Saturday, January 15, 2011

Everything I need to know to sell on Etsy, I learned in Kindergarten

When I started Kindergarten I was a little jerk. I was the oldest of three so I was used to being the king of the castle. Then I went to Kindergarten. I learned that I couldn't be the best at everything. No matter what I did there was always another kid who excelled differently than I did. It took time, but I learned that working with that person rather than against them was always going to be better than working against them.

Here are a few of the things I learned:

How to Make Friends
I had to learn to make friends. This is one of those life skills that will never fail me. There will never be a point where I'm like "Aww crap, I made friends again." Everything is better with friends. Friends on Etsy help boost your morale when you don't feel like you want to continue. They help promote your awesome new stuff. And when you're struggling for a last minute gift for someone they can help you find the perfect thing from a seller who will get it out to you superfast!
Friends do more than just make your experience more positive, they can increase your sales too. Over a third of my sales have gone to my Etsy friends. And they are buying because they genuinely want and enjoy my products. Plus when I send them my business cards, I know they'll pass them on for me!

How to be Part of a Team
In Kindergarten I learned about what it meant to be a team. Groups of kids playing together always have more fun than the lone kid in the sandbox. Turns out the same on Etsy. Joining a Team and getting involved with that team is one way to make friends. Different teams have different goals. Some teams promote member shops, some teams host local get togethers, some are just there for moral support. No matter what team you join, you'll find a network of other Etsians who in turn provide a vast network of resources you didn't know about.

How to Pay attention in Class
When I started on Etsy I wanted to learn how to make my shop the best I could. One of the resources I found to help me was the Virtual Labs: Just going to these labs I made a bunch of new friends. Paying attention in labs also gave me the opportunity to absorb a ton of info on how to improve my shop. Not all the tips and tricks work for everyone and every shop, but boy do they help!

How to Read
My reading skills have improved dramatically since kindergarten. Back then I never would have gotten through the entire Seller's Handbook ( Even now I don't know that I could get through the whole thing. Fortunately it's written as articles that are fantastic on their own. This means that if I feel like working on photography one day I can sit down and read all the articles on photographing my products better, take notes and then apply that to retaking my photos.

How to Count
There are a lot of ways to track your sales. Depending on your comfort level with technology and numbers you can track your sales any number of ways. If you want the easiest way to track what you're doing get a journal. Write down what you do that links to your etsy account - List, Relist, Renew, Attend a Virtual Lab, Tweet, Blog, share on facebook. Find patterns between your actions and your sales. The next step is to sign up for google analytics. Don't worry, you don't have to be able to interpret their reports. Once Google Analytics is working for you, you can import it into which can tell you how many views your shop has had. tracking views compared to actions is a great way to figure out what's bringing people into your shop.

How to be a Unique Individual
On Etsy, just like in Kindergarten, The Copying Game is the mark of an uncreative bully. My little brother used to follow me around copying everything I said "Stop copying me!" I would yell at him "Stop copying me!" He would yell back. "Mom he's COPYING me again" "Mom he's COPYING me again" It took me years to realize that this was a preschooler's way of showing he looked up to me and admired me. Despite the complement that it was, copycatting was lame. It showed that he couldn't even come up with a unique way to pester me. Copycatting on Etsy is just as lame. Poaching an idea and making the exact same thing without putting your own spin on it shows you lack originality and creativity yourself. I wasn't the first person to make my product, and I won't be the last, but I have a style all my own. You'll know my product as mine instantly when you see it.

These skills are the key skills I've used to get where I am with my shop.


  1. I like your perspective on this Kathy~ X3
    Makes me feel a lot better reading this! 'coz i've been trying to promote my shop lately... and it's really overwhelming~ and there's always a billion more ways to make your shop better~ and I guess your post came right in time! as it's good to say to myself that "yes! I already know the basics that I need to know!" and not be drowning in all this marketing, promoting stuff~

    Thanks for this Kathy! :)

  2. This is great info Kathy! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I don't know if I learned all that in kindergarten- Maybe I wasn't paying attention :-) I like it.

  4. Thank you for the info on that, I like the way you wrote it. I have still been toying with the idea of selling on Etsy, but dont have enough merchandise yet..when I am ready this will help! :)