Selling On Etsy-Getting involved in the Online Community

Now that you have your Etsy Store all setup from our last post and your 40 free listings, hopefully you’ve had a chance to add some items! Here are some ways you can utilize the tools that Etsy has to promote your stuff.

Etsy has a great sense of Community for an online selling market—no seriously, they are social beings who like to sell and buy things. With that, Etsy has some unique tools for promoting your items while socializing.

Left side is the follow button you can click on to follow others!

On the left side is the follow button you can click on to follow others!

Let’s get social! Etsy has followers system similar to twitter—you can follow users you like, or find the same things interesting. To add them to your followers list simply go to their main profile and click ‘follow’. By doing this you will see content they are adding to their favourites such as items and treasuries.
Why is this important? Think of it like a chain reaction. Someone favourites one of your items and everyone who is following them will see this. As a result, some others may also favourite the item, and by the chain reaction you can gain more ‘hearts,’ which increases visibility and popularity.

 

 

Meet your activity feed, you can see what others have fav'd and who is following you

Meet your activity feed, you can see what you and others have fav’d and who is following you

Another great way to promote your items on Etsy is a Treasury. Basically, a treasury is a collection of 16 items from Etsy sellers, which someone has curated into an appealing collection using a theme, colour or subject matter. The treasuries can then be viewed by other users who are browsing, and if you are lucky it will be ‘handpicked’ by an admin of Etsy to be featured on the home page! Buyers and Sellers alike can favourite or ‘heart’ the treasury just like they would with an item—as explained earlier, both users follows will see the heart in their activity feeds. Don’t forget to title your treasury with something interesting, add a description, and use up those keywords! On the main treasury page you will see what keywords are trending currently on Etsy, useful for your own treasury, or to inspire keyword ideas.

Image of the favourite button on Etsy

Click the heart to find your favourites!

Let’s talk more in depth about those favourites or ‘hearts’. Etsy has two favourite systems made up, one is the Shop Favourite. This allows a user to ‘heart’ your store and they will be shown as Admirer on your shop home page. Also they will be able to see in their activity feed when you post new items. Handy since they adore your shop! Next is the Favourite system, it is setup so that you can create a collection of items using whatever sorting method you like. It is similar to Treasuries but less restrictive; you can add as many items as you like and make it an ongoing process.
Why is this important? – The shop favourites are good for bragging rights and those people who just love your items; you definitely want them to be able to see when you post something new. The favourite collections aren’t critical to selling your goods, but it is fun to make collections and keep tabs on items you may want to purchase for yourself. As a side note, some people who follow users tend to like those who have interesting favourite collections!

Finally, the last thing I’d like to mention is the Teams on Etsy! This is where you can really get social and talk to others. There are thousands of teams you can join. They can be based on interests, country or region, goods, or just for promotion. I’d highly recommend you find a team or two that you visit and partake in regularly. You can ask others questions, pick their brains for ideas, or help with situations and just meets some awesome people.

One team I’d recommend you join is the Pinback Button Lovers of Etsy, a team for buyers and sellers of all sorts of buttons. You’ll find everyone there very helpful and friendly. Hope to see you there 🙂
– Bayleaf Buttons

How To Cut Buttons Faster With the Rotary Circle Cutter

A couple weeks ago, Jack sent us a review of the button maker after having it only a week. Today, he sent us some feedback on how he speeds up the process of cutting out graphics with the Rotary Circle Cutter.


When I make a quantity of 2.25” buttons, I use a different Cutting Mat for the Circle Cutter, (different from the one we showed on your blog).

Cutting Circles Fast with Rotary Circle Cutter

I have an 11” by 17” cutting mat purchased from the craft store for less than $8. I can cut an entire sheet of button artwork without moving the sheet around.

Also, it is easy to cut three sheets at once. If nine images are on each sheet, then I can cut 27 images without moving the sheet on the mat. This is a dramatic speedup processing the button-ready artwork.

Eventually, the mat will become scored. I have produced hundreds of button artwork using this mat and it is still in good condition. I consider it low cost and eventually expendable.

Jack Fisher
Roswell, New Mexico

Jack Fisher

Starting your own Button Making Business: With Etsy!

Etsy Logo

The term “Etsy” is a trademark of Etsy, Inc. ButtonBiz.com is not affiliated with Etsy, Inc.

Starting your own button business has never been easier, with Etsy.
Now that you have your button making machine, why not start selling your creations online?! You can easily create your own business! There are a few different online sites that will allow you to sell items such as Ebay, Shopify, DaWanda, and finally Etsy.

I’ve had success with Etsy – I recommend you give it a try. Now is the best time to open up your store because you can get 40 listings free (regularly listings are $0.20 each and last for 4 months). Sign up using my link, HERE.

I’ve chosen Etsy to focus on because it is a social and community based eCommerce site. You will find tons of opportunities to interact with other users, promote your goods, and most importantly, communicate with your customer. Conversations or ‘Convos,’ are the easiest way for buyers to ask sellers questions or request custom items. We’ll go deeper into this later-for now let’s stick to the basics of opening your Etsy shop.

