Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Be An Expert - Product Promotion - Videos

Using videos to promote your products can really help your items stand out from the crowd.

Here's a recent Etsy Seller Handbook article on How To Market Your Business With Video: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/how-to-market-your-business-with-video/137667391868
Videos on YouTube can be great to include lots of detail, and it's easy to share them from there to Facebook  (lots of potential customers out there are browsing videos on Facebook!).
However your videos don't have to be long or complicated to help your items stand out. You can try using apps like Hyperlapse (an app that speeds up your video) or Boomerang (this takes bursts of photos and stitches them together) to show glimpses of your work-in-progress or finished products. If you are sharing your finished products then show them in use or just turn them around to show the item from different angles. See more about these 2 apps here: https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-apps-boomerang-hyperlapse-layout/ 
You can use these short videos in your main Instagram (or FB) feeds. You can also use them in Instagram stories. Instagram stories is a collection of videos which you can add to throughout your day - but they disappear after 24 hours. If you are recording the video directly in Instagram make sure you download it before it disappears! Stories are good to use because the accounts you follow with recent stories will appear at the top of your instagram feed, so you are more likely to be spotted by your followers. Here's some info on Stories from the Instagram blog: http://blog.instagram.com/post/148348940287/160802-stories
Another fun idea you could try is to make a product photography turntable like this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFPJqtcWNSU and use it to show your items from all sides!
You don't have to start sharing lots and lots of videos, but the occasional one will help your customers to get a better view of your items and your shop.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Be An Expert - Product Promotion - Brand Reps

Do you find it hard to take enough great photos of your products so that you can fill up the photo slots on Etsy AND share great images on social media? You might want to think about getting a Brand Representative - Brand Rep for short.

A Brand Rep is someone who you give FREE products to, in exchange for them to take stylish photos of those products for you to use on your Instagram and other social media accounts. There are also Brand Enthusiasts, who will buy products at a discount from you, again to provide you with photos - but obviously an enthusiast would have to be someone really keen on your products, as you are expecting them to part with their money as well as their time. For more information on Reps & Enthusiasts see this post here: http://cuttingforbusiness.com/2015/10/21/what-are-instagram-brand-reps-enthusiasts/
Instagram is the best place to find Brand Reps - create a 'Brand Rep Search' image with some text, making sure to include the Instagram handle for your shop (so people can find you once the image has been shared). Use the #brandrepsearch hashtag and other appropriate hashtags to get found. Ask applicants to share the image to increase your reach. Have a deadline for when to apply (keep the application open for a few weeks at least to give people time to share and apply). You can also find Brand Reps by joining Facebook Groups like 'Let's Rep Together': https://www.facebook.com/groups/letsrep/
Make sure you are clear on what country you are happy to post items to (a lot of Brand Reps are in the US), what you expect from a Brand Rep, and how long the term will be (a good initial term is 3 months). Once you've chosen a Rep or Reps make sure to have an agreement or contract in place setting out time-frames for delivery of items and how long the photos will take, what the photos will be used for, and other points. Here's an example of an artist licensing agreement: https://artlawjournal.com/download-artists-licensing-agreement-free/ or search 'Brand Rep Terms & Conditions' in google to see what terms other brands have set out for their reps. Remember these are all just for guidance, and if you want an in-depth legally-binding contract you should pay for a contract lawyer to draw one up.
Here's some more advice on working with Brand Reps: http://mumswithhustle.com/blog/lucky-7-tips-for-working-with-brand-reps/

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Dorset Team Christmas Fair 2017 - Stallholders announced


Happy June everyone! With all the beautiful weather that we have been having recently, Christmas couldn't feel further away but preparations and planning is in full swing here at the Dorset Team as we are planning ahead for our annual Dorset Team Christmas Fair.

We are very excited to be able to announce our stallholders for the 2017 event. Thank you so much to everyone who applied to be a stallholder this year. Competition for spaces was particularly fierce this year and we received the highest number of applications ever! A huge congratulations to everyone who was successful in getting a space.

This year we will again have a fantastic selection of local makers and sellers. There will be everything from illustrations by local artists to vintage products and from crafting kits to handmade jewellery.

