Made With Love Market 8-30

Turn Around Time and Customer Service

The average turn around time with an Etsy seller is 7-14 business days. My average turn around time is 2-7 days. The most pressure I put on my shop is in this department. In today’s time it seems customer service is something so far gone that when people find it they cherish it and want to return for more.

The amazing thing with a hand crafted business is building relationships with your customers and so they want to continue to go to your shop because at this point and all the hard work you have put in, they know you, they know your story. The biggest selling point of a hand crafted business is details. Little Details.

I let customers know immediately after a purchase how much I appreciate their hard earn dollars being spent in my shop and thank them for supporting my dream. As I am making their items I keep in constant contact with them so they know where there order is in the process of creating. Before I ship their item I send them a final thank you again and ask for their approval before shipping to make sure I didn’t miss any thing. (Common times you will miss something small to add or customize and your time is valuable, so these steps help in not only saving you a second shipping fee but also the hard hours that go into creating each piece.)

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Lets hit some key points of EXCELLENT customer service.

  • Answer promptly to all emails.
  • Answer with a smile. Friendly, happy to help, and eager to learn about what your customer needs.
  • Most people do not read the descriptions, so if they ask a question, like how many ounces a mug is, answer them instead of referring them to your description.
  • Send a package swoon worthy. You want people to brag about you to their friends, to smile when they first open up the package! Make it pretty, get creative and have fun with this step! 
  • Create positive reviews – Your shop depends on the 5 star reviews. Doing the above will help to ensure you receive these. A lot of people do not leave any reviews, do not take this personally, they are just busy and don’t read the “after review” email Etsy sends out! The simple and sweet emails they send saying Thank you I love it I will occasionally throw on my instagram stories showing people snippets of my work life! (Social Media Marketing.)

Now to the dreary and dreaded….The people you can never please. There out there. You will not make every encounter happy. There will come a time and a place someone will be unsatisfied you chose pink instead of yellow tissue paper. *sarcasm here* They Sting.

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Don’t stress about it too much. Don’t curl up in a ball with ice cream and empty your tissue box for it, although being real I may have done this once. JUST ONCE. Even the most successful people receive bad reviews. It all boils down to human nature that we can not please everyone and certain souls just do not jive. DO NOT ANSWER UNTIL THE NEXT DAY….Promptness goes bye bye in a negative situation. Let your self find a solution that you know is your best. Offer to make something new and free to them, Offer a Refund. If these things do not defuse the situation, there is a reply section on the Etsy Reviews for anything under 3 stars you can publicly respond with how you tried to come to a solution and offer excellent customer service. A buyer wants to be ensured if a hiccup happens you are the type of character to stand by your word and fix the problem. With a hand crafted business the customer is always right. By then, you will already think more clearly and your writing will be less affected by your emotions.

Learn. A negative review often reveals imperfections in your shop which you can grow to adapt your products, process, shipping,  accordingly for a more efficiently ran shop. Trial and Error my friends! For example, when I first started doing vinyl and hand painted I would make sure to label my description which it was. I made a deer coffee mug for $14.00 out of vinyl and sealed it and shipped it all pretty. I have had several 5 star ratings on this EXACT item, personally I think its cute as a button. Then came….we will call her Jane…..Jane was not happy and short from the beginning. She was buying this as a mediocre fathers day gift because she was mad at her dad and did not want to spend over $15 on him. (This is the story she tells me.) I had a feeling she might not be my picture perfect client. None the less I did my deal and tried to remain positive and light along the way. When review time came 1 star with horrible things to say about the mug. (Al though she sent me an email shortly after thanking me for such an affordable cute gift.) Once I replied attaching our emails she immediately deleted her review. This was my ice cream in a ball night.

You can’t expect everyone to know the heart, blood, sweat, and tears that go into a hand crafted, or at that, any entrepreneur type business. You answer to you. There is no 9 – 5, clock out clock in. It is up to you the amount of your success.

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The solution to an imperfect situation is very personal. You have to decide what is right for your business. Do not always feel pressured to cancel and refund the customer though. We can become so scared about the bad review that “teach” the customers it is OK to simply complain and get their money back, even sometimes without returning the product. FREEBIE!!! Who wouldn’t complain just to get the goods free of cost? This does not guarantee a change in the review anyway. First, try to resolve the problem with the customer if possible through the conversations app. Take responsibility where needed.

 

We will use my son’s school motto to close this out, because really, keep it simple.

Be Kind, Work Hard, Do Your Best.

