • Home Updates: Spring cleaning, organizational solutions, DIY projects and functional furniture.
  • Weddings and Celebrations: Try expanding your line of wedding offerings by considering the planning process from ring shopping all the way through the honeymoon — how can your unique point of view be threaded throughout?
  • Aquamarine is March’s birthstone, and March’s astrological signs are Pisces and Aries (Pisces: February 20 – March 20, Aries: March 21 – April 20).

Current Trends:

  • Gadget accessories: With the recent iPhone and iPad availability at Verizon, accessories for smartphones and tablets are on the rise.
  • World in sports: College basketball brackets and spring training (baseball).
  • Glass domes, terrariums, succulent plants, garden markers, and planters.
  • Fashion: Safari, nautical, American classics, tribal influence. Large beads and natural stones. Bold colors, intricate weaves and patterns. Lightweight materials: linens, canvas, cotton knits
  • Animals: Rabbits, honey bees, woodland and sea creatures.
  • The beard and its many variations have transcended the mustache in popularity!
  • Food trends: Year of the homemade pie, whoopie pie, and macaron.
  • Writable surfaces: Chalkboard, whiteboard, fingerprints.
  • Vintage designer pieces and collectibles, namely in fashion and bikes/auto.
  • Personalization: Monograms, initials, text, numbers, zodiacs, constellations, portraits, custom labels, stamps, fingerprints and family trees.
  • Lockets, secret hiding places, vintage letterpress blocks and skeleton keys, feathers, arrows, diamonds, geometric shapes and patterns, paper cuts, silhouettes, fortune cookies, wishbones, fortune tellers.
  • Farmhouse references, vintage industrial decor, vintage cameras, letterpress drawers, typewriters, brass and cast iron animals.
  • Natural history and woodland forest themes and animals, namely birds, owls, squirrels, hedgehogs, chipmunks, bunnies, butterflies, feathers, nests, eggs, acorns, leaves, trees, branches, woodgrain, and natural colors.
  • Colors: Bright pops of color in pinks, turquoise, yellows, avocado, peach and oranges. Earth tones and neutral palettes remain strong with the incorporation of rusts, deep greens and brown.

If you’d like to stay engaged and involved with the approaching merchandising themes, use them in your own artistic voice as you add to your shop. They can be translated in your listings, photos, shop announcements, descriptions, tags, titles, sales promotions, and more.

If you make items that would fit well with the themes outlined, try stocking up and listing them in advance to take advantage of potential shipping deadlines and site features. Do you already have items in your shop that meld well? That’s great! Now it’s time to revisit those items to make sure your tags, titles and descriptions reflect keywords that shoppers might be looking for this time of year. This is also a great opportunity to revamp your item photography with a new look. Check out some great how-to’s for item photography to get started.

For those of your who enjoy making Treasuries, we’ll be looking to highlight lists that interpret these themes in a creative and cohesive way throughout the site. Please tag your Treasuries accordingly.

Beating Creative Burnout

Image representing Etsy as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

The Etsy Blog has some really excellent articles on it, which I try to keep up with on a regular basis.
Here’s one on beating creative burnout.

In addition to these, have you considered turning the day-to-day process to someone who actually enjoys it?  We can’t do the photography for you long-distance, but we can certainly do all the photoshop fixes for your photos, the listing, and the promoting.

Etsy Listings & Sales Comparison

A comparison study shows the primetime sales transactions as well as the heavy listing times for Etsy buyers and sellers.

The chart gives a clear indication of when is the best time to list products on Etsy for the best responses and buyer traffic on the market site.

Etsy Allies has conducted an independent study of when product listing times better result in buyer responses and sales of any type of market on Etsy and many other similar craft market websites.

We will schedule your renewals for the most optimal viewing time as well as perform your product listing as such to target the primetime sales window so you can spend the time you need to produce your handmade craft and art pieces at a higher rate of completion and without the interruption of sales and management of your Etsy store.