How to Brand Your Knitwear Shop: Part 1: An Overview of Branding for Makers. Branding 101

 
how to brand your knitwear shop. branding 101 for makers. overview

Every element and tiny detail of your business adds up to create your brand identity. All of those aspects are powerful opportunities to develop a one-of-a-kind knitwear shop that stands out among the crowd.

It’s easy to overlook most of these branding possibilities because they aren’t talked about much in the maker world, and some of them are tricky concepts to grasp and put a finger on.

That’s why I’m kicking off my new weekly Twigs + Texture Livestream with a series on How to Brand Your Knitwear Shop. Each episode will be followed with a thorough post here on the TwigBerryStudio Blog a few days after the live video.


WHAT IS BRANDING + WHY IS IT CRITICAL?

Your business is your brand. Each aspect of your business mixes together and creates an overall brand experience and identity. It includes the physical, visual, and emotional elements of your knitwear biz.

When most makers think of branding, they picture the more obvious “important” elements that are often easier and more fun to design, such as products, logo, packaging, and overall style. 

But every element of your business is a crucial avenue for branding possibilities.

This includes the less exciting components and details, like your word-choice, sentence structure, and the way you launch new products. And it includes the concepts that are more difficult to grasp, like the tone and mood your business conveys. 

These facets aren’t the most creative or enjoyable elements of building a knitwear brand, so they’re usually ignored or go unnoticed. (Even though I’m kind of obsessed with them!)

Makers with smaller shops or who are just starting out often feel underqualified to have an epic and strategically designed brand. But that is sooo far from the truth. A quality brand is the number one way to set a business apart from the all others in its industry. And with an industry as over-saturated as knits and cozy things, branding should be at the top of every maker’s list for 2018 goals.


WHAT DOES A WELL-DESIGNED BRAND LOOK LIKE?

Quality branding is intentional, consistent, strategic, planned, and unified. It showcases the core of your business’s purpose and values in the best presentation possible.


BENEFITS OF BRANDING YOUR KNITWEAR SHOP

While branding can sometimes sound limiting to your creativity, it’s where all the magic happens for your business. Here are some of my favorite benefits:

1. Professional Appearance

Quality branding gives your knitwear company a professional and polished appearance. You’ll have less of a hobby status, and potential customers will take you more seriously and feel more comfortable making a purchase.

2. Skills + Experience

Even when you continue to explore new ideas, if your brand is established and if you stay true to it, you demonstrate your skills and show that you’re experienced at what you do. Customers are more likely to buy from a maker that looks like she knows what she’s doing. (Think: “master of one” vs. “jack-of-all-trades mentality.)

3. Audience Growth

When your shop is well-branded, you will no longer feel the need to try to appeal to everyone, so you can focus on appealing to your one target market. It allows you to get to know your audience sooo much better, and it will be a breeze to get their attention and interest. 

4. Customer Satisfaction

When you know your customer spot-on, it’s easier to anticipate their questions and needs. You’ll be able to provide answers and options that make sense for your customers, so pleasing them will be easier. And then they’ll come back for more! (Which leads us to the next benefit.)

5. Repeat Customers

When you know your brand through-and-through, customers know what to expect. Next season, they’ll check back in to see what your newest products are. If your shop is always changing, it’ll be less likely to get repeat sales from last year’s ideal customer if what you’re selling no longer relates to them. 

6. Better Products

A well-designed knitwear brand ensures that your products fit your brand and truly feel like they were designed with lots of intention, purpose, and care. You’ll get better and better with each item you make as you hone your skills, and your collections will be intentional and make sense together instead of being all over the place. Plus, branding makes it easier to create products that perfectly fit your ideal customer.

7. Strategic + Consistent Instagram Feed

Ever longed for a more consistent feed for your Instagram page? Branding is just what you need! Once you have a brand identity and strategy in place, you can plan your posts and curate consistent cozy! You can create a collection of branded stock photos. And you’ll know the best type of feed and photos for catching your target customers’ eyes to ensure that each Instagram post is working hard to attract the right followers and ultimately bring in more sales.

8. Captivating Photos

Figuring out your branding helps you create consistent photos that represent you business in the best possible light. A carefully selected style and color palette will create a streamlined look across your pics. You’ll also know what to feature in your product photos to captivate your customers so they click your item to view more. 

