Finding Success on Etsy with Personalized Jewelry: Close up with ImprintedMemories
Tell us about yourself and your shop.
My name is Tiffany I am a wife, mother of two girls (four and six), and a Pediatric Emergency Room Nurse. I live in the Bay Area of California.
I own ImprintedMemories, a personalized jewelry shop. When I went on maternity leave with my second daughter, I was searching online for a personalized necklace to give my older daughter as a gift from her sister. I found a necklace I loved and was so excited to receive it. When I received it, I was disappointed in the quality. I then thought to myself, I should learn how to make this so I can do it better. I had the next 6 months off work for maternity leave so in that time I did heavy research, invested in my first set of hand stamping tools and learned to make jewelry.
How long did it take to see regular sales?
I opened my shop October 2014, my first sales were all from friends. I also immediately started a local moms small business facebook group where I promoted my jewelry. This helped me create items I could take pictures of, build up my sales, and increase my reviews. By the time December came around my shop was established enough to let the organic Christmas sales come in. I continue to grow every year and I am always evolving my shop to reach this goal.
What do you think you got right?
I figured out my audience and grew on that. Think of who you are selling to, not what you are selling. What does that person enjoy? Create that! I also made my etsy shop my priority. I knew very quickly I was not going to treat this as a hobby. This means I spent every waking hour that I wasn’t at work researching how esty works. I believe it is more import to know how to sell than it is to know what to sell.
How do you plan ahead in terms of inventory?
After each major holiday (Mother’s Day & Christmas for me) I review the hundreds of sales and track the details. This gives me a baseline for the following year and I stock up about 1.25X that the next year. I have a par level on my supplies and when I go below that I order more.
How do you drive people to your store?
I have social media accounts, but overall these have brought in less than 10% of my views. The majority of my traffic is brought in by perfecting my titles and tags. Do you SEO research it is the only way to master etsy.
What advice would give to someone starting out?
Etsy rank is a free resource. Copy your listings and edit don’t start over every time. If you want to treat this like a business: Communication is so important. Before you do anything, check your etsy messages, this takes priority. If you do not respond to your messages timely, you will miss sales because they had a question and since it wasn’t answered they have moved on. You will leave your customers confused and angry. I have an apple watch, as soon as I get a message notification, I respond to it immediately. 90% of my messages are time sensitive. I can’t stress the importance of this enough and how much your customers will appreciate it.
How much do you spend on promoted listings?
I have experimented may ways. But I have decided on $1 a day, $0.08/listing, I don’t really find promoted listing to be very beneficial. My organic sales are much higher and they don’t cost me anything.
Do you find that it's better to promote a few items or spread your spend across multiple items?
I spend $0.08/listing and have my top 30 items promoted out of 300.
Tell us about seasonality. Do your sales go through waves?
My sales go in waves month to month but are consistent for that month year to year. For example, my low months are my low months each year and my high months are the same each year. My goal is always to beat the same month last year. YoY (year over year) is the stat I watch closest.
How about customer service horror stories?
Thankfully over the last 5 years they have been few and far between. I think I target a fairly respectful audience and my price point keeps it that way too. I also thank every single customer. I send out a thank you message when I ship out letting them know it has shipped, and directing them to the tracking number as well as letting them know to contact me if they have any questions or concerns. This opens the door for communication in case anything does do array. Yes, you do have time to do this!
Guidelines for Listings
What guidelines do you follow for writing good descriptions?
Every time I get a less than perfect review or a message saying something like “it was smaller than expected”, or even just a question. I figure out how in the future I can avoid this from happenings again? This is how I build my descriptions. I want them to answer every possible question that could arise.
Any guidelines you follow for good product photography?
All angles, to scale, in use, all personalization options.
How do you decide on a price?
Etsy rank has a great profit calculator. With this calculator I do not charge for my time/labor and aim for a 65% profit. This is the mark up I have on my best selling items. My less popular items are not this high, but I never go less than 50%. TIP: A lower price does not equal more sales. People want a quality product and often a high price portrays that. I was always so nervous to raise my prices and the end result is that it didn’t change my number of sales. That being said I have not changed my prices over the last year other than now offering free shipping and incorporating that into the price.
We're well into 2019 and season shopping dates are approaching. We put together a list of nearby holidays and dates you may want to aim for if you are advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Google, Pinterest, or with us — Mailfold.
Jamie Gillen is an Etsy seller who operates Paisley Maizie and Simply Paisleys, two shops with a combined 20,000 sales. Growing an Etsy shop doesn't happen overnight. We talked with her about how she started, mistakes she sees sellers making, and what she does during the quiet months.