Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Be An Expert - Back To Basics - Focus On Photos

This week for 'Back To Basics' were looking at photography. Do your photos show your products in the best possible way?

READ THIS: A great book to read if you feel like you need an in-depth refresh of your photos is this 'The Crafter's Guide To Taking Great Photos' book by Heidi Adnum: with A LOT of tips on background, props, lighting, and more. 
LIGHTING ISSUES: If your main issue is light, you could try making a DIY lightbox: If your products are too big to fit in a lightbox then consider asking a friend with big windows whether you can take some photos there (you might need to tape white tissue paper to the windows to diffuse the light). 
FIX THE SHARPNESS: If your photos need to be sharper, try these tips from the Etsy Seller Handbook:
LIFESTYLE SHOTS: Do you take 'lifestyle' photos as well as plain ones? Lifestyle photos means you show how the item might be used, or place some props around it to give it a sense of scale or to invoke an emotion. For example if you make jewellery you don't HAVE to show it on a model (though this could be good) but you could show it draped across a jewellery dish - a modern neon stripe dish with bright white lighting if your jewellery is for the young fashionista, or a vintage saucer dish with warm lighting if your jewellery is for the more mature or softer-styled lady.
5 LISTING PHOTOS: Finally - do you use all 5 photo spaces whenever you can? Here's some Etsy ideas on 4 different photos to use: and the 5th photo could be a photo of your product packaging if that's something special!

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Be An Expert - Back To Basics - Starting From Scratch

During May we are focusing on going back to the basics and making sure everything in your shop is as good as it can be. You may have been having so much fun uploading new products that you've forgotten that your 'about' page still talks about products you no longer make, for example. Making sure everything is up-to-scratch will help your customers trust you and make you appear in the relevant searches!

Here's 3 things to go and check right now, and some links to articles to find out more if you need help. Whether you are a new seller or an old-hand, it's worth making sure these are current, and fit with your branding:
Cover Photo & Shop Icon: (if you refresh your cover photo regularly with new products then returning customers will immediately see what's new in store as soon as they land at your shop. You can create photo collages in PicMonkey or Canva to fit the right dimensions!)
Finally here's a top tip which is good for new sellers, or long-time sellers who didn't know about this -
Top Tip: Your listing titles are essential for Search Engine Optimisation. Fill up as much of the title space as you can, using 2-3 word phrases separated by commas. If you are selling artwork don't put the name of the artwork in the title, put it in the description, as no one is likely to search for that artwork by title. Instead use phrases people are likely to search for. For example, a title SHOULD NOT say:
'Beautiful unicorn wandering through a wood A4 painting'
It SHOULD say something like:
'Unicorn Painting, Unicorn Art, Unicorn Gift, Fantasy Art, Fantasy Art Gift, Girls Bedroom Decor, Daughter's Birthday Gift, Original Art'
Go and make sure your titles are working for you!

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Be An Expert - What To Sell - Product Possibilities

If you still need some ideas for new products then have a think outside of your usual product lines. Do you know on Etsy you can sell Vintage Items, Handmade Products, or Craft Supplies? With the launch of the New Etsy Studio Craft Supplies Website ( now might be a good time to think if you can add any craft kits or items to your store!

See here for some suggestions for what to sell in your Etsy shop: If you're worried that you are going to end up with too many craft supplies to store, or too many things to post, then what about considering digital downloads? Click here for some tips on how to get started and what kind of things you might be able to sell digitally:
In the EU customers have to pay 20% VAT on digital goods, but Etsy very helpfully collect it and pay it for us - they add 20% onto whatever price you say you'd like to receive and then collect that 20% to pay the government. Here's more information on that:
What ever new items you add, make sure they fit with your brand (or open a new shop with a new brand if you can't get the idea out of your head!). And make sure it's something people will want to buy!

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Be An Expert - What To Sell - New Product Ideas

Now you've had a good chance to have a spring clean of your Etsy workspace, and you've made lots of fresh space, what can you fill it with?! New stock of course! If now is your quiet time of year then it's a good time to build up on items to sell. You can just make more of the stock you usually do well with, but what about looking into new products?

