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I wrote an entry last week asking for questions you all have about being an independent designer and which areas you need advice in. The majority of comments led me to first touch on online sales & marketing, particularly selling your wares on websites such as Etsy, or your own. I spoke to editor-in-chief of Etsy’s blog,

Vanessa Bertozzi, about what steps to take towards have a popular & strong Etsy shop. Her advice is extremely valuable.

“Great photography is numero uno,” Vanessa declares. I just blogged about the importance of good photographs yesterday and thoroughly agree with this point. Etsy has created various photography how-tos for their Seller’s Handbook as well. You’re sure to achieve better images by following these simple guidelines.

What is the best marketing tool to use… I have tried joining social networking sites like Facebook, I have used the forums (which led to my very first sale!). I don’t have my own blog, but I have been featured in a number of blogs previously. What else has been proven to work? Vanessa recommends “Building a name for yourself by showing a bit of your personality — in your Shop Announcement, your Profile, and in your descriptions too. Make Treasury lists, help out folks in the Forums, comment on Storque posts.”

Thorough tagging is key to getting website or online store hits. Find out more about tagging here. Also, you can check out Etsy’s complete Seller Handbook here as well.

How do you distinguish yourself & how do you get people to go on your (Etsy) profile? It seems a waste to have monthly fees & no one sees your stuff! Vanessa claims that these important tips assist towards creating a presence on Etsy. According to Etsy, the top three spots in your shop carry a lot of weight here in the interconnected world of Etsy. Many Etsians love to shop by searching through other members’ lists of Favorite Sellers. Ever notice the three photos that show up next to the avatar on these Favorites lists? They are the first three items (the last three you listed) in your shop — NOT necessarily your “Featured Listings.”

On a final note from Vanessa: “Be innovative and unique. The most popular fashion forward sellers have a style that is cohesive and identifiable. Think about how you organize your shop so that a shopper will see a photo and say, ‘Hey! That must be so-and-so’s new dress’.”

Next week I will touch on production related issues and address the questions you all asked about wholesale fabrics, manufacturing, and the next steps to take after hand-making items.

photos above: iheartnorweiganwood, janeyclothing, iheartnorweiganwood, all found on etsy.com


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