Monday, September 3, 2012

getting serious

i recently read a thread started by robin from customportraitart on the etsy forums.  it is a little nugget of wisdom that has inspired me.  basically robin says: yeah, i know it's slow in etsyland but what i've learned is to take advantage of these slow times by getting ready for the busy times and that for newbies, the busy times come when you least expect it.  she gives some more specific advice so go read it, but for me this is what i got - wow, there are some successful artists on etsy who have to prepare for busy times.  hmm.  this made me think about the way that i think about my shop.  which led to this - if i want busy times then i have to treat my shop like a real professional business, that just happens to be run from my living room.  

that's not to say that i haven't been spending almost every waking minute thinking about my shop and how to make it successful, it's just that i think i need to use that time a little more effectively.  so how does a mixed media artist and sometime vintage seller market herself, her shop online?  i don't know yet but i feel like it has something to do with having an actual plan instead of the haphazard way i've been going about things.  you know, like a big scary business plan and a mission statement, (do people still use that term or am i hopelessly out of the loop?) things like etsy shop policies (nonexistent), current shipping prices (um...), an about page, beautiful item photos, effective tags, a facebook page!, identifying who my customer is, etc. etc. etc.


so, (this is turning into a novel isn't it?), i've begun to get serious.  i'm starting with baby steps because i know myself and i don't want to overwhelm and scare myself off.  one thing i've started doing is to retake photos that have been downright horrible.  i've gotten a sort of process down and i've been playing with photo editing, using creative kit in picassa.  what are you guys using?  my photos are far from where they need to be but at least most of them are now within the thumbnail space etsy gives us!  i've found that mid morning gives the best natural light so far.  i'm learning to actually look at whats in the view finder and to be thoughtful about item positioning instead of snapping off hundreds (thousands, millions!) of photos that need to be edited for hours.  i'm playing around with backgrounds, which i'm sure is giving my shop a chaotic look right now.  what do you guys think about backgrounds - all the same or can we mix it up?  i've been playing around with trying to get that sort of burnt out, bright photo that seems to be popular now.  do you guys love that look or hate it?  taking photos is an art form unto itself but it is oh so important for those of us that want to sell online.

here's what i mean about thinking before shooting so there's less editing later.

here's a new photo that i kind of like.  i like photos with a bit of shadow but does that help sell your item?

another baby step is going through all my listings trying to tag them better and tweak my descriptions.  for instance, one of my mixed media pieces uses old journal pages and i had something written about using them to make something uplifting and happy, implying that the pages are sad and depressing.  suddenly it dawned on me, would i want to own that piece thinking that sad and depressing journal pages were used in its making?  i don't think so.  so that's gone.

each day i plan to do a little something towards that goal of being a shop with busy times.  i promise to share what i learn as i "get serious."   undoubtedly there will be plenty of stuff you already know, but maybe there will be some things that will inspire you.  and i'd love it if you shared some of your tips in the comments.  a regular sharefest. :)

so here's a couple of links -
awesome ways to take better photos or have them done for you  viau
hashtags, for those of us who are dipping their toes into twitter  nashpop 
sell anything, from anywhere in minutes - that's what it says. selling on your blog?!  shoplocket

and i just thought i'd add some beautiful things from etsyland for a little inspiration.





Angela said...

great advice. i definitely agree that you have to treat your shop like a professional business even if it is being run from such a small space (so so small in my case). i recently thought that i need to do that now that i'm out of school, and finally listed a bunch of things knowing that fall is the busiest time for my items, and have had more sales and inquiries than i've had in months! so i'm hoping that all this time & money will pay off this winter!

i use picasa, i'd love to have photoshop but it's expensive & really time consuming. picasa seems to work great for me, though i'd love to improve consistency in my photos!-both in vintage and handmade shops.

good luck to you in etsyland!

Lisa said...

i agree about photoshop - so expensive and so much to learn! i checked out your shops, and i like the look. you're photos are great in my humble opinion. best of luck this fall and holiday season.