Using Twitter for Your Etsy Shop

Image Credit: jasonh1234 @deviantart

Social networking and marketing is a current trend that any business can take advantage of. One of the most popular and easiest approaches is to establish a Twitter account. With Twitter, you have 140 characters or less to tell the world about your handmade goods, as well as market specific pieces. It can certainly become an effective tool for drawing traffic to your Etsy shop.

What is Twitter?

Twitter is a social networking and micro-blogging service that allows you to communicate with people around the world. Your dialogue on Twitter is called a Tweet. Many people use Twitter for personal enjoyment, while others have learned to tap into a whole new market for their business. If you’re new to Twitter, you can better understand the service by checking out Twitter 101 – How Should I Get Started Using Twitter.

Etsy Crafters Can Use Twitter to…

  • Announce sales
  • Offer discount codes
  • Share new products
  • Advertise handmade goodies
  • Mingle with other crafters
  • Build a business persona
  • Find deals on supplies
  • Identify the latest trends

The Importance of Links

Links are very important in the world of Twitter. They direct interested parties to your Etsy shop or to a specific product that you’d like to highlight. Many links are extremely long and can take up a lot of space. Luckily, there are different programs that help you shorten your links so you can devote more characters to your Tweets.

Popular methods of shortening a link is by using services, such as Bit.ly and TinyURL, which takes your original link and shortens it to 26 characters. Sample Tweets include:

  • Purchase Magic Senses Oval Mango Papaya vegetable glycerin soap for only $5 –http://tinyurl.com/2cpvuqj
  • Photo Contest – Win 2 Bars Of Our Soap: Starting today we are having a PHOTO CONTEST! All our customers are invite… http://bit.ly/9wvOtg

Twitter Lists

Twitter also has a feature that allows users to create lists of people and businesses they like to follow. For example, one user may establish a list comprised of their favorite Etsy shop owners. Whenever one of these shop owners sends out a Tweet, the details appear in a list that subscribers have easy access to. It’s in your best interest to get added to another user’s lists to increase your exposure on Twitter.

What Can I Sell on Etsy?

You’ve probably heard that you can sell things on Etsy, but it’s important to note that this online marketplace is not just for the sale of any product or good. Etsy concentrates on the buying and selling of all things handmade. Etsy also works towards bridging the gap between buyers and independent creators/shop owners.

So, what exactly can you sell on Etsy? There are three basic categories your goods must fall under.

1. Handmade

Etsy is the perfect place for you to sell anything that you have made by hand. This allows you to make the most out of a natural talent – whether it’s knitting sweaters or croqueting baby blankets. People sell handmade jewelry, including pendants, bracelets, and rings. Clothing is another popular product sold on Etsy. From a rainbow of unique soaps to organic lotions, sellers also offer a wide range of homemade bath and beauty products.

Handmade goods also include food and other related products, such as homemade brownies, chocolates, lollipops, candy, and cakes. Take advantage of that secret family recipe and share your famous fruitcake. You may also sell mixes for baked goods, spices, and other cooking ingredients, including breads, cookies, scones, and hot chocolate mix.

Other handmade goods sold on Etsy include art, housewares, kitchen décor, furniture, and greeting cards. The possibilities are truly endless – as long as it is made by you.

2. Vintage

One of the rules to selling on Etsy is that you have to offer something handmade – not an item created by someone else. However, vintage items are an exception to this rule. Anything that is more than 20 years old can be sold on Etsy, including 1920s flapper dresses, platform shoes, and Art Deco brooches.

3. Supplies

You can start a business on Etsy simply selling the supplies that crafters need to create their masterpieces. If you have commercial and handmade crafting supplies to offer, Etsy is filled with crafters looking for the shiniest beads, jewelry-making materials, fabric, tools, and other creative knick-knacks. Sellers can choose to advertise items by the piece or offer bulk discounts.