Check out this Etsy Seller Handbook guide to 6 Tips For Generating Fresh Product Ideas: 
One more tip I'd add to tie in with the article is 'what key words will people search to find this item?'. This extends the 'do people want or need this' tip, to also think about how they will actually find it. What SEO will you be able to use to make sure the item is found?
While you are still in the planning stages of your product write down some key words that you could use in the item listing details and tags. And remember it's best to have 2 or 3 words together as a phrase rather than single words - 'Father's Day Gift' rather than just 'Dad'.
Adding some fresh products to your shop will give regular customers new things to be tempted by, or catch the eye of some new customers. Enjoy creating!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Be An Expert - Workspaces - Make Yours Inspire You

Do you wake up eager to go into your workspace? How does it make you feel when you enter it? Make sure your workspace is inspiring you to be the best Etsy seller you can be!

Etsy regularly has an 'Inspiring Workspaces' feature which you can see here: take a read through to see some beautiful places to create and gather ideas for your own.
If you think you need to sort out your storage a bit, you could make a desk organiser:, if you have lots of vinyl to store you could use Ikea bag holders like this crafter: or maybe you could make a magnetic spice rack: then fill it with buttons or beads?! What ever your storage need there's sure to be a DIY solution!
Share your inspiring workspaces or storage solutions using the #DorsetTeam hashtag on Instagram and Twitter so we can see too. You can also check out the #DorsetTeamDesks hashtag to see some desks and craft rooms that members shared in January!

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Be An Expert - Workspaces - Spring Clean

Hopefully by now the weather is warm enough to throw open those windows and have a spring clean in your office or Etsy workspace!

Here's some tips to sort out your space:
  • Have some things which inspire you on display - but don't have so many that the room feels cluttered, or your mind will become cluttered too
  • If you have lots of odds and ends of packets or things which are nearly used up then put them in a 'use-it-or-lose-it' basket - if you don't use them up in the next month then give them (or throw them) away
  • Label your drawers, boxes, shelves and other storage so that you can quickly and easily reach for the right item - a few hours spent organising now will save you lots of time on busy work days
If you'd like some more inspiration take a look at this post by Mollie Makes on Decluttering for Makers: or perhaps you can make this DIY Pegboard on eHow by Fran from Fall For DIY:

Next week we will be looking at some more workspace ideas!

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Be An Expert - Keeping Track - Recording Reach

Do you regularly look at your reach for your shop, checking your Etsy and social media stats? If not, you should!

Here's 'five shop stats you should be tracking' from the Etsy Seller Handbook: which explains how to look at a few stats and why.
Here's some more information on Etsy stats of you aren't familiar with looking at them:
Social media can be a bit trickier to track. You can use a paid system like Hootsuite ( to help look at everything, or you could individually look at stats on each social media account yourself. For example, on Instagram you can switch to having a business profile, rather than a personal one, and then you can see 'insights' into how well your posts are doing (see more information on this here:
You can create yourself a spreadsheet to input some information - think about including how many times you posted on that social media in a month, and whether your follower numbers went up or down. Record which posts performed best so you can start to see a pattern of what kind of images and links your customers like to see. Think about which hashtags worked well too. And when you look back and see a social media post performed well, check out that date under 'specific dates' in your Etsy stats - did you see a spike in people visiting your shop from that channel? Did it result in favourites / sales? 
Team Member Chibi Chi Designs has shared a social media planner which could help, with space to include your social media fans / followers at the beginning and end of each month. Check it out here:
Make sure those social media posts are converting - by keeping track of them you can see which channels and which style of posts are worth spending your time on!

Monday, 27 March 2017

1 week left to apply for the Dorset Team Christmas Fair 2017

A massive thank you to everyone who has applied for a space at our Dorset Team Christmas Fair so far. There is just 1 week left to apply to be a stallholder at this year's event.

This year we are very excited as, following feedback from both customers and stallholders at last years event, we will making this year's fair a two day event with the opportunity to apply to sell either day or both days. 

The event will take place on Saturday 2nd December and Sunday 3rd December at the Allendale Centre in Wimborne.

For more information on the event and to apply please see our Facebook event page where you will also find the online application form :

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Be An Expert - Keeping Track - Accounting Savvy

How good are you at keeping track of your accounts? Anyone selling on Etsy should have some kind of system for recording incomings and outgoings, whether it's a pen and a notebook, or a fancy software like Craftybase ( Do you store your receipts in a shoebox or do you scan them all in to your PC?

