So, now that you know why you want to open an Etsy store,
your next task is to figure out what you will sell.
I’ve decided to focus on making notecards from my photographs. For the last three years, I’ve made notecards to sell at my church bazaar, and they have always sold well.
But there are a lot of questions that must be answered before jumping on Etsy and starting a store.
How will I create the product?
What equipment do I need?
What supplies do I need?
How much will I sell my products for?
I want to make sure I can deliver a sustainable, high-quality product that I know I can deliver on time.
The Etsy platform favors makers. That means it prefers that the store owner actually creates the product themselves and does not outsource it. So, my first task is to research printers that are capable of creating a professional-looking product using high-quality materials. And I must make sure that the tools I choose allow me to deliver my product on time, every time.
Do Your Research
Research is so important at this point in the process. Every single element of the product you choose to make needs to be thoroughly researched. I started my research with the printer I would use to print my photographs. I read many reviews and visited specialist forums looking for one that could produce high-quality prints on heavy cardstock. It also needed to be cost-efficient. In the end, the Canon Pixma Pro 100 ticked all the boxes, so I placed my order. I will do a deep dive into this printer in my next post, so if you’re creating a printed product for your Etsy store, be sure to watch out for that.
With the printer ordered, I turned my attention to the supplies I would need to make my note cards. What paper, envelopes and sleeves would work best? And what about a gift box for the notecards? This also took some time and effort to research. I decided I wanted to use environmental papers that were made with solar or wind power using recycled materials. I found a great supplier that was selling this type of paper in the cardstock weight I needed. They also supplied environmentally friendly envelopes. Perfect! And a while back, I found an eco-friendly card sleeve that would work great for my notecards.
Research Your Competition
Next, I went on Etsy to check out my competition. I searched for makers who created photo notecards and immediately noticed that most did not have very many sales. So, I looked closely at what they offered, their price point and their reviews. Those with low sales had a specific set of images that hadn’t been updated recently or they were just starting out. Those who did particularly well seemed to be adding content on a regular basis. Based on this research, I learned that I needed to make sure I always had enough inventory to keep adding new products on a regular basis.
While researching another Etsy notecard maker, one comment in their reviews caught my eye. It said that the cards did not come in a format that would make a good gift. So, I put it on my list to find a way to create a nice but affordable box as an upsell for my cards.
Know Your Costs
After looking through all the other Etsy notecard makers, I decided a good offer might be a set of ten cards for one price. First, I needed to know how I much I could sell ten cards for and if I could make it affordable. I went back to my inventory research and found the cost of creating ten cards. I always forget to add the supplier’s shipping cost to my cost analysis, but this time I didn’t. And don’t forget to add the cost of your time into the equation!
Understanding how much it will cost you to produce your product is the only way to figure out the best price for you and your business. Yes, of course you want to be competitive, but ask yourself what unique value you are giving to your customer. For instance, I can promote the fact that my cards will be made in collaboration with environmentally friendly suppliers. Remember, people don’t just buy what you do, they buy why you do it. It’s easy to fall into the trap of beating your competition on price, but why not focus on beating them on quality, design or added value? Don’t get into a race to the bottom. Add value and set your prices accordingly. This is when your WHY comes into play. It is a huge part of communicating the value you bring to your customer and why your customers should pay a little extra.
There are still a number of questions that can only be answered by getting on the Etsy platform, such as: Is there a way to allow buyers to mix and match the cards into sets of 10? Can I add an upsell to a product? We will answer both of these questions and more when we delve into the Etsy platform environment. For now, dive into your product research, investigate your competition and start to figure out your costs. Every hour spent at this stage of the process will save you time, stress and money in the weeks and months to come.
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About the Author
With a lifetime of experience working in the creative industry, my passion is helping others craft an authentic and compelling brand that helps them reach their own creative potential. I am a photographer, graphic designer and musician. I help creatives create. Learn More…
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