1. “What do you think; I’m a real business or something?” When I first started this was my “let’s see if this works” kind of hobby shop, and even my first Moonstone Creation craft show I was just getting my feet wet. I had business cards, but that was about it. I didn’t have a facebook, a website, and only had a few items for sale on Etsy. When people kept asking me at the craft show “do you take credit cards?” my thoughts were “what do you think I am, a real business? No, sorry” But I DID want to be a real business! I just wasn’t yet, so I needed to go out and get all the “real business” stuff. (Real Business Stuff:: a logo, business cards, professional looking thank you’s, tags, stickers, banners at craft shows, t-shirts, car magnets, there’s no real end to what you can do even with small budgets.) When you take yourself seriously, others will follow your lead!
Oh and I got a Square and now take credit cards! :)
2. As a business, you need a Plan B: as in “Business Plan”! You can download a simple template online or make it as detailed as you’d like, but MAKE one. (I have almost veered off course a few times with what I add to my shop because something looks fun to make- but it didn’t fit my overall goals and plans for inventory, budget, branding etc., and my plan helped remind me of this!)
3. My Yard Sale Theory: You wouldn’t have a yard sale with only 10 things on your lawn and expect to get traffic pulling up all day, would you? Expect the same for your shop- the more items you have the more people will stop and spend time looking around. You’ll have more people stopping to look, have traffic all day, and some might even buy more than one thing! (I only had a handful of sales before I had 50 items listed, and once I reached 100 items I had averaged a sale every other day, once I had 200 items that average went to 1-3 sales a day…) Also, how about those yard sellers who are genius enough to sell coffee or baked goods at their house?! Maybe there’s something that you too can offer something small/inexpensive that people could purchase, and that may be what brings them into your shop or keeps them coming back.
4. “You’ve got to risk it to get the biscuit”: Making investments in yourself and your business can be risky, especially when you’re first starting out. Make sure at least some of your risks are calculated. When it comes to un-calculated risks: I believe in following your gut, and never following fear. (I only wish I would have believed the same 5 years ago and started this whole dream a little sooner :) But, I’m so glad I put fears about money, success, and other people’s opinions aside!)
5. Listen to your stats, sold orders, and to your friends; they are all telling you things. A few months in I noticed a lot of keyword searches for “fertility gemstones”, of which I had some in my shop but no items where all of the fertility stones were paired together into one piece. Ironically, a fertility bracelet was one of the very FIRST bracelets I made previous to my shop even opening (for a good friend who actually just had a baby girl in Feb!) but it never even crossed my mind ONCE that it would be a need for others and that I should sell them in my shop. So, I made a few fertility and pregnancy bracelets and they started selling right away! I then made a few necklaces and rings and now I have a steady stream of traffic and sales for that section in my shop. If you can, have a “focus” group of friends or family that you can go to with new designs and ideas. Three of my most popular sold items this year so far were ideas that friends had given me because they wanted me to make something for them (Teething necklaces, Hunger Games Jewelry, and Bangle Bracelets)! I’m glad I listened!
6. Re-mix: At first, I wanted to stock the crap out of my shop, so pictures weren’t the best and I hated some of my pieces. Then one day I realized the listings that were lacking, not only weren’t selling, but they were bringing the quality of the rest of my shop down too; they just needed to go! I went through and deactivated all the items with poor photos and all of the items that weren’t jiving and I re-took photos or cut the pieces up to put the stones into new designs. I had to admit that these things were bringing the rest of my shop down and compromising the quality and theme, and once I deactivated and re-activated, I noticed my shop being hearted A LOT more, and more people adding me to circles. That very same day in fact! It just re-assured me that a cohesive shop is a happy shop.
7. Two of a kind: I started out having “one of a kind” items in my shop- everything was unique because I was really having fun making new designs and mixing and matching stones. Although I didn’t label items as “OOAK” I did enjoy that each piece was unique. However: Once I started having enough supplies to make multiples of pieces when they sold and renewing items I realized quickly this was the way to go. It was easier to relist an item (no design time, no photo session, and no long descriptions just the click of a “renew sold” button), and not only did I make more money by saving time, but you may find that one item is selling/has sold for multiples for a reason- It’s popular keep making it!
8. The eggs: they want to go places…. Don’t put them all in one basket! You’ve heard it a million times but it’s true. Get yourself out there and join other selling sites, sign up for local craft shows, and talk to as many boutiques/ salons/ stores that you can that would pair well with your items!!!!
Thanks again everyone!!!....