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Monday, June 27, 2011

Etsy Tips: Never Sell Yourself Short in Anything

You carelessly but intentionally start browsing other people's shops-- often people who sell the same things as you. You wonder why they have the amount of sales that they do and what you are possibly doing wrong or right. You think to yourself, "Well, I'm less established, I'll be there some day" and try to move on, but in the end it still bugs you.

You know what I'm talking about.

A couple months in, maybe no sales. Maybe 1-3 and someone left feedback with no description. You sigh, hoping things will pick up and that it's just an off season for your new shop. Maybe you should have a sale or try to get featured more on blog sites. Maybe you should lower your prices.

But let's get one thing straight, never sell yourself short of anything.
I'm no expert. I probably never will be knowing how things are always changing in any industry. And etsy--being a small but growing online community of artists--is no exception.

I recall a couple of times experimenting here and there with my work in my first year on etsy.
I was a beginner. I didn't even know that you could condense your url to just:
http://www.trinketsbydana.etsy.com/ instead of www.etsy.com/shop/trinketsbydana. You know which one looks better on the business card you spent hours trying to put together right? Yeah that's right, the latter, the condensed, neat, first one.

But with everything said and done from various accounts of "soul searching" and finding a niche that really works for you and the shop, I found myself constantly wanting to change the price of my items. You always end up wanting to go with the status quo. You see someone else who sells it for less but instead of thinking quality over quantity, you lower the price as well.

The thing is, I look at shops differently now. Your eyes start to change in analyzing a well-established shop from one that is still getting things together. And when I see a soul searching shop, the prices are everywhere along with the pictures that go along with them. The sales are inconsistent and therefore, so is the shop's appearance. I end up looking down on them for not having enough pride in their shop and I know for a fact, I'm not alone in doing so. I still look at my earlier mistakes and laugh at how different things are now.

I must say, pricing is one of the most difficult problems we face as artists. Is it too high or too low? It's not too high because that store has it for even more but are their prices overpriced as well? But you worked so hard picking out the perfect supplies and putting it all together wasn't exactly a factory assembly line.

Etsy is for handmade goods. You get that? You made that with your bare hands and even then, you want to sell it at a market/wholesale price? No way. You deserve to charge for the yarn, the fabric, the canvas, and anything else involved in your artwork. You are not China. You are not spouting out hundreds of thousands of products all at once to sell for .12 cents in wholesale stocks. If that was the case, you would be on ebay with .99 auctions.

Sorry, I got carried away there for a second.

Anyway, what I'm saying is...stay consistent with your pricing. I get sales, discounts, coupon codes but never sell yourself short of your abilities and efforts. It shows! And people will respect that you priced products adequately even if it is possibly out of their price range. There are countless times I will look at new listings of similar things I sell at trinkets and notice that they sell it for a mere $2. First of all, any product being sold for under $3 leaves you with nothing. Take out etsy's listing fee and cut, then paypal's transaction fee and whatnot, and you are left with $1.75 maybe. So imagine shops that are selling products that run for $10 for $2 instead. Yeah, that's insane.

Now I'm not saying overprice your items to such a degree that purchases are unfathomable, but just know that you don't have to price your items like everyone else if you think it is inaccurate. For example, I make origami stars of event party favors. 100 stars in a solid color runs for $4.75 on my shop and work their way up depending on the paper designs. I know various potential customers who end up working with others after getting an estimate with me because people under price their work. At first, it would upset me but after some time, I realized everyone who does end up working with me loves the effort and focus I put into each and every star. And what makes me even happier is that I didn't undermine my abilities and lower my prices.

(Side note update: 9/21/2012-- My shop has grown and my star prices have been increased little by little over the past year along with paper quality and design. Now my stars go from $8.50-$15. There is always room for growing potential everyone!)

I don't think this journey is something to be taken lightly. This whole "selling yourself short" concept can apply in all fields of work/industries outside of etsy. The competition gets to you and you want easy ways to make it seemingly to the top. But in my opinion, if you really think about it, you won't feel like you are at the top unless you did everything the way you wanted to. I didn't follow through with that idea until the second year on etsy. I still have old listings that have bad pictures and off prices but as I see my shops progressing, I feel good about everything-- myself, my work, and making customers happy. Hope this post gave you a thing or to look forward to, to be happy about as well.

Cheers,
Dana

5 comments:

  1. Great reminder! And this is so true. A friend recommended that I change my prices from the $10 and under range to the $10-$20 range, and I immediately made my first five sales. I think there's a lot of connotation and stigma that is attached to things that are priced very low...plus, they leave no room for the occasional sale! Thanks for the post. :D

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  2. I know what you're saying. Sometimes I get bummed out when I see cards same as mine for less than $4. Even mass produced cards sell at $4. Even though I don't sell myself short, others do and I feel it hurts me.

    Glad I'm not alone though and I will keep sticking to my guns!

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  3. Most definitely! Hang in there and it'll pay off!

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  4. Love your advice. Especially the part about being consistent with your pricing. Being consistent also applies with other areas in running your own online business. You have to dedicate a certain amount of time and effort (such as promoting your store) to be successful. And seeing your store now, it's heartening to note how much progress you've made.

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