– Treat people the way you would want to be treated in a business setting. Go above and beyond to make sure each client feels like the King or Queen that she or he is! Know that they work just as hard for their dollar as you do for yours and they are choosing to spend that money with your business!

Love Yourself

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Moms!?! How often are you so busy getting your kids ready in the morning you completely let your morning routine go by the wayside?  The constant fights, the struggle, the BRUSH YOUR TEETHE NOW moments? I used to shave my legs at least every other day….Now its once a week and I’m feeling like a super mom when that happens! Or putting on makeup? Like a full face, HELLO WORLD, makeup? ummmm like never? I look in the mirror many days and think what happened? I have purple under my eyes? I have wrinkles in between my forehead? Am I grumpy? What the actual hell? Than I get gratitude…. I have these awesome little people who not only make my heart burst at the seams but make my face look 10 years older….

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I have come up with a 5 minute make up routine that WORKS! On the days your rushing, which lets be real, is 99.9% of the time, these are my GO TO cosmetics that make me look alive and together! I had a beautiful soul, and teacher approach me on her lip products, which normally I would push to way side but I tried this, and Oh Em GEE, I literally was super mom and felt GOOD about myself ALL DAY! So Lets Dive Right In……

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  • Bad Gal Mascara – Volumize lashes in literally 2 seconds. (Ipsy)
  • Tarte Face Powder – Eliminates all wrinkles and darks circles immidiately. (Ulta)
  • Lip Sense – Neutral Tone LAST ALL DAY!!!! (Susan Heath) sheath@centurylink.net, this woman is amazing. I love meeting people through social media marketing that are just Kick Ass Women! IG @mslipboss FB Lips and Lashes that Last

I literally feel like me again when I follow these three super simple quick hacks! I have searched high and low for products that actually WORK and last til dusk and these my friends are the WINNER! I hope this helps the mommy routine be a little smoother for you! Remember in order to fill cups, your cup must be full! Ladies…We have some cup filling to accomplish…Treat Yourself!

Made with Love Market 7-30

Made with Love Market 7-30

Social Media Marketing

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Social Media in today’s day and age is EVERYTHING. Yellow pages have gone by the way side and Social Media is a free and easy way to reach your target audience with grace and truly connect to people about your hand crafted business. We are going to go over some key points in reaching your target audience and how to launch your hand crafted business to the next level!

  • Instagram – 1-2 post per day MAX. Include tags. You can use these in several different ways. Example: I absolutely #love the #lavender details of these #diecuts I just posted on #etsy. Example 2: I absolutely love the lavendar details of these diecuts I just posted on Etsy. *In the comment section add #lavendar #diecuts #etsy. This is where you want to keep close attention to whats trending….For example type #etsy and look to see what pops up and how many people have “posted” this. Hash tag what is being posted the most and this is a “trend”. Time of posting is EVERYTHING on Instagram. Here is a basic time to get the maximum amount of likes on your Instagram.  Monday 5-6 pm, Tuesday 7-8 pm, Wednesday 10-11 pm, Thursday 5-6 pm, Friday 5-6 pm, Saturday 8-9 pm, Sunday 7-8 pm. Make sure to explore other brands and people who inspire you and follow them. Watch what they are doing and follow the example.

 

  • Facebook – 2-5 post per day about what you’re doing, how it looks, what you’re creating, your life. People want glimpses of not only your business but WHO YOU ARE. Create sharable content with a broad target audience, DIY Videos can help you attract a larger network of followers and potential new customers.

 

  • Pinterest – SHARE EVERYTHING! There is a link on your Etsy page for every item you add where you can share. One of the links is Pinterest. Every single listing needs to be shared to Pinterest for more visualization of what you are making and doing.

 

  • Twitter – “Twitter allows for instant conversation,” explains Michelle Reaney of Toronto-based shop Thunderpeep Designs, who uses her handle, @thunderpeep, to share short updates with her followers in 140 characters or less.One of the most useful Twitter features for a business owner looking to make connections and promote her shop is the hashtag, a word or phrase marked with the # symbol, such as #handmade or #EtsySeller. “On Twitter, hashtags are used to categorize posts by topic or keyword,” explains Jessica Ulrich, a social media manager at Etsy, “clicking a hashtag will display every tweet that includes that tag.”

    To get started developing content, jot down a list of the types of posts you would like to share over the next month, suggests Jessica. This can include general categories, like inspiration or behind-the-scenes, or more specific items like the launch of a new product or holiday promotions. Once your list of ideas is complete, plot your posts on a calendar. – Kathy Svehaug

  • Little Tid Bits –  You do have a handmade business so get creative with just that…MARKETING….Create coupon codes and fun giveaways that you do when you reach different milestones or months. Be precise and unique with your packaging so people remember you and want more. Plan at least 45-50 days in advance for the next holiday so you can get ahead of the game and not feel pressured when the holiday arises!
  • What is Working and What is Not?