9. Compelling Copy

Words are powerful. Branding empowers you to utilize the words you type, from Instagram captions to product descriptions. It guides you through developing a strong written voice so your business can sing a song that speaks directly to your target customer.

10. More Sales + Higher Conversion Rate

A well-designed brand powerfully appeals to your audience and converts those browsers into customers. With photos and copy designed specifically to attract the right shoppers, and products that are spot-on, your customers will be sure to love everything you create from the moment they see it and will be eager to buy. And once it arrives in their hands, they’ll fall even more deeply in love. (Packaging, anyone?)

11. One-of-a-Kind + Unique

Intentional branding helps you create a specialized business that isn’t a copy of another maker’s store. Following through the steps of designing a unique brand ensures you create a shop that doesn’t already exist, challenges you to be unique, and ultimately gives you a one-of-a-kind brand. And that is truly creative.

12. Focus + Productivity

An established brand makes it easier to stay true to your purpose. You won’t have to bounce around from one idea to the next by trying to keep up with everyone else. Use your new focus to increase productivity and to quit feeling like other makers are excelling with new ideas and leaving you in the dust. Because you’ll have a strategic plan with meaningful ideas that help your business grow.

13. Fosters Creative and Original Ideas

Branding means getting to know your business on a whole new level. When you explore your brand to this extent, you reach the deeper surfaces where the best ideas are. Instead of looking around for inspiration and ideas to copy, you begin to tap into the original and unique things you can bring to the maker world.

14. Room to Explore

Once you’ve established a complete brand for your business, you can explore and create countless amazing (and new) things that fit within your brand’s guidelines. This ensures you maintain a consistent identity, and it helps you stay true to the core of your brand.

15. Standing Out

Once you’ve established a one-of-a-kind brand with original ideas, people will begin to take note. Standing out is a natural extension of a brand developed from hard work, brainstorming, and from the heart. Even the smallest of shops is noteworthy and can make a lasting impression when it has something unique and fresh to offer.


HOW TO CREATE A QUALITY BRAND IDENTITY

Ultimate Branding Goal:

Create and commit to an overall style and voice that is unique, recognizable, and that you can call your own.

Know Your Ideal Customer:

Did you notice how most of the benefits revolve around an “ideal customer?”
That’s because customers are how a shop makes sales. Makes sense, right?

When you do the branding up front by choosing what you want to make, you can figure out how to attract customers who love to buy what you create. This is called marketing. (It’s a fun topic that we’ll talk about in an upcoming post in this series.)

Branding Criteria:

  1. Niched. Discover and create your little corner of the maker world. Your niche should be a specific and focused sphere where your expertise and passion combine. Then, you’ll have the framework for developing your brand.
  2. Unique. Your brand should be unique and have some sort of USP (Unique Selling Point). Figure out what makes your business different from the other knitwear shops out there. This is where you get really creative and explore how you can stand out and develop a one-of-a-kind brand.
  3. Consistent. This is key for making your brand come to life. It’s where the design work comes in. Products, packaging, colors, style, photography, copy etc. all work together to create your unified brand.
  4. Committed. Once you have your brand identity solidified, stay true to it. It’s what keeps your brand alive and growing. It allows people to get to know your business and fall in love with your products, which helps them get excited for your next launch and new designs. 

Your branding is the way your business feels, looks, and breaths. The thoughts and emotions around your business are part of its identity, too. 

It’s your message response rate, your customer service, and the way you do (or don’t do) sales. It’s how often you post on Instagram. Think of any aspect you possibly can about your business; it’s brandable. 

I hope you’re inspired to begin the journey of nurturing your knitwear brand. I’ll be right here along the way to answer any questions you might have.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of the Branding Series:

Join me on March 12th for Monday’s Twigs + Texture Livestream on Instagram. I’ll be sharing how to create your niche and specialize your shop. I hope to see you there for this 30 minute chat!

 

How to Find Inspiration and Avoid a Creative Rut

twigberrystudio blog for makers how to find inspiration and avoid a creative rut

As makers, we’re constantly designing and creating products for our shops. 

Often times, there seems to be no shortage of ideas. But there are also days where we feel uninspired and in a rut.

So here are 9 ways to refresh your creativity.

