This is the first of my “Behind the scenes” posts. It’s a summary of the process, from inspiration to shipping. I’ll go into more detail of the various stages in later posts.
Where the inspiration comes from is often hard to pin down. Sometimes, just sitting and looking at the raw materials and thinking “what can I make with these?” is enough. Sometimes, it’s the environment around me that provides the inspiration, sometimes it’s the most recent colour trends (or my daughter’s outfit!).
Once inspiration has struck it’s time to get the tools out and get making! I’m a self taught jewellery maker. This stemmed from a desire within myself for simple semi precious jewellery at an affordable price. Something not readily available on the High Street.
When I am happy with the finished item, getting good pictures is the next step. I spend a lot of time on photography. Selling online is dependant on great pictures. Props, staging and natural light are essential. I have a little collection of props, I also use flowers from the garden and members of my family will sometimes agree to model for me. All my photos are taken with my trusty iPhone.
Once I have my photos, I edit them. Editing photos isn’t cheating. My iPhone is great, but the camera is nowhere near as good as a human eye. The main purpose of editing is to make a photo look more like the real thing. Here’s a before and after picture to illustrate what I mean. The edited photo has been cropped and looks less “washed out” than the original. The edited photo is a more accurate representation of what I was actually seeing with my own eyes, than the unedited photo. Luckily all the tools for editing are available on my iPhone too, so I can edit while the staged item is in front of me.
Listing an item on Etsy can also be time consuming, but you shouldn’t rush it. The item description needs to include all the information that the photos show and any details that may not be clear from the photos, as well as any additional size/variations/customisation options. Here is where being an Etsy buyer as well as a seller comes in very useful, I have a good idea of the information a buyer is looking for. In addition, if I get any questions from a potential buyer, I will tweak the description to clarify any issue that has been highlighted. It’s also a good idea to add links to other listings or sections in your shop from each item description, remembering that most items will be viewed from a search result so I want to make it easy for someone who has clicked on one of my items to see more of my shop. Once I have listed an item, that’s not the end, I update the title and tags periodically to fit the season, upcoming celebrations or events.
Now that I’ve listed a new item, I have to let the world know about it. This is where Social Media comes in. I am active on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook. I post regular updates and any new item is shared on all platforms and featured on the Etsy shop updates in my shop. Social Media is a great way to network with other makers too. I have learned a lot from my interactions with other makers and I’m now also a customer of many of them!
Finishing touches. When an item sells on Etsy, this is an opportunity to provide brand continuity and leave your customer with a lasting positive impression. Your packaging should be recognisable and match your online brand. I wrap each item in white tissue paper closed with one of my black and white Chalso stickers. I include a Thank you note and a business card in each package. It’s always nice to receive a parcel that has been packed with love!