Today's feature is a guest post from Angie Lawlar of Steampunk Funk.
My name is Angie Lawlar. I live in Juneau, Alaska and completely love it! However, that is not to say that on some days I don't miss Washington state, because I do. I have been an Etsy seller since August of 2010. I create my art with as many found objects, recycled materials and upcycled items as I can. This comes with it's fair share of challenges but for the most part it creates an environment filled with new and evolving styles.
I came up with my shop name the usual way...my first, second and third choice were taken. So finally, after striking out 3 times and looking at a piece I had made, it came to me that I create Steampunk style items. Old time pieces paired with present day accessories - kind of funky, kind of edgy. Light bulb! Steampunk Funk.
My biggest challenges of selling on Etsy have been marketing and upping my stock. Marketing is a jungle that I would just love to hide from altogether and increasing my stock is extremely hard to keep up with because the minute I reach above the 50 item goal, I get a wave of sales and have to go back to frantic, messy creating. I have found that Etsy truly does ebb and flow. During those ebb times is when you should be increasing your stock (creating a new line) and not sweating the small stuff.
I have never had anyone question the price of my work and that includes the boutiques I sell at. I think people really get on the upcycled/repurposed bandwagon. It's such a great, stylish way to help the environment. It's wearable art you can feel good about owning and promoting.
Marketing...not my favorite topic, but it is a vital one.
First of all, I will never sell anything I wouldn't wear myself. So I make pieces specifically for me to wear out and about. I always carry business cards for when I get the "Oh, I love that cuff - where did you get it?" I sell at boutiques and they include my business card with each of my pieces sold AND they have my cards in little spaces around the shops.
I Facebook and blog new pieces about once a week. I try not to overkill those devices.
I create treasuries every week, I try to create one in the morning and one in the evening...but that doesn't always happen. I feel it's important to spread the love for other sellers.
I participate in the forums...but not the hater's threads. You will never find me partaking in a slam fest on other shops, featured artists, or Etsy.
I think all of these things are a huge way to market your shop. It does take a ton of time and effort, there are nights when I don't get to hang with my best friend/husband of 10 years. There are times (many) when I'm the last one to bed and the first one to rise. It is just what comes with the territory of upstarting your own business.
One thing I have found that does NOT work and are a complete waste of money are the showcases. Instead of those, I relist items. I relist on the times my Google Analytics says are the highest traffic times. For me that is 8 am, 5 pm, and 7pm.
I have had plenty of positive experiences on Etsy, more so than negative. I give HUGE thanks to all of the sellers who have helped me out, given me tips, put me in treasuries and blogs and told me about Craftopolis and Craftcult. I would be back to square one if it hadn't been for the kindness of others.
I believe every sale is a success whether big or small.