Finances, business setup, taxes...argh! Working out whether what you’re doing on Etsy is a hobby or a small business for tax purposes can be daunting, and nothing is scarier than making sure you’re set up right for your tax and financial requirements. Are we right? Well let us help with that...
Come along to an informative session with the friendly and knowledgeable Diana Todd, owner of Balance Tax (http://balancetax.com.au/), and make sense of what your obligations are and how to get set up right early on in your creative journey!
Diana works every day with small business owners in the creative industries. She knows all the answers to the tax questions that keep creatives up at night, and makes them all super easy to understand!
As well as learning all the important bits of info you need, Diana will include Q&A time as well, to address any extra questions you have.
Places are free and strictly limited, so book fast! No attendance without a ticket!
You can select from the following sessions:
26th April 7pm @ Heathcote Cultural Precinct
28th April midday @ City of Perth Library
1st May midday @ City of Perth Library
Free tickets to all sessions available here:
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/o/wa-etsy-team-10743329543 See more
In May the Leaders of the WA Etsy Team are running two 'how to' session for Etsy, with support from the Fremantle City Library.
The course covers -
Participants will receive a work booklet that builds on the ideas raised in the workshop. This means that topics can be further explored and revisited at a comfortable pace, with all the necessary resources. All participants will also have access to a course 'alumni' group where questions can be answered and discussions raised after the course.
If when you think about Etsy you've ever asked...
There are two sessions (both with the same content so you attend one OR the other).
Each session has limited places on offer: Sat 21st May 2-4 and Wed 25th May 10-12.
Attendance is free and places are filling fast. Please follow the link below to register your interest.
PART 3 of Choosing a business name : Business name vs Trade mark and Domain names - and where to start...
PART 3 : TRADE MARKS
Davina Farinola, WA Street Team Etsy Leader shares her experience...
Head over to http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au for some useful information.
A trade mark is used to distinguish the goods and services of one trader from those of another. It's needed if you are getting serious - not usually done before your initial set up - so you may tick along for years before you think "Hey I'm doing ok - it would be a real bummer if another craft business set up and started using part of my name!”.
For example my registered and trade marked name is Fluid Ink. Now if another letterpress company decided to call themselves ‘Fluid Letterpress’, or even ‘Ink Letterpress’, ‘Fluid Graphic Design’ or ‘Ink Graphic Design’ then I have the right to investigate whether they can trade as that, and I can place an ‘opposition’ investigation if I wish to.
Its also useful to search the national Trade Mark database to make sure that if in the future you are considering making you name a trade mark, that name will be available: http://pericles.ipaustralia.gov.au/atmoss/Falcon.Search_Screen
If your proposed name is available and you don't think there will be much conflict, then your business name is a winner. You can apply for an ABN, register your business name, buy a domain name, and trade away!
BUSINESS NAME CONFLICTS
Trade marks are grouped into classes so if you name yourself ‘Fluffiness’ and you make pillows, and there is another company called ‘Fluffies’, and they make nappies, then you are in different classes and there will more than likely not be too much conflict.
I myself have had legal, wordy, mean letters telling me to cease and desist from trading as Fluid Ink, as an other company named "Fluid Something" (an advertising agency) was submitting their own trademark and they saw me as impinging on their trademark. It freaked me out. I was a little one-gal operation and their lawyers sent out scary official letters to change my business name.
I was advised by the Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) not to worry, indeed, IP Australia said that these letters were par for course of many companies; they are just a standard thing that gets posted out during a new application for a trade mark (you can pay companies to file a TM for you, and this is the kind of stuff you pay for when you pay a company to handle on your behalf).
APPLY FOR A TRADE MARK
To applying for a trade mark can get expensive (starting at $500 - my total bill was $1500 all up!) To apply go to http://www.ipaustralia.gov.au/ You can poke around, get acquainted, start the application and make it pretty much to the end before you have to pay the initial registration fee which is rather helpful!
You can ask for help from IP Australia, pay for a TM Head start (pre-application service) or just dig in and go for it. There is a trade mark application fee $120 per 'class' (I’m listed in 3 'classes' or industry areas - so that cost $360 just to apply).
Don’t forget you could be rejected at this stage - after you have paid an application fee which is why searching the name first, and knowing the relevant 'class' for your business is a good thing to do before forking out!)
