Monday, 23 May 2011

Learning to sell Art online - 6 tips that made me think

It's almost 3 years since I first set up shop on Etsy, and over that time I've been slowly learning how things work, and how I could make improvements. I've read hundreds of advice articles on Etsy and on other blogs and a few tips really stood out -

1. Nail your niche

Your shop should have a consistent aesthetic or product line. Don’t try to be everything to everybody. A shop full of cohesive work that connects with a potential buyer is a powerful thing. It is possible to work in several media and still have a cohesive body of work. Some artists and crafters have a well-formed sense of style, I'm still finding mine, but my shop can be the focus for the consistent aesthetic I'm aiming for. If your items don't fit together, don't be afraid to open a second shop. Build a cohesive body of work in your shop.

2. Do what you love

Be original and keep yourself interested in what you're making and selling. If you are not interested and excited by what you are doing, why should your customers be? There are millions of shops on Etsy, unless you are doing something unique and being true to yourself then you are not going to stand out. Give your items something that makes them unique - your style!

3. Make it look great

Take the best photos you can. Use all 5 listing photos and show all aspects of your art - a framed version, a packaged one, a hand held view etc. Create a strong image with your banner. Make a memorable impression. Present your items so exquisitely that they become irresistible!

4. Answer all questions

Answer all your buyers potential questions by giving full descriptions which include all details they might want to know. Try to imagine what you'd be wondering if you were looking for a particular item.

5. What's in a name?

The name of your shop is important, as are the words you use in your descriptions and tags. Certain words have different meanings and spellings in different countries (e.g. Watercolour is Watercolor in US English). It's important to have a shop name that has a universal spelling/meaning and doesn't include a rude word in any language!

6. Pricing

Pricing is incredibly difficult! I have often worried about under pricing or over pricing. If I price too high will I get any sales at all? If I price too low I'm under valuing my work and making my art look cheap. After reading a brilliant blogpost on the art of pricing photography I re-did my calculations and I've come up with a much more realistic pricing structure. To have even a remote chance of making a success as an artist I need to start pricing realistically so that I'm not making a loss with every sale!

First steps with a new shop!

So, I've taken the first steps to a new and improved online shop and I've opened the originally titled Francesca Whetnall on Etsy. I'm still not 100% about the name, but I thought it keeps it pretty simple and clear by just using my name. I'm still working my way through the other tips and I've got a lot more art to list, but I hope it will make a clearer aesthetic statement than my original etsy shop - Dick and Franny . I've still got a load of under-priced art and jewellery at Dick and Franny, but I'll probably move that shop to just jewellery, or close it down altogether...

If you have any comments on my new shop or other advice you'd recommend please leave me a comment. I hope some of these tips might be useful for others anyway. Below are my main sources of advice:

Have a look at these great articles for more tips and advice

Fantastic article that convinced me I really did need to start a new shop with a clear focus on Art -
Niche Thyself: Variety vs. Consistency in Your Online Shop by Wonder thinking

A great list of questions you need to answer -
20 Questions your buyers are asking by Mel from Sparkle - Rama

Fantastic article on how to price your work -
How to price portrait Photography - by Jodi Friedman, MCP Actions

More pricing advice -
The Art of Pricing - Can I disagree with the Storque Article please? - by Magic Jelly

Lots more tips from UK and Irish sellers on Etsy -
Etsy's UK & Ireland Seller Support Team - Top 5 things you wish you'd known

Thanks also to:

Amity UK
Jacob de Graaf of Modern Folk
Alchemy Fibre Arts
Cards & Craft
Deepa at Lazy Giraffe Jewellery
Bread and Circuses
Mandy Williams at Socky Socks


Thomas Whetnall said...

Yup, thats all good advice. Your new Shop does look more coheasive i must say. I dont think there is anything wrong with having a self titled shop - after all when people buy 'art' as oppossed to other pretty things they are buying into the artist themselves.

I am going to make an effort with my etsy shop, but i'll read all your helpfull links first.

Thomas Whetnall said...

Your prices seem pretty well judged too.

Cecca said...

Thanks Tom :-)
Yes, I hope the new name and image will help.

You should, your shops looking a bit empty at the moment, what happened to all your lovely prints?

Art of RetroCollage said...

Thanks for the interesting post. When I set up my website for collage art, decided to create a new word to describe it -- RetroCollage. It does exist as two separate words, but my spelling is unique.

I think it is useful to make sure your website name is fairly unusual so it will be easy to use search and SEO.


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