The First Impression?

Your mother probably told you how import first impressions are. Mine sure did. And that is why I am a neurotic mess when I have to meet somebody new. Oh well, that is another story all together.

As it stands the idea of first impressions for me is really important.

I am now in the process of setting up an Etsy shop to sell some handmade knit items and from what I have read, repeat buyers are crucial on the platform. And that means that you need to:

  1. Make a good product
  2. Present it well
  3. Make a good impression when they receive it

I see it as three steps. As you can see good impressions are important at not one place, but two.

First when I put it on the site I will need to have nice looking photos of it. This is a problem for me because I do not really know how to take a nice photo. My selfies are abysmal and they are my strong point when it comes to photography.

That means that I will need to work on that before I take my shop live.

The second, and this is in my opinion the most important impression, is when they actually unbox it. This is the moment that they will either be happy that they picked one of my pieces or have second thoughts.

For this point I want to make a couple of pieces of supplementary material that accompany the garments.

This will be something like care instructions, possibly a coupon code for my website, and additional piece of contact information. One thing that I have noticed is that it is often hard to contact a person once they have sent you the item.

There have been instances where I wanted to reach out to them and thank them for the great service but didn't have an option too.

Not that I am getting ahead of myself.

One step at a time I guess.

Ready. Set. Knit!

So I am just about ready, at least I feel like I am.

As you all know I have been knitting for years now and have had some success selling some of the items that I have knitted but I have never really tried to make it into anything more than what it, at heart, is.

A hobby.

Hobbies are all good and fine, but they get risky when you start having aspirations to make them into a career. I have been told that this is the easiest way to get tired of, what had been, a pleasant way to spend your time. That is something to certainly consider but I really only feel that that is true for those who might have picked up the hobby with this as their original intent.

For people like me that come at it from the other direction it is less of a risk.

Here the only thing that I may give us is the idea of making my hobby into a business.

When I started to look into this more I realized that there was a lot to consider. And I was sort of put off it all. Now, for the most part, things are in place and I've seen enough to get started. At least the basics have been covered and what has yet to be discovered/encountered isn't that important.

That isn't me being super confident. Rather it is a feeling of covering all of the basics before getting started. And, sure, basics are just that, the baby steps that lead to success.

As they say: "We must learn to walk before we can run." Sidenote: When I googled the idiom I was expecting to see somebody famous credited with saying it. Instead they listed E.L. James as saying it. Hum, pretty sure that it is older than that.

So, what would walking look like in my case?

Well, I felt like it would only be fitting to set a budget. I am willing to invest this much in the business and not much more. This comes in the form of:

  1. Time – I am willing to put a realistic amount of time the business, yet, at the same time it has to have a realistic cut off point. I know some women that decided to start a shop on Etsy and are "still cracking away at it" years later. This isn't very encouraging, nor is is sensible.
  2. Money – If it is important that I set a limit to how much time I am willing to invest into the business that same is doubly true for the financial aspect of the business.
    • Somebody once that I know told me that print shops love to see people come in that are just starting out. Most businesses try to do everything right. And that means having lots of prints made; regardless of how many they need.I think that is why so many shops have a surplus of fliers, business or care cards.

One aspect of starting a shop that I find important is adding the finishing touch.

It both needs to be professional and at the same time it needs to feel like it is personal. I have always appreciate the cards that certain sellers include in the package. They are no more than business cards with a tasteful and cleaver design and a specific purpose that falls into one or more of the following categories:

  1. Coupon
  2. Care
  3. Contact

Right now I want to include two. And I found a site which offers a lot of different styles. I even recognized one of the card designs I've received from an Etsy seller in the past. So from that I can say using straight business cards is certainly an option. And judging by the quality of the print and paper I will likely also go with them, as they are also cheaper. The coupon (which doubles as a contact) and care card.

I haven't made a final decision on the card design. Though I am certain that I will use business cards for the inserts. My main concern for selecting the right set is that they should compliment each other.

When it comes to cards, no matter if it is a business card or a any other piece of promotional material the important part is in clearly stating the purpose. When you get a care card with an order off of Etsy you want the recipient to immediately understand what it is. Don't hide the meaning behind a fancy design that, while it may look nice, ends up in the garbage because they do not know what it is.

What I have in mind for the design is something that clearly shows its intention and then, once they have acknowledged it adds the extra touch.

Is that too much to ask?


But I have a big selection to choose from.

Thinking About Business

The idea of starting a shop on Etsy, etc. has been going through my mind for a while now. And while the prospect seemed daunting. No, wait. It still feels daunting. I am getting more comfortable with it.

The different sources that I have been using to read up on it. Mainly books that I have checked out from the library were helpful. Though they also left me wanting more information. As it stands I do not have the confidence to just jump right in. But that might be what I do. To avoid analogies with learning to swim. It might be the best way o get a feel for the way people do business on the site.

When I was in college one of my roommates was making trinkets and selling them first on ebay and then on in the early days, Etsy.

It worked for her well enough. She always had some money for the weekends – and she paid for a girl's weekend out when we graduated. Which trilled us.

One thing that I have noticed when I buy something from Etsy you often get a business card, presented as a coupon card or care card specific for the product and seller. It is a nice touch that gives it a professional look. Things like, while I can appreciate, I never would have come to the idea myself. Of course I am going to do it. And while it might not be my first step those little cards are actually pretty cheap to have them printed.

I saw that I could order about a hundred cards for less than $20 which makes them five cents a piece. For that and the visual appeal that the finishing touch adds it doesn't make any sense to skip them.

The problem I have with them is either have them professionally designed. This presents a problem in that it makes the whole endeavor more expensive. Or I can design them myself and have them printed. Both have their ups and downs. Professional designs will problem look a lot better. But the added expense might not be worth it.

If I design them myself I can save on the overall cost, the time expenditure, yet I am not sure if I can achieve the same quality with my limited design skills.

In the end I will probably go with the second option. The main reason is that if I need to make changes I won't have to rely on the original designer to make them and I will have the source files to work with.

As you can see there is a lot to consider and I have a hard time making a commitment.