Once you ‘pass’ the examination stage (e.g. after an examination period of a few weeks/months, it is decided you aren't in conflict with any one else), then you pay your registration fee ($300 per class). At this stage, the trade mark is advertised, and others have 2 months to ‘oppose’ it. After the 2 months, if it’s all good, you are free to use that neat little ‘R’ logo or ‘TM’ logo after your name! :)
NEED MORE INFORMATION?
If you need help. I’d recommend going and visiting the SBDC (Small Business Development Corporation). There are local branches everywhere. They are awesome. These is heaps of info on their websites and their service is FREE! You get to talk to a human expert - just call and set up an appointment. They are great for any small business problem and run regular courses on all sorts of interesting useful topics including business names: http://www.smallbusiness.wa.gov.au/small-business-development-corporation-home-page/
DISCLAIMER: Don't forget to do your own research - This is Davina's unique experience and is by no means exhaustive coverage - every business is different, that's why if need a little extra help, seek out the experts!
PART 2 of Choosing a business name : Business name vs Trade mark and Domain names - and where to start...
Head over to http://www.asic.gov.au/
A business name is simply a name or title under which a person or entity conducts a business. In Australia, unless you fall within an exemption, you must register your business name. Registering a business name is a legal obligation if you plan to carry on business or trade in Australia using a name other than your own.
To register a business name, you will need to have an Australian Business Number (ABN) or be in the process of applying for one with the Australian Business Register (ABR).
It's important to remember that registering a business name doesn't mean you own it, or that you are preventing other people from being able to register and use similar names. Generally, the only way to gain exclusivity over a particular business name is to register it as a trade mark with IP Australia.
Exceptions to needing a business name include:
• if you are operating as an individual and your operating name is the same as your first name and surname
• if you are in a partnership and your operating name is the same as all of the partners' names, or
• if you are an already registered Australian company and your operating name is the same as your company's name.
The law does not allow any changes from the business holder’s name if you wish to rely on the above exemptions. For example, if your name is John Smith, and the name of your business is ‘John Smith & Co’, you will need to register the business name ‘John Smith & Co’.
On the ASIC website, there is a business name search tool where you can see if any other genius is trading as your name https://connectonline.asic.gov.au/RegistrySearch/faces/landing/bn/SearchBnRegisters.jspx
Don’t forget to search for your name as a whole word (for instance FLUIDINK and Fluid Ink) as this can make a difference.
Did you know that you may be inadvertently infringing someone else's trade mark with your proposed business name? Choosing a business name that infringes an existing trade mark can be a costly exercise - it could mean hefty legal bills, drawn out disputes and even the closure of your business.
That's why it's so important to undertake a trade mark (TM) check. - Read on in part 3 where we cover ‘TRADE MARKS’
DISCLAIMER: Do your own research - This is Davina’s experience and is by no means exhaustive - every business is different… if you need a little extra help seek out the experts such as SBDC (Small Business Development Corporation)!
Over the course of the next three blog posts, we'll be sharing some useful thoughts and tips on Business names, Domain names and Trade marking from Davina from Fluid Ink Letterpress. Part one is coming right up... check back for Part two and three as they're published.
SO, you have a small business, you have thought of a great business name. There may be a few OTHER things to consider besides how clever, catchy and brilliant it is and how awesome it would look as a logo up in lights (I know- thats the best bit!) BUT you may need to consider the ‘business’ side of things when it comes to your ‘business name’.
So where do you start?
In short - start at the end. With a Domain Name. Once you have thought of the most awesome business name, check to see if its available as a url. You can do this buy typing it into your browser or by going to a domain name ‘shop’ and using their search options. I have used Crazy Domains as a good place to search. You may not be ready to create a website, it may be you just want to sell through portals such as ETSY, but its worth considering looking forward.
First few suggestions when choosing a domain name or website URL (address) -personal thoughts only - others may disagree.
Use your business name PLUS what you do
For example - although my business name and trade mark are just ‘Fluid Ink’ My URL Is fluidinkletterpress.com.au - I figure that Fluid ink can (and does) refer to my letterpress business as well as my graphic design service. I also own Mini Ink as a trade mark, and I have url’s MiniInkfingerprint.com.au (fingerprint trees) and Miniink.com.au (baby cards)
If possible, spell it properly
i.e.: ‘designs’ rather than ‘designz’ so it can easily be searched and remembered... however you may have reasons for a quirky spelling - if so knock yourself out!
