Saturday, March 26, 2011

Mini Critique: Pricing your Products

So this week, Kara of The Felted Posey has agreed to let me critique her shop. She had several things she had questions on so I just picked one I hadn't covered yet & went with it.

The Felted Posey on Etsy
So today, we'll be tackling Pricing!

Okay, this is going to be a quickie!

There's no need to take a look at The Felted Posey's shop prices or for me to critique them. This goes for any shop other than my own as well. Why? Because I have no clue about what goes in to making the products you offer in your shop. Only you do. That means that today's critique is going to be a self-critique for you to do on your own shop.

Now you need to be thinking about the following things when it comes to pricing your products.

  1. Cost of Materials
  2. Cost of Time/Labor
  3. Associated Fees
  4. Overhead Costs
  5. Profit
Let's talk about each one separately.

Cost of Materials
This is the cost of everything you use to make your product. Everything. Thread, ink, glue, beads, tags, dye, paper, whatever it may be. You need to come up with a materials cost per item. 

You need to come up with this cost based on what your materials would normally cost. Not their cost if you get them on sale, but what they would be normally. You may not always be able to get materials on sale & if you calculated your cost based on what you got them for on sale, you'll end up losing money. Make sense?

Cost of Time/Labor
Pretty self-explanatory. First off, how much do you want to make per hour? This should be based on the skill required to make the product. Second, how long does it take you to make this product? Now calculate your labor cost. Is it reasonable? 

Keep in mind that your not going to be extreme here & decide you want to make $20 an hour, make a handmade, embellished thank you card, & charge $20 just for your time. No, you're not going to do that. Make it reasonable please!

Associated Fees
This includes your listing fees & the fee that Etsy gets from the sale. This should also include your PayPal fee if you're using PayPal.

Overhead Costs
Overhead is all the little things that you're supposed to keep up with for your business. That is if your running your business for profit. Overhead includes things like electricity, internet costs, wear & tear on equipment, rent, that sort of thing. Most of the time you can calculate a set amount into each product to cover this. 

How much do you want to profit on your products? Don't be stingy. This isn't going directly into your pocket. You get paid from the Cost of Time/Labor, but the profit belongs to the business. It gets reinvested into more materials, better equipment, hired help, etc. That's the way it's supposed to work. Profit is usually a set amount or percentage of the total cost of the item. It doesn't change based on the product. 

You calculate your materials cost, your time/labor cost, your fees, & your overhead then double it or triple it to get your final price. You profit per product is based on whether you doubled or tripled the cost or whether you increased it by a percentage...whatever you choose. 

That final price is considered the retail value or retail price of the product. That's what you sell it for to individual people buying it directly from you. It is not the wholesale price. Wholesale prices are lower.

Here's an example:
You're making a crocheted skirt. 

Materials: $4 {yarn, button}
Time: $10/hr. - 2 hrs = $20
Fees: 10% total price
Overhead: $2
Profit: 100% {doubling}

Materials + Time + Overhead = $26 x 2 {profit} = $52
$52 x 10% {fees} = $57.20

Retail price = $57.20

Okay, I hope this has helped you. 

Have you been pricing your products correctly or not? Let me know what you've been missing below!

Hugs, Meagan

Wanna learn more about growing your creative business. Connect with me on my blog, Facebook, or Twitter!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Mini Critique: Top 2 Shop Announcement Must Haves - Autumn & Boo

Pineapple (Welcome) Wall Stencil by Alison Huber Jewett on Etsy

Hey Team SASSY blog followers!

Today’s mini critique is for Autumn & Boo, an Etsy shop that provides unique, hand-painted wearable art, ornaments, & illustrations mainly for Autumn & Halloween, but also for other times of the year as well. I really like this shop. Their products look well made & original. Plus they’re oh so nice!

So, I will be critiquing Autumn & Boo’s shop announcement today because this is something we’ve not covered yet & it’s one of the first things customers see & read when they enter your shop.

Now to start off, I want to give you some things to keep in mind when it comes to shop announcements. If any of you follow my blog, then you’ve seen my blog series that’s going on right now called ReVAMPing Your Etsy Shop – 2011. This blog series is totally devoted to tackling each area of your shop & providing you with some great information to take with you so you can apply it. So below, I’m going to give you a crash course on what was covered in the post on shop announcements. If you want to learn more, then go check out the article on my blog!

There are 2 main purposes to your shop announcement.

1. SEO
2. Announcements

So let’s look into SEO first.

SEO or search engine optimization is how search engines rank your shop in search results among similar listings. Search engines take your shop announcement, analyze it, & rank it according to content & popularity among similar sites.

Did you hear me? I said they take all of your writing & use it to rank you. So if you only talk about an upcoming sale in your shop announcement then that’s not going to rank too well. It will probably end up way down the list near the bottom.

The reason is you’re not using consistent keywords that people use when they’re searching on search engines. You’re not talking enough about what you offer in your shop. People don’t normally search for “sale” & that’s it. They’d get a gazillion search results for the word “sale”. Most people use specific searches. Maybe something like “crocheted baby blanket sale” would be better. If you use that keyword phrase several times in your announcement, then at least you’d have more of a chance than with “sale” only.