No Illegal or Prohibited Items

You cannot sell illegal or prohibited items on Etsy, including alcohol, tobacco, live animals, pornography, firearms (and other weapons), drugs, recalled items, real estate, and motor vehicles. Sellers cannot offer items that promote or support hatred, racial, or religious intolerance. You cannot sell something that encourages others to participate in illegal activity.

How to Save Money on Crafts Business Supplies

When purchasing supplies for your crafts business, you have two choices – immediately save money with less expensive tools or splurge on quality. For the tools that are most important for your line of crafting, it is suggested to purchase the best. In short, they will save you money because they will last longer. Other money-saving tips for crafts business supplies include:

Buy Wholesale and Bulk

If you anticipate needing a lot of one supply, look into purchasing wholesale or in bulk whenever possible. Shop around for suppliers who give discounts to crafters who buy in large quantities. For the most part, buyers usually take advantage of a certain percentage of savings that increases when their volume increases. Some suppliers also waive shipping fees for large orders.

Make Your Own

Some crafts businesses have learned that it pays to make their own supplies rather than invest in commercial options. For example, if you are in the handmade jewelry business, save money by making your own clasps, ear wires, head pins, and other findings. For beaders, instead of purchasing beads – consider making your own, which also adds to the uniqueness and originality of your craft business.

Do Not Waste

If you have to cut materials for your crafts, it is important to carefully measure after calculating appropriate amounts, lengths, and widths. Don’t work with your materials off of the top of your head. Make good use of a ruler or tape measure so that you don’t unnecessarily waste your supplies. Over the lifetime of your craft business, saving a little can go a long way in the future.

Visit Thrift Stores

Depending on the type of craft business you run, a thrift store is a goldmine for gathering materials and used goods that can save you money on supplies. This is also a perfect way for crafters who upcycle or recycle to find clothing, fabrics, and embellishments.

The Dollar Store

The Dollar Store allows you to save money on packaging and supplies for a crafts business. From a rainbow of ribbon colors and tissue paper to small boxes and bubble envelopes, the Dollar Store certainly helps small businesses cut costs. For some, materials and crafting supplies are also available for next-to-nothing prices.

Reuse Scraps

What can you do with an extra square of fabric, piece of wire, or a few lone beads? Reusing scraps and repurposing extra materials can make products you may have not intended on. That’s extra money in your product if your impromptu craft catches someone’s eye.  Save scraps for later use – you never know when something will come in handy.

How to Protect the Name of Your Crafts Business

A business name is one of the most important pieces to your crafts business puzzle. It is how most consumers will identify your products, advertising, and brand. For offline and online crafts business owners, you should become familiar in how to protect your name. Following the proper procedures will not only shield you from business thievery, but can also save you time, money and legal complications that arise after you become rich and famous.

An Original Name

With thousands upon thousands of crafts businesses springing up each year, it becomes harder to find an original name that hasn’t been taken. Before you fall in love with a business name, you must check to see if another crafter is using it. A simple online search isn’t going to be enough to ensure full protection. Conduct a business name search with the Trademark Electronic Search System found on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.

Learn the Difference Between Copyright and Trademark

When it comes to protecting intellectual property, it is a must to become familiar with ‘copyright’ and ‘trademark.’ Copyright generally protects “original works of authorship,” such as a book you’ve written on the crafting business. Trademark will protect your business name, titles, brand, and logos.

Trademark Registration

Technically, your crafts business is protected as soon as you start it, but if you want to utilize the strongest line of defense, trademark registration is a must. Registering your business establishes legal documentation that protects your business. This act will come in handy if you should ever need to take legal action.

Constant Internet Searches

Just because you have legally registered your business doesn’t mean people won’t try to capitalize off of your hard work. It is important to conduct online searches on a regular basis for your business name, slogan, and website copy. Browse relevant entries to identify copyright and trademark infringement.

Google Alerts

Another way to keep your eye out for infringement is to set up Google Alerts for blog posts, news, and other information regarding the name of your business. This will help keep an eye out for both the positive and negative online activity concerning your crafts business.

