Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Passion For Packaging

Photo by Galejade

Speaking as not only a seller on Etsy, but also a buyer, I never forget about how beautifully or creatively someone sent their handmade items to my home. It makes me all the more excited to open the package and see what's inside. It’s definitely an art in itself and reveals a lot about the artist and how much care they put into their craft.

This attention to detail is something that makes the buyer aware that there’s an actual person on the other end of the purchase. I always think to myself as I am opening the package, “Aww...this person’s creative little hands put all these cute stickers on the box, took time to write up a personal note, and look, they put a cute little freebie in their too!”

There are many talented Etsy artists here and I thought it would be super fun to not only share what I do, but to also share what a couple of other artists from this team’s special touches to packaging are.

There are so many ways you can send your packages off, the possibilities are pretty much endless and it’s just an awesome way to build up the customer’s anticipation - no matter what time of year it is, it will make it seem like Christmas time! - So much fun!

I personally love to send my jewelry off in Natural Kraft gift boxes. Since my shop is full of eclectic pieces, I try to match the style I decorate my boxes with the style of the jewelry and that way I will hopefully be appealing to that particular buyer’s sense of style. Sometimes I use stamps or stencils, and other time I like to find interesting sections of magazines cut those pieces and paste it onto the lid of the box. Then I find a really funky color for a more modern feel. Other times, if I happen to have more time, I like to draw on the boxes in hopes that the person will be amazed and then they will run over to their computer to send me a message requesting a custom drawing! Okay, maybe not that so much, but it could happen, right?

Here’s a closer view of the hand drawn boxes I will sometimes create:

I like trees a lot, so I tend to draw them on my boxes a great deal.

This is just one of those things that add a little extra somethin’ nice and I really do believe that this will make a customer come back - as long as what’s inside is high quality as well.

Galejade makes this amazing jewelry and I simply love her choice of packaging for her pieces. It’s clean, classic, and simple, yet gorgeous! And look at that little bird, so cute!

Photo by Galejade

Her cute little box is then put into the pouch shown in the photo at the beginning of this post. I love the color combinations she has chosen.

Her packaging works so well with her jewelry and that’s so important. It’s shows the customer that you know who you are and how to present yourself as an artist.

Photos by Corrnucopia

Corrnucopia has a shop full of wonderful vintage items and loves recycling used boxes where she opens the boxes up and retapes them - what was once old, is new again. She then wraps up her lovely item (like the adorable vintage hair clip that you see pictured above)
in colorful tissue paper and Wraphia. I love the little tin she holds all her supplies in.

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Some DO's and DON'Ts

While it’s really fun to put together a pretty package to send out into the world, there are just some things you shouldn’t do when packaging:

Don’t send something that smells like smoke. If you’re a smoker, try to find a smoke free environment to pack everything up. It can make or break any future sales coming from your customers and they will let you know in their feedback to you.

Don’t send candies or anything edible unless it’s someone you already know. This may just be my own thing, but I always feel uneasy when a seller sends wrapped candies in a package. Do send cute little stickers or a little drawing, or even better, a coupon for a discount!

If one of your customers has specific requests about gift wrap and leaving a personal note, do it with professionalism as if you were getting the gift yourself. You don’t want a birthday wish written on a gum wrapper! (some people might, but let’s assume that the majority doesn’t) Make it pretty and maybe print it out if your handwriting looks like chicken scratch. I know mine looks like that sometimes.

The Personal Touch

Customers love getting hand written notes and this is the perfect time to show them how likable you are! It's also a great time to take advantage of giving any care instructions so they can keep their items they purchased in the best condition possible. I love adding my odd sense of humor to the care instructions that I send when I have sold one of my hand painted rings.

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I found some really awesome resources, so here’s a couple links to get your creative juices flowing:

Etsy How-to

Etsy Success

Wanda Wen

I want this Wanda Wen's book so very badly. She has the book linked in her blog, which is such an inspiring blog. I am posting one of her entries, but you just might way to peruse the rest of her writings because they are awesome.