Decide on a .com.au or just .com
Registering a .com.au requires an ABN. There are many arguments as to whether you should get a .com or .com.au (.com.au is more expensive - of course!) Personally, I feel being a .com.au makes me local for those that wish to shop within Australia which is a real bonus for me.
It’s also good to purchase several urls to save others buying and trading as them, so go ahead and purchase the 'yourbizname.com.au' (and host your website under this) but also buy 'yourbizname.com' and tuck it under your belt - they are quite cheap. You can go crazy with domain names, buying up URLs that are closely related to your name. Realistically, you need to think if anyone else would ever want that name, but if for example you are a crochet artist trading as ‘Crochet by Davina’, then you may even search and buy - crochet.com.au if available.
If the domain name you're after is available - awesome! - You need an ABN to register an Australian domain name (eg a .com.au) - so the next stop is to see if your awesome name is available on the National register of Business names. (You need an ABN to get a business name - so you need to sort your business name registration next)
HINT: if you already have an ABN, you can register a second business name under the same ABN.
DISCLAIMER: DO your own research - This is my experience and is by no means exhaustive - every business is different, thats why if need a little extra help - seek out the experts such as SBDC (Small Business Development Corporation)!
Stay tuned for part 2 - Business Names
Cupid is here to deliver an extra special present just in time for Valentine’s Day: the launch of Australian Etsy Gift Cards!
For the person who has everything, the friend that is impossible to buy for, or, let’s be honest, if you’ve run out of time to order a gift from a seller - an Etsy Gift Card will save the day.
Give your loved ones the gift of choice this Valentine’s Day, and ensure that their present is something they will adore.
How do I get my hands on them?
Gift cards can be purchased online at etsy.com/giftcards where you will be directed to choose from one of fun designs. You can choose to email your gift card to a friend for instant gift-giving, or print one out to pop inside your Valentine’s card and give in person.
You will then receive a confirmation email once you have completed your transaction. You can give $25, $50, $100 or $250.
How do I redeem an Etsy gift card?
If you choose to send your gift card via email, an email will be sent to your loved one informing them of the good news. From there they can simply click “Redeem Now” to add the Etsy gift card balance to their account. If you have given the printed card, it can be redeemed by visiting etsy.com/redeem, and typing in the redemption code. All that’s left to do then is to go shopping and apply the balance upon check out.
How do I accept Etsy Gift Cards in my shop?
You will need to have direct checkout enabled in order to accept gift cards. Why? Etsy gift cards rely on our direct checkout feature and the infrastructure we provide through our payments system.
If you are a seller already enrolled in direct checkout, you are ready to go — there’s nothing additional you need to do to accept Etsy Gift Cards in your shop, and you can process or refund these orders like you would any other direct checkout order. You’ll be able to tell if someone is using an Etsy gift card from your emails and receipts.
If you haven’t signed up for direct checkout, we encourage you to do so. It’s the quick and easy way for shoppers to pay for items with their credit card directly through Etsy, and sellers love providing the option to their customers.
No more excuses for not having gift ideas! Purchase an Etsy Gift Card, take the difficult decisions out of your hands and simply let them choose.
A huge opportunity for those looking to get their Etsy shop into gear either by starting it up, getting it refined or taking it to a whole new level! #EtsyResolution is an online course with fabulous regular focal points, is free and features mentors Clare Bowditch and Jess Van Den to help you through the process.
Some of the things you'll learn include:
January 27 – Telling Your Brand Story
January 29 – Find Your Target Market
February 2 – Photography: Telling Your Shop’s Visual Story
February 5 – Shipping Tips & Tricks
February 9 – Search Engine Optimisation: Getting Found Online
February 12 – Get to Know (and love!) Your ‘Shop Stats’
February 16 – Marketing 101 (for creative types!)
February 19 – Creating Happy Customers (and nailing the art of repeat business)
February 25 – Live online Q&A with Clare and Jess
A lot of team members have been getting involved already, and chatting to each other through the Facebook Group that has been established for the course. Have a read and sign up to #EtsyResolution here, make 2015 the year that your Etsy shop TAKES OFF!
