by Erin Bishop
The secret is in the copywriting. And I don't have to tell you, that writing copy for Etsy is hard work. I used to spend hours on trying to craft the perfect description for my Etsy Listings. Even after reading blogs about what to do, it was still difficult. It wasn’t until I wrote my own personalised guide that it became much easier. Now I can write about three in the same time that it use to take me to write one.
Write What They Want to Know
This is the easiest part of the listing and where you should start. You must have the product and measuring tape in front of you while you write. This maybe more difficult than it sounds if your desk is as cluttered as mine is.
Start by describing the product from more general bits of information to the more methodical. Describe what the product is? What is the predominate color of the object? How big is the object? Is it the size of a box of cigarettes? A mini fridge? Or a Bread Box? What’s the general shape of the object? Is it a cube? Does it look like a crescent moon? Or does it resemble a heart? What type of leather is it made out of? See how’s that’s very specific to my needs and may not fit yours? What other materials were used? And the best for last, What are the dimensions?
Write What you Want Them to Associate Your Product With
This is where I write some of my most, “you gotta be a fan to appreciate this” jokes. Because Leather Works by Willow is run by a couple of geeks, who make items for other geeks, this is where you should let your geek flag fly. I will start by establishing for myself if not my audience what universe this item belongs in. If it’s Star Wars inspired I can pull references from the Movies, the TV shows, and the books, but the movies are the main thing that everyone knows. That isn’t always the case though for example Harry Potter Fans and I mean Fans, have all read the books, you can reference things that movie watches would scratch their heads about, if you can defy this please feel free to call me out. The second paragraph should be as inside joke as it can be, without alienating the base of fans from that given universe.
When Is It From? A bygone era? Modern? Or from a dystopian future? These Questions help me craft the type of language I will use. The following questions I will combine for three inhouse universe places, activities being performed, and what you might be wearing or who you might be hanging out with.
Do you take it to the desert? The beach? Underwater? Magical forest? What activity are you doing? Climbing Mts? Having Tea with a Friend? Performing Aerial Acrobatics? What Outfit Does It Go With?
For example: Use this “Star Wars Inspired Cowboy Rig Hip Bag” to hold your lightsaber while you’re riding a tauntaun through that distant mountain range on reconnaissance. This “Deadpool Pocket Wallet” is just the thing to hold some spare cash close to you so that you can always pay your cab fare. I reckon’ that this “Mal Reynolds Holster with Belt” will help hold your backup piece at the ready, incase something goes wrong on the job, like it always does.
Write About Yourself
Now that I have this outline formed to fit my needs, I find writing this section to be the most difficult. Where Did You Make It? How Long Did It Take You To Make It? Who Worked On It? These are simple questions and could have simple answers. But all the answers seem so impersonal, especially when you consider that this section is dedicated to being personal. I always try to add something about how long I or Willow has loved that particular ‘verse. How it kills us that Star Wars has a movie called The Last Jedi, and Luke wants to disband the Jedi Order, because all we’ve wanted to do since we were kids, is go up and become a Jedi, even after seeing the prequels.
Please leave a link to your own Etsy shops. And share what some of your struggles have been. Also if you want to tell me how I can write listings descriptions better please feel free to criticize, or share what you've done.
by Erin Bishop
First and foremost, the term small business is being used so frequently that I believe that one must first clarify what they mean by “small.” So, what is a mirco-business? A mirco-business is company that has one or two people working for it and that it is not physically located at a shop, but is a booth, a website, or a corner of a local consignment shop. In other words really small.
There are many things that an owner of micro-business must constantly juggle and attempt to balance: pure supplies vs finished products, saving for bigger equipment vs buying supplies, working vs free time, and last but not least physically building and socializing. Word of mouth is the best way to get known, but what do you do if no one is talking about you? Start a conversation through social media. If you have a business and haven’t started at least one social media account for the business, follow these three points for success.
Once you have these basics down and you feel comfortable, it’s time once again to become uncomfortable. Branch out into new social media sites, start blogging, join groups, and make new goals. Your business isn’t growing if you aren’t reach out and exploring new avenues. Don’t be discouraged by others or feel like you aren’t measuring up, no one knows your life or your micro-business like you do.
by Erin Bishop
The boy scouts have the motto of always being prepared, but how does one prepare for life? Simple answer: You don’t. You do the best you can and hope for the best. How does one focus when life becomes overwhelming? You can hunker down and try your best, wait for a better time, or fall back on already prepared materials.
