3 Realities of Being a Beginner Seller

Hello Lovelies,

I wanted to talk today about the three realities that some beginner sellers may forget about when finally taking the plunge into small business. When I started my Etsy store I wasn’t really thinking about all the odds and ends that were extremely important when selling handmade items. I knew what I wanted to sell and how to sell it and even how to photograph it but I missed out on a few little things, that while obvious for some, can be forgotten and cause confusion, disappointment or even the end of your store.

1. Shipping!

When I started my Etsy store I created my listings, edited my photos to beginner’s perfection (it’s perfection but just a bit less….perfect), and I knew how much I wanted to charge for each and every item. Then I got an order! I was ecstatic, I was screaming at the top of my lungs, I had absolutely NO idea how I was going to ship my little plant knottedbyeva_starlit_ornamenthanger and faux plant to this brand new buyer. I never took in mind the fact that I would actually have to send the piece from my little sunroom office across the border into the US. I accounted for shipping costs (I was lucky, I work for a shipping company ) but I never actually put all the pieces together and decided HOW I was going to ship the items to my customers.

Shipping is an important factor in an online business because…well you can’t sell something and then not give your customer their order (I’m pretty sure there are laws against that). Shipping can also be a huge hurdle depending on what it is you are going to ship. Are you going to ship worldwide? Will you offer tracking? Will you add the shipping cost into your product? or will you charge shipping additionally? These are pretty typical but what about the actual packaging? Box or envelope? An envelope lowers your shipping cost (unless you are shipping in Canada..ugh) while a box can offer more security and structure. While I work for a shipping company 9-5 I never took the time to pick my shipping material and test out what my orders would look like packed and ready to go.

Take a moment and pick out your shipping material, try to keep it simple. If you are selling one type of item that is all about the same size, choose one packaging and stick to it. This means you won’t be surprised by the ever changing world of shipping because you decided to switch from one type of packaging to another.

2. You won’t make a sale right away, and that’s okay

If you are like most people, you will have started your online store with minimal pre-marketing. Your social media following will include your friends, family and maybe a few friends of friends that saw your store in their suggested follows. That’s okay! Not everyone is going to start with a huge following and some take longer to build a following than others.

I’ve become more introverted as years have gone by and my instagram following could be so much better, but that is my own fault. Building a social media following is extremely important and can greatly increase your views which could, of course, increase your sales but don’t fret. If you are like me and have chosen to sell on a community platform like Etsy, eBay, Amazon, etc, your customers will come to you for what they are looking for (or not looking for but realized they wanted).

When you enter a selling platform you are entering along with others. This means it may take a bit of time for your listings to pop up to client but it will…I promise! I sell macrame plant hangers, and ornaments and trust me there are a ton of others that do the same but I will offer you this piece of advise. Find a way to make your pieces stand Processed with VSCO with av8 presetout from others. I have recently decided that I want to reach the millennials and Gen-Z audience. VSCO girls that are trying to show off their aesthetic or boho babes that blog and Instagram for a living. How do I reach their gaze? I edit my photos the way they do and use them as my thumbnails for my Etsy postings. I use the VSCO app to edit my photos and try to create the feel of the lifestyle I’m aiming at. I shoot a full scene rather than just the item I am selling. I wanted to find a way to make my photos pop against a wash of pristine white backgrounds or crisp, perfectly set flats.

You may not sell any items right away but stay true to what you are doing. Post on your socials and tell all your friends about your products. You’re not an MLM so you don’t have to feel bad about pushing your products, you are working hard to make them and your friends could be free marketing for you.

3. You’re going to spend a lot of time working, and working, and working.

It goes without saying that creating an online store (whether in a selling community or not) will take a large amount of work. My Etsy store thrives when I’m updating my listings, posting on my Facebook page and instagram and updating my store details. These things take time and effort and while it can of course be planned out in a weekend or so, you want to make sure you are giving your shop ample time. Creating new products is just a small part of the process and while that too can take a lot of time it’s always good to remember that marketing and outreach are equally important.

Try scheduling out your social media posts and any Etsy updates. You do not need to think of the exact post per-say but think of the theme you want use for the week, this will help you plan out your social media. For instance, if your idea is new and exciting you can post some of your new products but also how to use your products and why they are a great addition to anyones home.

Running a shop can be extremely exhilarating and it worth every moment for anyone wanting to give it a try. Just be really aware and don’t make the mistakes I made. Jump in prepared to share your hobby.

 

XoXo

A Beginner’s View: 3 Tips for Soon-to-be Sellers

Hello Lovelies,

I’m in a sharing mood today.

I wanted to share with you my beginner tips for those who want to become a maker/seller.

Why would you want to take tips from me you ask? Well, I’m not going to share with you a bunch of stats or tell you that I made $100,000 in my first year, because I didn’t!

