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Common Etsy Mistakes to Avoid

Lesson 6 from: Turn Your Etsy Shop into a Sales Machine

Lisa Jacobs

Common Etsy Mistakes to Avoid

Lesson 6 from: Turn Your Etsy Shop into a Sales Machine

Lisa Jacobs

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Lesson Info

6. Common Etsy Mistakes to Avoid


Class Trailer

Introduction to Workshop


The Anatomy of a First Impression


The Truth About Online Business


Etsy is a Tool For Your Business


What is Shop Cohesion?


Common Etsy Mistakes to Avoid


Product Photography Overview


Your Product Photography Checklist


Lesson Info

Common Etsy Mistakes to Avoid

I'm going to talk to you about some common mistakes to avoid with your Etsy storefront. A lot of times in the beginning we take a product straight from the making and then we upload it and then it becomes the listing and then we quickly are wondering why nobody's buying. What happened? And so I always say never underestimate your customers. Never underestimate your visitors. Just because you put something online does not entitle you to sales, does not entitle you to success or a successful storefront. So when I was starting my shop, I tested my products by wearing them all the time to see if I got any reaction for them, about them, any questions about them. I would give them to people that I knew and I would ask, I would gauge their reactions. It always surprised me when I would give them out and then I would see a friend at a place she didn't expect to see me and they'd be wearing their bracelet. To me, chills are going. I'm like, "I have a marketable product here. "They genuinely lik...

e the product." And so you're gauging their reactions, you're testing the durability, you're making sure that you really have a valid offer before you're putting it online. And then you want to shape the listing to represent the quality that you've tested. You want to shape it to represent those reactions that you've garnered while you were wearing it while you were testing. And without that time and attention invested into the product, customers will not trust it. So never underestimate your customers. Always be sure that, just because you put it there, they're not going to necessarily dive in and grab it or want it. So instead, you want to create a level of high-quality brand distinction. If you're not sure about your brand yet, again, please just use those three adjectives. It's a great way to get yourself started and really think what direction you want to take your business, what you want from your business. Now I'm taking you from zero to 60 because every time I talk about a mistake to avoid I'm going to show you somebody doing really well on Etsy. I'm going to show you how rich the experience is with them. So I want to introduce you to a business named "For Strange Women." Now, this is an Etsy storefront. The owner of this shop is named Jill. The name of the business is named "For Strange Women." And for every example I use, I always put the URL, so you can go check them out. You can pull them up right now. You can flip through while I'm talking about this experience. So I clipped a sample of the storefront. I'm going to zoom in later on on all of these examples, but I wanted to come out as far as I could get into the keynote so that you got the experience that that storefront was delivering. So I got as far out as I can, but I'm telling you, if you're anything like me, you want to really dive into those pictures, you want to see what they're about, you really want to explore the wonderland she's created in an Etsy storefront. Now this, again, her name is Jill. This is For Strange Women. She sells on Etsy. This is a home-based product. This isn't something that's manufactured in any sort of certain terms or anything like that. It's something she's invested in. It's handmade. But you can tell how professional it's become. It is incredibly unique. The storefront, the experience when you shop with her, it's all so her. I had the pleasure of interviewing her for my blog, and she was just really, really cool. She schedules and completes all of her new projects following the lunar cycles, by the moon. That's how she finishes her work. And she built just that unique personality into her Etsy storefront. And at the same time that she's done that, she's experienced outrageous success. She's been featured in O Magazine. Got a full page on the maker in O Magazine. And so that's just one of amazing press opportunities that she's gained in business. What I want you to notice and what's so important here is the level of sophistication in her offer. When you come here, you don't feel underestimated at all. She clearly put something together that she wants you to come in and experience. She really took some time. So to date, Jill has made nearly 30,000 sales on Etsy alone. She sells on her own independent website, but just on Etsy alone she's made nearly 30,000 sales. And when she was on her 6,000th sale, she wrote a thread and she put it into the Etsy forums and I read it and that's when I really became a raving fan. And she also turned it into a blog post for her own site about making those first 6,000 sales on Etsy and what a strange ride it had been. I picked this quote because it's so powerful. She said, "If you are not beginning your business "with $10-20,000 in startup revenue, the first "$10-20,000 that you earn with your art or craftwork "will need to be reinvested." That's powerful to me because that's something I knew coming into business, I absolutely agreed to it. We've been talking about the truth of online business. We're going to talk a lot more about it. But during this session, I'm going drop some real, realistic numbers on you. I want you to walk away with the actual facts of what it takes. I loved when she said this, the takeaway is expect to invest. As you can tell that she has in her storefront. So when I look at this page, I can practically smell the products. If you get in there and you start to click around, every page that you open, every product listing comes with the ingredients and the different scents that you can use, and it is such a vivid experience to shop with her. I can tell, if I didn't know Jill, and I was just landing here, I can tell how invested she is in this business, and I trust immediately that she's taken the time to develop a high-quality product. And see, that's the thing. That's what we're getting here. That's what our goal is today. So once you see all that and you see the richness and you see the investment and you see the power of this presentation, you want to bring it home. There's no question, you're bringing it home. I didn't even look at the prices. I don't care about the prices. That's a powerful presentation. I don't care, and yet I want to bring it home. So you let the professionalism translate onto the page. You really invest in it and then you let it translate onto the page. Let me apply our three questions to the first impression. Can I immediately make sense of what I'm seeing? I know it smells. I know it's going to smell. I can see that there's a richness. Does the imagery capture my attention and pull me in? Absolutely. Absolutely from a mile away. And can I trust this site to deliver? Well, look how much she's already invested. Absolutely. I believe I'll receive a high-quality product when I bring it home, and that's a well-put-together site. That's some strong shop cohesion. So the first common mistake that we want to avoid is rushing the offer. Underestimating the customer, putting something out there before it's ready, not testing it, not investing in it. That offer, that storefront needs value. So Jill's a great example of the sophistication that is required of a top-selling shop. Next, I want to talk about another common mistake to avoid, and that is the jack-of-all-trades plea for business. So this is common. I'm saying this as not so much of a critique or a criticism, it's common. We are creatives. That is the nature of us. There's no question that we don't love a lot and like to do a lot and like to try a lot and learn a lot. No question about that. So I would never take that from any one of us. However, when we list all of that into an Etsy storefront, and what I'm talking about is that I made jewelry and then I learned to knit, and now I'm obsessed with knitting, and then I learned that succulents can grow just by putting them in dirt, and now I'm obsessed with succulents. (laughter) So now I start adding knitting projects and jewelry and succulents, you can buy succulents from me, to all of my Etsy storefront and now it doesn't make sense anymore. So just because you are creative and that's the nature of you, don't get creative with your Etsy offer. Let that storefront be specific. Let people hear a strong message from you. Use that brand to represent. Just because you have the knowledge to create all that doesn't mean you should list it all for sale. Again, that's going to underestimate your customer. When you do that, and when you start listing things together, the storefront turns into a bit of a flea market. And if the point of it all is to market outside, market to the world and bring them to the Etsy shop, and then when they arrive they see all these different things, it smells desperate versus gives them a strong brand to come in and shop. If you have a lot of different styles and a lot of different tastes and there's no way to organize that on, and believe me that there's not, then it won't make sense to the buyer and you'll lose them upon arrival. So you don't want to do that. Be careful not to put products that have no business beside each other next to each other. However, Etsy is the place to do one thing and do it very, very well. So again we're going to look at how to create brand distinction on the Etsy storefront. And remember, this is a limited storefront. There's a handful of categories. It's a very clean presentation. You want to bring a very clean product presentation to it. We're going to stop thinking of it as a place to catch a one-off sale in the marketplace of Etsy, but rather think of it as a place to showcase a brand and showcase your experience and your expertise. So I'm pulling up an example that many of us know and love, and you're looking at the shop Pixiebell. Pixiebell is the number one knitter on Etsy by a landslide. She's a true Etsy veteran, been on the site since 2007, and now she has nearly 30,000 sales. She's head and shoulders above the number two knitter on Etsy. When I say she, the owner is named Diane. Her business is so busy that her husband has come on. His name is Christopher and he knits the products as well, so Diane and Christopher are at home knitting and filling these orders. So, just like with For Strange Women, we want to look at this and apply the elements of the first impression to it again. Can I make sense of what I'm seeing? Yes, absolutely. And this is so familiar to me. I feel familiar with this storefront. I love and respect the owners of this shop. I've bought from this storefront before. Does the imagery capture my attention? Absolutely. Can I trust this site to deliver? Yes you can, many have. They're excellent and phenomenal. So this is the example of an expert doing one thing and doing it very well, and really becoming known for it and really building a business off of that expertise. We all know, and if you've ever spent any time on Etsy forums, she's generously offered her advice. She's given me interviews. She's willing to help out sellers left and right. And for that reason, the Etsy community knows her very well and knows her brand because of it. So it's a common misconception that product photographs have to be styled and taken in a very specific way. And this is going to lead us to our next common mistake to avoid. When we get advice on the product presentation, it depends on who you're asking. But we get a lot of specific advice. Like use white backgrounds. Has anybody heard use white backgrounds? Use light boxes and set up artificial lighting. None of that is bad advice, but it's very specific advice. It doesn't leave a lot of room to play, and remember that this is creative business and we are here to play. But if you've noticed, every example that I've used so far has defied those rules. None of them were on all-white backgrounds. None of them were shot in light boxes. In fact, photographs are even more engaging when they exude ambiance, when they exude personality and style. So you want your photographs to have that style and personality that invites them in, that makes them want to see more, click more, have that rich experience from you.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