We're very excited to announce that you can see event details in the latest edition of Tickle the Imagination Magazine! There's also some amazing work by Team members featured throughout this issue. We're so proud - not least of our amazing Team member Tanya, who is the magazine editor!
WHAT IS THE EVENT?
SOMETHING DIFFERENT - A pop up event in Leederville #somethingdifferentinleederville
Friday night 7th-Sunday 9th November 2014
Friday 5-9pm • Sat & Sun 10-4pm
The Leederville Arena (corner of Newcastle and Oxford Streets, Leederville)
This event is presented by ETSY Australia and run by volunteers of the ETSY WA Street Team.
This INAUGURAL event is a market space that will be made up of 40+ individual artists and makers. We are running it as an offline Etsy festival. Each allocated stall will consist of a trestle table and be of an area approximately 2x1.5m, table cloths and name sign. (all supplied). We are able to offer you a very affordable stall price of $40 per day (a total of $120 for the event), thanks to the generous support of several sponsors that we have secured.
The Arena will be decorated in orange and white (Etsy colours) and the whole event will have a festival vibe. Eat + Shop + Drink
How will you be juried?
Your application will be juried by a team that will look at your images of products and displays, your application, your branding, and your online presence. Once applications close, there will be a minimum of 1 week for selection process.
Contact: email@example.com for more information
or visit http://wastreetteam.weebly.com/ | facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wastreetteam
For all the details you'll need to apply, join the facebook group dedicated to the event.
Here you will find answers to all the questions you might have about applying, stall sharing, insurance, product photos and everything else! This is your one-stop-shop for pre-application information and your chance to connect with other crafters who are interested in the event, as well as the event organisers.
ENTRIES CLOSE: Friday 19th September 2014 (SOON!)
We need some punchy artwork to make our inaugural event FLY!
SOMETHING DIFFERENT – A POP UP EVENT IN LEEDERVILLE Perth Western Australia
This event is presented by ETSY Australia and run by volunteers of the ETSY WA Street Team.
WHAT IS THE EVENT?
SOMETHING DIFFERENT - A pop up event in Leederville –Western Australia Friday night 7th- Sunday 9th November 2014
Friday 5-9pm • Sat & Sun 10-4pm
The Leederville Arena (corner of Newcastle and Oxford Streets, Leederville)
This INAUGURAL event is a market space made up of 40+ individual artists and makers, all selling their own hand crafted products for their own profit (we are a not for profit event). We are running it as an offline Etsy festival.
The focus is to EAT, SHOP, DRINK – To combine these 3 things rather than just focusing solely on the hand crafted goods. We will be attracting those who are after experiencing and enjoying an EVENT rather than exclusively browsing items at a craft market.
Artwork for a poster and flyer for the inaugural event:
SOMETHING DIFFERENT – A POP UP RETAIL EVENT IN LEEDERVILLE
Posters and postcards will be distributed around Perth. We are hoping to have a series of different cards to ‘collect’ – so more than one artwork may be selected.
Any media and style will be accepted as long as a digital version high resolution can be obtained.
A4 (at least)
To include a choice of the phrases
* Surround yourself with SOMETHING DIFFERENT
* SOMETHING DIFFERENT is about to happen
* Feast your eyes on SOMETHING DIFFERENT
* Discover SOMETHING DIFFERENT
Also include the 'sub text'
SOMETHING DIFFERENT - A pop up event in Leederville
7-9 November 2014 • Friday 5-9pm • Sat & Sun 10-4pm
The Leederville Arena (corner of Newcastle and Oxford Streets, Leederville)
Use the orange gingham sample attached – it can be used in any way or form – be creative! We are thinking of a collage or patterned background type look and the quote as a typographic design. We were envisioning an emphasis is on the use of white and shades of orange - the Etsy colours - but feel free to submit artwork that may convince us otherwise.
Space for the ETSY logo as well as sponsors logos along the bottom (To be inserted in house)
The reverse of the flyer/postcard will be designed in house.
You do not need to be a member of ETSY to enter.
A Pinterest page has been started with some examples. Available to view HERE: http://www.pinterest.com/fluidink/something-different-artwork-ideas/
An Idea of the Etsy branding and LOOK we want to achieve on the day can be found: <http://etsyroadtrip.tumblr.com/etsyroadtrip/>
A sample/mock up of a poster has been pinned to the above pinterest board
ENTRIES CLOSE: Friday 19th September – late entries will not be considered.