For more information about the event, including sneak previews from our stallholders, please see our Facebook event page here: https://www.facebook.com/events/380837568923443.

The event will take place on Saturday 2nd December and Sunday 3rd December at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne. Entry to the event is free.


Stallholder List for Dorset Team Christmas Fair 2017
 *Please note that this list is subject to change. We will be reviewing more applications in August and running a reserve list for stalls.
Handmad bunting by AMA Designs Bunting



Handmade earrings by Buttons and Bits


Card selection by Chasing Rainbows


Mugs with original illustrations by Doodle Dot


Limited edition collagraph print by Genny the Printmaker 

Grey hare amigurumi kit by Hawthorn Handmade


Coastal wash bag by Kate Wakley Textiles


Pencil case/makeup bag by Ndieh Designs

You got this card by Sarah Lovell Creations


Succulent necklace by Slumbermonkey


Hare cushion by Terri Peay



Vintage decorative hook by Tickiti Boo



Handspun British Jacobs wool by Wildforest Wool

WychwoodDreams

Find out more information about our event over on our Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/380837568923443

We hope to see you there! 

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Be An Expert - Back To Basics - Teamwork

For our final Back To Basics post let's look at teamwork and the many ways it can help you with your business!

Dorset Team: Obviously the Dorset Team is a great resource to help you with your shop. Check out the team forum and post your own queries if you have them here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/teams/14319/dorset-etsy-team you can also join the Facebook group for team members here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1514236692123255/, look at old and current posts on the blog here: http://dorsetteam.blogspot.co.uk/, join in the Twitter chat on Tuesdays from 7.30pm - 8.30pm using the #DorsetTeam hashtag, or use that hashtag at any time to reach out to our social media team and other members who might answer your questions, or re-tweet / re-gram your posts!
Other Online Assistance: You an join multiple Facebook Groups as well as the Dorset Team one for Etsy help if you want to, here's one for example, called the 'Etsy EK Sellers Help Group': https://www.facebook.com/groups/1099520500108154/ or the 'Handmade Hour' on twitter is another good place to network with like-minded sellers: https://twitter.com/HandmadeHour. You can join a few things and work out what works best for you to feel like you are supported and part of a team - find your tribe!
Business Helpers / Employees: When you have a rush of orders make sure you ask friends and family if they are able to help you out. Sometimes you can ask for help even if you aren't busy - send a message saying - 'I need help thinking of new product ideas' or 'anyone want to come and help me re-vamp my crafting room' you never know who will be able to help if you don't ask. One day you might need to hire an employee (or more!). Here's an article on taking your first steps towards hiring: https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/how-to-take-first-steps-toward-hiring/22819321220 and here's one about PAYE: https://www.gov.uk/topic/business-tax/paye - sole traders can hire employees but you'll probably need to tell HMRC you are doing so, and you'll definitely need to make sure you are following regulations like paying them the minimum wage!
Collaborations: Another way to network and work with another Etsy shop owner is to have a collaboration. Find someone who makes something you like, but which you could put your own twist on, then ask them if they'd like to work with you! Here's an Etsy article on collaborations: https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/expand-your-product-line-with-a/22850675416
Remember there are thousands of shop owners just like you. We are all part of one great big team, and if we work together to raise each other's profiles then it will help the handmade / vintage market to grow and grow!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Be An Expert - Back To Basics - Shipping Settings

Have you made full use of the shipping settings in your shop, to make sure the buyer is getting charged the right amount, and to make it easy for you to update your shipping costs when you need to?

