Vendor Call: Bradford Arts Guild MeadowFest

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to participate with other accomplished artists and artisans in a spectacular arts in the park event..
  • **The Bradford Arts Guild will accept credit cards and debit on the behalf of vendors to maximize their sales. Cheques will be issued at the end of the day for those amounts, minus a small admin.charge of 10% to cover processing fees and cheques.
  • Nested on the beautiful church grounds of St.John's Presbyterian Church (photo on website),and highly visible from a busy street and Walmart, this event has something for everyone and is sure to be well attended.
Other Features of MeadowFest are:
  • Juried Artists and Artisans, promising quality items for sale
  • Low cost fees of $80 for a 10 X 10' space. You provide a tent, tables and chairs
  • Credit and Debit Card transactins available to your customers
  • An outdoor stage offering a wide variety of entertainment all day - music and dance
  • Arts and Craft workshops - Free to visitors
  • Storytelling by award winning childrens' author, Kaarina Brooks
  • Air brush Face Painting 
  • Free demos include totem pole carving, soapstone carving, weaving, and polymer clay 
  • Food trucks on site


TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 4 Make Listings Tempting

Monday, August 26, 2013

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp! If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at  

If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link!

Then, be sure to check out:

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop.
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 2 Branding & Shop Banners.
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 3 Shop Profiles Bios and Photos.

Remember: If you already have a shop, or you open one today, please let us know how to find it! We will be featuring some of our favorite newbie items right here.

Today, we're going to start on the most important thing about opening your Etsy shop: making great, tempting listings! Obviously, what you sell is vital to the success of your Etsy shop but how you sell it can make a huge difference too. This topic is so important, we'll come back to listings and ways to optimize them again in future classes. Today's class is a primer on how Newbie sellers can make their listings as alluring as possible.

What goes into an Etsy listing? A basic recipe
  • Photographs of the item for sale - Tip: Use all 5!
  • Listing Title - Tip: Describe it fully, selecting words based on how a buyer might seek it
  • Price - that's a whole other kettle of fish, er, Class. Stay tuned!
  • Specifics: Who made it? Is it finished or used as a supply to make something else? When was it made? What category and optional subcategories does it fit in? Is it tangible or a digital file? Would you take custom requests for similar items?
  • Are there variable models available (like, tee shirts in different sizes, prints in different colours)?
  • Description of the item - Tip: Include dimensions and a physical description even though you have photos, and anything which makes it special
  • Shop section (if you have sections)
  • Recipient - Tip: if and only if the item is only for a certain type of person, say, a baby onesie
  • Occasion (like a holiday) - Tip: Do not select an occasion unless you've made an item specific to something (like a birthday or holiday card). Otherwise your item will be harder to find!
  • Style - Tip: This is optional and can limit those who could stumble upon your listing to those seeking a specific style
  • Tags: Tip: Use all 13!
  • Materials are single-word keywords that describe the components or ingredients from which an item is made. You may list 14. These are not searchable like tags.
  • Quantity of these items available - Tip: list the total you have to sell, rather than relisting after every sale. Some buyers will purchase multiples of the same item. Trust me, I'm a printmaker - I make multiples.
  • Shipping - that's a whole other kettle of fish, er, Class. Stay tuned!
Phew! That's a lot of things. However, most of the questions should be pretty obvious to you, the seller. Let's cut to the chase.

What's the secret to making a tempting listing?

Photography, Photography, Photography

Anything else?

Making sure potential buyers can FIND your item

Let's face it, to the user, the Internet is a visual medium. Photography is so important that it also warrants further classes. Getting people to understand what the heck you're selling, let alone wanting it, depends on displaying it to its best advantage. To the computers and search engines, the Internet is all about labels, tags, links and interconnections. Making your listing findable depends on properly labelling everything. There are lots of ways you can use social media and other tools to link to your listing, from outside Etsy - and we'll talk about that in future classes. But, there are some pretty straightforward things you can do within Etsy, to make your listing as easy to find as possible.

You can use your price point to make your listing tempting.... but you should never undersell. You should always pay yourself fairly. And sometimes, unexpectedly, a higher price can have more cachet than a lower one. So, we're going to set price aside and leave the issue of pricing to another class.

Listing Photos: nuts and bolts

You'll want 5 images (.jpg, .png or .gif) relating to your item. These should be at least 570 pixels wide, but no more than 1000 pixels wide (or they may take too long to load). Go to Your account on the top right of any Etsy page when logged in, then Add new item. Be sure to fill in every textbox and look at every pull-down menu as listed above. Scroll to Photos and press Add new photos. Simply browse to the photos you would like to upload and select them. The photo in the first slot will be the one which shows up in the shop pages (and anywhere else your listing appears, including Etsy Pages, Treasuries and the the Etsy Blog). You can use Etsy's crop tool to specify which area of your first photo will be the 'cover' image seen in your shop.