    Every like, comment or click could give you amazing insight for your social media marketing. Think about how you can effect your target audience and read all the “analysis” opportunities that each outlet provides you. Ask engaging questions and make your audience feel a part of your experience and life. Play with different words and phrases to see what works and what doesn’t. Use all the tools in your tool belt such as Facebook Insightsbit.ly and Iconosquare to figure out what is working and what is not!

Week 7 Challenge – Create 2 social media outlets SPECIFICALLY FOR YOUR BUSINESS. Start posting daily and using the reccomended settings and watch how much your following grows!!!!! Happy Mediaing!images (1)

Made With Love Market 6-30

Made With Love Market 6-30

The Secrets of Editing and Flatlays….From an I Phone.

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Pictures are absolutely EVERYTHING my friends…Everything! I want to share with you all my secret tips, tricks, and fails to avoid! Pictures display your work in the most important way. Photos are the only way a client can reach, touch, see your product before it is in their hands! You have to make your product appear to be something they can not live without! So lets get started at square one….

When I first started Etsy my pictures looked a little something like this.

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Now that same listing looks like this….

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We will go ahead and start at square one! LIGHTING IS EVERRRRRYYYYTTTHHHHING! Natural lighting is the BEST! I take anything I can outside to photograph before editing, for the simple reason you just cant beat natural light! Shadows and wrinkles are a huge NO NO NO!!!!

I’m a fire wife with 2 busy little ones and so where ever and when ever I can get work helpers I do! SelfMade is my secret to SUCCESS! When I first began Etsy, I knew nothing of business, let alone running a hand crafted business while balancing mommyhood! Selfmade has saved me hundreds of hours with their picture editing program they offer! I take natural, bright, fun, flat lays and they edit and return to me! You do have to be at a certain “volume” business wise for them to accept you, but when you get to this volume I highly suggest this company as it has been a LIFE SAVER for me.

When shooting on your I PHONE make sure that you are outside or in great light, think about wrinkles, angles, props you can use to boost your products necessity to your customer.

Happy Snapping My Friends!

Week 6 Challenge – Change 4 of your listings to higher quality photos with props, lighting, and angles to make it more interesting! Submit your before and afters to courtney@thesweetestlittlelife.com and the most dramatic difference will receive some goodies and be announced on the blog in week 7! 

Made With Love Market 5-30

Made With Love Market 5-30

SEO….That sounds scary. Like a never-ending coding maze right? This was my thought when I kept seeing the necessity of using it popping up in all the articles I follow! SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization….In lamen terms…Your goods pop up and say HELLO in search engines (i.e. google, Facebook, instagram) before anyone elses! For your business, especially a handcrafted business, this is CRUCIAL….Did I say that? IMPORTANT…BUSINESS DEPENDENT….Your Main Marketing Channel Yo! Want SEO in a book form that breaks it all down? This site is amazing…https://moz.com/beginners-guide-to-seo.what-do-the-business-numbers-say-about-seo_50c59a85309db_w1500

  • Write fantastic, useful content that uses words and phrases used by people who search for your products and services.
  • Make it easy for people to share and link to it.
  • Keep doing it! Over, and over, and over again!

Step by Step to get started if using Etsy! USE THE VARIATIONS AND KEYWORDS YOUR ALLOWED! Every chance you get to promote learn about it and dive in!

Download Google Keyword Planner – This will allow you to see what people are searching and trending.

Have someone you admire doing the exact same thing you want to do? Follow them, learn from them, watch their tags and keywords used often. What works for them that you might be missing?

Pay Attention to trends. Example: Slime. I would have never thought slime would be selling, yet here I am having my littles test if mom failed or not on slime levels to add to my Etsy! Go with what is trending! Etsy even sends out monthly emails on “trending now” so you can follow and see what the biggest sellers are for the month.

WordStream is Uh-Mah-Zingggggggg for being able to quickly and easily find out where you stand with your ad words on google. http://www.wordstream.com

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#Yourgoingtohaveakickasshandmadebusiness

A hash tag is anything on social media with # in front of it! Hash tags are so important because it really helps to tune in on your target audience! When I first started Etsy I had no idea how to hash tag….(Lets be real! Its a good day if I get an email to send through properly!) When on instagram if you type in a word you can see how many people are searching for it and using it and then click the one that is used most! Also there are always tags trending in the handcrafted business. Currently #makersmovement #makersgonnamake #flatlays #momboss #momlife are all very popular! You want to really be specific with your tag to make sure the RIGHT people follow you and learn about what you do!

