Looking back from now to March, my Etsy Journey looks so very much different than I thought it would. I honestly thought I would just craft an eclectic range of product. I thought Etsy would be just a simple handmade business. The fact is, in those two months alone, the shape and scope of my Etsy Shop transformed before my very eyes. I couldn’t be prouder of where I’ve landed and where I’m ultimately going. I am increasingly excited for the future of my business.
Let me back up. If you’ve been with me from the beginning or even read my About page, you already know I’m a craftaholic. I am always making and creating something. I love giving (and frequently do give) handmade gifts to my family. I actually make my husband and kids something handmade every Christmas. So with that kind of gumption, I thought for sure I could knock out a ton of handmade items in no time. The trouble is, I didn’t realize how long it took me to make my handmade items nor the time required to photograph, write copy, and list those items. I needed a dedicated niche.
What’s a Niche?
More or less, you need a specialty when it comes to Etsy. You don’t want your shop to be all over the place, you need a specific craft to focus on and hone.
I didn’t take this valuable advice when I started. I thought I’d make a few different things and see what sold. I started with Switch Plate Covers, Hair Accessories, Loom Knit Mug Hugs, and a few pieces of digital art. The problem was that I was so all over the place that there was no way I could gain a solid customer base. When you’re the jack of all trades, you’re the master of none. And it was hurting me in terms of building an audience.
A few weeks in, I started to notice that my digital art was getting the most views. I originally made just a few pieces for fun, and wanted to learn Graphic Design as an eventual profession. Then I sold my very first printable card, and another, and three days solid, I made a sale on three different digital cards. My niche found me. My Niche didn’t just need to translate to my Etsy Shop, but it needed to translate to my business and blog as a whole, and my niche will dictate my business plan going forward.
Here’s What I Suggest to Find and Settle on a Niche:
- Do Your Research. I would be amiss if I told you to find a market that isn’t “saturated” on Etsy because there are sooooo many talented sellers on Etsy these days. What I will say instead, is to do research and find what your niche market is missing. Find a way to put your unique spin on a product and create something that no one else offers. For example, I found that my ideas for cards weren’t out on Etsy. Go search “Go Forth and Kick Butt” on Etsy right now. My card is the only one like it out there. In fact, the printable card market is kind of limited (in my opinion) compared to bigger niches like printed cards and custom baby shower/birthday party invites.
- Create What Feels Right to You. I started making digital prints in my Etsy Shop because I wanted to learn graphic design. My physical products never felt as personal to me as my digital designs. I stumbled into my niche by exploring something I wanted to learn and I would recommend that anyone do the same.
- Keep an Eye on What Products are Getting Views/Hearts and Eventually Sales. I noticed my digital art and cards getting a lot of views and hearts, and eventually sales followed. You’ll know by views that you’re onto something. Just make sure you’re writing really good tags and descriptions so people can find your product. Jami at Handmade Journey offers amazing advice on this very subject.
- Don’t Be Afraid to Shift Gears. I was heartbroken that my handmade items didn’t get views right away. I was really invested in my work and I wanted to be successful. The problem is I was really good at something else and my potential customers were letting me know that. If something isn’t working, it’s ok. Don’t beat yourself up. Chalk it up to a lesson learned and focus on what is working. Then move boldly in that direction.
- Be Patient if Your Niche isn’t Clear to You Right Away. My niche certainly wasn’t clear to me. While it took me two months, some successful Etsy Sellers admit that it takes a year or more to find their niche.
Now that I’m comfortably settled into a dedicated niche (and it was honestly not what I anticipated it would be at all), I’m slowly deactivating my physical goods as I release new digital products. I do have some plans to branch out in the coming months, but it will all revolve around my graphic designs.
It’s still so funny to me; if someone would have told me two months ago that I’d be designing cards, prints, and invitations, I would never have believed it. But I am so, so happy and relieved to have stumbled into my niche.