Setting Up My Etsy Shop

A slightly belated post to say that I am super-pleased to announce that I have opened my brand new little Etsy shop! As I've mentioned, I've been spending a lot of time drawing over the past six months. I always thought I couldn't draw and only started as I needed a distraction. But I soon realised that it's a bit like meditation, totally relaxing and absorbing, so I persevered.

Then came the #illo_advent and #colour_collective Twitter hashtags organised by Penny Neville-Lee which gave me goals and challenges and it became more and more fun.

I ended up with a collection of pictures that I decided to pop on Society6. Partly, if I am honest, because I wanted to buy a couple of my own products! I shared the link on Facebook and Twitter and people started to ask if I sold greetings cards too. This started me thinking that although I love what Society6 does and the fact that they give a shop window to so many amazing artists, I felt like I needed something a little closer to home that felt a little more personal. I also really like the handmade, caring, creative community of Etsy and the knowledge that all of the sellers have put love into their finished products.

So I ordered some stock for my shop. I used a printer in London for my greetings cards and chose a high quality, sustainably sourced card. I also chose A6 for the size as I like smaller, cute cards that feel like a little treat, with simple white envelopes. They arrived within a week and then there were no more excuses so I got to work setting up my shop.

The process on Etsy was really straight-forward. I chose a name for my shop, designed a header and then had to get to work on listing my items. I had a really good look around other greetings cards sellers to see how they photographed their items. I also read the Etsy help pages that recommended natural light and good close ups. I wanted to create a bit of a story with my cards, to put them in context and reflect the kind of person who might be buying them (i.e. me!).

So in my new guise as *Art Director*, I cycled down to the local shop, bought a bunch of daffodils and whizzed back with them peeking out of my rucksack, wavering about in the breeze. I then took photos of each card in several 'poses'. With the vase of daffodils, with the spotty bags that they would come packaged in, displayed simply against a white wall and also in my hands as I liked how this added a human touch.

I then set about writing a little about each card. I wanted my shop to have a friendly, warm tone so tried to write something individual about each design and a bit about whom it might appeal to. I also described the card, size, envelope and how it would be posted in detail so that the buyer would know exactly what they were getting. (No daffodils included!)

I already have a Paypal account and a business bank account so this made setting up the financial elements really easy as I had all the info to hand. The one area that took a little more time was writing my policies. This was mainly because I wanted to be sure that I was writing the right thing so I researched other people's stores and once again read up on the Etsy help pages. You only add your policies once the shop is live so I wanted to be sure I was prepared.

And then I was ready to go! I made the shop live and then frantically checked everything through to ensure it all looked exactly as I expected it to. As soon I was happy I shared the link to the shop on my Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And waited!

One great thing about Etsy is that it has a detailed stats tool where you can see how many views your shop has had and also which products have been most viewed. In addition, the site tells you where your traffic has come from which is really helpful. In the first 24 hours I had 158 views and 3 orders. I was delighted! It's a real thrill to know that people like what you have a created. I packed up my first orders carefully and posted them the next day.

I realised that you can send a 'Your order has shipped!' email to your buyers and this can also be cc'd to your own email address. The emails look really professional and clean cut which really adds to the service.

I'm really looking forward to creating more cards for my little store and to perhaps branching out into other products too. In the meantime, please take a look at my shop and get in touch if you have any ideas for cards you'd like to see or even for private commissions, I am always open to ideas!

© 2015 Kirstie Rowson & And So We Begin Limited. All rights reserved. Please do not publish designs elsewhere without permission from And So We Begin.

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