FREE Valentine's Tag Printable

Just a really quick post to share these cute tags with you! The background design is from Erin Bradley Designs. These cute tags will fit a 3" or 2.5" circle punch. 

Or.... use them as squares. They look super cute tied to a valentine treat bag {which is what I have done... sorry, my camera is on the fritz and I didn't get pics} or attached to a vase of flowers, a box of chocolates {.... ya, I'm dreaming!}, or a baked treat!  

Etsy Seller Series: Setting Up Shop Part 2 {Info & Appearance}

{To view all posts related to the Etsy Seller Series, click on the button on the right sidebar!}

Welcome back!!! We have already talked about how to get started, and how to set up your Profile Page. Today we are going to talk about how to set up your Info & Appearance Page.

Part 2 -- Info & Appearance

Log in to your account and move your cursor over "Your Shop" on the top right of your screen. Then click on "Info & Appearance". 

When you click on it, this screen will show up:

I already have my Shop Name set up, but this is where you will type in the name of your shop. {You should have already decided on that when you were getting started.} You need to have your shop name decided upon before filling out this page. Etsy will allow you to change your shop name only once so you need to make sure that you like what you have chosen. 

Next is your Shop Title. This appears under your profile picture and at the top of your shop. It is best to just retype the name of your shop. 

Here comes the branding part of your shop -- your Shop Banner Image. This is the graphic that is shown at the very top of your shop. A lot of the time this is one of the things that draws people to keep looking at your products. It needs to be inviting, and include your shop name and maybe a tagline.  You can read more about branding here.  If you have ordered custom graphics from a designer you can go ahead and upload your image here. If you are creating your own image you can view the file specifications here to be able to put your image together and save it in the right size and format. 

The links section is great for advertising! You can add the hyperlink to your Facebook and Twitter accounts so that you can keep in touch with your customers. Having a Facebook page is a great way to offer special discounts and sales as well as get to know your customers a little better. I am not big on Twitter, but I have my Facebook page set up so that it automatically tweets all of my Facebook posts. This section lets customers "like" your Facebook page and follow you on Twitter by clicking on the icons on your shop page. 

Here is the biggie on this page -- your Shop Announcement. This is the place where you will want to write a brief greeting to your customers. Include any pertinent information such as: shipping costs and where you are willing to ship to, coupon codes or promotions, general information about your products, how long it takes to complete orders, etc.

You can always change the wording in this section so that you can keep it up to date! The first 2-3 lines of your announcement will show up when customers view your shop home page so you want to put the most exciting things in those first two line! Customers can then click on your shop announcement to view the rest of it. 

There is a small box under the Shop Announcement where you can view how your shop and announcement will appear on a google search. 

The last section is the Message to Buyers. 

We include this message on receipt pages and in the email buyers receive when they purchase from your shop.

As stated, the message you type in this text box will appear when customers make a purchase. You can include information about shipping times here or a brief message thanking them for their purchase. I also include a note about payment being due at time of purchase. 

Be sure to click on "Save Changes". Then to take a look at your shop click on the shop icon at the top left of your page. .

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Up next:
Setting Up Shop Part 3 - Shipping & Payment

Etsy Seller Series: Setting Up Shop Part 1 (Your Public Profile)

{If you are new to this series, be sure to check out the first post here on getting started.}

Today we are talking about setting up your shop! Now that you have decided on your name, your branding, and got your finances in order it's time to set up your shop so you are ready to go! 

part 1 -- Your Public Profile

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Once you register for your Etsy account you can login to set up your shop. 
When you first login your screen will look similar to this one:

Move your cursor to the top right where it says "Your Account" and then click on "Public Profile". 
You will be shown a screen that looks like this:

You can add your profile picture and information about you on this page. 

Your profile picture is what customers will see when you interact with them -- via conversations. You can choose to set this up as an actual picture of yourself {which some people find to be more personal} or as a graphic image to keep with your branding. It is completely up to you and your personal preference. I have tried it both ways in my shop, and have dealt with other Etsy sellers who have theirs both ways and honestly... it doesn't make much of a difference. 

Your name is displayed on your shop page under your shop name. It is nice for your customers to know who you are. You can put just a first name if you prefer to keep some privacy. 

