We had a virtual sit-down with one of our international Chat regulars, Topaz Turtle, to ask her a quintet of questions about creativity, community, and business here on Etsy:
Q. What are your inspirations? Do trends, themes and seasons (such as those outlined in the monthly Etsy Merchandising Desk blog posts) influence you at all?
A. Any kind of stimulus can inspire a piece – a line from a song, the colour of scarf spied on a train trip, vegetables and fruits that are in season (my latest muse is the pomegranate so expect to see a lot of rich red ruby hues). I do read the Etsy Merchandising Desk blog posts and it does influence me at some level. There is a very broad range of themes and trends outlined in the blog and I often find a few or more listings that fit into the themes.
The seasonal trends outlined in the blog can be a bit difficult to fit into as the seasons are all the other way round in the southern hemisphere but there are still some happy coincidences.
Q. Are there any arts or crafts you'd like to learn, or materials and techniques you'd like to try? What appeals to you about them?
A. I strive to improve my skills with resin and polymer clay and I’m always finding new ways to work with these. My next goal is to earn enough money to buy myself a degasser which removes or reduces bubbles in resin.
A new material called Friendly Plastic caught my attention recently and I’m itching to incorporate these into my resin pieces too.
I also have been doing a lot more work with seed beads in peyote type stitch to create some very satisfying tubular beads. I’m looking forward to creating more of these.
Q. What has been the most effective promotion strategy for you? The least effective?
A. Most of my customers find my shop using Etsy Search, so having really good tags, product descriptions and product names is very important. I try to think of what terms people might use to find my items and make sure that they are incorporated into them.
I also find Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Etsy Forums and Chats to be a good way of generating interest in my shop.
I have tried a few advertisements but so far I haven’t had anyone tell me that they found my shop because they saw an ad somewhere. It’s doesn’t seem to be a very effective way of promoting my shop and I think I might be a bit more circumspect about this.
Q. What have you learned about having an online business here on Etsy? Anything you wish you'd known earlier?
A. I guess the biggest lesson I learned was that I can’t sit back and wait for customers. You have to get out there and promote.
The other lesson that I have just learned and wish I had known earlier was that your shop’s Google search results ranking is based on the ‘importance‘ of your shop page and you increase the importance of your shop page when other sites link to your page. So the more websites that you have linking back to your shop, the higher up in the search results you appear.
Q. If you could choose anything sold on Etsy - price no object - what would it be?
A. This is probably the most difficult question to answer as my most desired item keeps changing. I recently saw a wooden sun lounge chair on Etsy Finds that looked gorgeous. Trying to find the link to it but I deleted the email!
So if anyone still has that Etsy Finds email, let me know.