I recently opened my Etsy shop Backyard Spruce, selling needle felted creations and laser cut shadow boxes. Currently I have 14 items up which cost me a grant total of $2.80 (at $0.20/listing). It took me roughly three months from conception to opening to get everything just (mostly) right.
What’s my biggest recommendation? Be a copy cat!
Recently I embraced being a copy cat as an unabashed way to learn, get inspired, and create. Today I’ll talk how being a copy cat helped me overcome my three biggest and most time consuming road blocks to opening my Etsy shop.
Overcoming Road Block #1: Photography
I spent hours looking at others’ photos on Etsy. How did they style their scenes, angles, and aperture? What did I like and what did I find appalling? I was able to get a rough idea of how I wanted my pictures to look, and through quite a lot of trial and error I found the settings that I felt best represented my creations.
There are lots of helpful hints available on Etsy as well, though I found it more helpful to see what various shops were doing with products similar to mine.
Shameless plug time: Yukonstruct now has a photography tent ready to use! I am excited to try it out with my future creations!
Overcoming Road Block #2: Policies & Shipping
For policies I looked at numerous other Etsy shops for how much information was given, how they stated it, and which policies they put in place. I then created my own based on what I believed would be helpful from the initial opening of my shop. I’ve never shipped an item to a customer so it was great to think about what I will do in case of damage or the customer being unsatisfied with the product. I also joined a Whitehorse Etsy team to see what was being done locally.
Figuring out the price of shipping was an interesting challenge and I will simply have to learn by doing. Right now I have approximate fees that I found through Canada Post’s website for my packaging sizes, and I’d recommend anyone opening a shop do the same. There are still a lot of unknowns for me, including the cost to ship to what Etsy calls “everywhere” and grouped items, but I’ll cross those bridges when I get there!
Don’t let shipping scare you away from opening an Etsy shop! There may be a few dollars lost when a product costs more to ship than expected, but I’m going to consider this the cost of learning.
The guide I found most helpful is the Canada Post Shipping Guide of Glory. How can you go wrong with a name like that?
Overcoming Road Block #3: Pricing
Pricing was perhaps the most nerve wracking part. How much is my time worth? What price points are simply too high? Will anything actually sell?! Again, I searched through Etsy to get an idea of how similar products were being priced and found a way to justify my costs.
So, here’s how I did my pricing. Let’s take my needle felted ermine for example.
Materials = $5.80
Glass eyes $2.50
Pipe cleaner $0.20
Felting needles $0.10 / project
Labour = $150
$10/hr for 15+ hours
Expenses = $5.66
$0.20 Etsy listing
3.5% commission from Etsy (based on $156)
Total = $160
Consider your labour costs carefully. For me, this is a side project I enjoy with low material costs, but I would still rather keep my ermine than sell my time for less than $10/hr. Keeping in mind, too, this cost does not factor in the time it took for me to set up my Etsy shop (which in itself took 15 – 20 hours), or the time it will take to package and ship this little fellow. I have chosen to absorb these costs but you may decide to include them in your product pricing.
I hope this is helpful to your Etsy shop endeavors. It was a lot of fun to create Backyard Spruce and I will continue to learn and grow with it, and hopefully make some sales along the way!
Check out Backyard Spruce on Facebook to follow my shop updates!
Andrea at YuKonstruct
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