But I wanted to share with the reality most people may face when deciding to turn that hobby, skill, trade, passion or whatever you want to call it into a small business. Before you start your insta and facebook group or start designing the brand name of your store read these three small tips.

Of course, everyone is different but I feel like saying it plainly is something of a skill of mine and maybe someone will appreciate the honesty. So here it goes.

1.Believe in your idea

It sounds like common sense (you’re gonna get a lot of that here) but believing in and loving what you do really comes through in a lot of ways. Many people love indie brands, small businesses or makers, this is because they believe in their product and want to make it the best it can be. They put the time into what they make and how they sell it and that can make a huge difference!Cadence_knottedbyeva

Believing in your idea (whatever it is) is important because if you are just doing it for the money, it will show. You may not take as much time to alter or change something that isn’t working. Or you may completely change your idea based on what you think will make you a quick sale and never really make any money (but have a lot of random product left to show for it). Research your hobby and see what the selling options are. Decide if you are comfortable with the market saturation (how many other people are selling what you want to sell), material costs, and most of all your time.

2.Make a product list

Sometimes you have an idea that you believe in so much you say “yeah, that’s perfect. I’m going to sell that now”. That’s a wonderful thought but come up with a list of things that you will ACTUALLY make and sell first. You want to come up with a realistic list of products (or services) that you can sell and how you plan to make or serve them. Aim for 40 pieces to start. I know that sounds insane but 40 could mean, 5 shades, 4 sizes or different combinations. You want to know that you can offer a variety and keep people looking at your items. Coming up with a product list can also give you a view of how viable your idea is and how far you may be able to go with it. I’m still figuring myself out now and I started on Etsy April of 2018. I wish I had taken the time to come up with a full list of things to create, just to prepare myself and start making ahead of time.

3.Pick your platform

I sell on Etsy, and despite the many complaints you may have seen or heard, it’s a great selling platform for makers (I’m not affiliated or anything promise). I love that I have the ability to sell on a platform with other likeminded people and my customers come to me. Yes I have to work on it, and you do see more activity when you really stick with it and update your store and yes there are a bunch of fees, but that’s the cost of business.knotted by eva Etsy store

I also sold on Storeenvy and Big cartel and I have a store open on Shopify, these are great ways to sell but they are all very different. Storeenvy is a selling community and from my experience, you can sell just about anything on there. Shopify and Big Cartel are e-commerce platforms that let you build your own store and sell your product. There isn’t a connected community, so you have to do a lot of the leg work yourself. All of these options are wonderful and depending on what your selling they could be an ideal platform for you.

The main take away for soon-to-be sellers is to take the time and step back. We all want to jump in the pool right away and get our name out there but if you are not prepared for the very real business of running a business, you may find yourself stopping very soon after you start.

XoXo, Eva

 

 

I sold stuff

Hello Lovelies,

Welcome to another decade!

2019 didn’t come with a ton of awesome but there was a lot to be proud of.

Most notably was keeping my macrame shop open and running. I have been running knotted by eva sine April of 2018 and I can honestly say it was in no way shape or form what I had in mind for my business idea. That being said, it’s the best thing I ever could have done.

knotted by eva was an idea started with some encouragement from a wonderful person. Her cross stitching skills are remarkable and her art is breathtaking. She encouraged me to start macraming because I was interested and then start my store. Michelle I can’t thank you enough for all talks and all the venting sessions, we will have crafting days again soon!

Plug! – Check out Michelle’s store on Etsy MichelleGauthierArt – you won’t be disappointed

In 2019 I made $1,500, no it’s not a huge number in comparison to the “make 1 million in one year posts” but I’m posting my earnings for the year because I’m proud. I created pieces I enjoyed creating and I sold them to people who then used them to decorate their Christmas trees, furnish their bedrooms and even decorate their children’s nurseries. I struggled and strived and couldn’t be happier with the result. I sold stuff!

2020 is the year that I take a huge risk. I’ve always had my fathers mind, to be a business owner and run my own company. 2020 is the year that I get one step closer to my goal.

Feel free to follow my journey and get inspired the way Michelle inspired me. Laugh with me, cry with me and swear….swear a lot!

No I’m not some business guru, I’m a 31 year-old mom with a wonderful boyfriend and a lively daughter, 2 cats and a goal. I’m real and I make real mistakes. I hope that my mistakes will help you see that failing 499 times is worth it because 500 could be your number.

XoXo,
Eva

Broke Businesswoman

I bet you’ve had a few amazing ideas pop into your head in the last hour, 2 hours, 24 hours.

I hear ya, trust me I do. I bet I can guess the next words to come out of your mouth, “I would but I don’t have the money”, or some variation of that.

I’ve set out to start not one but two businesses while working full-time and being the mother of a wild, adventurous, imaginative, adorable (sorry I’m a proud mother) daughter. Continue reading Broke Businesswoman