My Obvious (or Not?) Etsy Tip

I just wanted to write a quick post before I leave for the weekend! My husband and I were going to spend the holidays together, but the Army had other plans for him, so we are at least going away for the next few days. Which I kind of don’t even want to enjoy, because it will make me miss him more. But I’m done talking about that because, much like a teenage girl, I just can’t even.

Anyway, as I mentioned, my handmade item sales on Etsy (and occasionally Facebook/in person) are going great, but it took a long time to get there. So I have one little tip I’d like to share with you, which is probably really obvious, but somehow it just clicked for me!

I’ve spent a lot of time listing items and just kind of guessing what people will like enough to buy and what they won’t. So my shop has a lot of items that never sell, and a few that do, and recently, a few that sell over and over again.

It finally occurred to me to ask myself what people like so much about those items. You can’t always tell. Maybe one is popular because it’s one of a kind (for example, all of my pendants are handmade, mostly with polymer clay, but my best seller also has a hand-painted image that I guess makes it a little more artistic) and another because it’s based on something that’s already popular like a book, movie, or sport.

So instead of trying to make items similar in style – which might also be a good idea – I tried making variations of the same designs. Like converting a popular necklace design into earrings. And guess what? One of them sold a couple days later!

Leave it to me to take 5 years to figure that out. Maybe I was just having too much fun making & listing one random jewelry piece after another. Which I guess is fine too if you’re not living off your Etsy income, which I’m not. Of course it’s nice to have, especially for buying more art supplies (I just got a set of professional-quality markers for the first time in my life), but I also think it’s important for me to set goals and to feel productive doing something I enjoy. Call it therapy.

I’m sure I still have a lot to learn about running a business – it doesn’t come naturally to me like being an artist – but I wanted to share my little lightbulb moment: paying attention to what customers like, and why, can help you a lot! Duh?

Well I hope you can take something away from this post. And now I will get back to my weekend plans and my pathetic moments of getting sad whenever I see someone at the grocery store who looks like Joe (really, self? He hasn’t even left yet!).

I’ve Changed My Etsy Shop Name!

noelletournesol is now PasticheAccessories! (If you get my newsletter I’m pretty much repeating myself, so, sorry.)

I’ve been thinking about this for a while, but with this month’s sales slump and the resulting creative stagnation (not to mention the limited artist community in a military town and the lack of feedback on my social media sites…c’mon Twitter, I thought you were all about networking…) I’ve probably spent an unreasonable amount of time agonizing over finding a name I like that is also relevant.

“Tournesol,” or sunflower in French, had a story behind it. I love the big, cheery flowers, and my interest in the language was sparked by a short-term mission trip to Haiti, where natural beauty and some very talented artists inspired some of my early work. But the word just didn’t make a lot of sense for people searching online for a handmade jewelry shop. And, confused about shop name vs shop title, I’d combined the word with my first name, which I think added to the ambiguity.

“Pastiche,” on the other hand, (also a French word, but now adopted into the English dictionary) refers to art that is inspired by other works or made up of multiple styles or materials. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of various parts coming together to make a beautiful whole, such as a mosaic. As a Christian, I think this is a beautiful picture of the body of Christ using their vastly different gifts to serve God and others together. As an artist and crafter, I think it represents my ever-changing, little-bit-of-everything style.

At the same time, I am trying to give my shop more focus, and my sales on Etsy are primarily of jewelry. So I’ve removed my canvas paintings to give attention to my “Accessories,” (hence the other part if my new name), but the paintings are still available via my Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Noelle-Lewis-Artist/140740499366377?ref=stream, or on the new Gallery page of this blog.

I’ve also made a new shop banner (with a great lettering idea from one of my readers!) and will be updating my business cards and some of my social media sites, but as far as Etsy, old links will be forwarded to my new URL, so you shouldn’t have any trouble getting to my shop. But let me know if you have any questions!

To my customers, thank you in advance for bearing with me through these changes. I hope that even as I grow and develop in my work, my shop will continue to be a friendly place to find unique items for decoration, self-expression, or whatever you desire. And to other readers of this blog, I hope you’ll go check it out!

https://www.etsy.com/shop/PasticheAccessories

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How to Improve Your Etsy Shop – and a Giveaway!

For all you budding crafters and entrepreneurs out there (and shoppers, this may be for you too): today I am going to share a little bit about how to improve your Etsy shop and increase your sales. If you are new to Etsy, or new to really trying to promote your shop, this might help you like it has helped me. I am by no means an expert, but these are some of the ways I am making progress. I’ll post links to some helpful tips & tricks, but first, here are some general ideas for how to apply them.

Etsy holds a wealth of information from admins and seasoned sellers as to how to boost your business, as do sites like Pinterest and, of course, Google. But when I first discovered this fact, it didn’t do me much good. I would read an article full of advice and either do what I could right then and there, or try to remember it all for later. Then I started making to do-lists on notepaper and eventually on my iPhone notepad, which I would check every once in a while. Nothing really kept me working on it long enough to see any change. But recently I discovered the magic that is my husband’s giant whiteboard. I am sure some other things would work too, but the whiteboard has done wonders for my productivity. He has a few of them, so I borrowed an easel-style one that I could prop up in my art room. Excuse the creative mess!

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I’d rediscovered something on one of my Pinterest boards about improving your Etsy shop and, after reading through it, picked out 10 or so tips that sounded most helpful for my shop and listed them on the whiteboard, with a little checkbox for each one. Then the list was always in front of me when I was in my workspace, or “in my element,” and I found that I could work on one or two items whenever I had a few minutes, instead of getting overwhelmed or forgetting.

My Etsy shop has been running since 2009, but I’ve only gotten serious about working on it in the last few months. So I can’t say I have a ton of sales, but my views have been up, and definitely my sense of personal accomplishment. I am hoping the extra sales will come too. Here is another shot of my art room, because this corner looks nicer.

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Check out these great resources! I don’t mean to overwhelm you with information, but you can always start with one and keep the others bookmarked, pinned, whatever, for later!

Surefire Techniques to Make Your Listings Sizzle

3 Clever Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Business

2 Shop Stats Exercises to Increase Your Traffic

5 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder

If you are a more experienced seller reading this, feel free to add your advice in the comments. Or if you are an Etsy shopper, I would really appreciate some feedback. Check out my shop and let me know what you like, what you don’t like, and what you think makes me stand out. Be the first to share your review, and I will send you a free item (up to $10) of your choice!

My Etsy Shop