Online Business Directories

Registering your business name and website with online directories can help you solidify your presence and originality within the marketplace. Hundreds of directories allow business owners to submit website descriptions and links, which also increases your online visibility. Don’t forget to focus on online directories that are specific to the crafts industry.

Offline Advertising for Your Crafts Business

Even if you’re running an online crafts business, you can still effectively promote your goods offline. Why is considering a variety of advertising methods important for your business? For some crafters, the bulk of their sales will come from local avenues. Depending on your budget, you may want to consider the following offline advertising options for your crafts business:

Business Cards

Whenever you strike up a conversation about your crafts, show your professionalism and leave a lasting impression with a business card. Today, it is very inexpensive to order business cards for offline advertising purposes. In popular venues, the small size of the cards also makes it easy to leave behind on bulletin boards and in other public places.

Newspaper Ad

People still read the newspaper and taking out a small print ad introducing your crafts business can capture the attention of potential consumers. The most beneficial listing is one printed in the Sunday newspaper when the majority of classified ads are also posted. For less expensive, printed advertising, submit an ad to the local Pennysaver and other smaller local publications offered for free at newsstands.

Craft Shows

Sell your goods and spread the word about your crafts business by mingling with other crafters. Interacting with consumers and displaying your talent is an effective method of offline advertising. Pass out business cards and collect the contact information of other crafters to learn more about your local market.

Flyers

Spring for a professionally designed flyer or print out your own basic flyers at home. Share the name of your business, logo, and contact information. Add a few pictures of your products and advertise any discounts or sales you may offer. Drum up interest by including a coupon or discount code on the flyer. Distribute flyers in local places, such as grocery stores and restaurants. Tack flyers up on bulletin boards at schools, supermarkets, and laundromats.

Postcards

If you’re interested in finding a local shop to carry your product line, create colorful postcards tat introduce your crafts business. Mail or hand out the cards when meeting shopkeepers face to face. Pass out seasonal postcards to consumers during the holidays – you never know when someone is looking for a unique gift to give.

5 Ways to Sell Your Crafts

Every day, new crafts businesses are born. From handmade soap collections to hair bows for children, someone is making money selling a product that they create on their own. In order to make the most out of your talent and hard work, it’s important to explore the different ways you can sell your crafts. To get started, below are a handful of craft-selling suggestions:

1. The Internet

The Internet provides a convenience for shoppers who don’t like leaving the comforts of their own home to obtain products, crafts, and gifts. Online craft businesses also save money because they don’t have to worry about maintaining a costlier bricks-and-mortar shop. Selling your crafts on the Internet is a low-risk approach towards making money. An online crafts business is relatively easy to establish and offers a wide range of selling options, including Artfire, Etsy, and establishing “shopping carts” on personal websites.

2. At-Home Business

Depending on the type of business you plan on running, a simple home office or large basement can become an ideal place to sell your crafts. Some people have taken advantage of a walkout basement and have transformed the lower level of their home into a crafts business. In addition to making crafts, the large space is also perfect for storing equipment, organizing supplies, and greeting customers looking for custom pieces. Things to think about include the need for a permit or license, signage options, parking space, and the practicality of using your home space.

3. Home Parties

If you don’t want to commit to using you’re a large part of your house as a place to physically sell your crafts, consider hosting events at home. Similar to Tupperware parties, you can invite family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and other interested faces you meet along to way. To alert potential consumers when you’re hosting the next party, an inexpensive method is to create an email list to send virtual invitations.

4. Craft Shows and Local Fairs

A large number of crafters are selling their creations at local fairs, festivals and other events about town. When selecting a venue to sell your crafts, keep in mind fees, advertising costs, and how many visitors you expect to come in contact with. Print up business cards to make the most out of your craft show encounters.

5. Family and Friends

One of the best ways to sell your crafts is to let your family and friends pass along your information. Word of mouth is a powerful method of advertising. For example, a jewelry maker should float a few eye-catching pieces to loved ones, as well as arm them with business cards. When someone asks where they got their fabulous necklace from, they can talk up your business and hand out your contact details.