In Blog 267 I Talked about utilizing my passion for dogs. In this blog I am going to talk about how the Etsy site gained steam.
My first thought to the Etsy site was to have Footwear themed items. I made Shoe dog t-shirts with A description of what a shoe dog is. I put a link on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Had a few comments but no sales. I made some coffee mugs and did the same routine. Unfortunately, I got the same result. Made several items in other categories as well. Then my long-time mentor started ribbing me on what a shoe dog is. I listened to what he had to say but also realized that the term shoe dog means different things to different people. It meant a “shoe veteran” to me and several others I talked to when I made the t-shirts but not to everyone. So, I made a Shoe dog t-shirt without the description. Put it on the same channels and also a Shoe dog group I belong to. Boom! Had a sale first day! Then several more sales including some with the description. I had tried Facebook advertising and Esty advertising too. Results were minimal.
In all this excitement I was working in my office and my dog was being his normal cute and funny self. I decided I wanted a Teddy hoodie. So, I made one and had the sample sent to me. It was awesome, super warm and comfortable. It clicked, dog items…
I had mentioned in the last blog how I started making dog items, but this was the inspiration. I did the same thing as I did for the shoe dog items made a few different items, since I had different categories now, I made category tabs on the site too. Sold a few but then a super nice customer asked If I could personalize a cup for her. Uhhhhh, not sure. Did some research and figured out how to do it. Next I went to the dog items and picked the ones I wanted to add that feature to. I started with the coffee mugs.
First of all, when you have items you want personalized there are multiple steps to pull this off. In the regular items you get the sale, it goes to the print on demand printer and if you don’t approve right away it will auto approve in 24 hours. With personalization everything has to be manual. You actually have to duplicate the item, personalize it, then delete the original item off the order and substitute with the personalized item. Then you send to the printer. Unfortunately, all of your orders have to be manual if you personalize some of them. Not a big deal, but you have to be in tune with your business to give great service. Timeliness is part of it.
So back to the amazing customer. Her name is Anita, and she was such a pleasure to work with. She would ask me if I could do certain things and I’d send her mock-ups and she’d pick the ones she liked. She was the perfect person to test this out. The best part is she came back several times to buy more. I loved it! Even better she was so happy with what I came up with. That was really important to me, I made her happy. I missed that part from my last job, making people happy. It was so fulfilling to me in my past, so it was like an old friend came over to visit. In the process I figured out how to be more efficient. I made some templates and figured out the dimensions of the images for each item and made folders for easy access. I decided to surprise my friend Pam with a personalized mug of her dog Fiona. It made her so happy, mission accomplished…
Another customer asked if I had any backpacks I could do. Hmmm, let me check. There was a backpack from a vendor I was already doing business with. I trusted them, which is important in this line of work. I’ve had mishaps from certain mug suppliers that don’t package things properly (I’ll write a future blog on this), so I stick to certain trusted partners. Made up a few designs for her and she loved it. Backpacks were in the mix now. She bought a few in fact. So, I made a few different breeds for the backpacks. Cattle dogs, Poodles and Border Collies were popular with the like button.
This gave me another idea, More dogs! I had 100 different images of different breeds now because I found an amazing artist and bought her images along with the license. So, I made 100 t-shirts the following weekend with different colors and different breeds. I made up one listing with several different dogs on it and a bunch of different listings with the breeds separated. The separated ones were more popular. I guess people like the visual of what they are looking for. I’ll keep playing around with it. There is a way to combine variants (The sizes, colors etc.) but with t-shirts having so many sizes it makes the listing quite large. It works perfectly with items that you have to separate the colors due to the supplier like my tote bags, so I decided to stick with that.
I sold a few dogs like a Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, Whippet, Shar-pei and many others so I knew I was on to something. So, what’s the lesson. Well Etsy is known for its artsy curated items. That’s the strength of this site, personalization, and selection. So I spent time cleaning up my overall look of the Esty site, and every month kept getting better. By February I became a Star Seller! This means my reviews were great, I shipped on time and got back to my customers in a timely manner. Everything I preached to my buyers about as a Sr. Director. Basics…
My shoe dog t-shirts were on fire too, still my best seller on the site. My friend Larry bought a few from me and said he was going to wear them at the shoe show, it worked, I had a few sales from his pitching my site. Love that guy. We worked together at Nordstrom in the 90’s and have been friends ever since. My friend Mike bought 6 for his team! This gave me an idea to look for socks at the Magic show in Vegas to expand my collection. I ran into another longtime friend who was at the Socksmith® booth. Problem for me was Etsy only allows handmade items or vintage brands not branded merch. I opened an account anyways with him and bought a collection of different dog socks. I told my friend Terry “If I don’t open the Shopify site people are getting these for Christmas for the next few years.” The socks were amazing, High quality and cute dogs on the socks. People are going to love these I thought. Now I have to put together a Shopify site or add Woo Commerce to my blog site. Since I have the trademark for Doggy Daddy and a URL idea that is still available, I’m going to work on a Shopify site over the weekend. I’ll do the Woo Commerce site next on this website.
Next blog I’ll be talking about Shopify.
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…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career.
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