Please note that I have A LONG way to go with selling on Etsy, but I have learned ALOT along the way, so I thought it would be fun to highlight a few tips for you! This doesn't just apply to monogram/embroidery. This could be ANY Etsy shop!
While I'd love to have my own website, for now this is practical and easy. Etsy allows a great platform for beginners to reach more people than you'd probably be able to reach on your own. Each listing is only $0.20 (use this link to get your first 40 listings FREE if you open a new shop!). In full disclosure- I also get 40 free listings if you use my link. #shamelessplug
1. Photography- take good photos. Great photos actually. Remember your customers are not able to feel or actually see the items they are purchasing. Take close up, clear pictures. I use Picmonkey.com to edit everything. If I don't feel the color is displayed properly in my photo I will do my best to edit the photo to look like the item as much as possible. If you don't have a good background Hobby Lobby sells great backdrops. I use the wood floors in our house. I have a spot that gets killer natural light, so I just go with that. I can edit the color and saturation in Picmonkey if need be. I do use my Canon DSLR* shot in Manuel mode to capture my items.
2. Take time to write your listings. I try to make each listing in my shop unique to the item (with all necessary info included). Edit and proofread. And when you think you are done proofing, read it again. I usually save it as a draft and go back to it another day. Or look at the preview... it helps my eyes to see the listing in a different form and with fresh eyes. And let's be honest: No matter how much I proof I still find errors. Try to put yourself in the customer's shoes. The less questions they have to ask the better. Also if a customer does contact me with a question, I make sure to go back and edit the listing with the necessary info (if applicable).
3. Speaking of editing... edit your listings OFTEN. With what I do, seasons and holidays pass so quickly that it's easy to let them go. Keep your stuff current. Even if you have to put your shop on vacation to do it. I took a break after Christmas and during that time I edited everything to make it current for Valentine's and Spring. Also make sure your prices are consistent throughout. If you raise or lower your price on one listing make sure you do it for all. That way your customers don't feel cheated (unless you are having a sale). Sometimes I have long sleeves listed (no need for short sleeve in November), but I have to remember to change that as the seasons change.
4. Use the "deactivate" button to your advantage. Let's say that I created a listing for $0.20 December 1st. It was for a reindeer shirt. After Christmas passed I no longer needed that listing, but I had already spent $$ for the listing. What I did was copied everything over to a new listing ("add new item"), inserted the picture and instead of posting (and spending another $0.20) I "saved it as a draft" so that it will be ready to go next year. Then with the old listing I added a Valentine's shirt. Since listings are good for 3 months, this listing that I bought in December will be good until March. Be smart. Although $0.20 isn't much, it does add up when you have 50+ items listed.
5. Take advantage of Etsy mini. Etsy mini is a widget for your blog. You set up how many items you want it to show and how you want it to look and they give you a code to paste into your blog settings. While I don't love how mine looks currently (all girl stuff), it has been a great tool to connect my blog and my shop! In Etsy go to your shop>items>promote>etsy mini. The last 5 items listed (or however many you choose to show) will show up there. The only drawback I've seen is that you can't edit what items are in Etsy Mini. I wish I could control that, but I haven't found a way (without being very strategic about listing).
7. Communicate with your sellers! If you have an issue (your machine breaks, or you don't have a certain color they ordered in stock) LET THEM KNOW. They are much more likely to be forgiving if you are upfront and honest with them. Heck this applies to real life too!
Also, a question I get ALOT that I always have to turn down- "Do you rush orders?" And while I'd LOVE to, I cannot take the time to stress myself or my family out. I do offer to upgrade to priority shipping for a small fee- but I still stick to my 1-2 week turnaround time PLUS shipping time. So the priority upgrade only guarantees 3 day shipping instead of 5.
8. Treat it like a job. If you can't put the time into it, it may not be worth it to you. I spend probably 5 hours a week updating listings (sometimes more especially during seasonal changes), taking pictures, etc. That doesn't seem like much, but I consider it part of what I do. If I feel rushed, my listings end up sloppy with broken links and confusing info. Once a month I try to go through and read every listing from start to finish while clicking all the links/options and comparing it to my inventory sheet (which you can purchase here) to make sure everything is right. If someone purchases an item and I realize my listing was wrong or confusing I immediately try to clear up the confusion with a private message to the buyer. Also don't panic. You can always refund!
9. Like eBay, Etsy is run by feedback. And while I wish I had more feedback/reviews, the reality is that very few people leave reviews (even when they are completely satisfied with their order). This is something I learned early on the forums so I try not to take it personally. I do offer a 10% off coupon code on their next purchase if they leave feedback. Out of 39 sales I've received 7 reviews. I also state in every listing that they are more than welcome to view my facebook page with reviews there. Building trust is never a bad thing :)
10. Enjoy it! While it should be treated professionally like a job, if you don't love what you do then it may not be the right fit. I love when I am full of orders and stressed to the max. It means that I am able to provide a little for my family while staying home with my babies! Don't go into it thinking that Etsy will be a consistent source of income. For some this is true but when you are in a saturated market, you have to work your way through! Find a way to shine and stand out! For me this is filling orders as quickly as possible (customer satisfaction never hurt anyone) and super cute packaging! Find you niche!
I hope these tips helped! When I started this post I was only planning 5 points. But as I wrote I kept coming up with more tips and ideas! I hope they help you get started (or continue by making your listings better)! Don't forget to download the Sell on Etsy App. It's a great way to keep orders together (and you can write your customers back super fast!).
**Contains affiliate links. Read my disclosures here.