How On Earth Do You Sell Stuff ‘Or’ Still Trying To Get The Hang Of Etsy Selling

The other day I was having a nosey round Etsy, like you do. I typed in UK – handmade – dress. And came up with a selection of results that were not really the competition for my product. So why am I not selling much? Is it a naff product? Maybe my sales technique leaves a lot to be desired? Maybe I am still an idiot when it comes to tagging. Either way, I was doing something drastically wrong.

What I stupidly hadn’t picked up on straight away, is that my stuff wasn’t in any of those results. So what do you do? Look at how they are tagging and follow the leaders. The best way to get your results seen is to look at how the results you do find are getting there. What words are they using? Are they in the titles? The descriptions? Or the tags? It’s terrifyingly obvious when you know it. And easy to imitate.

But getting your work found is not that easy. You need to be of a marketing mindset and that really isn’t my thing. Designing. Making. Finance. Fine. Marketing? No! And that’s a major chunk of business success right there.

Behave like a customer. If you wanted to buy a piece of clothing, what would you type into Etsy to get a bunch of items to look through? Be a layman. If you’re a 20-something office worker on her lunch break looking for a holiday dress are you going to type in bespoke, handmade etc. No. You’re going to search for ‘dress’, the colour you want, the type of dress – ie short, maxi, possibly where it’s shipping from and the size.

It’s when you start searching using search words rather than categories, that you realise the big difference in listings. Searching categories will give you more results, but who wants to scroll through hundreds of listings?

If you want a yellow dress that’s shipping from the UK (because damn those international shipping costs) you’re going to search for yellow – dress – uk surely? It gives far less results and you don’t want to be searching through 480 items when your search terms give you 78 and you’ve only got half an hour of your lunch break to find that cool evening dress you need.

This year is do or die. I am in my fourth year. I don’t want to enter my fifth like this. I need to up my workload and make more money because that is how a business survives. We’re not in this for fun anymore. This is survival. Not earning on a regular basis makes you vulnerable in both your business and personal life as I have learned to my detriment this year. Quiet months need to be superseded by great months.

Whilst styling for photoshoots and one off commissions have been the bulk of my income this is starting to tail off. The summer holidays have killed it and reminded me how fragile things can be. Even though just one good commission can set me up for a month, there’s no guarantee when the next job will come in. Off the rail sales is where it’s at and it’s time to make and market.

I am great at the day to day admin of finances, making and photoshoots, marketing and incessant social media are not my thing. It’s a lot of work that takes me away from producing garments and it’s draining. It’s more than just setting up an Etsy shop, tagging and sharing. Consumers expect a lot. They don’t just buy. And that’s the crux of it all. Customers! Work with them.

To see where I’m at with Etsy drop into my shop here:


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