Your city let's your customers know where your products will be shipping from. Personally I display both the city in which I live as well as two other prominent nearby cities. This way if people haven't heard of my particular city they will have an idea of where I am from. 

Your birthday is only shown when someone clicks to view your profile page. It is not shown on your shop homepage. I'm honestly not sure what the reason is for displaying it, but I have gotten birthday wishes before from other Etsy members. :)

The About section is really important!. This is where you can share about yourself and what you do. Think about these questions when you sit down to write:
• What do you do?
• What do you like to do?
• When did you start your love for ______? {sewing, painting, crafting, etc}
• Why did you open your shop?
• What is your inspiration?
• Where do you do your ______? {sewing, painting, crafting, etc. -- home office? studio? outdoors?}
• Who is your product for?
• What can people use your products for?

Your Favorite Materials is a place for you to list the things you most like to work with. This is a great way for customers to get another glimpse of what your product is. 

At the bottom of the page is a section that looks like this:

This area is for you to choose which things are shown publicly on your profile. you definitely want to check "Shop" so that customers can view your shop from your profile page. I also suggest you click to show your "Treasury lists" and your "Teams". Choosing to show your "Favorite items" and "Favorite shops" is up to you. As for me, I keep those private. I don't want my customers knowing where I purchase supplies from. I also use my favorites for inspiration and to keep track of the competition. :)

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Up next:
Setting Up Shop Part 2 - Info & Appearance

Paper Bakeware Review

I don't know if you have come across these in your craft stores at all, but I saw this paper bakeware the other day and just had to give it a try!! 

It is oven safe and is stiff paper so you don't have to have a baking sheet under it. They come in several cute colors and a couple different sizes. 

This package came with 6 pans. They are 2.5"wide x 7" length x 1.8" high. 

I baked some banana bread in mine (the recipe filled up two of these paper bakeware loaf pans) kept one for us and gave the other away to a friend. 

I absolutely love, Love, LOVE these pans!! Like seriously, LOVE them!! It took a little longer than the usual baking time, but they turned out so stinkin' cute!!!! 

They are super easy to use. You don't have to grease them ... BONUS!!! You don't have to take them out of a pan to give it to a friend --- nor do they have to return a pan to you... double BONUS! Plus, all you need to do is wrap it up in some cellophane and you have a really cute gift! It doesn't get much easier than that, and it looks like you went to a lot of trouble to do it all. 

I added a cute magnetic notepad to the bottom of mine that I bought at the one spot at Target. The colors matched the stripes on the pan perfectly! Then I placed it in a small cello bag and topped it off with some bakers twine and homemade tags and voila! Done!

These would make cute Valentine's treats. They are wide enough you could fit 3 cupcakes in them, or make a delicious pound cake... or just about anything! 

I created a PDF file you can download with several sizes of these thinking of you tags and the enjoy tags. 

Etsy Seller Series: Getting Started

Hey there everyone! From time to time I get questions about running my own Etsy shop. While I can't give away all of my secrets, I CAN share some tips and things that I have learned from my years of selling on Etsy.

I have put together an Etsy Shop series of posts to help any of you who may be wanting to get started on Etsy and don't know how to begin or for those of you who are already selling and may want a couple extra pointers --- and everyone in between! 

Today's post is all about....

Naming your Shop:
The trick is to come up with a name for your shop. You want it to be something fun and catchy! Something that your customers will remember and that anyone looking at your listing would be interested in checking out. Some of my favorites that I have come across are : No Whining Pleez, Melon Headz Doodlez, Happy Organized Life, and Elastic by the Yard. The first two are fun and creative names... the others give a real simple picture of what they are selling just by looking at the name.

Once you decide on a name do a quick search on Etsy for the name. It is always possible that name has already been taken and you will need to brainstorm a little more. Think about the products you will be selling,  and think about the kinds of customers you will be selling to. Bounce some ideas off of your friends and family... see what they think about your ideas. Odds are if they like it, others will too!

Once you have decided on a name it's time to set up your shop!