Shipping Profiles: You can create shipping profiles under the 'shipping settings' option from your shop manager. Create a different shipping profile for things depending on how long they take you to make and dispatch, and how much they will cost for post and packaging. For example if you sell prints which only take a day to print and package, and can be sent in a flat envelope, you'd create one shipping profile for that - name it 'Prints'. But if you also sell a handmade wooden trinket box, which takes a week to make and would need to go as a parcel, that would need a separate shipping profile - name it 'Trinket Boxes'. 
Then you can select the 'Prints' shipping profile EVERY time you list a print, and the 'Trinket Boxes' shipping profile EVERY time you list a trinket box (as long as they weigh about the same and are roughly the same size - if not you might need a different postage cost). 
By using shipping profiles instead of entering the processing time and postage cost individually on each listing it will save you TONS of time when you need to update them. For example if at Christmas if you need 3 extra days to make the prints, you can just go in and change the processing time on the 'Prints' shipping profile, rather than to change it on each print - if you have 30 different prints listed in your shop you'd be there forever changing each one! It's also handy for when Royal Mail put their prices up, as they did recently.
Here's the Etsy link for more on Shipping Profiles: https://www.etsy.com/uk/help/article/190
Shipping With Another Item: When you add a shipping profile it will ask you for a price for shipping 'One Item' and a price for 'Each Additional Item'. Buyers will always pay the 'One Item' price. Then if they choose to purchase another item from your shop they will ALSO pay the 'Each Additional Item' fee. So this fee should only be the difference in price between the 2, not the same postage fee again. Try weighing a few combinations and working out how much more it's going to cost you. WHEREVER POSSIBLE you should make the 'Each Additional Item' cost FREE. People are more likely to buy more items if it doesn't cost them any more to ship it. This isn't always possible with heavy items, but make it work where you can!
Here's the Etsy link to discounted shipping for multiple items: https://www.etsy.com/uk/help/article/191
Shipping Upgrades: Finally, you can offer a 'shipping upgrade' option for your customers. For example they might want to pay more for one day delivery. You probably shouldn't add this on items which take a week or more to process though - if customers see the option for one day delivery they probably think it's going to arrive super fast, and not read the processing time correctly. It is great to add it onto items that you have in stock or can process quickly though. Also if you sell to the USA, and normally send by International Standard Post, you might want to add a shipping upgrade in case the customer would like their item to be tracked. See here for more info on Shipping Upgrades: https://www.etsy.com/uk/help/article/4414

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Be An Expert - Back To Basics - Focus On Photos

This week for 'Back To Basics' were looking at photography. Do your photos show your products in the best possible way?

READ THIS: A great book to read if you feel like you need an in-depth refresh of your photos is this 'The Crafter's Guide To Taking Great Photos' book by Heidi Adnum: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Crafters-Guide-Taking-Great-Photos/dp/1844487512 with A LOT of tips on background, props, lighting, and more. 
LIGHTING ISSUES: If your main issue is light, you could try making a DIY lightbox: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-an-Inexpensive-Photography-Lightbox If your products are too big to fit in a lightbox then consider asking a friend with big windows whether you can take some photos there (you might need to tape white tissue paper to the windows to diffuse the light). 
FIX THE SHARPNESS: If your photos need to be sharper, try these tips from the Etsy Seller Handbook: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/6-steps-to-creating-sharper-product/23125317730
LIFESTYLE SHOTS: Do you take 'lifestyle' photos as well as plain ones? Lifestyle photos means you show how the item might be used, or place some props around it to give it a sense of scale or to invoke an emotion. For example if you make jewellery you don't HAVE to show it on a model (though this could be good) but you could show it draped across a jewellery dish - a modern neon stripe dish with bright white lighting if your jewellery is for the young fashionista, or a vintage saucer dish with warm lighting if your jewellery is for the more mature or softer-styled lady.
5 LISTING PHOTOS: Finally - do you use all 5 photo spaces whenever you can? Here's some Etsy ideas on 4 different photos to use: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/4-essential-product-shots-for-your-etsy/22504064051 and the 5th photo could be a photo of your product packaging if that's something special!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Be An Expert - Back To Basics - Starting From Scratch

During May we are focusing on going back to the basics and making sure everything in your shop is as good as it can be. You may have been having so much fun uploading new products that you've forgotten that your 'about' page still talks about products you no longer make, for example. Making sure everything is up-to-scratch will help your customers trust you and make you appear in the relevant searches!