Listing Photos: What to include and remember
  • There are all sorts of great tutorials out there for how to improve your digital photography skills. It is worth learning what your camera can do for you, and what you can do to improve photos with various software - including free software like Pixenate - can do for you. Some simple photo enhancing in software like Photoshop Elements can really improve your photos.
  • Start with lighting. Quality cameras can can help you acheive great photography... but the photographer and the light available can have the biggest difference. I married a professional photographer and have seen him can take better photos even with a Smartphone (in a pinch) than amateurs using a 'proper' camera.  The difference is experience - we can all improve our skills with practice - and that he's always aware of the light and where light is coming from. Often the best way to get a well-lit shot is to work outdoors in daylight (though you do want to avoid direct glare). If that's not feasible, especially during the long, dark Canadian winter, a DIY light-box might be the solution. But don't forget that you can still use light from windows and reflect light with white surfaces.
  • Shoot first, edit later. With digital cameras and scanners, there's no reason to be parsimonious. Take MANY photos and then edit them down! Editing can include cropping and adjusting the light balance to optimize your shots.
  • Make sure you show the entire object. After all you have 5 full photos. You can always shoot the whole item and several close-up detail shots. Tip: learn what macro tools you have on your camera.
  • Make sure you show the scale. I'll sometimes include a shot with rulers for 2D artwork. Some sellers will use coins to set the scale of small objects. A model is really useful for scale for anything wearable, from jewellery to clothes and also personalizes your listing and can strengthen your brand. Tip: You should also list dimensions in words in the description.
  • Show the object as it is supposed to be used; use models for wearables, show art framed and on display, toys in nursery or whatever other inspiring 'lifestyle' shots come to mind.
  • Show all options: if your listing takes avantage of 'Listing Variations' show all available (for instance, your tee shirt in all colours, or a sample shot with a table of the fabrics you can use)
  • Don't let the background compete with the product. Often the strongest images of objects are on plain white background, but a variety of neutral background can work well.
  • Make your shop cohesive - as a general rule, your first image for all listings should likely be shot in the same or a similar way, with say, the same background or similar styling.
  • Other things you can include within your 5 photos: similar items available (go ahead and show other products, just make sure your description is clear), where appropriate, include images to show the press the item has received (sellers often point out if their item has made Etsy's front page, or with permission, include images of their item which have appeared in print)
  • Remember: you can always do a listing make-over later. You can edit your listings at any time if you get better photos.
Let's look at some lovely, well-illustrated listings in our Newbie shops!

French and Fauna's Beige Skirt with 'Naughty Toile' Print is uses product photgraphy to do several things. The neutral white or pale grey background focuses our attention on the actual product (and means this listing might be more likely to be included in collections like Treasuries, or posts on the Etsy Blog). The model sets the scale of the item and the styling shows how the skirt can be worn. The sexy shot with a model riding a bike in a short skirt, wearing fishnet tights strikes the right note for "Naughty Toile", FrenchAndFauna's take on Toile de Jouy, enhanced with her naughty pin-up style illustrations! The listing photo tells a story about the item and communicates her brand.
Maybe you feel a white background might look dull. I love StoryFolk's great solution! Consider her Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet Pride and Prejudice Felt Brooch listing. Like all her listings her white fabric background has not only a little texture which contrasts well with her textile art brooches, but she also includes some festive glass beads sprinkled like confetti. This uniform approach sends a strong brand message and makes for a fun and lovely StoryFolk front page. She writes, "As for the idea for photography, I did a bunch of research from other Etsy shops I like, and from product photography books. My brooches are colourful and contain a lot of detail, so I wanted something plain in the background that wouldn't be a distraction. BUT, plain backgrounds have no story or context, so I gave it some "oomph". I studied graphic design, so it came really handy when I was designing the banner, logo, and business card."

Another Newbie seller, using neutral but not plain white backgrounds for a cohesive look and brand message is SimpleThingsDesigns. The Silver Gem Orchid Kyanite Blue Quartz Pear Pendant Earrings like all her listings and even her Shop Banner are simply displayed against a woodgrain background. The woodgrain does give the viewer some sense of scale. What could better express the message of a shop called SimpleThingsDesigns than such simplicity in styling? Also a natural material like wood is a natural fit for a shop with the by-line "100% Vegan Jewellery Designs"

Making Your Listing Easy to Find

Within Etsy this is a function of using all the tools available to you - which after all, you've paid your Etsy fees to receive!

