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: you can also join the Facebook group for team members here:, look at old and current posts on the blog here:, 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': or the 'Handmade Hour' on twitter is another good place to network with like-minded sellers: 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: and here's one about 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:
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:
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:
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:

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: 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: 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:
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: 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: (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!