Quick information about the fees associated with selling on Etsy; most sites will charge you something or a percentage. When you list an item it costs $0.20, and when you sell an item Etsy will charge you an additional fee of 3.5% of the item cost. Etsy now has direct deposit, to make things easier. You can setup a chequing/savings account to your Etsy account and any profits you make will be directly deposited, they do charge a fee for this service as well. If you prefer you can still use PayPal to receive funds.

Naming your shop on EtsyStep 1: Pick a shop name!
Come up with a shop name that you love, is easy to spell and remember, and a name you can grow with. You may start doing buttons but add more products in future. Think hard!

Etsy Screenshot: Listing an Item

Be unique, use short as well as specific keywords to help your products be found!

Step 2: List an item!
You can now list your first item, if you need to change this later, you can. Start by telling Etsy what category your button belongs in, what it relates to, and when it was made. You will then want to add in your pricing. Setting shipping rates for different countries is easy

and any variations available. This is a newer feature to Etsy, you can now have multiple items

with different pricing under listings, for example, I have put pinback buttons and keychains. You can then go on to add other variations like colour, sizes, and create your own. Add a title for your listing.

Think of titles a searching tool for search engines and Etsy- you’ll want to add in extra info so it can be found easily. Most importantly, add in your photograph of your product; include a coin/ruler to show the size. Don’t forget to fill out the description with information about your Etsy Screenshot: Setting Shipping Chargesbutton, the size and maybe even a little about your process. Make sure to use all 13 keywords to have your buttons found on Etsy. Think outside the box, be creative! Finally, add the quantity available for the users to buy, and the shipping information.

 
Step 3:  Getting Paid!
Etsy has different payment methods you can use. You will need to fill out some banking information for Etsy to be able to direct deposit right into your chequing/debit account. You can use Direct Deposit. Make sure to check with your bank, if there would be any extra fees associated with this. Or you can click the ‘Other Payment Options’ button and the choices are Paypal, Money Order, Personal Cheque, Other. Whatever methods you choose always make sure you’ve received the payment prior to shipping an order.

Step 4: Billing!
As discussed earlier Etsy will charge you listings fees and transaction fees so you’ll need a credit card in order to pay for them.

Make sure to familiarize yourself with Etsy’s Terms of Use; as they have specific rules about what you can sell and other important information you should know.

Step 5: Tell your buyers about yourself!
open1x8If you look in the top right hand corner you’ll see ‘Shop Settings,’ click on that and it will take you to a page that shows your public profile. In that space you can tell your buyers a little about yourself. The ‘Info & Appearance’ tab is where you can upload a shop banner, link Twitter & Facebook, create a welcome message for customers and include a thank you message to your buyers!
Next is the Shop Policies, this is the spot to be detailed and inform your customers about key things:

  •     Payment Policies – Custom orders could require a deposit, or you only ship items when you’ve received the payment.
  • Shipping – If you only ship on Fridays, or you ship every day, let them know! Also, you could let them know how you are shipping their goods with USPs or Canada Post.
  •     Refunds & Exchanges –How you will handle refunds or exchanges. Does the customer pay the return shipping to exchange an item? Or perhaps refunds will only be given if items are damaged/defective.

You’ve also got a spot at the bottom to put any additional information, like contact info.
Finally you have Shop Sections, this allows you to divide up your store however you like. You can sort your products by theme, size or just keep custom options separate.

Step 6: Open your store!
Go ahead and make your store live! Be patient it takes time to get lots of sales and views to your store.

Next post I’ll focus on using Etsy’s social tools to get you noticed, more traffic and learn more about all Etsy has to offer you.
Any questions, need a bit of help, feel free to Convo me on Etsy! @BayleafButtons

Tips on Photographing Buttons

One of the most important things about your selling buttons online is how your buttons look. You will find photographing buttons to be a bit of a challenge. For your store you will want to make sure that your photographs are clear and of a good quality, people will be more likely to purchase them. In your photographs you’ll want to convey the truest colors possible and the size and scale.

Button S

You don’t need the newest and best digital SLR to take high quality photos, you just need a semi decent digital camera and a few supplies!

  • Your buttons
  • A camera
  • Window or source of natural light
  • Backdrop of some type, ideally white paper
  • A dollar or ruler

A challenging thing about photographing buttons is that pesky―but helpful―mylar covering. The plastic mylar tends to give your buttons a glare from any light source. One way to get around this is by photographing your buttons at a bit of an angle, and using a light source that isn’t harsh.

Florescent lights can work, but you may find your photos to be a little yellow, rather than crisp and white. The benefit of photographing near a natural light source like a window is that you get a ‘white’ light source depending on the time of day. You obviously don’t want to take photos at sunset, take them at an ideal midday. Even on an overcast day, you can successfully photograph buttons.