  • Your Listing Title should describe the item within 140 characters. Your title has the biggest impact on Search Engine Optimization (we'll retun to this concept, about how easy it is for search engines to find something). Pertinent words are more important than adjective or descriptors. Think about keywords but don't write in point form: this is a catchy headline which should reinforce your brand and make sense. Don't try to write all in capital letters; this is disallowed and looks LIKE SHOUTING. Avoid unnecessary symbols.
  • Specifics - you need to reveal who made the item and when, whether it's a supply, and whether it's a digital file or tangible item. You should also use Cateogies. Placing your item in the appropriate (and honest!) category allows more people to find it and your listing to appear in Browse. Never mislabel: most customers are savvy and your credibility is paramount. Occasionally, items could fit in more than one category. If I make science-themed art, should it go in 'Art' or 'Geekery'? Sometimes you can find the answer by looking to see what experienced and successful sellers are doing or trial-and-error. Use Shop Stats to see what gets the most hits.
  • Description: Start with a straightforward description, since the first few words are what will be visible for instance in a google search. Include your keywords (but no more than a couple of times in a listing or you'll look spammy). Once you've got the vitals (what is it, how is is made, how large is it, what does it look like), you can go on to telling the item's story, something personal about how or why you made or selected this item, something which might relate to your brand or why this item is special.
  • Use all your Tags! Tags are used in Etsy search. Each tag is 20 characters and can be a phrase (like 'felt brooch' or 'silver earrings'). There are tips on what to include like: what is it? what type? who is it for? where would you use it? what is is made of? what colour? what technique was used to make it? style? size? imagery? synonyms? age? occasion? your shop name? You can also include things like your location and your Street Teams. The Toronto Etsy Street Team official tag is "Toronto team". Don't hesitate to repeat the information in 'Materials'. Tags are searchable; Materials are not.
Simply by filling in all the textboxes or pull-down menus you'll already be doing a lot to make sure your item gets found. Sometimes it takes a while for buyers to discover great new shops - make sure you're doing what you can and you'll be increasing your chances of selling that first listing!

The Toronto Etsy Street Team loves Newbie shops! You can find some of our favorite listings from talented Newbie sellers, including those featured in this class in our new TEST ♥ Newbies section. Be sure to stop by often to see what's new in this evolving, curated treasury of amazing Newbie finds!

Vendor Call: Bazaar of the Bizarre - Halloween Extravaganza 2013

Monday, August 19, 2013

The Bazaar of the Bizarre - Halloween Extravaganza 2013

Plastik Wrap is pleased to present another year of our most famous spook-tacular show: The Bazaar of the Bizarre - Halloween Extravaganza 2013

What: Not your average craft show - The Bazaar of the Bizarre : a marketplace for all things, different, interesting, weird, strange, one of a kind, macabre, whimsical or just things to flip your brain out!

When: SATURDAY October 12th, 2013 open to the public from 11am - 8pm Where: 918 Bathurst st. (, Toronto, ON

Only one week left to apply

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 3 Shop Profiles Bios and Photos

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp! If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at  

If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link!

Then, be sure to check out:

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop.
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 2 Branding & Shop Banners.

Remember: If you already have a shop, or you open one today, please let us know how to find it! We will be featuring some of our favorite newbie items right here. 

Today we're going to cover something when mentioned in Class 1 which would be good preparation before or soon after opening your Etsy shop: having a Shop Profile photo and bio for your Shop Profile. One of the great things about Etsy is that it allows people to buy from 'real people', people who have made items by hand or carefully selected vintage or supplies (for making items by hand), rather than faceless corporations. So the last thing you want to do is to neglect your profile by appearing faceless.... or that you have the 'default face'. There are no such thing as generic people, so looking like this:

isn't doing anything for you. In fact, it says, "I opened my shop 5 minutes ago" or "I just don't care." Now, if that's what you have in your Etsy shop, don't worry. You have to start somewhere! Today, though, is the day to upgrade your Shop Profile photo to something uniquely you. In Class 2, we covered how much you can communicate with a smallish rectangular image in your Shop Banner. Now, your Shop Profile photo is obviously much smaller. However, it appears in many more places:
  •  on the sidebar of every single page of your shop
  •  on every since convo message (or Etsy's internal email system)
  •  every single time you reply to someone who follows the 'contact shop owner' or 'request custom item' links
  •  every single time you make a comment on the Etsy blog
  •  every single time you make a comment in the Etsy forums or team forums
and what's more, your Shop Profile photo is linked right back to your shop in all of these instances. If there is something intriguing or appealing about your Shop Profile photo and someone chooses to click on it, they'll go right to your Etsy shop. So this is not only a way to help brand your shop, it's a way to quietly advertise and lure people to come check out your awesome wares.

How to Edit Your Profile Picture: nuts and bolts

Sign in to your account. In the top right-hand corner you'll find a link to Your Account with a pull-down menu. Choose Public Profile. You'll want a square image, ideally 75 x 75 pixels in size. You can use Browse or Choose File to navigate to this image and upload it. This image cannot be erased, but you can always replace it.

As with the Shop Banner, image editing software is an advantage here, in order to prepare your 75 x 75 pixels image. See Class 2 for suggestions. Though since your profile picture may simply be a digital photo or scan of you or your products, this may not be necessary. Often cameras or scanners will allow you to crop your image to make it square without doing anything more sophisticated or difficult.