This is one of the most important things about your shop/business. Branding. It is what sets you apart from everyone else. It is what your customers will remember your shop for. Once you have decided on your name it will be a little easier to figure out your branding. If you have a really cute shop name you will most likely want to create a set of cute logos and designs. However, if you choose to use your products as the basis for your shop name maybe you will want to include a picture or two in your logo designs. If you have a modern name, then maybe a mod design.... and so on.

The great thing about Etsy is getting to know other sellers. There are A LOT of graphic design Etsy sellers out there. Some sell easy template designs that you can customize yourself while others will create entirely custom graphics just for you! A few of my favorite are: Erin Bradley Designs, Simply Graphics, and Kelly Jane. They offer a mix of custom and pre-designed logos. If you are going to have a blog or facebook page -- which I absolutely recommend {more on that in a different post} -- I suggest you choose a custom design so that you can have your designer create graphics for your shop, your blog, and your facebook page. Part of good branding is being consistent!

If you dabble in graphic design as I do, you can create your own personal branding using your own images or purchased images. The benefit: it's cheaper and you have more options on how you want things to look. The downside: it's a lot of work!

Tax and Licensing: 
This one you will need to do some research on. Google your city and state government pages online and find out what types of businesses need licensing. Personally I had to pay a fee to my city to be able to have a home office. Not all cities work that way so be sure to look it up.

You WILL need to pay taxes to your state. This, again, will require some work on your part to find out where to apply for your business license and taxes. Be sure to keep on top of paying your taxes {as often as they are required} those late fees are hefty!!

This is another BIG one to get your shop started. You will need to invest some money to start up your business. The amount that you invest will be determined by the products you are selling so I can't give you much advice here. The general rule in business that I have been taught is that you should at least break even your first year and start to turn a profit in your second.

Be sure to set up a specific bank account JUST FOR YOUR BUSINESS. This is the easiest way to keep track of everything. You can monitor your spending, your profit, and reinvest in your products as the year goes on.

You also need to put together some way to keep track of everything. If you are the kind of person that like to keep written records then you should either purchase some ledger paper or look for various template that you can find for keeping track of everything. I have found a great Etsy seller who offers a digital download of printable pages for Etsy shop owners. 

 EDITABLE and INSTANT DOWNLOAD-Etsy Business Planner-Work at Home Planners-21 documents
comes with pages for just about anything you might need! Seriously! I have found that as much as I like having everything right at my finger tips it uses a lot of paper and that's just an added expense for me that I want to avoid. If you work better though using pencil and paper then this is a great set to get. There are other  sellers who offer different designs and pages so take a look around. 

For me... I choose to go the digital route. A few years ago I purchased a file from an Etsy seller that came as an Excel spreadsheet. It had lots of pages, graphs, and calculations that helped me to keep track of everything. As the years have gone by I have realized that I don't need all of the things that came with that worksheet. So, I recently created my own and I am sharing it with you! 

The excel file has 4 sheets to it: a sales tracker, a purchase tracker, an inventory tracker, and a totals sheet so you can keep track of everything at a glace. 

The Sales Tracker let's you enter all of the information regarding any sales that you have, including: 
order# (for easy searching)
item sold
buyer name
sales price
shipping charged
shipping cost (so you can see the difference in what you are charging if any)
tax collected (makes it easier to pay your taxes)
coupons used (for you to keep track of the number of people using it)
sales type (etsy, facebook, boutique, etc.)
payment type (cash, credit, paypal, etc.)
shipping date
shipping method
and tracking #

The Purchase Tracker helps you to keep track of any and all purchases that you make throughout the month. You can break it down into the cost of the actual material, then the tax and shipping that you pay on it. This will help you to determine the price point you should be selling your items for. (more on that in another post)

The Inventory Tracker can be used to keep track of your in-stock inventory, especially if you are selling supplies versus handmade products in your shop. You can update your inventory and your listings in your shop as items sell. 

Then the Totals page is simply that. It keeps tabs on your monthly totals for spending, revenue, and ultimately your monthly profit. At the end of the month you can access everything and adjust your prices where needed. (again, more on that in another post)

Download your free copy of the excel file here

You will want to start keeping track of everything regarding your business finances right from the beginning, so as soon as you get started with your shop decide on a method to record everything and DO IT! It's easier to start from the beginning rather than trying to back track to put in all the missing information. 

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Up Next:
{Setting up your Etsy Shop}