Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Shop Girl

Have you guys seen the movie that shares the title with this post?!  It's one of my favorites and made me seriously crush on Steve Martin!  This post isn't about movies, though, but I am pretty easily distracted!  A sweet friend of mine has recently been feeling discouraged by lack of sales in her online shop , so I want to share how I stay positive and keep it fun!  I know I'm still fairly new to the whole online and Instagram shop scenes, but I have managed to stay really excited about it all.  Now it's also just a hobby for me, so I don't feel much pressure, but I would like to have some amount of success.  Here are some of my tips, if you are thinking of opening up shop-
  • Sell what you love.  I don't think I've sold a single thing that I didn't like and it helps me to be excited about my items.  And because I'm selling what I love, I'm familiar with all my items and am able to easily answer questions and provide more information. 
  • Take your time, if you are making items.  Quality over quantity, duh!  I know it looks like I just glue a bunch of shit to other shit, but I really do lay everything out and put some thought into my items before pulling out the glue.  And I even go back with tweezers to clean up any messy glue spots or stray doll hairs!
  • Promote the hell out of yourself!  If you have an Instagram account or blog, share what you're working on and share when you update your shop.  Ask friends for help too.  I'm lucky to have friends with blogs who have linked to my shop, but I've also asked people to share photos on Instagram.  An Instagram giveaway is a great way to spread the word about your shop!
  • Get cute packing supplies!  That sounds a little silly, but I think it's much more fun to pack orders when you have fun supplies.  I found Tiffany blue boxes fairly cheap on eBay for my jewelry, had stickers made on Moo, and use patterned washi tape and colorful tissue paper.  I try to include candy or stickers too and always a handwritten note.  Besides making what could be a chore into something totally bearable, I think customers appreciate those extra steps and are likely to order again.
  •  Make sure to communicate with customers and ask for their feedback.  I'm not always able to ship things out immediately, but I always let people know if there will be a delay and why.  Storeenvy is great, because it allows you to email customers when you have shipped their order and include a tracking number.  You can do that with PayPal too.  With my Instagram shop, I actually had a few items arrive in pieces, but I always kept the communication open with those customers and did what I could to make it up to them.  You have to keep people happy, if you want them to keep buying from you!
  • Don't take on more than you can handle!  There's a reason I turn almost always turn down requests for custom items.  I work full time and have two busy boys to care for.  I'd surely end up pissing everyone off with the amount of time it would take me to complete requests and custom orders.
  • Ask for help!  I've sent messages to the owners of Instagram shops asking for their suggestions and bother my friends pretty regularly.  I also frequently have my husband help me pack orders and run to the post office.  Sometimes you just can't do it alone!
  • Finally, be patient!  There's no overnight success; You have to work for that shit!  There are going to be weeks, maybe even months, where you get zero orders.  I can see that it could be discouraging, but you have to just keep doing the above things! 
I'm by no means an expert, but I have a way of staying hopeful and positive.  It's not always easy and it sometimes involves tears and pep talks with family or friends, but I love working at it!  I've set some goals for myself, including doing an actual craft show eventually, and I think that helps me stay positive and focused too.  Good luck to all my fellow shop girls and guys!

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