Here's 3 things to go and check right now, and some links to articles to find out more if you need help. Whether you are a new seller or an old-hand, it's worth making sure these are current, and fit with your branding:
Cover Photo & Shop Icon: https://www.etsy.com/uk/help/article/160 (if you refresh your cover photo regularly with new products then returning customers will immediately see what's new in store as soon as they land at your shop. You can create photo collages in PicMonkey or Canva to fit the right dimensions!)
Finally here's a top tip which is good for new sellers, or long-time sellers who didn't know about this -
Top Tip: Your listing titles are essential for Search Engine Optimisation. Fill up as much of the title space as you can, using 2-3 word phrases separated by commas. If you are selling artwork don't put the name of the artwork in the title, put it in the description, as no one is likely to search for that artwork by title. Instead use phrases people are likely to search for. For example, a title SHOULD NOT say:
'Beautiful unicorn wandering through a wood A4 painting'
It SHOULD say something like:
'Unicorn Painting, Unicorn Art, Unicorn Gift, Fantasy Art, Fantasy Art Gift, Girls Bedroom Decor, Daughter's Birthday Gift, Original Art'
Go and make sure your titles are working for you!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Be An Expert - What To Sell - Product Possibilities

If you still need some ideas for new products then have a think outside of your usual product lines. Do you know on Etsy you can sell Vintage Items, Handmade Products, or Craft Supplies? With the launch of the New Etsy Studio Craft Supplies Website (https://www.etsy.com/seller-news/introducing-etsy-studio) now might be a good time to think if you can add any craft kits or items to your store!

See here for some suggestions for what to sell in your Etsy shop: https://www.etsy.com/seller-handbook/article/what-to-sell-on-etsy/67553338536. If you're worried that you are going to end up with too many craft supplies to store, or too many things to post, then what about considering digital downloads? Click here for some tips on how to get started and what kind of things you might be able to sell digitally: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/how-to-sell-digital-downloads-on-etsy/47330319230
In the EU customers have to pay 20% VAT on digital goods, but Etsy very helpfully collect it and pay it for us - they add 20% onto whatever price you say you'd like to receive and then collect that 20% to pay the government. Here's more information on that: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/etsys-new-collection-process-for-value/26557870596
What ever new items you add, make sure they fit with your brand (or open a new shop with a new brand if you can't get the idea out of your head!). And make sure it's something people will want to buy!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Be An Expert - What To Sell - New Product Ideas

Now you've had a good chance to have a spring clean of your Etsy workspace, and you've made lots of fresh space, what can you fill it with?! New stock of course! If now is your quiet time of year then it's a good time to build up on items to sell. You can just make more of the stock you usually do well with, but what about looking into new products?

Check out this Etsy Seller Handbook guide to 6 Tips For Generating Fresh Product Ideas: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/6-tips-for-generating-fresh-product/74918103154 
One more tip I'd add to tie in with the article is 'what key words will people search to find this item?'. This extends the 'do people want or need this' tip, to also think about how they will actually find it. What SEO will you be able to use to make sure the item is found?
While you are still in the planning stages of your product write down some key words that you could use in the item listing details and tags. And remember it's best to have 2 or 3 words together as a phrase rather than single words - 'Father's Day Gift' rather than just 'Dad'.
Adding some fresh products to your shop will give regular customers new things to be tempted by, or catch the eye of some new customers. Enjoy creating!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Be An Expert - Workspaces - Make Yours Inspire You

Do you wake up eager to go into your workspace? How does it make you feel when you enter it? Make sure your workspace is inspiring you to be the best Etsy seller you can be!

Etsy regularly has an 'Inspiring Workspaces' feature which you can see here: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/search?query=workspaces take a read through to see some beautiful places to create and gather ideas for your own.
If you think you need to sort out your storage a bit, you could make a desk organiser: http://thelovelydrawer.com/workspace-goals/, if you have lots of vinyl to store you could use Ikea bag holders like this crafter: http://www.silhouetteschoolblog.com/2016/07/vinyl-storage-ideas-silhouette-cameo.html?m=1 or maybe you could make a magnetic spice rack: http://www.gardenbetty.com/2013/03/make-your-own-magnetic-spice-rack/ then fill it with buttons or beads?! What ever your storage need there's sure to be a DIY solution!
Share your inspiring workspaces or storage solutions using the #DorsetTeam hashtag on Instagram and Twitter so we can see too. You can also check out the #DorsetTeamDesks hashtag to see some desks and craft rooms that members shared in January!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Be An Expert - Workspaces - Spring Clean

Hopefully by now the weather is warm enough to throw open those windows and have a spring clean in your office or Etsy workspace!