 How to Choose a Great Profile Picture

So, what can you achieve with your Shop Profile photo? You can personalize your shop, you can strengthen your brand, you can intrigue possible customers and get them to have a look. Let's look at Shop Profile photos from Newbie shops which work well. The shops we profiled in Class 2 all had one of two effective strategies:
  • They selected a photo of themselves. This certainly personalizes their shops. It shows the "real person" behind the shop. The photos themselves can tell you something about the owner and let the potential customers feel like they are dealing with you in person. Note: There's another place where you should be uploading a photo of yourself. We'll be covering the About page in a future class. So, this is not your only opportunity to show your customers who you are.
  • They selected an image which was matched to their shop banner. This is a great way to send a strong brand message. These Shop Profile photos included text and the shop names, but it would also be possible to do this without text.

There's a third strategy which can work well. I mentioned that it's the strategy I use in Class 1.
  • Including an image or detail shot of one of your products can also be really effective. What better way to show potential customers what you can do? This can be most effective if you combine the idea of showing your... or at least a face, with showing a product.
Consider these Newbie Shop Profile photos:

Agnes of The Lady Agnes Shoppe is a painter whose shop includes many portraits, with faces, appropriate for her Shop Profile photo. She writes, "The painting "El Sol" came out of a series I did for the Square Foot Show last year. I did a series of 3 women as the sun, moon & stars. El Sol organically ended resembling me so I've used it in my shop for that reason." In a single, small image, she's communicating a little about what she makes, and who is behind the shop. I like how she's selected a circular crop of El Sol which emphasizes the halo and makes her Shop Profile photo unique.

Christine of StoryFolk makes fairytale and classic literature embroidered felt brooches. For her Shop Profile photo she selected a close-up detail of her adorable Little Red Ridding Hood Fairytale Felt Brooch. Not only does her Shop Profile photo show what her shop is all about, Little Red Ridding Hood is so recognizable a character, potential customers might guess what product her Shop Profile photo represents.

KittenAndTheCrow run by Doug and Susan, sells 'Sinister ink works' - Gothic, Goreyesque illustrations in black and white, and products featuring Doug's illustrations. The 'creepy kitten' and 'sinister crow' serve as sort of mascots for the store, allude to the name, star in most of the illustrations (and planned future book project)! The image clearly illustrates their name and brand, as well as the types of products they supply. Since Doug and Susan run the shop together, it also seems appropriate to have two faces, rather than one in their Shop Profile photo.

How to Edit your Public Profile Bio: nuts and bolts

Much like editing your Shop Profile photo, you'll need to sign in to your account. In the top right-hand corner you'll find a link to Your Account with a pull-down menu. Choose Public Profile. This time you'll simply need to type in boxes.

You can choose to include your real name, or specify your gender, or reveal your birthday, which may be useful way to connect to possible customers as a "real person" but isn't required.  But your should absolutely set your location! Including your location allows local buyers to find you using 'Shop Local' tools. It lets potential customers from away have more reasonable expectations of shipping times right away, even before they look at your shipping options or shop policies. Also, if you are in Toronto and wish to apply to the Toronto Etsy Street Team, we do require sellers to have their location set.  There are lots of great regional street teams and we'll tell you more about teams in a future class. Setting your location is also a way to network with fellow Etsy sellers in your region.

Your Bio is the place to introduce the seller or sellers behind the store. Tell us who you are, what you make, what your store is all about. You can also include the sort of things you might put on a C.V. - things like education, experience, awards, hobbies or anything else you think might interest your buyers. You Bio can be light and funny or formal and impressive or whatever works best for you and your shop. It should be You. What are you and your store like? You can keep it brief or write something lengthy, but you should absolutely write something.

You probably want to fill in your favorite materials as well, in the appropriate text box.

Be sure to save your work!

Why write a Public Profile Bio as well as an About page?

We're going to be covering the About page soon. Some sellers make the mistake of filling in one and not the other. But really, you are wasting the resources Etsy provides if you only use one of the two. The idea is that your Public Profile is a simple Bio which appears on a page along with thumbnails of your shop and perhaps your other Etsy activity. Whereas, the About page is your opportunity to clearly show your process and what goes into your work, using text and images, including slide shows. But ultimately, there's one simple reason.

Tip: Never make your customers work to find information. People are busy and have other things to do than to hunt around your shop, so you should always try to make things as easy and transparent as possible for them. You don't want them to follow a link to a blank page rather than the information they are seeking.

Note: If you have more than one Etsy shop you are required to disclose all their names in each of your Public Profiles

Other Things You May Include on Your Public Profile

There are checkboxes on  Your Public Profile set-up page which allows you to select whether you also would like to display: Your Shop, Favorite Items, Favorite Shops, Treasury Lists, and Teams. All of these are optional. Let's go over why you may or may not wish to display them. I have selected to display them all in my shop.

