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rebuilding my etsy shop during the "new normal"

 
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Morgwino Stur wrote:for your paler locks, a darker background might help. I know you said black looked bad, but how does it look against something gray? The second picture of your pale locks looks nice, but the ends are still hard to see. If a solid dark background looks bad, maybe just a quarter or less needs to be dark, just something to make the ends pop



You might even try it with a slightly cream background.  I don't know if that would make it look whiter, but the ends would show better.  I still think they look cool as is.
 
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I really want to show that the white locks aren't really white.  Not sure the best way.

I'm going to leave it on the white background for now, mostly because I don't have anything with colour but without texture.

Something I've been wanting to experiment with is dyeing yarn with different invasive species so I'm ordering some now and hope to get started.  Broom blooms are supposed to be lovely but stinky (can cause nicotine poisoning)
 
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How about denim? Like the back of a coat or jacket?
 
r ranson
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I looked through my stash and found some listings i could reactivate.  I also found a bunch of yarn I haven't photographed yet,  so that is something to do this weekend.   sweet!
 
r ranson
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I just got an email from Canda post saying that there are significant delays in shipping.  Given that and the long list of countries they are currently not shipping to, I am going to focus less time on marketing and more on creating more inventory.  
 
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I've been thinking about adding woven towels to the shop.  It's a long way off and the biggest problem is finding the yarn at a wholesale price.  But I have enough to get started with a few woven ideas.

Would it muddy the brand too much?
 
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r ranson wrote:for my own record, my conversion rate is 4% before i began the changes.

I do not know what a conversion rate is or why it is important.  



Conversion rate should mean something sort of like how many people came to your site bought your stuff.

"Conversion" is a fancy term used in marketing that's about how many people were "converted" to doing what you wanted them to do. It can be applied to a lot of things. Maybe a website just really wants people to click thier link in an ad and read their article. The amount of people who do that, would be the conversion rate. Or, say a website wants people to join thier email listing. The conversion rate would be the amount of people who actually signed up. Or maybe you wanted to "convert" them to buying tickets, or give you a phone call, or sign up for something. The conversion rate is the rate of people who did what you wanted them to do.

It's all rather creepy sounding to me. But, basically, in terms of your etsy page, I went and looked, and it seems that it's calculated by how many people visited your site and how many sales you made.

I also found this: https://tamebay.com/2019/10/tap-etsy-shop-stats-accelerate-growth-path.html "While the global average conversion rate for e-commerce sites is 2.9%, including a wide range of larger online retailers, a “good” conversion rate on Etsy looks different for every shop and varies significantly across categories and price points. In general, sellers should expect a conversion rate between 1–5%"

So, you're doing better than the average!
 
r ranson
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Wow.  Complicated.
I'll translate that into my brain that I'm already finding a highly targeted audience even if I am not getting many visitors.  It seems worth reaching out to more people, even if it means my conversion rate will go down.  I would like to make more than a sale or two a week if I'm going to be able to supplement my lost income with this.

Speaking about pretty things, I thought I was doing okay with the photos, but check this shop out: https://www.etsy.com/ie/shop/OneOrangeDot
 
r ranson
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In the same 30 day period prior to starting this thread.
views (including shop and individual listings): 460
unique visits: 376
Conversion: 4%



 
r ranson
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Looking at my individual listings in the search, I see that my natural cleaning book is getting lots of views in the search, but a tiny amount of clicks.  I read on etsy that this is exactly the kind of item that is trending right now.  So it needs work!

I feel that the starting place should be the picture.  And... that's as far as I can get before my head fizzles.  

I love the current cover of the book, but it isn't capturing the intended audience.  
 
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r ranson wrote:I've been thinking about adding woven towels to the shop.  It's a long way off and the biggest problem is finding the yarn at a wholesale price.  But I have enough to get started with a few woven ideas.

Would it muddy the brand too much?



I think it would be a great idea.

It's hard to get customers and it's hard to get the attention of potential customers.  I've had a lot of sales training and experience and I think that the more products you can offer that you feel good about selling, the better your conversion rate and the higher your sale.  

You also get a better conversion rate with people you've sold to before, so it makes a lot of sense to target-market past customers.  