1 | Avoid doing #allthethings

Can you relate to late-night making and cramming every free moment working on something new?

It’s easy to get caught up with each idea, but when we try to do them all, we can quickly become overwhelmed.

Give yourself room to be creative. It’s okay (and smart) to say “no” to good ideas. 

If you feel overwhelmed by your creative endeavors, try to simplify and find a focus. Choose one to three priorities, and save the rest for another time.

2 | Create thinking-space

This has been one of the best game-changers for TwigBerryStudio:

I keep a long list of ideas in my creative folder. First, I brainstorm and let ideas and thoughts flow so I can jot everything down and free up my mind. Then, I am able to forget about my ideas without the fear of losing them forever. 

When I’m ready to take on something new, I just look back at my list. 

This method gets rid of mind-clutter and frees up space for thinking and creativity.

3 | Try new materials + tools

Umm, yarn haul!

Are your everyday fibers feeling a little drab? Maybe you’re tired of your old hooks and needles?

Consider splurging a little on some extra special fiber or tools, and explore beyond the everyday hobby store supplies.

Working with new, dreamy yarn or special needles and hooks might be just what you need to trigger a creative boost.

Check out some fancy fibers at a local yarn shop, search online boutiques, find a fiber festival, or try a skein from that brand you’ve been admiring on Instagram. 

Unique materials give your hands a new experience and a fresh perspective. And it’s sure to get your creative ideas brewing like your favorite coffee or tea.

Tip: when you buy new material, have a project in mind to be sure you follow through and complete it.

4 | Create an inspiring workspace

Where do you perform most of your creative work? For many makers, it ranges from a comfy couch to a studio area.

Wherever your workspace may be, is it inspiring? 

Do you enjoy working there? Do your surroundings help put you in a creative mood? 

If not, try working in a different spot, or brainstorm ways to perk up the space.

Here are a few tips to help you get started:

  • Figure out what you’d like to change about your space, and determine what drags your creativity down.
  • If you’re surrounded by clutter, try tidying up.
  • For a quick refresher, add inspiring prints and designs to your walls, or frame them on your desk. Try placing some plans (or something that makes you happy) on a nearby table.

When I work in an “ugly” space, it pulls my focus away from my task because I end up thinking of ways to improve the space and make it pretty.

Make the space reflect your style so you enjoy your setting. Aim to create an inspiring work area to foster ideas. You’ll be more productive when you love where you work, too.

5 | Use yourself as inspiration.

When you feel stuck, tap into your story, and use yourself as inspiration.

Do you have a unique skill set, talent, or experience that you can embrace? Is there something different about your process? Your style? Your approach? How did you first come to love crocheting or knitting? What sets you apart from other makers? What other interests do you have outside of knitwear that you can use as fresh inspiration?

Explore the unique things about you, and incorporate them into your ideas to help refresh your creativity.

6 | Take a break from your projects

Although we don’t always realize it, creativity is hard work.

If your mind is worn out from all the creative chugging, take some time to refuel, and give yourself a chance to rest.

Set your projects aside for a day or two, and find other tasks to work on.

Review your listings, and make sure your shop is in tip-top shape. Publish products you’ve been meaning to list. Take photos of items you’ve already made. 

Or take a break from everything.

Once your mind has a little while to rejuvenate, it’ll be ready to bring you fresh, new ideas.

7 | Go for a walk outside + enjoy some fresh air

“Knitflix” and “crochet-all-day” are real life for us maker sometimes. But don’t forget to go outside and get a little exercise, too.

A walk and fresh air are good for our minds. Go somewhere inspiring. Get the blood pumping. 

If you’re in a time crunch and can’t leave your space, try opening a window. Or if it’s too cold for a hike in the woods, how about a drive on a nice, sunny day?

Try to get a little sunlight each day to get that vitamin D. You’ll feel happier and more creative when your brain has what it needs. And you’ll come back to your project feeling refreshed and inspired.

8 | Stay motivated

When we’re working hard day after day, it’s easy to get a bit tired and worn out. We lose sight of that shiny excitement of pursuing something we love and enjoy, and our creative ideas start to drag. 

Sometimes we need a little extra push to get past the not-so-fun parts of running a knitwear shop. Weaving in ends, anyone?

When the boring tasks get you down, it’s helpful to think about what makes you excited.

