Monday, May 27, 2013

Etsy Tips: A quick introduction to selling on Etsy

Part of selling on Etsy involves learning how to meld your love for all things crafty and artsy with the business side of things. Selling online means you have to deal with things like taking pretty photographs and writing good descriptions, because how else will people know what they're buying? They can't see or feel your products in person, so this is the closest they will be able to get otherwise.

Knowing how to market yourself is also very important, since it's a quick and easy way to grab people's attention. It's not necessary, but maintaining a presence on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or other social media networks can pay off in a big way. You can't expect people to find your shop if you don't work to get your name and products out there. Just because your shop is on Etsy doesn't automatically mean people will find your item in searches! Always try to think from a buyer's perspective - what makes YOU decide to click on a photograph or check out an item when shopping online?

Quick tips
  1. Read the Etsy Seller Handbook. There is so much valuable information here for new Etsy sellers. It doesn't cover everything, but it's a great start:
  2. Price your items correctly! One of my most frequently used tools is an Etsy fee calculator: You can input what you want to charge for an item + shipping/handling, and the calculator will tell you how much you'll really make as profit after Etsy fees, payment processing fees, and postage are taken out. Don't forget to compensate yourself fairly for your time as well as supplies. Here's a good blog post on this topic:
  3. Utilize your tags and titles! These are extremely important, because they influence where your items will show up both in the Etsy search and on Google. Read up on Etsy and how relevancy works. Everyone dreads learning about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), but it's an unavoidable aspect of selling online, regardless of whether you host your shop on a venue or have an independent website of your own. Here are some helpful links related to Etsy: 
  4. Photographs, photographs, photographs. Good photographs are another key aspect of selling online, but you don't need a fancy DSLR camera! You can get great photographs with a normal point-and-shoot digital camera by using the macro setting, adjusting white balance in combination with a light box, and utilizing free photo-editing programs like GIMP or Picmonkey
  5. Fill out your shop policies. Etsy automatically includes a link to your shop policies at the bottom of every listing in your shop, and they're very helpful when there's a problem: be clear about your return/exchange policies. I also included information about payment methods, processing times for made-to-order items, and shipping methods and estimated delivery times in my policies.
  6. Fill our your shop announcement. The shop announcement is important for being found on Google Searches. Use keywords relevant to your shop and incorporate them into a concise but descriptive introduction about your products. More info about that here:
  7. The more items, the better. It's just simple statistics - the more items you list in your shop, the more likely you are to have those items show up in the search. It's pretty difficult to be found with only 15 items in your shop. 
  8. Use social media to promote. Creating a Facebook business page is free and easy, and it can act as a portal for your business if you sell on more than one website or venue. It's a great way to introduce new products, promote sales, and increase your customer base. Don't forget to claim a unique username for your page! For instance, you can find the FB page for my shop at Here is Facebook's guide to setting up a business page:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Etsy and Taxes: Direct Checkout Fees

It's tax time again and this year, Etsy sellers have a new set of fees to calculate for expense deductions: direct checkout fees for those who have that payment method enabled. Etsy does not make it very easy to figure out your total for fees, though, so I wrote up this quick tutorial, which I hope will be helpful to everyone!

1. Go to Your Shop > Options > Download Data > Orders (csv type). Be sure to leave the month unselected and just choose the year if you want your yearly total.

2. Once you download the file for 2012, open in Excel and find the column named "Card Processing Fees" (column W). 

3. Use the sum function to total up the column and you should have your yearly DC fee total! The formula in Excel is =SUM(W2:W***). *** should be the very last row number at the end of your spreadsheet, which will vary for everyone depending on how many sales you had. 

P.S. If you do not have Microsoft Excel available to you, OpenOffice and GoogleDocs are great alternatives for viewing CSV and XLS files!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Thoughts about my first craft show

I did my first craft show last week at the Martin HS Warrior Baseball Craft & Specialty Show in Arlington, TX, and I'm very pleased with the results! I made 4x my booth fee back - a good standard is usually 10x your booth fee, but considering I had mostly low-priced items ranging from $0.50 - $6, I'd say that was a pretty good profit for my table. Not to mention other more experienced vendors around me complained traffic was actually down from last year's turnout, so not too shabby for my first show :) I also passed out a lot of business cards and received inquiries for custom orders, so the exposure to a new audience was definitely worth it.

I spent a lot of time browsing through photos of other people's craft show displays on Pinterest and Flickr for inspiration, and I'm very happy with how colorful my table turned out! The kids at the craft show definitely thought so - they would walk through the door and immediately make a beeline for my table, much to their parents' horror and my glee :D If you need some ideas, you can find my own Pinterest board dedicated to craft show ideas here!

