For many sellers, figuring out what to sell is an ongoing process. Here, sellers share their stories and tips about what has worked for them and what they’ve learned. Hopefully, this inspires you as you create your line!
Sell what you love. When you love and believe in your product, creating and curating your items and developing your brand are fun! Most new sellers have other commitments such as work and family, and this will help keep you motivated.
“When I first started selling on Etsy, I was selling items that were inexpensive and quick to make, and I thought, ‘If I sell these cheap enough I can make a killing!’ Was I ever wrong. I was making items I thought would sell, because they were inexpensive – I wasn’t even that excited about these silly things! Luckily, in the middle of this, on a whim, I put an etched silver necklace in my shop. This necklace was a duplicate of one I made for myself for fun. It was a design I personally loved and hadn’t seen before. The necklace sold within fifteen minutes and I realized I needed to change the way I was doing things.” — Daniellexo, Etsy Seller Education
Create for yourself. Design and curate what you want to wear, decorate with, and use. This is a great place to start as a small business, and your passion and unique point of view will shine through and inspire your customers.
“I am quite literally my target market. I design things I know I or my peers would wear and want. It kind of started by accident — I wanted some jewelry and my husband’s not much of a shopper. It has worked well for me even though my market is a bit older, I would say, than the average buyer here on Etsy. They are out there, they have money and they know what they want… and more importantly, I know what they want.” — newhopebeading
Get inspired. Inspiration is like food for creative people. Read blogs and magazines that inspire you, pay attention to what you see people wearing, using, and decorating with. A notebook or bulletin board where you can collect inspirational images and ideas will help clarify your vision.
Sell something new and different. Is there a product that you would love or that would help you that doesn’t exist yet? Is there something that is out there that you could do in a different way? This is how great products are born!
“My organizational printables shop came about with no real intention of opening a shop. I started creating them to use for my personal life and to organize my bath and body business. Then I figured, there must be other people who would like to get organized the fun way and decided opened up shop because I ended up having so many printables! Here I am 4 months into my new shop and 300+ sales later.” — tidymighty
Research the market. Look around on Etsy in the various sub and sub-subcategories. Where could you make an impact? Look at what’s selling elsewhere. You don’t want to copy anyone, but this can inspire ideas for different things you could do yourself.
Pay attention to what’s doing well. As you stock your shop, pay attention to what is selling, and what is getting views and favorites. This is a good indication of what people are interested in, and what direction you might want to move in!
“I started with 1 or 2 crochet rings in my store and noticed they kept selling. I decided to add more rings and now probably 90% of my sales is rings. You never know what people are going to like, so just experiment until you find your niche!” — WatchMeWorld
Listen to your customers. Requests for custom items and suggestions from customers can turn into an in-demand product. Try crowdsourcing — asking fans on your social networks what they’d like to see, and letting it be known in your listings that you are open to custom work.
“My first corporate commission was for a set of 20 gifts, to be given to speakers at a symposium on the Great Lakes. Instead of designing 20 individual pieces, I created a large copper map that was disassembled into 20 pieces, each person receiving one part of the whole. When the event was over, I immediately received a request for a specific map. Followed by many more! I started offering custom metal maps, and I’ve sold hundreds since.” — CopperLeafStudios
Go with big ideas. If you have a great idea that you are passionate about, try it! If there is a new craft you want to try, do it! Don’t worry about your shop not being cohesive as you experiment — it’s important to try new things!
“When I started on Etsy, I tried selling cards and jewelry although my passion had always been sewing clothing. The cards and jewelry bombed but it motivated me to list clothing. The same day I listed some tops I had made, I got my first order for well over $100.” — tangente
Keep evolving. Continue to create new items and try new ideas. This keeps your shop interesting, and keeps people coming back.
“I have a couple of items that are the same base pattern but have evolved with changing fashion trends. This also helps my shop stay fresh so returning customers are often seeing new things and staying interested and continue to buy new creations.” — crochetconcepts
Big thanks for all the sellers who shared their experiences with product development! There are many more great stories in there, so check out that thread!
What experiences have you had with developing your product?