Sunday, March 27, 2016

My Etsy Journey Part 5: New Friends on Etsy and The Etsy Resolution 2016

I briefly mentioned on my previous post about making friends on Etsy, It is in fact a huge deal. 

It all started with the Facebook group called Etsy Resolution 2016- UK. To someone like me, or probably most people who are new to online retail, setting up a shop can be a daunting thought.

Or maybe it's just a 'creative' thing. We creatives are more often introverts, shy, self doubting and terribly sensitive. Was I generalizing? On joining this group I realised I wasn't alone. 

We all had the same questions nagging us...

'What if I set up a shop and nobody buys my work?'

'What if this is because my work sucks, therefore I suck and now my entire self worth is shattered'

'I see a lot of shops on Etsy, selling stuff that are a lot better than mine, so why should I even bother?'

'What will my friends and family think? Will they look at my work and make fun of me? I may never be as successful as some of my other friends on Facebook who have brilliant online businesses!'

And this was just the beginning, my poor husband bore the brunt of all my nagging doubts. He was trying to be supportive, and instead I was looking for every excuse in the book.

I can across this piece of creative which to be honest completely changed my outlook. I was happy being the cynical pessimist, but this somehow spoke to that tiny 'optimist' bug buried somewhere within. 

Having finally gotten over myself, I finally set up my Etsy shop in the end of January. The Etsy Resolution FB community, then became a sort of a lifeline. I was just learning so much. Discovering SEO and 'tagging'. I always thought hey- if my work was good enough, people will come. WRONG. Not gonna happen. I needed to figure a way to lure them in, keep them interested, keep them coming back.

But how do you get the first followers, the fans? We (the Etsy FB group) started by helping each other out. Lets like each others pages. Let's favourite our shops. Let's follow each other on Instagram. Let's build Pinterest boards together. Lets build the momentum. Thus began the 'Likeathons' and the 'Favethons'  (The cynical me was thinking again- what's the point of this mutual admiration club, how is it going to lead to sales)

I was proven yet again terribly wrong! In fact now I have sold to quite a few people from within this Etsy group. And I didn't even know it, till they happened to mention that they saw my work on a post in the group. When I looked up customer's FB profiles, I noticed that some of them were friends of friends of someone in the group.

I made it point to thank them personally. For liking, sharing and supporting. Anne Marike Pit, a fellow artist from the group was the first who bought one of my prints. It's a funny story, which I will share in my next post. From online to offline. I met a fellow Stokey resident, Marie Remy. A successful Etsy seller : 'The House of Celeste'. We have hung out a couple of times, even did a life drawing class together.

I think this whole process is going to be a slow burn. No instant flash successes. On an Etsy webinar hosted by Patricia Van Den Akker of  The Design Trust, she stresses the importance of social networking, and we should be spending a minimum of 40% of our time marketing and the 60% creating. Setting small weekly, monthly goals and following a social media timetable is a good start- I hope I can keep up the discipline.