One thousand sales, three months

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Original Post

savor says

In October, I was looking at my soap making supplies and debating whether or not to keep them.

I picked up the hobby when I moved to San Francisco; I had a lot of free time and didn't know anyone here. I studied library books primarily, and used the internet a little for research, but in 2000 the internet was still somewhat of a baby. It just didn't have the quality of content that it does today.

I didn't know anyone who made soap, so I had very little preconceived ideas about how to make it, what could be done and what could not be done. What I knew was cooking, so I brought that to my craft.

Seven years later, looking at my small rubbermaid box of soap supplies, I realized I hadn't made any soap in about a year. Should I throw the supplies away, spring cleaning?

I decided to make a trip to a soap and candle supply shop, and give it one more go.

And I made this:

And I thought hey, this is pretty cool, I really like this!

My husband had an etsy shop, and a paypal account. I decided to test out my new creations, and if I liked them, to open shop.

My only photography "equipment" for those first soaps was a white curtain, a clean towel, a soap dish, a couple desk lamps and my old 3.2 megapixel camera.

I opened on October 23, and just by chance, I sold some soap on October 24! I was amazed -- at first, I thought I broke my shop, I thought I was deleting my items.

I decided that day, October 24, to give my shop every chance I could. I immediately told my friends, family and coworkers. I decided to list often and keep a solid inventory. I worked on my photos, I talked with my soap supplier, and I listened to buyers in the forums.

Banner advertising, Craigslist, Flickr, and talking about my craft in other forums outside of Etsy brought me a lot of exposure. Exposure helped me get sales, which helped me list even more often. It is a snowball effect.

I always made sure to ship quickly -- some buyers in California would get their packages next day. Buyers started to come back, started to talk about me on blogs and started to tell their friends and family. They began to put my soaps in treasuries, and I started hitting the front page.

I want every shop to succeed on Etsy. I spend a lot of time in the forums, not to promote but to try to help. Posting in the forums really helps people see you, and it gets you in treasuries, but I cringe when I see new store owners use the forums as their only source or promotion.

Here are my thoughts on starting your own snowball:

-- Get two or three pages of inventory up quickly. You may get a lot of traffic to your store, but if there is nothing to buy or not a lot of choice, you won't get many sales

-- Relist and renew your items daily. Do not wait for that magic time -- it does not exist. Relist in batches whenever possible, make a big visual impact in the search results

-- Have clear store policies. Anticipate what can go wrong and plan for it and budget for it

-- Ship international!!!!

-- Take a look at what is on the front page. If you like a front page item, heart it. You never know if someone looks at a front page item and then checks to see who hearts it. If your avatar is interesting, maybe they will visit your shop! Think about six degrees of separation.

-- If you see someone likes to make a lot of treasuries, get to know them! Post comments in their treasuries, check out the items that they like, study what makes a good treasury. Make your own if you can get one!

-- Join a team. They will help you get into treasuries.

-- Treat your customers with respect at all times. Don't complain publicly about disputes -- even if that buyer doesn't see you, your potential buyers DO see how you handle problems. Keep that in mind at all times. Thank your customers, make sure their items are well presented and packaged, and never cut corners. You can always ask for help on the forums, but negative posts will drive customers away.

I hope people will find this helpful, I wanted to share my experience of selling on Etsy.

Posted at 3:43pm Jan 26, 2008 EST


Congrats...and some good advice for those who are struggling.

Posted at 3:45pm Jan 26, 2008 EST

yellowplum says

Thanks for posting this--it's encouragement at a time when a lot of us need it!

Posted at 3:46pm Jan 26, 2008 EST

Congratulations! Wow what an accomplishment, and what a bunch of great advice! Thanks so very much for sharing!

Posted at 3:47pm Jan 26, 2008 EST

GryWinther says

Thanks for taking time to post this!
I am bookmarking this thread.

Posted at 3:48pm Jan 26, 2008 EST

Excellent process and thanks for sharing!! I think the one thing that is evident is the consistency and that you never gave up!

Posted at 3:49pm Jan 26, 2008 EST


And great advice ;O)

Posted at 3:49pm Jan 26, 2008 EST

Totally bookmarking this. Thanks for the advice, savor!!!

Posted at 3:50pm Jan 26, 2008 EST

LizzyT says

Congratulations and thanks for passing on such good advice :)

Posted at 3:50pm Jan 26, 2008 EST

Yeah, great advice. Most successful sellers seem to repeat: customer service and visibility. Unfortunately, both require time...and when you have a "real" job, sometimes that's hard to come by! Congrats on your success!

Posted at 3:51pm Jan 26, 2008 EST