Friday, October 10, 2014

Giving My Shop a Boost

Over the summer I took a class on Etsy called "Boost Your Shop." Actually, I took half of it. I still haven't finished the other half, though I think about completing it every day. I really do.

Our Nature Table. Just a nice photo. Not really related to the content of this post. 
How does one take a class on Etsy? Well, just like going to school, there are worksheets and readings. The difference is all the work is homework because it all takes place on your computer, at home. The class was supposed to take eight weeks. Each week Etsy sent out a worksheet and some directions for completing the lesson. I'm sure there was an opportunity for discussion and sharing and chatting with other people in the class, but I never looked into that and just did everything on my own.

The class was extremely useful, which is why I keep saying I'll finish it. It started with an evaluation of one's business brand. This was a super long lesson that I completed while flying overseas. I can't remember why, but I didn't have the computer, so I read the worksheets I had downloaded on my phone and hand wrote out my answers on the little sheets of recycled paper I had brought for HG to draw on. She listened to books instead.
No, also not related. 
The worksheet for that branding lesson began by asking us to write down the 20 words or phrases that describe our brand. "Brand" includes everything--items themselves, customer service, history of the business, everything about one's shop. Here's the list I came up with for Lila, in the order I wrote them down:
  1. detailed
  2. quick
  3. friendly
  4. unique fabric
  5. family-oriented
  6. durable
  7. beautiful
  8. well made
  9. contemporary
  10. not cutesy
  11. clever
  12. customizable
  13. researched/thoughtful
  14. clean lines
  15. simple
  16. upscale
  17. lasting design
  18. proven
  19. easy
  20. responsible
Coming up with 20 things was fairly difficult, actually, and I'm glad they asked for 20, since #17, "lasting design," has become a phrase I use quite a bit now in my descriptions. I'd love to know if you have other items you'd put on my list too! 

After a couple more exercises we were asked to write a "brand promise." We had to fill in the following sentence: 

"Every experience with Lila will convey ____________________ and ____________________ to my customers."  

What two phrases went in there for me? Lasting design and friendliness. So that's what I promise! 

All these little worksheets led up to the Big Job of rewriting our "Aboutthe Artist" pages on the Etsy website, which was Lesson 2. I had thought mine was pretty good before, but Lesson 1 of Boost Your Shop helped me discover some ways to improve it. I made all those changes, and you can read my revamped About page here. It took several drafts before I was happy enough to publish, but I think it was well worth the time as I now am able to articulate what values I hope to convey with my shop and even what products to offer. I've said before that the development of my shop has been so organic that these important questions--the ones most businesses address much earlier in their development--hadn't really been answered before. Doing just these first two lessons of Boost Your Shop gave Lila greater cohesion and much improved definition. 

The next two lessons involved tweaking copy and photographs, both of which, I believe, absolutely every shop out there can improve. I went through a couple dozen of my item descriptions and made small, useful changes which focussed mostly on the fabrics and the concept of lasting design. While I am quite comfortable with editing words, thanks to a life-long education in writing, taking and editing photos is often a struggle for me and my patience with myself in this area does wear thin. This is where I stopped working on the class, because the idea of trying to reshoot dozens of photographs just does not make me happy. I am continuously working on taking pictures, and my photos are miles better than they were when I first started, but I know there is plenty more I could do. The next lessons in the class have to do with social media, so I do hope to finish them. Maybe after the puppet theaters. But then there is a Halloween costume to make. And new wristlet clutches. And capes. And floor buckets!! It never ends!! 


  1. Thanks so much for sharing what you've gotten out of this etsy class. Even though I thought I had my to-do list for the day mapped out, I KNOW my about page needs attention badly, so now my mind is reeling.

    I know this is hardly the 'season' to try finishing it, but I'm looking forward to the next installment (I'd love a heads-up)!


  2. Hi Faith Ann, thanks for the encouragement! I definitely recommend working through the exercises in order to rewrite that about page. It really helps.

    And since writing this post I've kept the Boost Your Shop workbook open on my computer. I've even done one of the next worksheets. I'll try to finish the whole thing and then write up the "results!"