Here's some tips from the Etsy seller handbook on more organised tax filing: If you want to use spreadsheets to record things but aren't sure how to design one for yourself, then you can purchase one from a fellow Etsy seller like this one: 
Here's a guide from on what records to keep for taxes when you are self employed:
If you get into the habit of recording things regularly it will make it a lot easier to do your taxes when the time comes. It will also help you to notice the busier months. See here for 5 more tips - to ace your bookeeping:

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Be An Expert - Keeping Track - Inventory Management

Etsy recently added some changes to Shop Manager. A couple of these help with inventory management - keeping track of what you have in stock. See more about these changes here:

Variations: Firstly, if you have variations of an item, for example a handbag which is available in blue, black, or brown material, you can now add quantities to each of these variations. You used to only be able to set a quantity for the listing, which would cause problems if you had enough materials to make 5 blue bags, but only 1 black. You'd have to set the quantity to 1 just so the customer couldn't order more than that of black, but then they wouldn't be able to buy 2 blue bags if they wanted to. The only way around it was to list the different colours as separate listings. Now you can set the quantity for each variation, so your stock is reflected more accurately. Yay!
SKU: Secondly, you can now add SKU numbers to your listings. Creating SKU (stock keeping unit) numbers for your items can help you recognise your items across different shops, or help you organise your storage system for your inventory. See here for more information on using SKU numbers: 
Both of these changes will be editable under the 'Inventory and Pricing' section when editing a listing (it may not have rolled out to all shops yet, but it should arrive soon if you don't have it at the moment). 
How do you keep track of what you have in stock? Do you use an excel spreadsheet or an online program like Quickbooks ( Do you have any tips you can share with the team? Here's 4 tips from the Etsy seller handbook:

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Be An Expert - Pricing - Diverse Products = A Varied Price Range

It's our last week looking at pricing your products. This one is a quicker tip - to make sure you diversify products in your shop - but to include a range of prices as well as a range of products!

If you make sure you have a range of prices in your shop then this will appeal to customers with different budgets, or encourage them to add cheaper items to their purchase. But don't cheapen the items you have by selling similar items much cheaper. For example, if you currently sell necklaces costing £20 - £30 each, don't start selling other necklaces for £5 each too, or it will make customers think the more expensive ones are over-priced. Instead think of things that could compliment your stock rather than competing with it. Could you sell stud earrings which would go with your necklaces and sell for £15 ish? Perhaps you could design a few greetings cards that suit your style which could sell for £3 - £5? 
Varying your items and prices will encourage add-on sales, where a customer comes to your shop for one item but ends up purchasing more. Also if someone loves that £30 necklace, but can't afford it right now, they might buy the £15 earrings right now, rather than just bookmarking your necklace and possibly never coming back to it again.
Diversifying stock will also mean you get found in more Etsy searches (now you'll appear in earrings as well as necklaces!). Just make sure you keep your shop looking cohesive, for tips on that see here: Have fun thinking of new things to sell!

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Be An Expert - Pricing - Wholesale

Last week we looked at why you need to add labour AND profit into your pricing formula. This week we're going to look at why wholesale needs to approx 50% off the retail price. (Here's a link to the pricing formula if you missed it before:

Even if you don't want to sell wholesale at the moment - maybe you are just setting up an Etsy shop as a hobby - you should still use it in your formula, and double it for the retail price. You might think of your shop as a hobby now, but what if it really takes off and someone wants to stock it in their shop? What if you realise you could quit the day-job and run your shop as a business full time? If you haven't worked out the pricing right then you'll be stuck if a shop wants to buy your items for 50% off, but you will lose money selling them that cheaply because you didn't price it right. So start as you mean to go on and think about this pricing from the start.
Why do shops want approx 50% off the retail price? They have costs to pay too! One big one is tax. Shops are likely to be registered for VAT and they will have to pay the government 20% of your item which they've sold. To work out what a shop will receive after they've paid the tax, divide your retail price by 1.2. For example a necklace with a retail price of £12 divided by 1.2 = £10. If the shop has paid you a wholesale price of £6 for that necklace, they now have £4 left to help pay the rent for the premises, the bills for the shop like electricity and gas, the wages for their staff, shop fittings, advertising costs for their shop (which help bring customers in to buy your items), and of course make some profit to help their business grow too. It doesn't sound like much now does it?!
Of course you could try offering a sliding scale of wholesale prices depending on how much is ordered. You could offer less discount to an online shop which may have less premises costs (but remember they may have storage costs still), and you should certainly offer less discount if it's a bulk-buy customer rather than a retail customer (someone who is buying in bulk eg. 100 items, but to use themselves rather than sell on to someone else) - here you could offer 20% - 30% off the retail price.
If your retail prices don't currently reflect this formula, then don't panic. Creep your prices up bit-by-bit and accept you will earn less labour & profit for yourself if you suddenly get a wholesale order. Or close your shop for a while and re-launch with new prices, but also think about a social media campaign and maybe a discount code for the first month after you've re-opened, so past customers don't get scared away!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Be An Expert - Pricing - How To Price & Why