  • Your Shop: Yes. Of Course! You always want as many links and ways of being found as possible, especially when just starting. Being found is half the battle.
  • Favorite Items: There are two schools of thought. On the Pro side, showing your favorites reveals your aesthetic taste, is a way of spreading the love and networking with other sellers. Since your taste reveals something about you, it is also gives a sense of your brand. As they say, what comes around goes around (or in more hippie terms, sharing your favorites might just be good karma). If people like what they see in your favorites, they may choose to follow you - which means in their Activity Feed, they will see every time you post a new listing. This can only be a good thing. On the Con side, as soon as you share anything not made by you, you are adding a link away from your shop. Some sellers believe it's best to avoid giving potential customers an unnecessary exit. Also, you may have selected a Favorite Item as a gift idea and have personal reasons for why you might not want to reveal it!
  • Favorite Shops: The Pros and Cons are pretty well identical to Favorite Items, but including Favorite Shops is an even more direct way of networking with your fellow sellers, and less likely to accidentally reveal a secret, planned gift.
  • Treasury Lists: Like favorites, making Treasuries is a way to share your aesthetic, give a sense of you and your brand, share the love and your amazing Etsy finds, and network with your fellow sellers. Etsy does have a culture of mutual support amongst sellers, and many individuals and Teams will go out of their way to include your items in their treasuries particularly if you add their items or Team members' items to your treasuries. Like Favorites, on the con side, these are links out of your shop.
  • Teams: Now, I'm a Team Captain, so maybe I'm biased... but I think you should reveal your teams. Why join if you wouldn't reveal your membership? Revealing your Teams tells something about you, your interests, your brand, and that you're someone community-minded. Only the two teams in which you are most active will be visible, so this will not clutter your Public Profile  even if you belong to several. The Teams which are visible on my Public Profile  relate to my hometown and my art-making methods, so they do relate strongly to me, my shop and brand. On the Con side, these are also links out of your shop... though they will be mostly of interest to sellers and perhaps less likely to lure a buyer out of your shop.
Lastly, if you, your brand and your aesthetic are all about minimalism, you may wish to stick with a simple Bio and Your Shop. But remember: something is better than nothing here! Do include at least a few words about yourself and Your Shop.

The Toronto Etsy Street Team loves Newbie shops! You can find some of our favorite listings from talented Newbie sellers, including those featured in this class in our new TEST ♥ Newbies section. Be sure to stop by often to see what's new in this evolving, curated treasury of amazing Newbie finds!

TEST ♥ Newbies & Fabulous Finds

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Have you checked out our TEST ♥ Newbies section? See what you've been missing! Check our curated collection of amazing Newbie finds regularly, because we're always adding new listings.

Save the date! TEST's 1st Christmas Marketplace, December 14

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

We're pleased to make an exciting announcement! For the first time ever, the Toronto Etsy Street Team is planning a cozy little Christmas show!

We plan to have a small, juried group of handmade sellers, baked goods, live music... and of course a special visit from Santa. So mark your calendar today and set aside Saturday, December 14th.

We're ironing out some final details and plan to put out the official vendor call, for members of TEST, next week. Stay tuned for more!

Vendor Call: Liberty Village Art Crawl

Monday, August 12, 2013



Toronto's hottest, trendiest neighborhood invites you to exhibit to crowds of thousands at the fall edition of the LIBERTY VILLAGE ART CRAWL this September 13th-14th 2013.

Our June show was a huge success with 6000+ visitors!

Visit for show info and registration.
FB event page:

Only 20 posts left!

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 2 Branding & Shop Banners

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp! If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at  

If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link and be sure to check out TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop.

Remember: If you already have a shop, or you open one today, please let us know how to find it! We will be featuring some of our favorite newbie items right here. 

In our second class, we're going to focus on something we mentioned as good preparation for before or soon after opening your shop: making a shop banner.

Shop Banner

Like our blog banner at the top of this page, your shop banner might be the first thing a visitor sees, and is a way to communicate what you're all about. Consider what our blog banner communicates:
  • our name
  • the imagery shows an urban scene, with sky-scrappers, but also with the lake, clouds, flowers and trees
  • the imagery is recognizably Toronto, what with the street car and dome and CN Tower
  • it's laid-out in a line, like a street for our 'street team'
  • both the bike and streetcar give a hint to a little more environmentally-friendly, crafty philosophy
  • the design of the flowers and trees and so forth are simple and stylized which also hints at some crafty items you might find on Etsy - we can imagine letterpress cards, quilts and toys using shapes like these
  • we like to change up the colours seasonally, but it's always colourful!
This goes to show that you can communicate a lot with a small, rectangular image! While you can open your shop without a shop banner, it's really something which you should use to brand your shop, to greet your customers and capture the imagination.

