Growing a Business on Etsy
For most weeks lately, the only post I have managed on this blog has been my Weekly Feature for items listed on my O Deer Mercantile Etsy Shop. This week I am skipping the update. This will be a fairly short post with the promise of more later perhaps. It is “That Time of The Year”. I am gathering together all of my ledgers, receipts and records in order to do Income Taxes.
I wont lie. This aspect of the business stresses me. I think though, that we have turned a corner this year, and that I can now justify the expense of using Quickbooks for the Etsy Shop. Since this is not my first rodeo—I owned and operated a Bead Shop in North Carolina a decade or so ago— I know from experience that when the computer is doing the math instead of me, this job will be much easier and more straightforward. That will leave me more time to concentrate on the aspects of having a business that I Love.
We will celebrate O Deer Mercantile’s second anniversary (Birthday 🙂 ) in just a couple of months. The path from there to here has not been straight by any means. When we opened the shop, I fully expected the emphasis to be on the handmade aspect. I have made, sold and taught jewelry for years, and if you follow us, you have seen Gaia’s adorable sewn creations. The vintage was just an indulgence of my propensity for over-collecting the antique and collectible eye candy I encounter. I have Thrifted avidly since I was in my early teens, and have passed the trait on to several of my offspring and grandgirls. As fate, kismet or serendipity would have it, the vintage is what sells best for us, and is what is growing our business.
And that’s alright. Life has given me little time for true creative expression these past couple of years. The growth of our Etsy shop has been fairly slow, mainly I think, because I too often haven’t had time to devote to it. Shortly after we opened, a close family member was diagnosed with a terminal illness. I really had almost nothing to give to the business for the next six or eight months. Over the holiday season that first year, I had a small burst of orders, and was encouraged. I approached the New Year with renewed energy and determination. Things improved, but it was just a short time after our first anniversary that I found out we were going to have to move. For the next several months, poor O Deer Mercantile was once more shoved onto the back burner. We barely got settled into the new house and the most powerful hurricane to travel up the east coast, maybe ever, left us reeling. Clean-up and repairs occupied us for much of the Fall season.
We more or less hit our stride again in time for the 2016 holiday season, and had our best sales ever. So far, 2017 is looking up! I can’t stress enough how important it is to pay attention to the details as an Etsy Seller. Tags and Keywords are a necessity. Use words that are likely to come up in customer’s searches, and pay attention to what people are looking for. Don’t skimp on packaging and presentation. People notice! A positive and upbeat Social Media presence is always a plus, maybe a necessity. I get a lot of my traffic from customers that find me on Instagram, Google+ or Pinterest. I personally have not been as successful with Facebook as many people, but I do get traffic from my Facebook Page sometimes. I think it’s is important to make it pretty, keep it happy, and to keep an eye out for emerging trends and styles, and how they can fit into your business.
The Thrill of the Hunt
As far as the vintage aspect of the shop goes, being ever vigilant is the key. I have thrift and second hand shops I visit regularly, and others that I frequent, but less often. I have garage and estate sale notices in my email inbox daily, courtesy of GarageSaleFinder.com. There are other similar sites, but this is the one I subscribe to. I spend a great deal of time researching and reading about antiques, vintage, etc. Being as knowledgeable as possible is a requirement for running a successful Vintage Store. I am the first to admit I am no expert, but I have learned, and continue to do so, a great deal this past couple of years.
Lastly but very important, I think, I have a good eye and sound instincts when it comes to searching out vintage wares. I don’t hover over my phone, looking things up on Ebay as I shop. I let my heart and mind lead me, and it seems to be working.
Have a wonderful week, and a great St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow!
Until next time….