I'm learning a lot here about on-line selling.
 
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r ranson wrote:I've been thinking about adding woven towels to the shop.  It's a long way off and the biggest problem is finding the yarn at a wholesale price.  But I have enough to get started with a few woven ideas.

Would it muddy the brand too much?



I think it might depend on the towels? I love how you've combined the option of your book on linen with fiber and a drop spindle, to build a kit. I think if you did the same thing with the towels and your Clean with Cleaners You Can Eat book, the towels would fill another niche, and actually tie that book in better, with the rest of your products.
 
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r ranson wrote:Looking at my individual listings in the search, I see that my natural cleaning book is getting lots of views in the search, but a tiny amount of clicks.  I read on etsy that this is exactly the kind of item that is trending right now.  So it needs work!

I feel that the starting place should be the picture.  And... that's as far as I can get before my head fizzles.  

I love the current cover of the book, but it isn't capturing the intended audience.  



Yeah, I think the focus on the cleaning cloth makes it less accessible/attractive to the general population.

I'd probably go with a cover with a bottle of vinegar and jar of baking soda, and maybe hydrogen peroxide and soap, or orange/lemon. I don't have the photography skills to take that picture, but maybe you could, and I could photoshop it to have title and look pretty? I have no idea how to put that in the PDF or anything, but I'm pretty sure I could I could make you some different covers.

This is the kind of picture I'm thinking of, but organized longwise. Try and limit the composition to 3 or 4 colors for best effect (for example, so like a wooden or white background with a blue baking soda mason jar and blue towel, with white/clear spray bottle and soap that's white or blue. Or a lemon and orange with white soap, clear jars, and natural/wood background. Something like that.).

I think I'm rambling, but if you can take some pretty pictures, I should be able to massage them into covers.
incredibly-dangerous-cleaner.jpg
[Thumbnail for incredibly-dangerous-cleaner.jpg]
 
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Etsy has something called offsite ads where they advertize their favourite listings in places like google ads and facebook.

There is no charge for this service and small shops like mine can opt-out.  However, if there is a sale from that click, then we pay 15% of the sale total to etsy on top of the regular fees.  15% seems high to me for this kind of thing, but the assumption is that anyone selling on etsy will have a wholesale and a retail price.  Wholesale covers the costs and time, retail is what we charge the customers.   This wholesale/retail pricing system gives us some wiggle room for promotions.  

I like this idea immensely and two of my book sales last week were through this system.  But I am worried that it isn't actually 15% that they are charging.  It's more like 20% because the fee is on the entire order, including shipping (which I don't have wiggle room to play with).

I have to do some numbers to see if this is something I should opt-out of.

 
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Trying to figure out how to add text to this image was way too much work.  The problem was finding software that had large enough font

I think I need to make the images smaller.

Can someone check my spelling?
yarn-with-words.jpg
example of yarn
example of yarn
 
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Spelling's good.
 
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I added the photo to this one https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/797430349/

but I worry it like like I'm selling yarn when I am not.  could you have a look?
 
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I managed to add ball winding option to one of my listings: https://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/801173277/

I think I did it right.  

Until this last winter, I used to do all my ball winding at the local yarn store.  I would rent time (free if I buy the yarn there) on the ball winder and it was awesome!  But now shops like this are closed for the new normal, I want to offer this service to the customers.  However, it significantly increases shipping cost.

Time to wind a ball (including set up and clean up): 5-15 min (depends on how many balls)

I'm not sure the exact amount it will increase the shipping cost.  Probably $0.50 more for packaging and then the postage difference of not being in an envelope.  

Anyway, I'll experiment with this and see if it works.  

I've set it up as a 'variation' but in such a way it doesn't mess with the inventory.  Check it out if you like and let me know if it makes sense.  The other option was to make a separate listing for ball winding service, but keeping track of that would be annoying.
 
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I'm very new to the fiber arts so my first thought was that these locks are really pretty, but what would I do with them? I don't get any sense of that from the descriptions, although I may have missed it. If your intended audience is experienced fiber workers then it makes sense but I personally wouldn't buy until I had a feel for how I could use them. I wouldn't want to ruin something so nice, or spend money on something and have it just sit on a shelf.