Our blog banner was designed by talented TEST Leader and graphic designer Michelle of thunderpeep.

Making a shop banner: nuts and bolts

You'll need an image, a .jpg, .png or .gif, 760 pixels by 100 pixels in size. This can be as simple as cropping a digital photo, or scan of your artwork or other product, or something designed and created in image-editing program (for example: Adobe Photoshop, CorelDraw or some of the free on-line tools like Aviary or PhotoShop Express Online). The image uploading tool also lets you crop an image you upload, so there is some flexibility in image size.

Once you have a image ready, go to the top right hand side of your Etsy shop, where you'll see a link called Your Shop. If you hover over it, you'll see a pull-down menu where you can find Info & Appearance. On this page, you can Browse to select your Shop Banner Image. Be sure to save it! Then, you'll be able to see how it looks from your shop's front page. Note: if you are still in the process of opening your shop,  you go to Your Shop > Preview and click Add shop banner to do the same thing.

But how do I get a great Shop Banner image?

Tip: You can always take advantage of the numerous tutorials Etsy itself provides, like this blog article about making banners - just search the Selling FAQs or blog for any topic of interest.

Let's look at some great banners on Newbie shops, and find out how they did it, to get you started. Consider Michèle Guevara's shop:

She makes 'wearable crochet art'. Her shop banner shows a close-up (high-res) image of one of the necklaces from the current collection ("Costa" necklace). It highlights her technique as the crochet stitches are clearly visible. It sets a colour scheme related to her current collection. I've shown the first row of listings from her shop so you can see how the shop banner ties in with her items. She writes, "For photographs, I look for a white surface and use natural daylight, and interesting angles that would showcase a detail or a special feature of that piece." She was also very conscious of how to select the typeface for the shop name. She writes, that she looked for "a font that was original and gave the appearance of stitched or knitted (hence the curves and how the letters link with each other)". So even the lettering echos what she creates.  For her Profile Picture, Michèle has selected a photo of herself, which is a good way to personalize your shop. It's also very a graphic selfie in black and white.  Michèle is a graphic designer - and it shows! But if you don't have a graphic design or fine art background, never fear. You can learn from what she and other great looking shops have done.

Showing your actual products in your shop banner is a simple way to tell the story of your shop. As we've seen, you can also design text elements to reflect what you do. Robin of FitzyDesign explains how she came up with her logo which incorporates her shop name by saying, "In designing my logo I knew I wanted something simple, clean, which featured my shop name without being too obviously text based. I started to play around with different shapes, and ideas finally settling on a logo which closely resembles my Leather Shield Necklace. It echoes the modern aesthetic of my line, while reminding me of a family or guild crest. This speaks to the fact that my shop name is derived from my last name (Fitzsimons), and that I am working in a very traditional craft form, leather work, with a very modern aesthetic." You can see how her design evolved in a series of posts she made on her blog.

Another of our Newbie sellers was focused on getting a cohesive look, which spoke to her shop name and contents. Melissa of madeira crafts, decided to support another Etsy seller and bought a shop banner and profile picture set from Dulce Grace Designs.

Melissa of madeira crafts writes, "She had exactly what I was looking for-wood grain and vintage lace. I have been doing a ton of research (before and after listing items in my shop), and so I realized that I needed a cohesive look.  Since I use vintage papers in many of my products, I wanted a vintage feel for my branding.  Also, the name of my shop, madeiracrafts, is an homage to the Portuguese island where my family originated, and Madeira literally means "wood".  So that explains the wood grain.  I have also incorporated the wood grain and vintage feel into my business cards and packaging.  I embossed my cards in wood grain as well as the backing for my packaging, in addition to a wood grain stamp and vintage lace ribbon I have for shipped items.  Hopefully I get to ship something soon!" You can see how  Melissa selected to have a Profile Picture which matched her Shop Banner for a cohesive look and message.

There are many Etsy sellers who will sell you a customized shop banner. Some will even barter with you. Amongst TEST members, Michelle of thunderpeep for example traded custom hand-knit goods in exchange for designing the Knitty Little Secret shop banner. Wonderforest sells Etsy Shop banners via her design shop Envye.

I usually go for colour and texture, but sometimes simplicity is best. A very bold, graphic, but simple shop banner does a great job of telling the story of newbie shop SforSKIRT.

What is SforSKIRT all about? Making A-line skirts of course! The banner visually communicates the idea of a sort of handmade A-line skirt factory with an on-going output of skirts. The lovely but imperfect letterpress 'S' really says handmade to me. The slightly wobbly lines of skirts gives a sense of movement line a production line. The number of skirt shapes tells the viewer that  SforSKIRT makes many skirts and in fact, you can get them made in your size. Because SforSKIRT makes skirts in all sorts of fabrics, including some bold prints, making a black and white banner goes with everything and is very effective. SforSKIRT also matched the shop banner and profile picture for a cohesive look. 

