Starting your own business is an exciting endeavor, and with popular digital platforms like Etsy on the rise, it’s easier than ever to get the word out about your ideas. If you’re someone who makes your own products, Etsy is a great system to use.
Etsy is a marketplace designed for novel, handmade items. Once you find something you’re passionate about and enjoy creating, you’ll want to focus on originality, marketing and how you stand out amongst the competition.
Market research is a major part of any business plan. Before you start up your business, you need to determine where there are gaps in the market and compare prices. While matching or beating the pricing of your competition can give you an advantage, you can’t slash your prices if you’ll end up selling your products at a loss. “Paying yourself first — and fairly — should be top priority,” says Amy Schroeder, entrepreneur and founder of Venus Zine.
Pick the right name
In the age of social media, sound bites are a key part of your marketing strategy, which means you need to find a catchy name for your business. While choosing the perfect name isn’t an end-all-be-all of an Etsy business, having a unique, standout name can be helpful when you begin to advertise. Choose something simple and memorable to help news travel by word of mouth.
Sarah Peterson, a contributor at the Huffington Post, recommends searching for other shops with similar names. “While it can be crushing when the shop name that you’ve set your heart on is not available, don’t let it stop you from creating your shop,” she says. “If you’re in this boat, try adding the word ‘shop’ or ‘boutique,’ your location or even your initials to the end of your desired name.” If you can’t think of the perfect name up front, don’t fret. You always have the option of changing your business’ name with an Etsy store.
In a digital platform, digital marketing is more important than ever. You can have great products, but without great photos, it won’t translate to your customers. “The age-old expression ‘first impressions are everything’ holds true on Etsy,” says Schroeder. “Because Etsy is an image-driven site, shoppers make quick visual decisions based on needs, personal taste and the quality of your shop’s images.”
Before you get caught up in the world of photography, step back and take a look at what resources you already have. You don’t need a DSLR camera to take quality photos. Smartphones nowadays have great camera quality, so you just need to know how to set up your shot. If possible, set up a neutral or aesthetically pleasing background for your product photos. Remove any extra clutter from the shot so your product can stand out as the focal point of the image.
Finding a craft you’re passionate about is an extraordinary discovery, and being able to make money doing it is even rarer. Starting a business on Etsy gives you the chance to make a living doing what you love; you just have to know where to start.