To submit your artwork, Please email it to: wa street team firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. your name
2. business name
3. Your location
4. medium resolution version of your artwork,
5. any additional information you would like
CONDITIONS OF ENTRY:
You will not be financially remunerated for your awesome efforts
designs will be judged by WA Etsy street team leaders and captain, as well as ETSY Australia Admins.
You will be credited with the artwork on the reverse of the postcard
WA street team reserve the right to ask for edits on the artwork as we feel necessary
WA street team reserve the right to edit and use the artwork in any location including social media, and as we feel appropriate.
All graphics and images must be owned by the designer. If stock imagery has been used, the designer must have purchased or downloaded following strict copywrite guidelines. WA Street Team will not be held responsible for any breach of copywrite.
By submitting your artwork, to us, you agree to these conditions.
Contact: email@example.com for more information
A direct link to this brief in Google Docs can be found HERE: http://bit.ly/1oSpTLg
These days the actual crafting and product creation is only a very small piece of running a small business. A lot of hard work has to go into self-promotion as well. Facebook can be a great tool for this if used the right way. Here’s some ideas to get you thinking about how best to use Facebook Pages to your advantage.
1. Don’t spam or ‘hard sell’
Promote yourself but don’t go overboard and flood everyone’s newsfeed. Schedule posts using Facebook’s simple scheduling tools, or other useful tools like Buffer (which allows you to pre-write posts and then release them to staggered schedule) . Post at the best time of day to reach your target audience, then you won’t need to spam them! Invite people and friends to like your page, but if they don’t accept don’t immediately invite them again… give it a bit of time for your page to take off!
2. Write in your own voice
People like you and your craft, just talk naturally about your business, show some progress shots, talk about what’s involved and what you’ve been doing. Keep it professional, but not in an alienating manner. Be warm, ask your likers questions and engage them by gently requesting feedback on posts. Don’t get too far off topic with positive affirmations and pictures of kittens or children holding hands with cute captions underneath! Every now and then is okay, but if people like your page they primarily want to see your work, not reposting of Anne Geddes’ (or whoever else’s) work! ;-)
3. Post regularly and answer any questions promptly
This seems like a simple one, but it’s something that a lot of people neglect… if you’re going to go to the trouble of having a page, then make sure you maintain it. Out of date information is so frustrating for prospective customers. Not updating the page makes you look neglectful of your business. If there’s going to be a hiatus in posting then explain it – say you’ll be off line for a couple of days and what you’ll be doing, so fans know when to check in on your page again. Also, having a Facebook page means you invite comments and questions. Make sure you respond to, or at the very least acknowledge, interaction. If people ask questions on your page and you don’t get back to them they’re going to lose interest pretty quickly.
4. Be interesting and engaging
Try and make your posts engaging. Be a bit funny, point out something interesting about your work, make the item newsworthy. Look at how many people find different types of your posts engaging. If people are clearly finding a certain type of post particularly engaging or unengaging, adapt your posting habits accordingly. Let people win stuff or have input into one of your creative endeavours (ask people to comment with style advice and then show a finished product featuring the advice you took). Run a competition, everyone like the chance to snag free stuff. Make sure you carefully adhere to Facebook’s
guidelines for running a promotion though!
The best posts that create connections have a call to action element. This means you should ask or encourage the reader to do something, for example “Like if you…” “Share if you…” “Click ‘Like’ if you agree!” Always try to add a call to action in your posts – watch how the response type differs.
Images are also a great way to engage. Try images with interactivity: – images work – but images with interactivity are superb! Ask for an opinion such as “which four of these products describes your personality best?” and use pictures numbered one to four. These type of posts are great for getting responses, and written replies trump ‘likes’ in terms of feed interest and brand loyalty.
5. Double check your post before posting
Make sure your posts make sense, have no spelling errors and are to the point. If you get the point of your post across succinctly then in the feed preview people will immediately be able to see what you’re talking about and are more likely to click to read if it’s of interest. You can ‘attach’ a weblink instead of pasting a long url in the text of your post, this looks more polished below your post if you can make use of this function.
