From my 10 Tips for Selling on Etsy post:
1. Niche thyself. Your shop should have a consistent aesthetic or product line. Don’t try to be everything to everybody. A shop full of cohesive work that connects with a potential buyer is a powerful thing. Nail your niche.
I’ve posted this advice in the fora and some folks respond “I like variety.” My mom says it takes all kinds to make the world go round, so I guess it’s okay if you like variety. But imagine this:
You see a beautiful, red, handknit shawl on the etsy front page. You love it. It has the most beautiful wooden button. It looks lush. The piece is well made and you wish you could afford it now. You follow the item back to the shop. The shop is full of dreamy handknit items– hats, gloves, scarves. (I am a very bad knitter and drool over the lovely knits I see on etsy.) It’s all beautiful. You heart the shop. (For those of you not familiar with etsy jargon, hearting a shop puts the shop in your etsy favorites list.)
You see a beautiful handmade book while wandering around on etsy. It’s simple and elegant. Dark brown leather. Thick cream cotton-rag pages. A lovely journal. You heart the shop.
A month or two later, you have some cash burning a hole in your pocket. You’ve forgotten about the stunning red shawl and the lovely handmade journal, but you haven’t forgotten that there is some serious wonderfulness in your favorites. You start surfing through your fav shops.
You land in a shop with pink and yellow hairbows. How funny. You’re not the type to wear bright hair accessories. You’re a 40-something-year-old woman with a penchant for charcoal grey knits and pearls and an occasional shibori scarf. (I’m projecting a little here.) Why on earth did you favorite a shop with adolescent hairbows?
Oh. There’s the handbound journal. In the shop with the pink hairbows. The journal is still lovely, but…
What are you thinking here? I’ll tell you what I’m thinking– the elegance of the journal is diminished by the conflicting style of the hairbows. The bright, cheeriness of the hairbows is lessened by the subtle, classic look of the journal. The shop looks jumbled. Your brain wants to label the shop; you want to decide to like the shop or not. But it’s complicated. It’s not an automatic “yes I like it.” You surf away and the shop isn’t memorable.
A shop full of bright, fun hairbows would be fabulous. A shop of fine journals would be lovely. Together, they make a trainwreck of a shop.
It is possible to work in several media and have a cohesive body of work. Some artists and crafters have a well-formed sense of style. Their aesthetic doesn’t change with the medium. One fabulous artist who comes to mind is Abigail A. Percy. From jewelry to drawings and prints to home decor, her work is a testament to her mature voice and style.
Okay, back to the money burning a hole in your pocket. You find the shop with the lovely handknits. The first glance of the shop brings a “wow” to your lips. This shop has made a powerful impression and you are a fan.
Build a cohesive body of products in your shop. Make a memorable impression. Impressed people become your fans and buyers.