Try saving your favorite things for last as a reward for working past the tough parts. 

You’ll be glad you did, and it’ll be easier to stay inspired without all those loose ends hanging over your head.

9 | Don’t compare

Sometimes a creative rut can come from comparing yourself someone else’s maker journey. 

Instead, focus on you and your journey.

Don’t try to follow your admirers in their footsteps, 

Focus on your unique maker story and path. You’ll stay inspired, feel more fulfilled, and have creative ideas you can be proud of.

 

What are some ways you find inspiration and avoid creative ruts? I would love to know! Comment below!

 

How to Break Down Your Big Goals into Milestones and Daily Tasks

blog how to break down your big goals and turn them into milestones and daily tasks

What are the big goals behind your creative business? Are you working towards them a little each week?

Or do you tend to work around them, unsure of how to reach your far-away dreams?

Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for a while, establishing overarching goals is essential for a thriving handmade shop, and your every move should lean towards attaining them.

But sometimes those big achievements seem so far away. How do you approach them when they loom over you like giant mountains? 

Today, I'm sharing a simple method to make those big dreams more approachable.

Get to work turning your goals into daily tasks, and grab the handy workbook I made. It's 5 pages long and includes guided questions and space to write your answers to help you through the process. Get your copy below!

How to Reach Your Goals

The key to reaching goals is to break them down into small steps and bite-sized pieces on a timeline. 

Goals are much less intimidating when written out into feasible tasks, which makes it easier to kick-off your venture and start working towards your big objectives. The work required is easier to grasp when you list all the steps, and you can chip away at them a little each day without wondering what to work on next.

Get my free workbook for a step-by-step guide, helpful questions, and room to write your goals and tasks. Be sure to grab it below.


Goals Reflection + Break-Down Workbook


1 | Reflect and identify your struggles and strengths

To begin, get to know your current goal-seeking tendencies by taking a little time to reflect. Where do you need to improve, and what do you already do well?

How are your goals for January and February coming along? Have you checked them all off yet? How about your top three? If you can't seem to reach them, try to figure out why.

Find ways to improve, and develop your strengths. Sometimes it's hard to pinpoint what you're good at and what's getting in the way, so I included a reflection section in the workbook for thought-provoking questions and space to write your answers.

Then, ask yourself why you started your creative business and what you hope to gain from it in 2017 and beyond. 

After you fill out the reflection section in the workbook, start setting distinct goals in the next step.

2 | List your overarching goals

What are your shop goals? Have you thought about them recently? 

Goals create the foundation of your business and should be the driving force of your daily tasks and decisions. Outlining them is essential to growing your creative handmade shop.

Think about where you want to take your business and what you'd like it to do for you. 

When you set goals, be mindful, and take your time; the best goals are formed alongside thoughtful decisions rather than hasty interests or your latest idea. Try to be realistic to avoid disappointment, but don't be afraid to go after your dreams if you're willing and able to do the work required.

Set complete goals by assigning a date to each. Deadlines set goals in stone, add a little pressure, and help keep you accountable. They also make it easier to gauge your progress. 

When you reach a goal, the hard work, planning, and dedication you put into the journey will reward you with a fulfilling sense of accomplishment--in addition to the benefits of the goal itself.

Once you’ve honed in on your goals, start making them more approachable with the next step.

3 | Break goals into milestones

Your big goals might be a bit intimidating, which makes breaking them into smaller milestones a crucial step. When your goals are broken down and spread out, you’ll know where to begin, and it's easier to carry out the steps necessary to tackle them. 

Look at your goals, and brainstorm effective steps that divide them into distinct checkpoints. Once again, include deadlines to help you stay on target.

These smaller milestones are more approachable. They're easier to organize, and they help plan a distinct and manageable path to your overarching goals. Milestones function as distinct landmarks along your journey to guide you, map your progress, and confirm that you're on the right track.

As you check milestones off, celebrate; it's encouraging to see your efforts pay off, and it helps motivate you to keep going. It's also beneficial to pause for a moment to evaluate how you're doing. Then, regroup and adjust as necessary.

Whether you choose to tackle one milestone at a time or work on several at once, conquering them still takes dedication, time, and focused work, so still it's easy to get discouraged along the way. 

