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.
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 4 Make Listings Tempting.
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 talk about something Newbie sellers rarely tackle right away: About Pages. We've been checking out a lot of great Newbie shops, and find that most new sellers aren't using their About Pages at all! In Class 3 we went over the importance of writing a Shop Profile Bio. Well, the About Page is another place where you can tell the world who you are. Not only is this another branding opportunity for you and your shop, complete with a photo slideshow, portrait(s), shop story and links to your other websites and social media, but it's a place to truly explain your process!
Explaining your process allows your customers to understand the value of what you do, and in a way, feel involved - as not just a consumer, but as a modern-day patron of the arts.
A side-effect of Etsy's success and the ease of opening an Etsy shop is that there are all sorts of sellers and you want to stand-out in the crowd. Unfortunately, Etsy is tempting to those who break the rules; so they set up the SCRAM (Systems for Catching Resellers and Abusers of the Marketplace) Team and more recently the Marketplace Integrity Team specifically to find and eliminate shops which abuse the system by selling commercial or mass-produced items, or items made by someone other than a member of the shop in Etsy's handmade categories. In short, selling on Etsy works, so it does draw people who wish to pass off mass-produced stuff as handmade, thus Etsy works consistently to have them removed. Using your About Page to introduce yourself, your shop and your process is a great way to show that you are running an above-board shop - especially for those selling in the Handmade category.
Further, since there is such a great variety of items, showing the work that goes into your listings is a good way to educate buyers and make appropriate price points easy to understand. For instance, there's an amazing selection of beautiful reproductions ('archival prints') of artwork to be had on Etsy, but as a printmaker who makes every single print laboriously by hand, it's important to be able to communicate that these are apples and oranges. Each has its place and its value; reproductions can be lovely and a cost effective way of decorating but since usually limitless numbers can be easily printed at a low unit cost by a mechanical printer, these are understandably at a lower price point than limited edition fine art prints like etchings, lithographs, relief prints and screenprints, each original works individually pulled by a person using his or her hands. I display both in my home, but I appreciate knowing the difference, and as a buyer, expect to pay for the labour involved.
Don't be shy to explain what it is you do and how much work is involved!
Setting up your About Page: nuts and bolts
First, you'll need to of course, open your shop to the public then go to the top high-hand corner to find the Your Shop link and choose Info & Appearance from the pull-down menu. Find the About tab. Alternatively, you can navigate to the About tab from your shop homepage, but using the Shop Tools link to Shop Dashboard to Settings and Info & Appearance.
On the About tab you'll find a series of text and image boxes to fill. First you can upload a photo of yourself and any other shop member. You'll want a square .jpg, .png, or a .gif file up to 2MB in size. This will be automatically cropped as a circle. You can then fill in your name - the idea here is to use your real name to distinguish from your shop name, though there's nothing to prevent you using a pseudonym or nom de plume. Select as many tick-boxes as apply for your role: Owner/Designer/Maker/Curator. Include a very brief 150 character bio. Repeat as necessary for anyone on your shop team. If you do have a Collective Shop make sure you read and are in compliance with Etsy's Seller Guidelines.
Next, you get to fill in a headline and shop story. Include a snappy by-line describing your shop in a sentence as the headline. Next, write your shop story. You have up to 5000 characters! Who are you? What do you sell? What's your shop all about?
Then, you can load your media; About Pages include a slide-show of up to 5 images! You can upload
.jpg, .png, or .gif files up to 2MB, which will automatically cropped and displayed at 760 x 428 px.
Lastly, you can link your shop to your presence elsewhere on the web - which isn't allowed elsewhere, so here's your chance to link to pertinent sites including: your shop website, your blog, your shop Facebook fanpage, and your twitter. Input the URLs and select the appropriate label from the pull-down menu.
Save and preview! Proof-read and edit as you like until you're satisfied and then you press the Publish button. You can always return and edit the page in the future or even remove or Unpublish later.
How to Make an Appealing About Page
Personalize your shop! Introduce yourself and your methods! Show and tell what you and your shop are all about.
