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Friday, February 27, 2009

Guest Blogger: Firebird House

Kristen, from Firebird House and Still Heart Studios on Etsy, lets us in on her secrets for a fantastic personal presence in your Etsy shop. Follow her on Twitter @stillheartart. This will be a weekly series!

That Personal Touch

Have you ever gone into a new shop and been greeted with a big smile, or a friendly comment about the color of your raincoat or the state of the crazy weather outside? It probably made you feel good to chat a little, and along the way you probably got a better feel for both the physical items in the store as well as the people who worked there.

Chances are good that you remembered the smile and the warmth the next time you went shopping and it might even have encouraged you to visit again.

In Gatlinburg last year, I went into a tiny import shop crammed full of wonderful and unusual things. The owner was there and she and I chatted about how she got into opening the store, and about the items, many of which had stories. I learned a lot of fascinating things that day, and left with gifts for family that had additional meaning thanks to the owner’s willingness to share her knowledge and enthusiasm for her treasures.

The bad news is that this human connection is missing when people shop online. The good news is that there are some great, easy ways to create that connection. Online shopping already has ease, speed and convenience built into it, and in an increasingly time-and- money-crunched marketplace, those are advantages you can build on by putting a little of yourself into your shop to draw in customers once, and encourage repeat business.

So, let’s start with the Etsy Basics…the Shop Announcement and Bio/Profile.

1. Shop Announcements –Think of your shop announcement as the virtual front door to your store. What kind of welcome would you like to give customers? What kind of feeling? Elegant? Heart Warming? Come Right In and Pull Up a Chair? Or more of an exclusive, make an appointment and we’ll pamper you to death kind of atmosphere? Here is where you start creating that, in the shop announcement.

Use words that are descriptive and appeal to the senses. As an example, if you are selling candles, you might talk about warmth, romance, wonderful aromas, and creating a sanctuary. If you are selling vintage items, you might talk about how much you love the feel of a satin pillowcase, or a beautiful piece of china, or about the history and connections in your items. Put your passion into your announcement. How did you get into making/creating/selling this product? Why do you want to share it with others? What do you love about it? You don’t have to say a lot, but enthusiasm is catching and draws people in, and that is what you want to capture in your shop announcement.

2. Bio/Profile – This can be as long or as short as you like, but a few things should be included. Your name, at least your first, and your location. People like to know where and who they are dealing with - it’s that human connection again. Things that are personal to you, such as children, lifestyle, pets, hobbies, are all things which impact a bio and provide a clearer picture of you the person, and by extension, your items. For example, if a person has 3 children and sews handcrafted children’s clothing, its likely that she also has a good idea what kinds of things are important to both mom AND child (i.e. washing ability, style, fit, etc). This builds confidence in the buyer. When there is not a lot of money to spend, this can be invaluable. Ask yourself what kinds of things you would like to know about someone, then come up with ways you can tell customers the same things about yourself.

3. General – if your craft or art has a history (i.e. pine needle basket weaving, silk painting, beading, glass blowing, pottery, etc) as so many do, be sure to include a little bit about the history and techniques. If you’re not sure, now might be a good time to do a little research and use what you learn to help people connect with you and your work.

So, now I want you to head over to your shop and take a virtual “visit” as if you were a stranger, just seeing your work for the first time. What do you notice? Notice what’s good, and what you think isn’t really having the effect you intended. Have a friend or teammate take a look as well, and compare notes. Do some window shopping on Etsy and see what you like and don’t like about shop announcements and profiles, then add (or subtract) from yours to get the look you want. When you are finished, have your friends pay a second virtual visit and see what they think.

If you run into something you are not sure what to do with, or have questions, leave a comment or post to the group, and we can help!

See You Next Week….



Fresh Paper said...

Great, concise article. I'm excited to start working on my shop with these tips in mind. Thanks!

Alicia said...

I was just thinking about this subject last night!

Thanks for the tips!

Sheridan Joslin said...

Thank you for the tip. What a great team we have here.

Suzanne@threepeats said...

It's always important to put yourself in the other person's shoes (in this case a potential buyer).

Mrs.Kwitty said...

Thank you for a good article and some points to ponder!! I'm heading over right now to have a (hopefully) fresh look at my shop.
Smiles, Karen

angelkissesjewelry said...

Great new series! Thank you for contributing, Kristen! I'm off to review my shop announcement and profile.


Kristin at My Art and the Mom in Me said...

Great article! Thanks, Kristen!

Betty Refour said...

great tips!

starrynightimpressions said...

that's what i miss about online shopping, no person to person convo's and connection! I'll definitely go take a look at my shop with fresh eyes, thanks for the tips :)

Ambient Lights said...

Greats tips! A very insightful post to help get the connection with people that we want. Thanks Kristin, I'm looking forward to next week!

Hollyrocks said...

Wow, that was so helpful! I started tweeking my announcement and profile as I was reading this post, now I'm going to give my shop a good browse and see what else needs to be adjusted. Thanks for the tips!!

Linda said...

Wonderful tips. I'm going to add it to my to-do list.

Thank you!

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