6. Use Apps for interest but not to excess
There are lots of great Apps you can use to link to or enhance your Facebook Page. Don’t go crazy using unrated apps but you can definitely experiment with blog or newsletter buttons, Etsy Mini tabs and other things. A few Apps even have “like gates”, which require a viewer to like the Page before accessing some Page information. Read a bit more on “like gates” with Pagemodo here.
7. ‘Like’ other pages using your page
Admire someone else’s work and want to form a Facebook relationship with them? Comment using your page! Don’t go overboard or ask them to go and check out all your work etc, etc. Just say ‘hi’ mentioning or using your page. Same with potential stockist pages – touch base and let them know of your existence using your page. Comment from time to time on other Page’s posts to stay in touch, but make it genuine… a smart businessperson can see ‘fishing’ a mile off! Also share work you admire, but again, keep it to complementary occasional posting, don’t just make your feed nothing but reposts.
8. Learn to understand Facebook Insights
Facebook explains most of how to do this here, so I won’t put it all into my own words… suffice to say that Facebook provides a heap of stats about who likes your Page and how they interact with it. Make that work for you!
9. Use platforms you’re already established on to promote your Facebook page
Add a Facebook button to your website or blog or drop a mention on twitter. If you have a good following in one place, use that to promote yourself elsewhere. You can easily link your Instagram to Facebook, which might lead your Instagram followers to check you out on Facebook, or vice versa. Don’t
get lazy though and use one platform to update all of them. If you’re just going to have a twitter account that constantly says “so-and-so posted a photo to facebook” (which is what can happen when you post an uncaptioned photo to a facebook page which automatically updates a Twitter account), your going to
start annoying your Twitter followers. Be sure to alternate your updating so all of the platforms you choose to operate appear maintained!
10. Don’t get discouraged by ‘drop offs’
Remember that losing non-interested parties off is an integral part of business. You only want to keep people who respond to how you run things and how you want to run things, so you are building brand loyalty with the valuable time you spend on social networking and truly interested parties are the ones you want to keep interested!
Starting and keeping up a Facebook Page can be a bit daunting, but hopefully with some of these guidelines you can make a go of things! Don’t be afraid to ask friends and colleagues their overall impression of your page. Sometimes a layperson’s eye can spot something that you (deeply absorbed in your Etsy business) might be missing! And don’t forget, Facebook rules and feed algorithms (the maths behind what posts get kept in your likers feeds) are forever changing so find a have a google for a good source to keep up with the changes. That way you won’t break any rules, and you can make the most of your time on social media! There are many, many guides to how to make Facebook work for your small business, these are just a few ideas, please feel free to share more links and ideas in the comments area below this post.
Best of luck with your Facebook Page!
Words by Kate from ceramic snippets, with help from Cynthia from Shiny Rabbit and Davina
from Fluid Ink… come and say hi to us on Facebook!
So maybe one of your new years resolutions or goals is to get your work in some shops… We’ve spoken to team members with a bit of experience in this area and they’ve very kindly shared some red-hot tips.
RESEARCH – MAKE SURE YOU’RE A GOOD FIT!
Gill Cordiner, who makes fabulous jewellery, has 18 stockists at last count! Her first tip is to be relentless in your quest. This isn’t necessarily an easy process, but you can make is happen a bit more smoothly by researching what retailers are out there. Cynthia from Shiny Rabbit says that for starters, if you’re going to give a shop insight into expanding their range with your products, make sure you fit! As Cynthia very correctly puts it, there’s no point in trying to sell nipple tassels to a home-wares store! As well as figuring out if you’re a good fit for their shop, let them know where you fit into their ethos and range. Suggest what items from your range suit theirs, what price point they fit in.
Kate from ceramic snippets adds to look at things from all angles. For instance, as well as the right type of item and the right price point, is your product the right style (are your products rustic when everything in the shop you’re looking at is highly polished)?
Peta from Petrafanella and Gill also suggest seeing where your peers are stocked. You can look for labels in the same vein as those sold in magazines you admire, like Frankie and Peppermint. See where they’re stocked and send through an introductory email. Davina from Fluid Ink suggests having a little ‘stalk’ of
potential stockists on Facebook and the internet, this can help you find a contact (the ‘important’ person’s name), and also allows you to find some point of commonality to bring up or base your email around if you choose.