Say, for example, your business sells Diapers. Instead of using #parents (Resulting in parents of thirty year olds) Use #newmommy. The hashtag #newmommy is directed to mothers of babies—your target audience.

Most importantly, never lose site of the Mountain you are climbing. This does not all happen over night! It has taken me nearly 3 years to take a teeny tiny step in the SEO and Hashtag world, but know if you can make 30 minutes a week to do some marketing research, your business will benefit greatly!

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Weekly Challenge: Do some research and see where you fall in the SEO! Make a list of 5 things you can complete by the end of the week to move your business one step closer to that first search page. 

 

 

 

Made With Love Market 4-30

Made With Love Market 4-30

Pricing 

Supplies + Your Time = Item Cost

Item Cost x Markup (between 2.0 – 2.5 or more) = Wholesale Price

Wholesale Price x Markup = Retail Price

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DO NOT SELL YOUR SELF SHORT!!! You are amazing. You are talented. You are straight up just awesome! As an owner of a handcrafted business you 1 are talented and 2 have taken a huge launch into entrepreneurship! Do not sell your self short! This is the biggest fail I see amongst new hand-made businesses! You want to compete with Wal-Mart Prices…. Let me break something down for you.

  • Wal-Mart employs 1.6 million people. To give you an idea of just how many people who is, Idaho, the 39th most populous state, is home to 1.4 million people.
  • Wal-Mart had sales of $312.43 billion in its most recent fiscal year, which ended January 31, 2006. By comparison, the second-largest retailer in the country, Home Depot, posted sales of $81.5 billion.
  • Wal-Mart has 6,200 retail outlets. In contrast, Home Depot has 2,040.

I’m guessing you are 1 maybe a team of 2 people? You do not own a store front but work from a craft room, or labor of love area of your home, and you do not own 6200 retail stores? Am I righhhht?????

You have to not only charge for what you pay for product, but for your time….How much do you want to earn per hour? The beauty of owning your own business is deciding your salary. When I first started my Etsy I was comparing my Coffee Mugs to Target prices…Around $9.50 per mug…. I was constantly frustrated with why I was making no money and breaking even! WELL DUH>>> IM NOT TARGET! I was working my ass off on making the perfect gift for people and getting burnt out! I than raised my prices 3 years later last christmas to $16.50  a mug because I followed the formula listed above….Guess what happened? I thought for sure, I would get slow for Christmas and my sales Quadrupled…How this happened? I have no idea. I just know I believed in my product and what I was doing and knew I was worth more!!!! My family was worth more! Shipping will be an entire different blog and I wanted to keep tonight short and sweet, but think long and hard about what things cost you to make a product, how much time is contributed to that product, and than times that by 2. That should be your total price per item on Etsy.

WEEK FOUR CHALLENGE: LIST 10 NEW ITEMS AND CREATE APPROPRIATE PRICING WITH NO FEAR OF REJECTION. BELIEVE IN YOURSELF, BELIEVE IN YOUR PRODUCT, KNOW THAT YOU ARE AMAZING FOR STARTING YOUR DREAM. download

 

Made with Love Market 3-30

Made with Love Market 3-30

The Set Up Series

Lets start with the biggest excuse I hear when it comes time to get the ball rolling! “I can’t afford the cost of a business!” Well friends, I am here to clue you in on some exciting news! Ready for it? Joining and starting a shop on Etsy is free. There are three basic selling fees: a listing fee, a transaction fee, and a payment processing fee. It costs $0.20 to publish a listing to the marketplace. A listing lasts for four months or until the item is sold. When I list mine I usually just put quantity of 100 because everything I make is made to order and I do not have time to constantly make sure my items are sold out or not! Okay Lets get to our key points this lesson.

