We’ve been working on sourcing the best tips for sellers looking to get started on the Etsy marketplace. Though we can (happily) boast about how much we enjoy Etsy as customers, we thought advice would be best served from a seller who’s foraged success within the artistic community of Etsy.
We interviewed lingerie and loungewear designer Elma of ElmaShop, a handmade and lovingly crafted line of wear for petites based out of San Francisco, Ca. Since the inception of Elma’s Etsy store in January 2014, she has has 844 sales and 244 reviews- all absolutely gushing with praise.
She averages review rate of 24%, which far surpasses the 5-10% of people who leave reviews for Amazon sellers. Elma’s fast track to Etsy success was no accident- she invests just as much thought and care into how she uses the marketplace as she does creating garments of unquestionable quality. Elma kindly shared some of her tips and tricks for sellers on Etsy, and what has helped bring her brand success.
Elma chose Etsy because of the genuinely friendly seller community. She comments on the openness of sellers to share, who were “happy to share their tips and techniques in the forums.” The creative marketplace served as a “great place to learn little by little how to run a successful shop.”
How did you create momentum around your brand?
We live in a world where we communicate through images. Open up any social media site, and you’ll be presented with an abundance of photographs of friends, loved ones, trips taken, and very often, purchases.
The propensity for people to feel inclined to share all the things that make them happy, including something they have bought, did not fall short on Elma, especially in the fashion industry where visual eye candy is key for selling. Elma is a maverick of social media, where she shares her creations with fans on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Tumblr.
Her favorite tool, she says, is Instagram.
Instagram has allowed her to communicate to her audience the process of her work, and the creation of her garments. She shares behind the scenes moments of running ElmaShop from her home studio, creating transparency between herself and her audience. “I can share with everyone what I’m currently working on, what materials I use for my garments, and the design process of creating lingerie,” Elma says.
Additionally, Elma is social on her social media sites – she uses it as a smart way to stay ahead of the market and make what people really want to buy. “It’s a great platform to ask my audience for feedback and gain insight on what they like or want to see from my collection.”
But does it really work?
Yes, it does. “I was surprised to see how many people inquired about orders through social media platforms,” she says. Elma had posted an image of a custom bralette she made, and received so many requests for more that she decided to add it as a new item to her shop.
How have you encouraged customers to buy again?
Elma says she tries to create repeat customers “by giving them more than just a product, but also an experience that is unique.” One of the benefits of selling on Etsy is the freedom to customize the packaging process.
Unlike Amazon, where the seller is under strict guidelines not to include extras within the box, Etsy sellers can make the packaging of their items as creative and thoughtful as the products within the wrapping. “I spend ample time on the packaging making hangtags, wrapping the garments with tissue, and handwriting thank you notes to each customer, hoping that when they receive the package they are opening it with a smile,” Elma says.
Many of her orders are for custom garments. Elma responds to these orders quickly, and likes to “collaborate with the customer to create something handmade just for them.” Her attention to detail, both with her creations as well as her customer service, is what brings customers back for more.
Each Elma package is a special experience, and opening one of her boxes is just as pleasant as the garment folded delicately inside.
If you’re a creative seller looking for a marketplace that suits you, look no further than Etsy.
We couldn’t be happier to add Etsy to our list of integration partners, and look forward to seeing our sellers achieve success within the artistic community. To learn more about Elma and ElmaShop, follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, and browse her creations at Etsy.
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Editor’s Note: This blog post was updated in June 2018 to reflect more accurate and relevant information.