You can even create an effective banner without text at all. After all, below the shop banner is a place for your shop name, in blue, and by-line or brief description. Another lovely, but very simple yet effective shop banner appears on newbie shop RongDesings.

Jennifer of RongDesings makes upcycled furniture focusing on reclaimed and salvaged wood. I love how the shop banner shows some of her artistic process with her using a chisel. Jennifer writes, "I think the banner should show people what the shop offers rather than telling them (that is a banner simply with a name or logo). I also think it makes it more real and that's why I have photos of me working at my workshop as well. I want people to see that I actually make this stuff. ... Above all, I think it's important for your customers to see behind the scenes, or rather to tell them everything. Transparency is so important and it also shows a more human side to business." Her shop banner explains that she's a craftsperson, doing skilled work. It tells the story of what her products are about and is also a message that she not only designs her furniture but handcrafts it, and hence it can command an appropriate price for original, handcrafted furniture. Even a simple photograph can communicate so very much.

We can all learn from this.

Tip: Don't undersell yourself or be shy about showing or explaining the work involved in your creations. This is a frequent newbie pitfall! We'll be covering pricing in a future class, but start off on the right foot and think about what your listings are really worth.

So, now that you've opened your shop we hope you'll feel confident choosing and uploading a great shop banner! As a buyer, when I see a shop without a shop banner it suggests an inexperienced seller, and I may question their reliability, or look up their seller feedback. Especially when you've newly opened your shop it's important to inspire confidence in your potential customers as well as explain what your shop  is all about. Got a question or comment about choosing a shop banner? Want to tell us what inspired your  shop banner? Leave a comment below!

The Toronto Etsy Street Team loves Newbie shops! You can find some of our favorite listings from talented Newbie sellers, including those featured in this class in our new TEST ♥ Newbies section. Be sure to stop by often to see what's new in this evolving, curated treasury of amazing Newbie finds!

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp!
If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at  
Remember: If you already have a shop, or you open one today, please let us know how to find it! We will be featuring some of our favorite newbie items right here.

We're going to start at the very beginning with How to Open an Etsy Shop.

Before lanch into 'how?', a few words on 'why?':

Why Should I Launch an Etsy Shop?

As you probably know, Etsy is a huge, and ever-growing international marketplace for handmade goods, vintage items (over 20 years of age) and art and craft supplies. It is a way for artists, craftspeople and vintage sellers to reach a enormous audience and it is one of the simplest and easiest ways to start a small business and sell on-line. Etsy sellers include everyone from crafty people with full-time jobs in other fields, who need a creative outlet (and don't want their homes to be overflowing with their handmade items) to professional artists looking for another venue to sell their art.

There is no fee to start an Etsy shop. Every time you add an item for sale, you are charge $0.20 USD for a listing fee for three months (or until the item sells). When you do sell an item on Etsy, they take a 3.5% cut of the sale price. So, listing your items on Etsy has very little overhead cost. This is a low risk way of trying to earn some income from your creative endeavours and could turn out to be a very rewarding and possibly lucrative business.

First tip: One of the most important parts of running a successful Etsy shop is simply being found. We'll be talking about 'SEO' or Search Engine Optimization  (in broad terms the degree to which your on-line shop can be found with a search engine) in the near future. There are lots of ways to increase your SEO.... but the first and easiest thing to affect is the time you've been there. That's right! In order to be found in the future, it's more important to open your shop, than to wait until you've got the listing(s) perfected. You can always edit your listing later, but it will help to post your listing ASAP.

So, why not go for it now?

How to Open an Etsy Shop

Preparation: What you'll need to get started

1. A name: You'll need a login name which may or may not be the same as your shop name. You can change your shop name, but login names are forever! So choose carefully.

2. A credit card and PayPal account: To list your first item, you'll need to spend 20 cents. Depending on where you are, you can do this with a credit card or, in some countries, a PayPal account will do. In the US, Etsy has its own 'Direct Checkout' payment system, which allows buyers and sellers to pay directly to and from bank accounts. They hope to extend this service to other countries soon (updated: the Direct Checkout system is now being introduced in 15 more countries including Canada!). In the meanwhile, Canadian sellers require a PayPal account to receive payments on-line (though you may also choose to accept other payments including things like cheques or barter.... but that's a little more unusual).

3. An email account: This is a little redundant, because who doesn't? Also, you need an email account to have a PayPal account... but you'll also need an email account to receive communications from Etsy and for Etsy to uniquely identify you.

4. An item to sell: You'll want to have your first item ready. That means you should have your handmade item, vintage good or supply and at least one photo of it, in order to list it on Etsy. It's even better if you have 5 photos. Every listing has a free slot for 5 photos. Get your 20 cents worth and use all 5! Show different angles, or uses, or dimensions of the item. You can show your process too!