Now you can go to any search engine, type in the name of your shop, & start looking for it in the results to see what it says. In fact, you should do that. Your listing will only show the first 140 or so characters. You’d better make them good & relevant because you’re trying to get people to click on your shop & come visit it. You want them to know what you offer, right? SEO is a real deal & if you want more views in your shop, it’s something you need to learn & pay attention to.

Next up is the announcement part.

Like I said earlier, the first 140 characters are used for SEO purposes, so fill that space up with keywords about what you offer in your shop.

The rest of the space is you’re to do what you wish with. You can talk about how you make what you make, you can talk about a current or upcoming sale, or you can direct readers to important parts of your shop like your policies or your profile. {Pssst…those links also help up your ranking on search engines too!} It’s totally up to you. As with any writing, you need to make it clear & easy to understand, format it so it’s easy to read & skim through, & check for spelling or grammatical errors. Remember to use your keywords consistently throughout your announcement so the search engines will rank you higher for those searches. SEO IS IMPORTANT!

Okay, enough with the info, let’s look at Autumn & Boo’s announcement & see what’s going on.

Here it is in the shop:

My first thought is that there aren’t enough specific keywords used throughout this entire announcement.

My second thought is that some of the information in this announcement should be somewhere else, not in the announcement. For example…the part about commissions & viewing more of her work should be in her profile bio. The payment part should be in her policies. The teams she’s apart of can be listed on her profile page if she chooses.

So, here’s an example of how I’d write this announcement if this super cute shop were mine.

Welcome to Autumn & Boo! Here you will find Autumn & Halloween inspired handmade jewelry such as cameos, broaches, pins, & pendants as well as Halloween ornaments & Halloween illustrations.

My handmade jewelry is hand-sculpted & hand-painted as are my Halloween ornaments. My Halloween illustrations are done by hand using archival quality ink, watercolor, & colored pencils. 

Any item can be custom designed to fit your needs. See my Alchemy settings here. {link}

For more information about me & my shop, see my profile {link} & my shop policies {link}.

Thank you for stopping by!

This would be my main announcement that I’d use all the time. If I decided to have a shop sale, I’d add something about that into this. If I added a new section or some other holiday items I’d talk about that briefly as well, directing customers right to that section via a link.

Here it is in a Google search:

Actually, I couldn’t find her main shop in a Google search. I searched for “autumn and boo” which brought up her blog, but no etsy shop. Then I searched the way she writes her name in her shop, “autumnandboo” & I found it, but there wasn’t a main listing – only a profile listing, sold items listing, & policy listing.

So, it looks to me that some SEO work needs to be done, & she needs to separate the words in her shop name. I think this would seriously help because she has a unique name which is easy to remember & should rank well in searches.

Final Thoughts…

All in all, I’m loving this shop! It has great products & such potential. The target market is a small one, but if you know where they’re at, you can go get ‘em! I’d seriously work on that SEO so some of your work can be done by search engines, I’d keep listing new items, I’d branch out with more product lines & I’m market my tush off! Good luck Autumn & Boo!!

Visit me at my Etsy shop: Baby Swank or at my blog:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mini Critique: Easy Tips for Writing Your Payment Policy

Dollar Sign Necklace by Trophies on Etsy

Today’s critique is for Shades of Grey, & I’ll be focusing on her payment policy.

But before I begin her critique, as always, I want to give you some points to remember when it comes to writing your payment policies.

4 Things to Keep in Mind when Writing Your Payment Policy?

  1. Your payment policy is where you’re going to let you customer know what forms of payment your accept. On Etsy you can choose to be paid by PayPal, personal check, & money order. You need to talk about each form of payment you accept individually. Be specific & let your customer know how each type of payment works. You never know if they’re a first time buyer. Don’t overlook the fact that they might not know anything about the checkout process. You can even include a link to this checkout how-to for customers. How to Shop on Etsy
  2. Let the customer know when you expect payment. Give them a time frame & tell them if the payment needs to clear before you ship.
  3. It’s also a good idea to include your policy on canceling transactions here. The seller has to be the one to cancel the transaction so you need to let customers know that if they want to cancel their order that they need to do it within a certain amount of time {if you wish} & they need to contact you so you can cancel it & refund their money. Etsy has now updated their policy on canceled transactions. If you have to cancel a transaction, Etsy will credit back the .20 listing fee & the 3.5% transaction fee to your bill.
  4. Keep it simple. You want your customers to read your policies so they know what to expect & so they’ll feel comfortable purchasing from you. Don’t make your policies overly wordy. Check for spelling & grammatical errors. Use paragraphs, short sentences, & make sure your writing makes sense.

Now let’s take a look at each payment method below.


PayPal is probably the easiest way for customers to pay you. PayPal is free & it’s easy to set up an account with them. They accept all major credit & debit card & you can pay from your checking account through PayPal. Customers do not have to have a PayPal account to use PayPal when purchasing from you. These are all things to include in your Payment Policy under “PayPal”.

