Here’s a little secret I learned a few years back, my first year selling my work on Etsy: not only were sales more bountiful in the winter months, but each package I sent usually connected me with two prospective fans, not just one. Since many sales on Etsy in the last quarter of the year are gifts, I aimed to turn the gift giver and the gift recipient into admirers of my Etsy shop. In order to thoughtfully offer the right give-able item, the first step is to contemplate your unique buyer.
Let’s consider what type of person is visiting your Etsy shop during the winter months. Someone shopping for a gift on Etsy can be a stay-at-home mom, a teen buying gifts for friends, a boss looking for something for her team. Because there are so many different types of people buying gifts on Etsy, it’s up to you to try to answer the question, “What does the gift giver drawn to your shop look like?” Create a description of your ideal shopper. How old are they? What are their hobbies? Where do they spend their holidays? What do they wear to holiday parties? Who do they shop for?
When the weather gets cold and the year feels long, many of us turn to the company of others to keep warm. Most of us show up with a gift for the hostess, but remember, not all holiday shoppers are looking for gifts for others, they might be looking for that perfect outfit to wear to their holiday work party. (And yes, some of us are like me and hibernate with video games and pie and online shopping, and maybe this is your target market? Something to think about!)
Depending on where you are in the world (and where most of your buyers are located), the last few months of the year are perfect to stock up on woolly, warm accessories (or late spring accessories if you’re in the Southern Hemisphere). I asked our resident merchandising expert, marymary, what kind of accessories she thinks will be hot this winter. “Heavier materials such as wools, leathers, and thick blends make up the fall palette leading into winter. Popular motifs this year consist of animal prints, faux fur, equestrian style, military components, tribal references, geometric shapes and patterns, heavy and delicate embellishment and ornamentation, along with structural tailored shapes. Among my favorite accessory trends we’ve spotted emerging this season are sheer and embellished stockings, larger than life cowls, animal shapes, a throwback to ’80s leg and arm warmers, structured fascinators, spats with a Victorian flare, long chain body jewelry, and shoulder epaulets.”
While I had Mary’s attention, I picked her brain about last year’s biggest trends for gifts on Etsy. “Selling trends we noticed across all gift categories last season, which we expect to remain hot this year, include options for personalization, the incorporation of chalkboard or other writable surfaces, vintage references, shiny metallics and sparkles, and clever new takes on traditional classics. Last year some of the strongest popular trends surrounded woodland aesthetics and vampire themes. For an extended list of seasonal trends across the site, be sure to follow the monthly merchandising series.”
So my challenge to you, dear Etsy artist, collector and creator, can you ponder these types of buyers and hot trends and use this information to launch a new product line? Or perhaps add more of what you already create that will fly off your virtual shelves in the winter months?
“The overriding requirement of any product line, irrespective of size, is a sense of cohesiveness and a distinct brand identity, feel and style. This sense of unity can come from any number of places — a common use of fabric, be it felt, rubber or wood; a distinctive approach to pattern and color; beautiful packaging; a common functionality like kitchen utensils or kids’ toys; a commitment to eco-friendliness; an interesting naming solution; or a sense of playfulness and fun.”
— Design*Sponge’s Biz Ladies: Creating a Product Line
Feeling overwhelmed and have little time to develop a new product line? Neither does Etsy seller AlissaJacobs, and she has the perfect solution. “I would love to add lots of new items and holiday themed lovelies, but that just may not be a reality for me this year. Instead, I’m thinking of how to present items I currently sell into gift sets and offer lovely packaging.” Have a peek at some of her ideas on her blog, Quiltish.
If you do have the time, consider your target market, holiday trends and your unique point of view to create perfectly give-able line of work. Get started now with prototypes! Angie of byrdandbelle says, “Prior to introducing anything, I start making prototypes. I ‘practice’ any new techniques and refine the construction until I feel confident I can execute it well every time. More than that, it has to be a process that doesn’t make me shudder at the thought of actually having to do it a few hundred times. I remind myself that having a successful shop is as much about enjoying what I’m doing as it is about sales.”
Allison of monkeysalwayslook wants you to also think about your product line price points. “Creating items with a range of price points creates sale opportunities. Those lower price point items can be add-ons for a customer purchasing mid-priced items and the high priced items can be that special gift for a loved one. This is the best time to expand the items you offer so you hit the ground running.”
I’d love to hear what products worked for you last holiday season, and what you’re thinking about changing or adding this winter. Let me know in the comments below!