It is possible to register for Etsy without immediately starting to sell - this is the same as registering for Etsy as a buyer. You can begin to set up your shop and leave it in 'Draft mode' until you feel ready. But, if you want to actually open a shop, you need to offer something for sale.

Preparation: Other useful things you might want to gather before, or soon after you open your shop

1. A shop banner: Every shop on Etsy has an image 760 pixels by 100 pixels which runs across the top of their front page as a shop banner. You can find information on how to make and set up a banner here. This is a good way to set the tone for your shop and tell possible buyers who you are. They can be a photo, an illustration or simply your shop name written at an appropriate scale. If you are a visual artist, this might be just your thing and a great way to express yourself. If you aren't comfortable designing your own shop banner, you can find many graphic designers on Etsy who will make you a custom banner for a fee (or even sometimes barter for something you can make them).

2. A profile picture (or shop avatar): You'll want a square image 75 x 75 pixels (or larger) to represent you and your shop pictorially. Some people use a photo of themselves - others use a photo of something they sell. I'm a printmaker and use a detail of one of my prints. This isn't because I want people to think I'm a jellyfish. It's because it's interesting (I think) and if I post something in the forums, the little icon shows up - which also serves as a direct link to my shop. So, it's worth it to put something interesting in your profile picture. It might just tempt possible buyers to come check out your shop.

3. A photo of you and a bio for your About page: One of the great things about Etsy is that you can buy from 'real people' rather than faceless corporations. Buyers want to know the artists/currators/vintage purveyors/art suppliers. It is very useful to upload a picture of yourself, write a snappy bio and show some photos of your process (especially for the handmakers). Let the buyers know what goes into making the things you sell.

Ready?! Ok! Let's do this. Follow this link!

Then press the 'Open an Etsy Shop' button! 
After that, it's just a matter of following the simple instructions.

  1. Register - if you have yet to do so. If you're a registered buyer, you're all set.
  2. Sign up to sell
  3. Set your language and currency (if you have yet to do so).
  4. Go through the 4 tabs: Shop Name. List items. Get Paid. Billing. You can go back and edit any of these
  5. Shop look and branding: This is where you upload the banner (if you have one), enter the shop title, and write a little announcement to tell people what your shop is all about.
  6. LIST SOMETHING! So, go for it! Follow the steps to upload photos, title your listing, add a description, add some tags, set a price and set up your shipping options. Use this handy tool from Canada Post to figure out how much shipping will cost in advance. We'll go over the best practises for making listings in a future Bootcamp class, so you can always come back and edit your listing later. The trick at this stage is to put it out there! We'll tell you more about SEO and why it's true that 'if you built it, they will come' but I'm sure you can see that if you don't list it, you can't sell it... so take the plunge and list your item.
  7. Get Paid: tie your Etsy shop to your PayPal account. You can also enter your mailing address, if you want to accept cheques or money orders or provide banking information to accept payment by bank transfer. And now, Etsy offers DIRECT PAYMENT to your bank account!
  8. Billing: enter your billing address and credit card info. You can later choose to pay your fees via PayPal or by the credit card on record.
OPEN YOUR SHOP FOR BUSINESS! Congratulations! You're an Etsy seller.  Drop us a line to let us know, or leave a comment below!

Back to School for Etsy Newbies!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

We here at TEST get a lot of questions about selling online on Etsy and we're always happy to help. Helping fellow sellers are what street teams are all about. We decided this August, with another autumn just around the corner and 'Back to School' beginning to be on people's minds, that we could start helping newbie and soon-to-be Etsy sellers a little more formally. Don't worry... this won't be like school with surprise pop quizzes or homework! Rather, we're going to offer our experience, tips, advice and mentoring to anyone who wants to opt-in. So we're going to start a 'Back to School: Etsy Newbies Bootcamp' blog series, complete with an opportunity to get one-on-one mentoring.

So, are you a new Etsy seller? Have you only been selling on Etsy for a few months? Have you been toying with selling on-line? Find it a bit daunting or have questions? Or, are you an experienced seller who has been trying to convince your favorite talented artists to sell on-line? I know that's why I initially signed up; I wanted to convince my artist friends that you could actually make some money from selling art. Let these future Etsy sellers know. All of these newbies - or even those toying with the idea - should sign up for our Bootcamp! If you do, you can get mentoring or questions answered directly, and we'll feature some of our favorite newbie items here on the blog, and our other social media. Sign-up any time by writing an email to with 'Newbie' in the subject line, or leave a comment below. If you have already opened your shop, be sure to let us know how to find it. You can also contact me directly through my Etsy shop: minouette.

Oh, and while team membership is limited to Toronto sellers, we'll accept Etsy newbies from further afield, so sign-up today!

Want to get a head's start and dive right in? Just follow this link or click on the 'Turn your passsion into your business' button on the sidebar.

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