This receipt of mine made me smile. I hope it makes you smile, too! Happy Friday!
Current list of galleries & shops that sell my work
Read a selection of my guest posts and online articles
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This August marks my fifth year selling on Etsy.* I found this old list of five lessons I'd written after my first year as an online shop owner, but I never shared it until now. I've added my current thoughts to this list (written in italics).
More "First Year on Etsy" Stories
While some advice is timeless, Etsy changes every week, so tips that worked for someone in their first year in 2010 might not be worthwhile today. Treasuries, for example, used to be featured on the Etsy home page, but aren't now, so tips about how to get featured are no longer relevant.
Most advice is well-meaning, but I have seen some blogs recommending practices like unsolicited email (spam!) to random site visitors (not customers) that are against Etsy's terms of service. Trust your own gut!
Here are selected blog posts from other shop owners on what they learned that first year:
* I opened my account in 2010, but did not list anything for sale until late 2011. If I was going to add one more lesson to this list, it would be to not wait until everything is perfect before you open your shop! Nothing will ever be perfect. You can prepare as much as you like, but you're never going to feel absolutely, totally ready.
What lessons did you learn your first year selling on Etsy?
I don't use a lot of props in my own jewelry photos, but it's not for lack of trying. My feeling about props is like that old saying, "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." I'll use a prop if it has the right mood or tone, but if I don't have anything suitable (often the case), I'll skip it.
This is one reason I've long admired Jewelry Affaire magazine. Every piece of jewelry becomes a star on the page with just the right prop. I love how my statement earrings in the Summer 2016 issue hang from the filigree edge of a white birdcage. This display shows off the earring length and subtly highlights the filigree squares. I like it better than the original photo I sent them as a submission. (My photo is the one at the top of this blog post.) This magazine made me start thinking about props for jewelry photos again.
Why Use Props in Jewelry Photos?
It's always a challenge to make jewelry look appealing in a new and fresh way. The right props can:
30+ Ideas for Props to Use When Photographing Jewelry
I looked through my printed copy of the Summer 2016 issue of Jewelry Affaire, online images of past issues, and blog posts by jewelry designers and made a list of all the props I saw. When I could, I added links to show you photos from the magazine so you could get a better idea of how the prop was used. Many of these types of props were used multiple times with different projects; the photos I've listed here only show one possible use. I'm hoping that this will be a starting point for your own creative use of props:
What I find exciting about this list is how ordinary it is. You probably have some of these items around your own house or in your yard. This means that you might be able to introduce a few props in your jewelry photography sessions without buying anything new. (Hooray! More money for jewelry supplies!) Plus, a single item such as a vase can come in so many styles, shapes, and materials it would be easy to vary your photos even if you prefer certain objects over others.
Tips for Using Props When Photographing Jewelry
Here are a few additional tips for choosing and using props:
Etsy seems to launch a new feature every week. To be honest, I don't care about most of them because they don't solve any of the challenges I have selling on Etsy. But one recent change caught my eye: shop updates. This is a way to share photos from your shop with your customers and have them linked to products in your shop. Cool idea, right?
My first photo that I shared was a quick snapshot of my new rabbit earrings. (I love these storybook charms—so incredibly detailed!)
Here are my thoughts so far:
You can view all my updates so far if you're curious. I'm going to keep using this feature and see how it goes. Have you tried it yet? What do you think?
I used the EtsyonSale app for the first time to run my annual summer sale a couple of months ago. I find summer a great time to try out new tools and processes.
EtsyOnSale is an online tool that will change the sale prices in your shop automatically and change them back to full price after the sale. I'll admit I was nervous about giving the app access to my Etsy account, but it worked fairly smoothly for me. While the site does have a good help page explaining the process, these are tips from my own personal experience.
Why Use Etsy on Sale?
One Last Tip ...
EtsyOnSale is a tool to help you set up and run your sale; it will not get sales for you. I read some complaints online from shop owners who put their items on sale and no one bought anything. They concluded that the tool didn't work. Well, actually, it's not the software's job to go out and find customers for you—that's your job. You still need to advertise your sale yourself in order for it to be a success.
Want to Try EtsyOnSale?
If you use my special affiliate link, you will get an extra 5 free credits to use. (Just so you know, I'll get extra credits, too.) A sale takes 4 credits to run, so by signing up through my link, you'll get 10 free credits instead of the usual 5. If you need additional credits, you can purchase 10 credits for $10. (There is a discount if you buy more than 10 credits at a time.)
Overall, I found the tool easy to use and might use it again for next year's annual sale if I'm still selling on Etsy. If you've used EtsyOnSale, I'd love to know what you thought. Do you have any tips or experiences to share?