Is there a way to inspire your buyers? Especially if they are new and unskilled at the arts?


 
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Robin Katz wrote:I'm very new to the fiber arts so my first thought was that these locks are really pretty, but what would I do with them? I don't get any sense of that from the descriptions, although I may have missed it. If your intended audience is experienced fiber workers then it makes sense but I personally wouldn't buy until I had a feel for how I could use them. I wouldn't want to ruin something so nice, or spend money on something and have it just sit on a shelf.

Is there a way to inspire your buyers? Especially if they are new and unskilled at the arts?




This is a really good point.
Were you able to see the other images with ideas on how to use them?   (etsy shows different things to different people)
Do I need to make an e-book on things to do with locks?  My e-book sales have been pathetic, so I'm not sure if it's worth investing more time in that area.  
 
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Since I'm utterly horrid about knots, winding skeins into nails is absolutely essential, for me. But, I also don't have a ball winder, and it can take a very long time to do enough yarn for a project, by hand! Compounding it, for me, and I'm sure many others who don't have a ball winner, are the double issues of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. So, typically, by the time I finish hand-winding all the yarn required for even a small project, there's often nothing left of my hands and wrists, too actually do the project. The result? I don't/can't finish my projects. So, for me, personally, I think the option of having you wind the balls is FANTASTIC!!!
 
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Instead of an e-book, for each batch of locks show the starting material and an example of what you can make from it. I liked the apple blossom inspired selection but maybe take it to the next level and show a final product. That provides instant inspiration without buying something separate. And it would give me ideas of my own that may be a little different from what you show.

I know everyone will laugh at this and it shows what a friggin' newb I am but when you showed locks my first thought was hair extensions. I've seen some crazy colored hair when I was at the Art Institute in Denver (and more piercings and tattoos than you can shake a paint brush at) so it's not as absurd as it might seem.
 
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I hope my observations are helpful:

The thumbnail on your home page for your Cleaner book cuts off the first word of the title - this might make it less understandable when glanced over by the average viewer?

Some buzzwords to add to the description for your Cleaning book that might help in search could be:

"food grade"  - this is a common search term that means it's safe to eat from a technical perspective
"Kid Safe" - a lot of people want this aspect in their cleaners
"DIY/do it yourself"
The idea that you can "make these cleaners for free" using stuff you already may have around the house.

If one of your recipes is strong enough that it would work as a disinfectant to fight COVID, I bet a lot of people would be interested in that recipe...
 
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Hi R. I am not the person to advice on 'marketing'. But I do have my opinion on 'the new normal'. In my opinion the old way of marketing doesn't fit right in the 'new normal'. The old way was all about 'making money'. I think the new way will be about producers making good products and customers (users of that product) paying a fair price. Probably some contact between producer and customer is needed before a price is set.
 
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Robin Katz wrote:Instead of an e-book, for each batch of locks show the starting material and an example of what you can make from it. I liked the apple blossom inspired selection but maybe take it to the next level and show a final product. That provides instant inspiration without buying something separate. And it would give me ideas of my own that may be a little different from what you show.

I know everyone will laugh at this and it shows what a friggin' newb I am but when you showed locks my first thought was hair extensions. I've seen some crazy colored hair when I was at the Art Institute in Denver (and more piercings and tattoos than you can shake a paint brush at) so it's not as absurd as it might seem.



Maybe just a blurb? Like those little 1 page idea/project slips, you can pick up with crafting supplies, at the big stores? This might work, as an addition to the description, on the purchasing page, but as a paper included with the product, I think it would add a huge extra cost, simply for the paper & printing - and many would just end up not wanting it, anyway. If a book were offered, it would have to be a separate purchase. But, say project ideas in pictures, links to pictures of finished products made with the locks, even some 'process' pics might be a great additional selling point. Is that what you mean?
 
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Hi R. I'd like to express my interest (as a customer) in wool that's not been dyed, or only minimally so.

I know this isn't exactly what you asked for. I'm guessing that you get a better margin out of wool you don't have to process as much. I don't know if your sales suffer at all for undyed wool.
 