Button Setup for Taking Photos

Look through your camera’s view finder to see where the dreaded mylar glare shows up, and then just change the angle. Sometimes you can get away with photographing a button head on with a slight glare. Do some test shots and don’t forget―you can also play with your camera’s settings or use photo editing software.

Photographing Buttons at an Angle

Edited Button Photo

The backdrop is a vital part of your set up! I recommend finding a large piece of white paper at least large enough to cover your workspace area. Or you could go for a more rustic look and use a wood table instead. One of the main things I wish I would have done when I started my store was photographing my buttons in the same way. I had multiple backgrounds, some pink, some white or black. I recommend photographing your buttons in a way that you can reproduce next time you want to add new products to your store. Reason being is, if you get too many different backdrops and all these photos sitting together you will they will start to look cluttered. People visiting your store may find it hard to focus, or find what they would like, and move on to the next store. Many popular Etsy stores have a certain ‘look’ to them, they look, crisp, clean and the photographs are always very well done. I’ve put together a favorite list of some great product photography that you can browse.

One more important thing that I would recommend to make it easier for your customers is showing them the size and scale of your buttons. No doubt you will include this information in your description, but it really helps to include one photograph of your buttons next to a ruler for measurement or at the very least a dollar. That will give people an idea of the size and scale of the button they will receive and save them from any disappointment.

How to Make a Fabric Button with Your Button Maker

Did you know you can make buttons & pocket mirrors that have fabric on them? It is a little bit of a process but the results will impress you!

First of all, make sure your fabric isn’t too thick otherwise it may jam your machine and be a nightmare to remove. Rule of thumb for me is if it won’t easily fit through my graphic punch it is too thick or not a good idea.

Here is the easiest method I have found to make fabric buttons that don’t fray!

You will need

  • Fabric
  • Labels
  • Scissors
  • Graphic Punch (or can be cut by hand)

1) Take your fabric and apply a label onto the back of it. You can use any ‘thin’ kind of label, reuse old labels or stick a bunch of address labels on until you have covered the area of your fabric you will be cutting.

Apply Label to Back of Fabric

2) What the label does it makes the fabric a little sturdier, or more like paper so that it will lay flat and not bunch up in your cutter. Cut your fabric so it fits into the graphic punch, use sharp scissors if at all possible this will help the fabric from fraying any further.

Cutting Out Fabric with Graphic Punch

Cutting Out Fabric

If you aren’t using a graphic punch, use an already cut circle to draw your guide on the labels already on your fabric then cut out carefully. 

Cutting Out Fabric Circles By Hand

3) Load your button maker with the shell, your fabric, and pinback. Don’t use the mylar when making a fabric button, it will be too thick and also ruin the feel of the fabric

Making a Fabric Button with Tecre Button Maker

 

4) Press the fabric and shell, and then stop! Run your finger along the upper die that now has the shell and the fabric in it. Because there isn’t any mylar the press may not fully crimp the extra fabric underneath the pinback. So gently push the excess fabric up and flatten it out as best as possible.

 Press The Fabric and Shell

Push The Fabric Down

Here is a view of my button maker upside down so you can visually see I’m doing. This is the extra fabric that needs to be flattened out, once you make the button the pinback will hide the excess fabric.

5) Now you can finishing pressing your pinback button. When it is done you should double check the edges but they should be perfect! Fabric buttons are great, even better is fabric pocket mirrors! Make your pocket mirrors the same way as you always do, just omitting the mylar and you will have beautiful gifts!

Completed Fabric Button - Back Completed Fabric Button - Front

Tips for Making Buttons Fast

Now you have your button maker and need to make a lot of buttons for a customer or event, use these tips and you’ll be making them lightning fast!

 

Cut out your button images first:

Having all your button images cut and ready to go will help you speed through the button making process. As you are cutting your images make sure to put them down in the same direction. This will eliminate you having to rotate or adjust the image when you put it on top of the shell.

Cut Your Buttons First

 

Keep everything within arm’s reach!

Setup your button press on a sturdy table and have a comfortable place to sit, and then get your supplies ready! Put a handful of shells on the left side of your button press, and the pinbacks on the right. This makes putting buttons together quickly as everything is close by.

How to Make Buttons Fast

I personally like to have a few image circles in my left hand, and have the mylar on top of them instead of taking them out of the bag or laying them on a table. Take the image circles from the back, then take the mylar from the top.

 

Find a position!

By that I mean find your preferred button making method. If you like to work horizontally with your button maker like so.

Find a Position

 

Or vertically like this- that’s great! Just remember your method and keep at it-soon you won’t really have to think about how the parts go in, you’ll do it automatically.

fin2009

Don’t get distracted!

If you are in the middle of making a button and your phone rings, finish your button! If you get distracted enough and forget you have part of a button in your upper die, and go to make another one— you could inadvertently jam your machine and we don’t want that!

 

Maintenance Tip#1

Notice you button making not moving smoothly when you rotate the die table? You’ll need to use some silicon lubricant to get it moving just right!