Here's some tips to sort out your space:
  • Have some things which inspire you on display - but don't have so many that the room feels cluttered, or your mind will become cluttered too
  • If you have lots of odds and ends of packets or things which are nearly used up then put them in a 'use-it-or-lose-it' basket - if you don't use them up in the next month then give them (or throw them) away
  • Label your drawers, boxes, shelves and other storage so that you can quickly and easily reach for the right item - a few hours spent organising now will save you lots of time on busy work days
If you'd like some more inspiration take a look at this post by Mollie Makes on Decluttering for Makers: http://www.molliemakes.com/craft-2/creative-corners-decluttering-makers/ or perhaps you can make this DIY Pegboard on eHow by Fran from Fall For DIY: http://www.ehow.com/how_6548599_make-own-peg-board.html

Next week we will be looking at some more workspace ideas!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Be An Expert - Keeping Track - Recording Reach

Do you regularly look at your reach for your shop, checking your Etsy and social media stats? If not, you should!

Here's 'five shop stats you should be tracking' from the Etsy Seller Handbook: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/five-shop-stats-you-should-be-tracking/22398388701 which explains how to look at a few stats and why.
Here's some more information on Etsy stats of you aren't familiar with looking at them: https://www.etsy.com/uk/help/article/541
Social media can be a bit trickier to track. You can use a paid system like Hootsuite (https://hootsuite.com/en-gb/products/social-media-analytics) to help look at everything, or you could individually look at stats on each social media account yourself. For example, on Instagram you can switch to having a business profile, rather than a personal one, and then you can see 'insights' into how well your posts are doing (see more information on this here: https://www.facebook.com/business/help/788388387972460).
You can create yourself a spreadsheet to input some information - think about including how many times you posted on that social media in a month, and whether your follower numbers went up or down. Record which posts performed best so you can start to see a pattern of what kind of images and links your customers like to see. Think about which hashtags worked well too. And when you look back and see a social media post performed well, check out that date under 'specific dates' in your Etsy stats - did you see a spike in people visiting your shop from that channel? Did it result in favourites / sales? 
Team Member Chibi Chi Designs has shared a social media planner which could help, with space to include your social media fans / followers at the beginning and end of each month. Check it out here: http://chibichidesign.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/getting-to-grips-with-social-media.html
Make sure those social media posts are converting - by keeping track of them you can see which channels and which style of posts are worth spending your time on!

Monday, 27 March 2017

1 week left to apply for the Dorset Team Christmas Fair 2017




A massive thank you to everyone who has applied for a space at our Dorset Team Christmas Fair so far. There is just 1 week left to apply to be a stallholder at this year's event.

This year we are very excited as, following feedback from both customers and stallholders at last years event, we will making this year's fair a two day event with the opportunity to apply to sell either day or both days. 

The event will take place on Saturday 2nd December and Sunday 3rd December at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne.


For more information on the event and to apply please see our Facebook event page where you will also find the online application form : www.facebook.com/events/380837568923443/




Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Be An Expert - Keeping Track - Accounting Savvy

How good are you at keeping track of your accounts? Anyone selling on Etsy should have some kind of system for recording incomings and outgoings, whether it's a pen and a notebook, or a fancy software like Craftybase (https://craftybase.com/). Do you store your receipts in a shoebox or do you scan them all in to your PC?

Here's some tips from the Etsy seller handbook on more organised tax filing: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/4-tips-for-a-more-organised-tax-filing/43167406303. If you want to use spreadsheets to record things but aren't sure how to design one for yourself, then you can purchase one from a fellow Etsy seller like this one: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/498097475/etsy-accounting-bookkeeping-software-for 
Here's a guide from gov.uk on what records to keep for taxes when you are self employed: https://www.gov.uk/self-employed-records/overview
If you get into the habit of recording things regularly it will make it a lot easier to do your taxes when the time comes. It will also help you to notice the busier months. See here for 5 more tips - to ace your bookeeping: https://www.etsy.com/uk/seller-handbook/article/5-simple-ways-to-ace-bookkeeping/22657834369