“Life happens when you least expect it.” - Jane Harvey Barrick
Back in October of 2016, my twelve year old Rhodesian Ridgeback/Labrador Retriever starting feeling ill and shortly after had to be put to sleep. Thankfully, Leather Works by Willow’s Facebook page didn’t need my attention because I had planned out what posts were coming out and when. I was able to fall back on my planning and I could wait for a better time to compose more cheery posts. Other than the emotional turmoil, the hardest part was focusing on two upcoming panels for comic cons.
I had to hunker down and focus on what I felt like I couldn’t. Looking back, I know that I could have done a better job, but I did the best that I could at the time. I was used to working on a project for two-three hours then taking the dog outside to pee, but with all that was going on I could only focus for ten to forty-five minutes. My long focus became short and erratic which I sure showed in my work, but I had obligations that I had to attend to.
“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” - Benjamin Franklin
My girlfriend had a harder time, he was hers from four weeks until his dying breath. She was responsible for writing blogs, she would sit down and start writing a blog one or two days before we released each blog. When he’s sickness and subsequent death came upon us she had to wait for a better time, she was unable to hunker down and she hadn’t planned ahead.
I also had to put some of the more outgoing social media efforts aside as I dealt with his death. I eventually feel behind when we got a puppy, because puppies need a lot of attention. They pee everywhere until, you understand, that they are telling you, that they need to go out. Not to mention the constant checking on them, because you hear a riping noise coming from the bedroom, and you know that they brought their toy squirrel in there, but you’re not quite sure that they don’t know, not rip up your bed. A few months later, I am back to scheduling my life so that I may have a life.
Plan for a Life
I already briefly covered planning for the future, but this is where the real life saver comes into play. When you plan more and further out, you’ll be able to handle more of life’s little unexpected journeys. I sit down at the end of the month with Willow, and we plan out what we are posting, tweeting, writing on the blog, copywriting for Etsy, for the next month. We discuss which items, posts, tweets, and blogs that we want to promote. We also talk about any events, promotions, sales, or contest that we want to be apart of the following month. We make a to do list that helps shape what we are doing today, so that tomorrow will be easier.
I recommend planning your 140 character tweets for a month out of planned content. I recommend writing as many blogs as you can, but a good minimum is two out. If you have to write product descriptions, I would have about 3-5 depending on the frequency of the release. I have planned what I am going to work on and on what day from now until OCTOBER, and I use the to-do list as a road map when figuring out how far out I need to plan, and what I need to do now. Then when that’s all done it’s time to relax watch some TV, go swimming at the lake, or party with your friends, because you already did what you needed to do.
by Willow Enright
Panels are something that are very confusing for me, yet I find myself preparing for one. I’ve got just over a week to figure this out. I know that I have to draft up a paragraph or so to introduce myself and my company. The panel that I am participating in on July 16th is at the Tacoma Public Library it’s FREE to attend, and it’s called Atomic Comic Con. It’s focus is on getting the youth to read more, so bring your children, kid brother, or niece.
I know that this panel will mainly be a Q&A so I have searched the internet for some common questions posed to cosplayers. I’m hoping that in writing out the answer to these questions I will be more prepared for Atomic Comic Con. I took the questions from the two links below:
by Willow Enright
It's been a week since Emerald City Comic Con (ECCC,) and I haven't been able to stop thinking about how it inspired me. It inspired me to improve my website, exhibit at cons, research other companies, learn how to target my audience, and build a larger stock of goods. Overall, I feel like I can be doing this... better.
For all those wondering whether or not to attend cons and network with other geeks who have made a living out of what they love to do, the message is clear. Get your stuff out there, get yourself out there, and keep at it. I can't tell you how many times numerous people said this while I was attending ECCC.
There's a community of nerdy/geeky themed entrepreneurial enterprises that are waiting to hit their big break, just like you. It's reminiscent of the old days when craftsmen and tradesmen would hone their crafts and enter into trade, barter, and commerce alike. While it may seem like these established companies don't need your business, the reverse is true. As your company thrives it has to grow. This means you need to hire someone for photography, web design, marketing, packaging, printing, and budgeting. Let me tell you, no one has the time or the skills to do it all themselves. That's why you have to surround yourself with an army of positive acolytes to help you build your passions into products.
I started crafting out of leather in 2011, and now I am making it my life's work. I am writing this blog to help myself remember some of the small steps in past projects, sharing my triumphs and failures, as well as my love of leather.