  • Picking a business name – I.E. The name of your Etsy Shop. (You should have done this and completed your logo in lesson two.) If not its ok! Hop on and get creative my logo was some random picture of lips I found on google for like a year! (Yuck) however, effective to open off the ground. You can change your name a billion times before you open your shop by going to Your Shop > Shop Name. After you’ve opened your shop, you can change the shop name one time.
  • Etsy is awesome in providing tools to help you blossom your new handcrafted shop! Here is a quick start check list which I highly recommend downloading. Quickstartchecklist
  • Listings… Pictures…Price…..Listings…… – We are going to have a blog JUST ON LISTINGS AND PHOTOGRAPHY, because this is crucial to your success on Etsy. You could have the best art print ever created. No tags? Horrible Photo Editing? FAIL! No Sales. If we are being honest, your reading this because what you are doing is not working, or you have no idea where to start! Please believe me on this giant fail! (This does not mean go out and buy a $2,0000 camera and become a professional product photographer.) All of my pictures which you can view on my instagram @sealedwithakissartistry are taken with my IPHONE. Yup. My phone, yo. I will be revealing this secret too. Etsy suggests these five simple suggestions on creating and getting great images when you are creating your first listings!
    • A well-lit, clear photo of the item you plan to sell
    • A photo that shows alternate angles of the product so shoppers can make an informed purchase
    • A photo showing any unique details of the product. Try to answer any questions a shopper might have about texture, color or the techniques used.
    • A photo that shows the scale of the item. Styling a photo with other recognizable props or by having volunteer models hold it in their hands can help. For example, Bonnie styles the photos for her linen table runner with a teacup and saucer.

    Use all five available photos and try to shoot your products using natural daylight instead of a flash.

  • Creating Categories – Remember that target audience mambo jumbo I was talking about in lesson one….Well here it comes again! DONT TRY TO SELL IT ALL! Find a target audience and really gear towards that audience. Do you create clothing, do you sew, do you paint, do you draw. Decide some key categories your listings will go in.  Example I have Mommy, Sweet Gifts, Tees and Tanks, etc. You can also add more categories as you go along and expand your handmade business.
  • Pricing – Oh how I failed at this miserably! I was trying to sell Nordstrom Products at a Wal-Mart Price just to get sales. After hitting my head against brick walls a few times, my patient husband pointed out how much money I was losing with every sale! I was losing SO MUCH MONEY my first year because I felt “bad” over charging people. WAKE UP CALL!!!!! You are not over charging people. You can go flip hamburgers and take fries out of grease for $10-12 an hour why should you work day in and day out at your passion for any thing less than that? Some helpfulness with not repeating my mistake….Down load this excel sheet Worksheet-How-to-Price-Like-a-Pro5 Type in how much your materials and overhead cost, how long it takes you to create the item, and research similar items and how much they are pricing for.
  • Tags – ARE SUCH A BIG DEAL. Phrases are better than one word blips – Example: Wine Glass ie Bridesmaid Wine Glasses . Below I am attaching the lovely Michelle Spauldings Tips for Brainstorming Key Words Effectively which has saved my booty on more than one occasion from staring blankly at my computer or phone.1. What is it?

    Example: necklace, jewelry, bowl, print

    2. What is it specifically? What type?

    Example: hoop earrings, v-neck sweaters, long sleeved shirt, cocktail ring

    3. Who is it for?

    Example: women, men, baby girl, children, girl, adult, pets, dog, teachers

    4. What is the main material?

    Example: leather, organic cotton, canvas, felt, metal, 14K gold, sterling silver, glass

    Add the major material to your tags, if it is something you think a buyer might search for to find your item. Add minor materials or component materials to the “materials” box.

    5. What is the main color?

    Example: ivory, red, carnation pink, navy blue, neutral, rainbow, black and white

    Buyers are not likely to look for minor colors in your piece, so stick to the main color(s) or important color combos. You should add basic colors (“green” or “red”) to your item attributes as well as specialized colors (“mint green” or “fuchsia”) to your tags.

    6. What method or technique did you use to make it?

    Example: hammered (for metal jewelry), burned (for woodworking), handspun yarn, appliqued, embroidered

    7. Where will the item be used?

    Example: kitchen, hair, office, beach, garden, car, nursery

    8. What size is it?

    Example: plus size, 1X, medium, XS, oversized, extra long, chunky, 7mm, 18in, 8 x 10 (art), 7.5 (shoes)

    Depending on your item’s category, you may be able to add this size information to your attributes, as well as your titles, tags, and descriptions.

    9. What style is it?

    Example: goth, victorian, hippie, punk, tribal, impressionist, post-modern, feminine, sophisticated, southwestern, Japanese

    10. What imagery or motifs are on the item?

    Example: owl, landscape, nature, plaid, geometric, floral, animal

    11. Are there synonyms?

    Example: infant for young babies, handbag for purses and clutches, kids for children, drink for tea, trousers for pants, travel mirror for compact mirror

     

Week 3 Challenge – Create at least 4 listings in your new Etsy Shop.