Etsy Blitz Week Day 1
Figuring out what to sell on Etsy
Hey guys, welcome to the first day of the Etsy Blitz week trainings!
Thank you so much for joining me live if you are here, and if you are watching the replays then I appreciate that as well! I’d love to have as many of you as possible join the live videos, because it makes it so much more enjoyable for me to actually have the interaction and comments as opposed to just talking to my bobbing head on the screen. So I appreciate all of you that made it a point to come live!
The topic of today’s training is how to figure out what to sell on Etsy.
Do you have a variety of crafts that you enjoy doing?
Or is your shop currently a hodgepodge of different things, and you aren’t sure what you should keep and what you should not keep?
Do you struggle to find the focus and figure out what would sell well on Etsy or you are tempted to open multiple shops for different items that you want to make?
Do you have a bunch of hobbies you enjoy doing and you don’t know where to start?
Well, today we are going to talk about how to narrow that down and really hone in on the direction of your shop so that you can be successful.
First off, I want to make that point a little more explicit - you must narrow down the focus of your shop. If you are all over the place with your items, and you shop is basically the online version of a general store, it is going to be very difficult to be successful because your brand doesn’t really have any identity.
I want you to get out of the mindset that you are trying to appeal to every single person with this vast array of unrelated and totally different products, and get more into the mindset that you’ll be able to attract a better community of customers with a smaller and more focused niche of product.
Now that we have that out of the way, how do we decide what that product is?
First off, I want to talk to those of you that already have a wide variety of hobbies and products, you just don’t know how to narrow it down. Maybe you make a variety of different things or you make some things here and there but you haven’t figured out that focus yet.
If you already have an Etsy shop - what are the listings that you have that bring in the most views? What are the listings that bring in the most questions from customers or potential customers through convos?
If you don’t have an Etsy shop yet, do you have a particular item that you get asked to make for friends and family more often? Or do you have something that you’ve made for someone (or yourself) that you’ve posted on social media and your friends and family have just gone crazy over it? This happened for me with a pair of shorts that a friend made -- I made an applique shirt for my daughter for a trip to Disney world, and she made a pair of matching shorts to make it an outfit. It was ADORABLE, and my instagram followers, who are just family and friends on my personal profile, went nuts over it. My friend makes a huge variety of things - dresses, swimsuits, etc., but these shorts would be a definite best seller for her. So what kind of items do you have that elicit that kind of response from people that you know?
Another way of testing the market is to do in person events and see what people are really drawn to or what they attracts them to your area. I know in my area, there are lots of craft shows, school fairs, etc where you can set up a table for very little cost, usually around $10-$15 and you don’t need to have any fancy table decorations or anything. A crafter friend of mine got started this way - she was dabbling in the world of cosmetics and home goods, and did a handful of craft fairs around the area just to really dip her toe in the water of selling.
Turns out, rather than the lip balms or bath bombs that she was making, her candles were a HUGE hit. She was literally selling out the candles every time she set up a table. So she focused her energy on the candles, and her business was born (and is booming!)
If you already have products that you are selling and you want to further test what kind of market exists for your items, go ahead and check out Etsy and see what kind of competition you have. But here’s the catch - I don’t want you to be discouraged by the competition if there are a lot of shops selling similar items. There are LOTS of ways to stand out and make yourself seen, and my whole group coaching program Etsy Setup Success is geared toward exactly that, so don’t feel like just because there is competition that is a bad thing. What it means is that there is a proven market for what you are selling. And there are PLENTY of customers on the internet, so rest assured there is plenty of space for your vision and your unique spin on the items.
Lastly, I want you to think about what kind of profit margins you have on the items that you are making and what kind of time investment each of them takes you. I have a whole bonus in Etsy Setup Success about pricing handmade items, so I don’t want to get too far into the details of the ins and outs of that, but you want to make sure when you are narrowing down your items in your shop that you have something that is sustainable for you to make once your shop gets busy.
If you have a product that takes a LONG time to make and has very low profit margins, that is not going to be something that you are going to want to build a shop on unless you have a way to increase those profits or decrease the time investment. Sometimes that just has to do with being able to batch things together to speed up the process, and sometimes it has to do with undercharging for your items because you’re just getting started and you feel pressure to have low prices because of all the competition on Etsy, but you want to make sure you have very healthy profit margins when you’re narrowing down your focus of products.
I do want to go ahead and throw it out there, though, that I do not think that all of your products have to be exactly related or that variations on the same product (like dresses, or headbands, or whatever). But they should be related in some way or have the same type of customer in mind who would be shopping for them. Think about stores that you frequent at the mall - like a store like J Crew. They have clothes, and jewelry, and some purses, and shoes. They aren’t focused on just ONE item, but they do have an overarching theme or similar customer in mind that would be interested in all of these things.
Likewise I think that you can create, under the umbrella of one shop, a brand that has a few different collections of items but that appeal to a similar customer and are related in that way. In my own shop, I sell mostly baby items. However, I do have a few other items that I have listed and sold very well - bags for football games, duffle bags, etc. These are still monogrammed, just like the baby gifts, but they are things that people would be buying for themselves rather than as a gift for someone else. The customer is the same, they are just buying for different purposes.
I typically caution AGAINST opening up multiple shops, particularly in the early stages of selling on Etsy. The reason for this is because it gets very difficult to manage two different inventories, brands, etc., and also because it causes you to split your focus on where you are headed with each of them. You’ll have better success if you really focus on one, and pour your energy into defining that brand and figuring out how to drive traffic to that shop than you will if you are trying to launch two entities separately.
Don’t feel like you are married to the products that you start off with though. You can ALWAYS change direction for your shop, or add something new to the shop that you want to test out and see how it sells. Don’t get caught in the trap of analyzing your market so much that you are paralyzed into inaction. Start with what you have, and know that you can adjust and readjust as you go. And often times you are NOT going to know what the best sellers are until you get them out there, so while you can make an educated guess about what will sell and what your customers will love, you won’t know for sure until you jump into it.
I hope that this has been helpful to you as you work to narrow down your options -- remember, narrowing it down will HELP you have more sales, not hurt your success. Don’t be afraid to have a very niche market - that is where we find our superfan customers.
Tomorrow we’ll be talking about getting over the FEAR of getting started - this is the number one thing that people tell me they struggle with when they want to get started or just to scale up their business. Fear of failure is alive and well, and we’re going to talk about it. I’ll see you tomorrow at 12pm!