Photo by Galejade

Now it's time for some DIY! So get over to your work stations and get out your pretty ribbon, fancy tape, stickers, stamps, yarn, stencils, paints, pressed flowers, stamps, markers, magazine clippings, and put a little more of your artistic self into your package!

Author: Jocelyn Pryor "flowerleaf"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tagging Tips: Make Your Tags Work For You

The primary way for an item to be found on Etsy is by its tags. When a person does an Etsy search (especially when sorted by relevancy) it is an item's tags that will be its main way of being found. Figuring out the right way to tag can be time consuming and hard, so here are a few tips to help you out!

Make Your Tags Work For You

- First and foremost is to always use all of your tags. Etsy provides space for 14 tags per item and if you aren't using all of those spaces, you are limiting the ways people can find you. The first few tags come from the drop down menu. The more you can do with this the better as each of these tags represent a category your item is being included in. Why is this important? Many people click through the categories without ever searching anything specifically--you want to appear in these categories when they do.

-Include you shop name in a few of your items' tags. Some people new to Etsy or unfamiliar with its search will look for a seller by using the general item search. You want to show up when people look for you this way, so including your shop name in a few of your items will ensure that their search returns results.

-Use the word "handmade". This does not automatically appear as one of your tags even if items are automatically listed in this category. I've heard people say it increased their sales noticeably after making this edit.

-Edit tags based on seasons and current trends. Try searching "Black Friday" or "Cyber Monday" and you will find a huge number of listings still tagged with this Holiday tag! Making sure that all of your tags are up-to-date, both with current trends and with seasonal tags, is very important. Tags that are out of season are wasted tags.

-Include your location in a few of your tags. This is pretty much the same as why you should include your shop name.

Coming Up With Tag Terms


Coming up with tag terms can be a pain and a half. Here are some great tips to make that a little bit easier:

-Use a thesaurus. That's right, bust out the old thesaurus and look up synonyms! You are thinking "woodland", but a buyer might be thinking "forest"--you're thinking "nautical", they are thinking "sea side". (Don't have a thesaurus on hand? Here is a decent one online: )

-Add some adjectives people associate with a style if it fits the item: hipster, indie, rockabilly, punk, minimalist, post modern, etc.

-Think Crayola Crayons when tagging with colors. Remember the descriptive colors like cadet blue, kelly green, and burnt sienna. You'll come up in searches of basic "blue", but also in ones where a person was specific.

-Ignore terms like "ooak" for the most part. This is an extremely specific acronym and many people using Etsy have no idea what it means anyway. Don't waste your tag.

Some Helpful Links

A word about the Tag Tool from Craftweasel by Etsy:
and the actual Tag Tool:

Etsy's guidelines and tips for taggings:

**Looking for more tagging help? Most of the tips given here are fairly common tips given by Etsy sellers and admin and can be found along with various other tips elsewhere.

Author: Sarah-Lambert Cook "tuckooandmoocow"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Hello and Welcome: in which we are introduced and a team begins

Hi everyone! This is your fearless leader Sarah-Lambert Cook of TuckooandMooCow. Although I'm calling myself the leader I really don't intend to be seen that way too much in the future. What I am hoping for in building this team with you is to create a space where sellers on Etsy who are serious about becoming a business can learn and grow and become just that: a business.

Turning your hobby, craft, or art into a full time job is more than a lot of work, it is a ton of work and can be extremely intimidating to do by yourself. Your conversation with yourself may be going something like this:

Yes, I would love to be self-employed, but what about taking care of the kids? How will I pay for advertising while I'm beginning with very little? Do I even need to pay for advertising or is social media better for me? What the heck is a "target market" and how am I supposed to find that online? How do I show up in Google? How do I get more views to my shop?

What I would like to do is create a team where members help answer these questions for you and more. Got a question we can't answer? Well, then we're here to help keep you going, to encourage you, and to be the crutch when you need it.

What I hope we can offer as a team in the future are How-Tos here on the blog, featured sellers, team competitions, giveaways, and business advice. I'd like to offer workshops given by myself, other team members, and possibly outside artisans on different ways to improve our businesses through tweaks in shops, social media, advertising and more.

Building a business is hard enough. Let's not make it harder by trying to do it all by ourselves. Let's work together!