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Carla Burke wrote:Maybe just a blurb? Like those little 1 page idea/project slips, you can pick up with crafting supplies, at the big stores? This might work, as an addition to the description, on the purchasing page, but as a paper included with the product, I think it would add a huge extra cost, simply for the paper & printing - and many would just end up not wanting it, anyway. If a book were offered, it would have to be a separate purchase. But, say project ideas in pictures, links to pictures of finished products made with the locks, even some 'process' pics might be a great additional selling point. Is that what you mean?



I wasn't thinking of the 1 page slip, and I agree that it adds a lot of cost. I was just thinking of adding a picture of an example of the finished work with the starting product being sold. Mostly to inspire people to buy the starting material so they can make something cool. The idea is to catch someones eye and help them to think of the possibilities.
Staff note (Carla Burke):

That's what I *thought* you meant. But, I had a very rough night(much running outside with sad puppy💩💩💩) & am very tired, so wasn't 100% sure I was reading it right. Thank you for clarifying! 😁

 
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r ranson wrote:Trying to figure out how to add text to this image was way too much work.  The problem was finding software that had large enough font

I think I need to make the images smaller.

Can someone check my spelling?



I was having fun in photoshop, trying to fit the font into that lovely empty spot at the top. You take such beautiful pictures!
spin-textured-yarn-with-dyed-locks-crowing-hen.jpg
[Thumbnail for spin-textured-yarn-with-dyed-locks-crowing-hen.jpg]
crowing-hen-spin-locks-into-yarn.jpg
Fiddled with the curve of the letters. I still don't feel it's perfect. I'm thinking there's some better way to do this in photoshop, but I don't know it...
Fiddled with the curve of the letters. I still don't feel it's perfect. I'm thinking there's some better way to do this in photoshop, but I don't know it...
crowing-hen-spin-locks-into-yarn2.jpg
I think I finally managed to match the curve?
I think I finally managed to match the curve?
 
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Carla Burke wrote:Since I'm utterly horrid about knots, winding skeins into nails is absolutely essential, for me. But, I also don't have a ball winder, and it can take a very long time to do enough yarn for a project, by hand! Compounding it, for me, and I'm sure many others who don't have a ball winner, are the double issues of arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. So, typically, by the time I finish hand-winding all the yarn required for even a small project, there's often nothing left of my hands and wrists, too actually do the project. The result? I don't/can't finish my projects. So, for me, personally, I think the option of having you wind the balls is FANTASTIC!!!



I found I can manage it all right if I stick the skein on the back of a swiveling computer chair. I use a pillow or three to make it hold the yarn (my hair backs have a slimmer diameter than a skein of yarn). Then I can spin the chair with my foot (or better yet, get my kids to spin the chair for me). I use a thick cardboard tube or piece of wood to wind the yarn onto. This probably doesn't fix the carpol tunnel that comes from the act of winding, but maybe it'll help someone who is trying to figure out where to put the skein to wind it.

I agree that having the skein wound into a ball is a huge benefit. I still have yarn that I never got wound, and so have never used....
 
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Ash Jackson wrote:Hi R. I'd like to express my interest (as a customer) in wool that's not been dyed, or only minimally so.

I know this isn't exactly what you asked for. I'm guessing that you get a better margin out of wool you don't have to process as much. I don't know if your sales suffer at all for undyed wool.



I was thinking about dividing the fibre into two sections: dyed and natural since I sell both, but I am not sure if that would help or not.  

 
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I suspect it would help. Market segmentation, etc.

I haven't worked with etsy, but if it also lets you have an "all wool" section, it may help with cross-pollination. Someone who loves your jewel tones may also love your natural stuff.
 
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Right now, these are the sections I have.  I can only put each item into one section.  Because I usually don't carry many items, I kept the sections pretty broad, but it might be good to divide them up once I get to 30 or more items?  
etsy-sections.JPG
[Thumbnail for etsy-sections.JPG]
 
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

r ranson wrote:Trying to figure out how to add text to this image was way too much work.  The problem was finding software that had large enough font

I think I need to make the images smaller.

Can someone check my spelling?