How To Beat The Overcrowded Market Guide

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Build a Storefront That Sells by Lisa Jacobs
Ideal Customer Workbook by Lisa Jacobs
Your Best Year Wall Planner
Market Your Etsy® Shop by Lisa Jacobs

Ratings and Reviews


The course was really practical and organized very well. Each day built on the previous day and had solid, actionable recommendations. I am just starting my Etsy shop and feel like I have a plan for moving forward with some confidence. Lisa is charming and very real and her enthusiasm for supporting businesses is engaging and very encouraging. She wants us to be part of the tribe and I appreciate that! Thanks Lisa and everyone at Creative Live for more great "Mini B-school" lessons that I can use for my online business.


Thank you thank you thank you! I have been going about the "daily scramble" for years - with ups and downs along the way and this course has been a true eye opener for me. The message of consistency and brand cohesion as well as deep respect for my customers will surely stay with me and help my business continue to grow. No matter what stage you are at in your creative business, Lisa has something great to teach! Highly recommended!

Kaitlynd B Zimmer

Lisa has so much personal energy and friendly personality its hard not to fall in love with her! Her extensive experience in the industry from ground up growth was a pleasure to relive through her hilarious trial and error comments. Overall what I came away with was taking action is the only way to grow and learn what works for each individual Etsy shop. And to make those actions pay off get your self out of your comfort zone! The section on SEOs was a huge eye opener! Thank you Tim for shining the light on areas I has not even aware existed before. I feel I now have the tools to build the strong and engaging Etsy shop that can become the success I dream of. Thank you! Kaitlynd B Zimmer

Student Work