That’s where the next step comes in handy.

4 | Determine action steps from milestones

The next step is to break your milestones into specific action steps with deadlines. This makes it easy to tackle a few each day. 

Actions should be small, stand-alone tasks rather than ongoing projects since the aim is to list a few on your daily or weekly to-do list; when you list an independent task, it’s easy to cross it off as you go since there won’t be other steps of the task keeping you from completing it.

Brainstorm and write out a list of every step needed to complete your milestone. Read it over, and add any steps you may have missed. Next, rewrite them chronologically. It's a good idea to assign deadlines to them, too.

Then, when you plan your day, copy the next few action steps onto your daily planner or to-do list.

It’s a breeze when you can simply copy them over to your planner, so be sure to create a complete and organized list of your action tasks beforehand. You’ll save time and to avoid the extra task of having to figure out the next step each day. There's a chart just for this in the workbook; it's on the last page and is the perfect place to write a tidy list after all the brainstorming.

Now, you’re off to a great start chipping away at your milestones! And as time goes by, you'll start to see progress towards your goals.

5 | Do the work

It's pointless to set goals if you aren’t going to take action and do the necessary work to achieve them. Following your action steps takes dedication, hard work, and focus, but the end result is worth it.

A few tips and key things to remember along the way . . .

  • Don't underestimate small tasks. Working a little each day--or a few times a week--adds up quickly. You'll start to see results as you diligently check off action tasks.
  • Action steps should always lead directly along your string of milestones and towards your overarching goals. 
  • Keep them Straight: it can get a little fuzzy when distinguishing between overarching goals, milestones, and actions. Here are some examples of each to help you keep them straight:
    • Overarching Goal: Make $200 selling bracelets by July 1st.
    • Milestones: Get 10 bracelet designs listed in shop for the spring line by March 20th. | Promote on social media 5 times before launching on March 21st.
    • Actions: March 10th: Design 3 bracelets. | Write their descriptions. | March 12th: Photograph them. | Create and save 2 of the social media posts. | Post one to Instagram. | (Etc.)

6 | Assess the outcome

Are you making headway on your goals? 

Analyzing your results doesn’t have to wait until the end. Checking in throughout your journey helps you focus and adjust as necessary. Try including it as an action step after each milestone so you don't forget.

The point of setting goals is to see results--not just to dream big. If you still can't seem to hit your mark, ask yourself why you’re getting stuck. Look back to the reflection worksheet for help.

How do you break down your overarching goals to make them approachable and easy to work on each day? I'd love to know! Leave a comment! Let me know if you enjoyed this post by liking it below. Feel free to share, too.

 

10 Ways to Improve Your Shop and Make Use of the Slow Months on Etsy

10 ways to improve your etsy shop during the slow months

When January rolls around, it’s easy to feel a bit discouraged after the exciting wave of holiday sales. But the slower season is a valuable time of year for your business, too. With fewer sales to keep up with, you can work on the heart of your business to make it stronger and more fruitful. 

So instead of staring at your stats and wondering where the eager shoppers went, take advantage of the extra time to tackle some important behind-the-scenes shop tasks.

Get a head-start on 2017 with 10 ways to improve your Etsy store after the holiday rush.

1 | Revisit your listings.

When we’re busy making and listing items as fast as we can, it’s easy to overlook or put off writing product details. The first quarter of the new year is the perfect time to make sure each listing is up to par. Think of it as dusting the corners and giving your shop a polished finish.

If you have a large shop, it can be a bit looming to check each listing in detail, so conquer the feat in smaller parts by addressing one shop section at a time.

Head over to your listings manager, and look over the following for each item: titles, tags, photos, description, variations, shipping, prices, and links . . .

  • Are your titles and tags accurate? 
  • Are your photos captivating? 
  • Do your descriptions need revising? 
  • If you have item variations, are they listed accurately? 
  • Is your shipping information correct? 
  • Are your prices where they should be?
  • If you’ve included links, are they all accurate?

Critique your listings to make sure they aren’t missing anything. Fix errors and update where necessary; it’s well worth the time to make sure your shop is at its full potential and doesn’t have major--or minor--mistakes.

Tip: When you analyze your listings, take note of what you love and dislike about them and your shop as a whole; it will help with branding decisions and other changes you may want to address.