Details about my booth
  • I actually used an old bedsheet for the tablecover - it turned out to be the perfect size for a 6' table - and bought a matching table skirt from Party City to dress it up.
  • I purchased a pretty vintage suitcase on Etsy, which I totally fell in love with! I covered a cookie pan with fabric and tucked it into the top half of the suitcase for use as a magnet board (inspired by this). 
  • I bought a dishwasher rack from Marshall's and used it to display my badge reels and pocket mirrors. It added height to my table and was visually interesting.
  • I found a cute little chalkboard at FIT Japan in Houston for $1.50. 
  • The varying containers and trays were purchased at Michael's (50% off coupon!) and Target's dollar section. Gotta love saving money!
  • For price tags, I covered clothespins with deco tape and made 2" scalloped circles using my scrapbook punch and textured cardstock. 
  • I really wanted to buy a custom banner from Etsy, but I had procrastinated and many of the banner shops on Etsy have 3-4 week lead times! So I ended up designing my own banner on Photoshop, printing them using my laser printer, and punching out the circles with a scrapbook punch. I tied them all together with satin lavender ribbon.
  • I took cash and credit cards using the Square app on my iPhone. Square was very easy to use, and they deposited the money into my bank account the next day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

An introduction to kawaii

Some new kawaii flakesWhat is kawaii? This is a question I'm asked all the time! I first fell in love with and started collecting Japanese stationery in 2008. It's unbelievably addictive and just oh so cute! When most people talk about kawaii on Etsy, Swap-bot, or other places online, it's usually a reference to particular brands of Japanese stationery, but it can also be used to describe a very particular aesthetic or style (you'll see what I mean when I start posting example images!) Kawaii designs usually featuring objects with happy, smiling faces. If you're wondering how to pronounce the word "kawaii," it rhymes with Hawaii, and it's actually a Japanese word (かわいい) that means "cute."

Mamegoma Sticker FlakesBrands that are NOT considered kawaii by most collectors include Sanrio, Disney, Diddl, My Little Pony, and Morning Glory. Common kawaii brands include the following:

  • Kamio
  • Crux
  • Q-lia
  • Mind Wave
  • Pool Cool
  • San-X
Order from Kawaii Shop JapanThese brands have tons of different designs, and they retire old characters and introduce new ones all the time. Some of my favorite kawaii themes include kawaii fairy tales, food with faces, and pudding/purin-chan!

I love collecting sticker sacks. These are incredibly cute packages that usually contain 70 die-cut sticker flakes + 1 large sticker! To the left is a photo of some sticker sacks in my collection.

New deco tapesOther popular kawaii stationery to collect are memo pads, which come in 2 sizes (regular and mini), deco tape, letter sets, pens, pencils, and pencil pouches. Memo sheets are cute and functional! You can use them for paper craft projects like scrapbooking or cardmaking, for penpal letters, or decorating your journals and folders. You can also use them as cute little notes to write to your friends or to include in orders that you sell. Deco tape, which is pictured to the right, is another very versatile crafting tool! It can be used for journaling, scrapbooking, or adding an extra cute touch to packages! It's very similar to washi tape or masking tape, and it is usually found in three sizes: mini rolls, medium rolls (which is what you see here), and large rolls.

My Hannari Tofu collection - 6/24/09
My absolute favorite kawaii items to collect are plushies! I was a huge fan of Hannari Tofu (produced by Q-lia/Passport Japan) for a long time, and recently, AMUSE's Arpakasso line have caught my eye :) They're very huggable and they always make me smile when I look at them.

SENT: Swap for Kat (burntbao)

If you're looking to start collecting some kawaii stationery of your own, you can always stop by my shop: Panda Love Shop! I've recently started destashing some of my collection, since I no longer have a lot of time to devote to it, and you can find kawaii stationery mixes, deco tape, and plushies there! For newer designs and a wider selection of my items, some of my favorite kawaii stores are:

Happy kawaii collecting! • ᴗ • 

P.S. Here's a coupon code for 5% off any purchase at my Etsy shop: BLOGGERLOVE2012

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Deco tape sale!

Destashing my stock of kawaii deco tapes! Use coupon code DECOTAPELOVE2012 at my Etsy shop for 15% off your order :) I have lots of designs, including Rilakkuma-themed tapes like this one:

rilakkuma deco tape

If you see a design that you like and you want more than 1, send me a convo through Etsy! I have multiple quantities of many designs! Coupon code will be valid until May 12, 2012.