For more help with using PayPal in your Etsy shop, check out the following link: PayPal Workshop

Personal Check

Choosing whether or not to accept customer checks is a personal decision. Some sellers do & others don’t. Like I said earlier, if you want to give your customer the option of paying with a check you can always use PayPal. They enter their checking account information into PayPal & PayPal gets you your money.
If you decide to take checks yourself, it’s a good idea to let the customer know up front that their purchase will not ship until their check clears. That keeps you from getting swindled incase their check bounces leaving you with no cash & no product, & it lets them know what to expect as far as timing goes.

Money Orders

It seems that accepting money orders can be as sticky of a situation as accepting checks. From what I’ve read on the topic, most Etsy sellers say to only accept certified USPS {post office} money orders because others could be scams. Again, if you choose to go this route, make sure you let your customer know that you will not ship their purchase until the money order clears. Don’t worry about offending them…they more than likely will understand your position.

Okay, so now onto the critique!

Alright, so here's Shades of Grey's Payment Policy.

Payment Policy - I accept PayPal payments. Please complete your payment within 24 hours of purchase. Production will not begin until payment is received.
So, IMO, this policy doesn't provide enough information.You can never assume a customer knows how things work or what they're supposed to do. It doesn't hurt to give details. If they know what you're talking about, they'll skim over that part.

Now, the form of payment is listed, but maybe telling your customer a bit more about PayPal, how it works, & what to expect would be nice. 

I do like that you give a time frame on when you expect to receive payment by. 

I'd include your cancellation policy, & provide a link to the How-to Shop on Etsy tutorial.

That's it! A simple, easy, quick fix that will give you a great payment policy that your customers will be clear on! Till next time...good luck!

Meagan Visser is a wife, mother, & creative entrepreneur. Her passion is her family & helping moms learn to build successful creative businesses without neglecting their families. You can connect with her on her website, at her Etsy shop Baby Swank, or on Facebook & Twitter.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What Impression is Your Shop Leaving your Customers?

I'm Impressed by Jake & Noel on Etsy

Today's mini critique is for SilverSmack, and she wants to know what the overall impression is of her shop.

So since this is a little different than a normal critique, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to show you a screenshot of SilverSmack's shop, give my two cents on the impression that her shop gives me, and then leave you with a check list to use on your own shop so you can see what kind of impression you're leaving for your customers.

Okay, so lets get going. Here's SilverSmack's shop.

Here's what I see:
  • pics - sell silver jewelry that's hammered & worn {not polished}
  • prices - midrange & affordable
  • listings - You're a serious shop. You have a business. You're a professional not hobbiest. I can see this because you have a lot of listings, you list frequently, & you have regular sells.
  • sections - you offer a variety of jewelry
My thoughts on your shop:
  • title - it says "inspiration"...I'd change that to "jewelry" because when that shows up in a Google Search, people won't know what you make from the word inspiration
  • banner - you only have pics of your rings. Since you make other pieces of jewelry too, I'd add a pic of a necklace & earrings as well as a ring.
  • listing photos - look nice. Nice backgrounds & some photos, the colors of the jewelry are competing with the color of your background {gray on gray or white on white}.
  • descriptions - great use of links. I did notice that in some you weren't providing a link to your policies even though you were directing customers to them.
  • SEO - looks like you've done well getting your shop optimized for SEO from the look of keywords used in your listing titles, descriptions, & shop announcement
My thoughts as a customer:
  • return/exchange policy - I was excited to see that you offered lifetime repair on your jewelry! That makes me very comfortable buying from you!
  • description links - like I said earlier...provide a link for me if you're directing me somewhere. Make it as easy as can be for me.
  • description questions - Why do I need to order my ring a half size bigger than I wear? What does "oxidized" mean? It would be a good idea to answer any & every question a buyer may have. 
  • Profile bio or welcome - tell me about your crafting process. This helps me to value the product I may buy from you more. It also helps me to understand the price as well.
Overall impression:
 Great shop! Nice products! I feel like I know exactly what I'm getting from you & what to expect. I know that if I have any trouble or change my mind that you will work with me to meet my needs. I also like the fact that I can get anything custom made from you!


    7 Ways to Leave a Good Impression with Your Shop
    1. Graphics & Pictures - high resolution, not grainy, styled & branded well, professional looking
    2. Copy - well written, no grammatical or spelling errors, provide all necessary info about product, answer any potential questions customer may have
    3. Bio - tell about yourself & how you got started in your craft & your shop, provide links to important places in your shop & on the web.
    4. Customer Service - appear friendly & easy going in your writing, tell how to contact you, let buyers know if you offer custom orders, make return/exchange policy clear
    5. Policies - well written, provide all necessary information, be specific
    6. Feedback - work to satisfy customers so you'll get great feedback. Good feedback makes customers feel comfortable buying from you
    7. Pricing - offer a range of prices so there's something for everyone

    What do you do in your shop to provide customers with a "good impression"?