2 | Update your shop photos.

Are any of your photos begging for a face-lift? Fewer orders make it easier to photograph items before sending them out.

Focus on capturing photos that stand out among the vast grid of other sellers' items. Photos should draw shoppers in so they click your item to see more, and once they do, captivate them further with amazing shots that showcase your products to encourage sales.

Highlight different angles of your items, and demonstrate how they look while in use. Consider including lifestyle shots; they're a wonderful way to help buyers visualize your product in their lives. Think of ways to “model” your products even if they aren’t accessories. Ask, how is your item used? Then brainstorm photo possibilities accordingly.

Since photography has the power to make your items shine or look shabby, it’s a crucial component of your online business. The good news is that you can easily create stunning images yourself with just a few simple and inexpensive tools.

I have a helpful photography resource if you want to know my method for modeling and shooting accessories at the same time. Get my free checklist to learn what 5 basic tools I use to create photos for my shop and social media. You'll also be the first to know about a photography course I'm working on when you sign up below.


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Product Photography Checklist

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3 | Create or change your shop's banner photo.

Take advantage of the space above your shop to showcase your brand and greet customers who visit. While you don’t have to use one, Etsy currently has two options to choose from: a cover photo or a banner.

Cover photos are borderless, statement-making headers that show up on computers as well as mobile devices. Banners, however, are a smaller block-style headers that center over your shop and are only visible on computers.

Keep them in theme with the rest of your brand for a cohesive look. Try one wide photo, or use your favorite collage app to feature several at once. Have a creative brainstorm to conjure up ideas. You could feature . . .

  • your new logo
  • a welcoming hello
  • an important shop message
  • your newest item(s)
  • a collage of several product photos
  • behind the scenes images
  • a dramatic photo of your product(s) in action/being used
  • the current holiday’s theme
  • a combination of your logo and product photos
  • a coupon code so shoppers won’t miss your sale

Consider making a few to have on hand so you can quickly change the look of your shop when needed. If you have seasonal or holiday items, you can create headers for them ahead of time so you’ll be prepared.

4 | Create or update your shop’s About section.

If your shop’s About page isn’t already set up, make it a priority on your to-do list. Display the quality and care you put into your products by following through all the steps of setting up your shop. When it’s clear that you have carefully tended to all parts of your store, buyers are more likely to trust you. 

Your About section is a crucial component of your shop, and if it’s missing, potential customers might wonder what else you are skipping or forgetting and may move on to the next shop.

Your About page is also one of the best ways to connect with customers and encourage sales because it gives them a chance to get to know the person and products they will be spending their hard-earned money on.

To get started, take a few behind the scenes photos of you and your process. Add a headline for each photo, and write an engaging paragraph or two about how you got started or what you love most about what you do. It’s that simple. Tip: horizontal photos work best.

If you already have your About section filled out, give it a read-through to see if it needs any edits. You can also consider changing it seasonally depending on what you offer.

If social media is your main source of sales, it can be tempting to put less importance on your About page. But go the extra mile to make your shop as professional as possible.

For a quick solution, re-purpose several photos from your Instagram or favorite social media. And if you've already written about your shop's story or your process, simply copy and paste it. Even simpler.

5 | Revisit your shop Policies

While it may be the most boring part of running an Etsy store, filling out your shop policies is one of the most important tasks you can do for you business.

Plus, it’s less painful than you might think: Etsy makes it easy and fast to input your policies. In past years, sellers had to write all the details out, but now you can add your information without having to write a single sentence. All you have to do is click check boxes and choose from drop-down menus. Not bad, eh? Note: You can still use your previous policies if you prefer.

Policy topics to cover include your . . .

  • Processing and shipping times
  • Payment options
  • Returns, exchanges, and cancellations 
  • Privacy policy

Take a bit of time and utilize this tool to set your rules ahead of time and prevent confused and unhappy customers. Then if a problem arises, you can refer customers to your shop policies, which they agreed to abide by when they purchased from you. Additionally, most customers are more comfortable buying from a shop when the policies are clearly stated. It’s a safety net for both shop owner and buyer alike. 