I was having fun in photoshop, trying to fit the font into that lovely empty spot at the top. You take such beautiful pictures!



Can I steel one of these?
 
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I'd keep everything under the same storefront, but have the nifty little menu thing on the left that let's you choose to look at just natural wool, or just dyed. Right now you have a "fibre" section. Maybe change that to "natural wool fibre" and "dyed wool fibre"--or maybe have them be subsections under "fibre"?

Another thing that might help (but might end up with more cost in listings?), is to list the colors separately. I know I'm far more likely to order something if I know I'm just getting the color I want.

Say I'm working on a project and want magenta wool locks. That's what I'm going to search for "magenta wool locks." I might also search for "pink wool locks" or "purple wool locks." I don't want teal locks, and I don't want to pay for teal locks--I just want magenta locks.

So, I search for magenta locks, and then I see just those for sale, and I'm happy, and then I might be like "oooooh, this seller has a lovely shade of purple and yellow, too! I want those as well! I'm going to add those to my cart as well." I like encountering shops that have lots of color options, because that highly increases that I will do my sale through them, rather than a company that just has one color. I don't want to pay for shipping twice or have to worry about tracking two separate packages from different senders.

So, looking at https://www.etsy.com/listing/801390893/apple-blossom-inspired-hand-dyed?ref=shop_home_active_1, it might be nice to have a drop down menu that says,

-- pink 30 grams
-- pink 100 grams
-- yellow 30 grams
-- yellow 100 grams
-- turquoise 30 grams
-- turquoise 100 grams
-- assorted 30 grams
-- assorted 100 grams

That way, people can buy just the color they want. It's obvious in this listing, that the colors all kind of blend together, so you probably wouldn't be able to sell them that way, but maybe it's something to look at for future adventures.

I would also try to add in search terms for these like "wool for painted yarn" or the word "blended" like "pink, apple green and yellow colors blended together." What other search terms would people use when looking for these locks?



 
r ranson
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etsy is limited in what I can do.  Sadly, I can't subsection.  

Maybe:
fibre - natural
fibre - dyed
?

homegrown fibre undyed
homegrown fibre dyed?
(I'm pushing the homegrown theme for things I grew myself)

But then I also do some plant dyeing which I like to keep separate from the regular dyes.
 
r ranson
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Nicole Alderman wrote:

Another thing that might help (but might end up with more cost in listings?), is to list the colors separately. I know I'm far more likely to order something if I know I'm just getting the color I want.



That's an idea I've been toying with.  I was thinking of doing some solid colour dye batches later on, but this is also something that is easily available commercially and the retail price for this is lower than my current cost.  

With the rainbow dyes, we can get several colours on one lock - which is a big part of the charm.  But it also makes it difficult to separate out into colour.  

What I want to play with later on is to make semi-solid colours (which aren't available commercially).  The apple blossom was an attempt at this, as it was supposed to be 80% pink with a bit of green and a hint of yellow, but the green and yellow surprised me.  I need to learn to measure the dyes before adding them.
 
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r ranson wrote:

Nicole Alderman wrote:

r ranson wrote:Trying to figure out how to add text to this image was way too much work.  The problem was finding software that had large enough font

I think I need to make the images smaller.

Can someone check my spelling?



I was having fun in photoshop, trying to fit the font into that lovely empty spot at the top. You take such beautiful pictures!



Can I steel one of these?



Steel any and all you like!
 
r ranson
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Would you like to play with this one?
carding-text.jpg
text on carded batt photo
text on carded batt photo
yarn-41.jpg
carded apple blossom batt photo without text
carded apple blossom batt photo without text
Content minimized. Click to view
 
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I have customers who absolutely refuse to pay Etsy one dime. I’ve been invoicing via PayPal but am having repeated technical issues getting my money from PayPal. (Screens lock up into loops you can’t get out of) I am excited to hear about Goimagine. It was either that or create my own website and deal with all the tax authorities. There are just too many “departments of making me sad” to want to deal with. I hand dye linen and hemp thread as well as natural dye wool yarn. At the moment my shop is closed because of my husband’s immune-compromised system. But when I’m open, I’m at UrsulasYarn.etsy.com
 
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