How to price your products is something we've covered before, and for those who missed it last time here's a link to a pricing formula that you can use to help you work it out: 

Today let's think about WHY we need to include labour AND profit in our pricing formula. As a self-employed sole trader all your profits count as your personal earnings, so you will be taxed on both your 'labour' and your 'profit' which you've added into your pricing formula. So why should you separate them into 2 categories when working out the formula and looking at how your business is doing? Here's why:
Labour should be your wages. This is what you actually need to pay yourself each month so you can afford to eat and pay for stuff for yourself (not stuff for the business). 
Profit is what you can use to help your business grow. Need to buy a new camera to photograph your items? A new printer for invoices or to start selling greetings cards? Want to buy your materials in bulk to bring the costs down? This is where you can re-invest your profits into the business, rather than spending your wages on them (and making yourself live on baked beans for the next month).
Make sure you don't spend ALL your profit on new toys though. Leave yourself enough for business expenses e.g. if you regularly spend £100 a month on jewellery findings, don't spend all your money on a new camera and then realise you can't buy jewellery findings for a few months. Leave yourself enough to pay your tax (even if you don't pay tax yet you might grow big enough to, so it's good to start setting some aside). Leave yourself a buffer for unexpected costs e.g. needing to refund a customer who spent a lot in your shop.
If you feel you can't put profit into your formula at the moment because it will push your product's retail price too high, then at least just include a small amount of profit. Once you've saved enough to buy materials in bulk this will bring your costs down and make your profit margin bigger, so you can grow it that way, rather than adding it to the retail price.
Just make sure you are earning enough to pay yourself and help your business grow!
Next week we're going to look at why your wholesale price should be approx 50% off your retail price.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Bright & Beautiful Items From The Dorset Team On Etsy

We hope that everyone is enjoying February! Are you starting to see signs of spring, bringing a promise of longer days and warm weather?

If you need a little more colour and light to uplift you then check out this month's 'Bright and Beautiful' Pinterest board. Our team members have been pinning cheerful products from each other's shops. It's definitely something to make you smile when the weather is grey and the nights are still drawing in too soon!

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Be An Expert - Looking Ahead - Targeting Special Occasions

We're all pretty good at thinking about Christmas when planning ahead for our Etsy shops, right? What about the other key dates and special occasions during the year? Valentine's Day has just passed, but there's still plenty of other occasions you can be planning for. You may think of Mother's Day, Father's Day, Easter... but what about all the other key dates?
Make sure you investigate events that could be important to your target market. Is your ideal customer a mum with school-age kids? Make sure you think about teacher's gifts at the end of the school year, or back-to-school items in September. If your customers are festival-lovers don't forget about Glastonbury.
Think of seasonal activities - summer is Wedding Season so people will be searching for favours, decorations, gifts, and more. In the autumn customers will start shopping for more cosy, homely items, and you can target Halloween if it suits your shop.
Take a moment to sit down and work out what dates you should be targeting in 2017. You can check this World First key dates for business list here:…/i…/32-key-retail-dates-of-2017/ and for some more wacky ideas check out this Time & Date list of funny dates:
'Chocolate and Mint Day' or 'World Juggling Day', anyone?
Decide whether you need to design new products for your key dates, or whether you just need to tweak your tags and re-arrange your shop in advance of the event. Work out how far in advance you need to do those things (a couple of months at least) and mark them on your calendar now!

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Treat Yourself - Items from Dorset Team members for the New Year

Happy New Year! Thank you to everyone who has supported the team in 2016. We have seen our membership grown greatly in the past year and we are now over 700 members so can offer an even wider selection of locally made products as well as crafting supplies and vintage goods.

This month the theme for our new Pinterest board is Treat Yourself and members have been sharing their favourite items from Dorset Team members to the Pinterest board. Choose from something indulgent, relaxing, fun, luxurious or just simply beautiful things from the team's shops or why not take up a new craft by trying one of the craft kits or craft tutorials by Dorset Team members.