6 | Fill out your FAQ section

Are there certain questions that customers always seem to ask? Create a FAQ section for your shop. FAQ's currently show up under your shop Policies on Etsy, making it easy for customers to learn more details about your shop before they message you. AKA, a great time-saver. It helps make sure all your bases are covered in addition to what you included in your Policies. You can use the FAQ area to highlight policies that are extra important, too.

Etsy currently includes the following built-in categories:

  • Custom and personalized orders. Let customers know if you are open to creating customized or one-of-a-kind pieces.
  • Sizing details. Are you able to create custom sizes that might not be listed on your items?
  • Care instructions. Will your item fall apart in the washing machine, or is it indestructible? 
  • Gift wrapping and packaging. Do your items come gift-ready, or is fancy packaging only upon request?
  • Wholesale availability. Do you offer wholesale prices? Write a blurb to let retailers know how to get more details.

Etsy also allows custom questions. Is there any unique information to include about your shop or process? Consider adding them to your FAQ section.

7 | Stock up on inventory or create a Ready-to-Ship section.

Do you have fewer orders this month? Keep making items to stock your shop. It will help you transition into the busy season more easily, and you’ll feel more prepared. 

Make a list of items to stock up on. Be strategic, and start with your most popular pieces. Or focus on making more of your upcoming seasonal or holiday line if you already have a sense of which items will sell out faster.

Then, create a Ready to Ship section in your shop for customers who are in need of a quick gift. Include a note in your Shop Announcement to let shoppers know you have pre-made items so they know they won’t have to wait long.

8 | Streamline your packaging and shipping process.

Work on your packaging design or just get ahead of the game: complete your stamping, cutting, and labeling so when the orders start coming in, you’ll be set for speedy shipping. Customers always love a fast delivery.

Try utilizing these helpful tools . . .

  • Use Etsy shipping labels for discounted postage rates.
  • Consider investing in a scale; knowing how much items weigh prevents overestimated postage costs.
  • Pro tip: Utilize Etsy shipping sections for a faster process and more accurate rates. To create a shipping section, simply calculate and save packaging costs for each box size you use. Then, when you assign a listing to it, include the weight of the item plus the packaging, and Etsy will automatically calculate the cost depending on the buyer's destination. This is one of my favorite features!

When you streamline your packaging and shipping process, it saves so much time (and some money), giving you more time to create items and generate ideas.

9 | Experiment with new ideas.

Do you have new ideas you couldn’t get to during the busy holiday sales? Well, now is your chance to squeak them in. 

It’s the perfect time of year to set aside a few hours, or a day, to finally design that new accessory, write up that new pattern, or flesh out the details for that newest addition to your skirt line. Use the slower sales season to work on what you’ve been dreaming about. Get your make on, and add those new designs to your brand.

Don't forget: as creatives, we’re great at generating new ideas, which makes it easy to stray from the path at times. So first, take a look at your business goals and plans to be sure your newest ventures fit in. Going back to your goals periodically will help you stay on track throughout the creative process.

10 | Create stock images for social media.

Have you ever struggled to find time to nicely style your creations for a social media post? I've been there. Or have you ever wanted to take a photo for Instagram when it’s too cloudy or dark? Yeah, me, too, especially during the wintry month of January, February, and often times, March.

Solve these dilemmas with a social media photo shoot to stock up on photos. 

Brainstorm photos you want to capture to best represent your brand. Make a list of products to include and styles of photography to use. Will you share behind-the-scenes shots? Product photos? Do you have a neat workspace to share? Consider your audience and what they would enjoy seeing.

Then, set aside some time to photograph a bunch of planned shots from your list. Choose a day with some sun (avoid a dark, rainy day), gather any props, and figure out your setting for even-lighting to prevent bright spots.

Once you have a stock of images to use, posting to Instagram will be less time consuming, and you’ll be able to plan your photos better. You can also use them for shop updates on Etsy, Facebook, and Twitter. You name it.

Check out my photography resource here to learn what I use to create product photos. It’s a handy checklist to help you get started if you model and shoot products yourself. Get a copy below when you subscribe to TwigBerryStudio Insider: a creative Newsletter delivered each Monday to inspire your week.


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Product Photography Checklist

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Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found these 10 ideas helpful for making use of slower shopping months on Etsy. What ways do you make the most of extra time when you have less sales for your shop?

What other topics would you like to see me write about on the TwigBerryStudio Blog? Comment, Share, and Like the post below!