What to Include In Your About Page Shop Story
- Who are you? Your name, your background and education, your hometown, and what makes you tick
- What do you sell? What methods do you use to make your items or how to you curate your vintage wares or select your craft supplies?
- What materials do you use?
- How did you end up here? Tell the story of your shop, how and why you launched on Etsy
- What makes your Etsy shop special?
- What's new and what are your plans for the future?
Newbie sellers with great About Page Shop Story copy include SheTheWolf, whose bright and friendly description is a good, simple story for someone just starting her business. She explains that she's begun with friendship bracelets with chains and patterns designed for grown-ups, as she finds her niche. She talks about future plans to diversify her offerings. FitzyDesign's story includes how her shop came out of her 365 project where she "decided to make something new every single day for a year, and post them online." She also mentions her education, where she makes her "leather jewellery and other cool stuff", where she gets her materials and how her jewellery will gain a patina and increase in beauty with time.
What to Include in Your About Page Media Slideshow
- Shots of your studio or where you create (or store and curate) your wares
- Shots of any tools you use
- You at work, or other shots to show your process. Think: visual storytelling.
- Favorite listings you wish to highlight or explain or which are archetypal - truly you.
- Your packaging or branding material
- Things which personalize your shop and your shop story. Photos which are evocative of you, your shop and your brand.
She's only used one image, but could take advantage of the further 4 available by for instance showing how she stores or packages her wares and favorite vintage items (whether they are something she would list or not).
StoryFolk's About Page includes a shot of a craft show display, her fairytale-inspired felt brooches being worn, and a detail shot of her Aslan The Lion brooch.
She also takes the opportunity to explain how her library day-job and "a reignited passion for sewing inspired the creation of StoryFolk." She writes, "A one-of-a-kind, intricate felt brooch not only works as something pretty to liven up a shirt, but it also serves as a memento of late afternoons curling up on the couch with a heavy book, impatient to find out will she or won't she, and tales heard over and over again in the drowsy, yellow light before bed, a bit different every time." She has used 4 of 5 photos and could also show where she makes her brooches or a shot of her sewing one of these intricate characters.
A Newbie seller who is really taking advantage of her About Page to show her process is RongDesigns. Like her banner itself, mentioned in Class 2 Branding & Shop Banners most of her About Page photos show her at work and her tools. We can see her safety gear, her working at a bandsaw and the shop in which she works!
She's also used one of her photos to show herself and her display at the Leslieville Flea. This is a great example of visual storytelling. If she wanted more variety, she could include shots of different techniques or a favorite product, but the images really show how she works. In her Shop Story she explains her upcycling philosophy, her love of unconventional materials, her aesthetic, a list of the types of things she makes and that she does take custom orders.
Getting good photos of you at your work might be something you can do with a camera, tripod and timer, but would probably work best if you can get someone to take candid photos of you doing your thing. If this proves tricky, you can often still show your process by showing work in progress. Consider how well GiroofasaurusVexed tells her story will photos of her ceramic pieces before they've been fired in the kiln, her pendants fired and glazed awaiting cords to become necklaces and finally a collection of necklaces. She also includes a shot of completed dinnerware. I like how her photos complement her text, telling of how she's loved science since since her childhood as an intrepid young collector of insects and other specimen, and opened her shop seeking to balance her parallel love of art with her current scientific career.
So, the next time you are working on something to list in your shop, stop and take some photos of its progress! This is a simple and effective way to tell the story of your shop.
Tip: Remember your About Page can be edited and improved. You can start simple and perfect it over time. Telling and showing potential buyers the story of your shop is a great way to make a connection and establish trust and understanding of all your hard work!
I hope I've convinced you that your About Page is a useful addition to your shop, which you can create with a little time, effort and planning. Or, if you have created an About Page that there are some simple tweaks you might do to truly take full advantage of this resource and present your shop to the world.
So, what do you think? Have you made an About Page ? Have you seen a particularly impressive example? Do you have any questions, suggestions or care to share? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Updated September 5, 2013: You should also consider how your About Page looks on mobile devices, the way of the future for shopping on Etsy!
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!