STRIKE A BALANCE WITH YOUR PRICES
Gill emphasises being realistic with your prices. You want to get paid for your work and you know how much effort you’ve put in, but retailers are also looking to make money from selling your work so you need to balance these aspects. Kate says to consider whether you’re looking to approach a shop as a
wholesaler or whether you’re looking to sell on consignment. This affects your pricing structure but also things like how much product you’ll have to make and at what point in the process you can expect payment.
Straightforward but important; Gill says be professional and super-reliable on getting work to retailers; after all, they’re investing in and depending on you! Along with this, take the approach that there is ‘no job too big or small’. Be willing to take on challenges and excel in them, but also acknowledge that a
small job or sale may lead to other things!
Be friendly, approachable and flexible – might you get a stockist if you take a little longer to explain something to someone at your market stall? Kate says that that is how she got her latest stockist… what starts as a general conversation about your craft can end up with the customer revealing they have a
shop and would like to stock your work!
HOW YOU PRESENT YOURSELF ONLINE
Gill says make sure your photos and descriptions are good. If people are perusing your work online they need to see things from angles and displayed in ways that enable them to visualise how they’d fit into their shop stock. On this same note use Facebook, keep it updated, on-point and interesting. Kate
reiterates this, say that too many general updates on things like the weather or positive affirmations etc. can turn people off – it’s a business page, so you can be friendly and fun but make your work the focus of the page. A bit of ‘in process’ information can be interesting. Showing you working on your products
can put a human face to the business and emphasise the work and skill involved in doing what you do!
When approaching people electronically, Gill uses email or Facebook, keeping the message concise and to the point with good images and reference to her website, which is laid out in the style of an online catalogue. Peta makes the point that she always includes images, as you can’t rely on people to click
through all your links to see the relevant work. Cynthia reiterates this, and says to include anything that makes you or your stuff special… people buy stories (that includes the stockists you’re approaching). Keep your email brief but informative too, and don’t be generic, pick your images and tailor the email content to the particular store.
…AND IN PERSON
Approach people when you’re out and about, if you see an ‘on the fly’ opportunity to promote your business then take it – Gill likes to be brazen and push a wee bit – but says don’t be too pushy! Peta suggests going into a store and starting up a conversation to find out how you would go about being stocked there. You can then make an appointment to take some items in to show. It can take courage, but if you pick a good moment (like when the store owner isn’t trying to serve a million customers) and the right store, you can definitely have success!
Whatever way you approach people, Cynthia reminds you to be organised! You’re the one making contact so have your prices, terms and stock sorted before you get in touch with your target! The goal is to get an appointment to show your range.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST
Finally, be original and your product will appeal. Kate adds to this that not everyone is going to love everything you do, and your work may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Don’t take it personally, accept it and move on. The creation and appreciation of arts and crafts can be very subjective, and for every one person not so keen on what you’ve produced, there’s two or three who will fall in love with your work! If someone doesn’t want to stock your work it could be for any number of reasons – they may have just stocked similar products; they may be on a tight budget, and so forth. Don’t take it as a set back, tell them to get in touch in the future if anything changes and also look at your own approach and take a quick moment to make sure you’re doing everything the best you can… and then move on to your next target!
If you don’t hear back, don’t assume that’s a no! As Cynthia says, ‘follow up!’ Shop owners are super-busy these days and won’t be sitting, twiddling their thumb at the keyboard, waiting for your email. They may forget they even saw your email once they’ve read it, and a follow up may jog their memory. Cynthia
uses the approach of emailng first and then calling or sending a follow-up email after that. Davina is also a fan of the email over ‘cold calling’ – it allows potential stockists to absorb information at their leisure, and if you’re a bit shy it saves any awkwardness!
Once you are stocked somewhere, that’s not the end of the story – as Cynthia says, you’re only going to continue to be stocked if there’s effort on your part in the form of communication and further contact. So take the initiative and keep in regular contact for more orders or refill orders.
As Davina says, the whole process takes a bit of courage and some investment of time, but have a bit of faith in your hard work and your power to make others see its value and loveliness! If you have any other tips or think we’ve missed any good advice, please share and let others who are starting out have a little slice of your expertise! Good luck.
Kate from ceramic snippets: http://www.ceramicsnippets.com
With many thanks to:
Gill from Gill Cordiner Australia: http://www.gillcordiner.com/ (earrings pictured
at top of page by Gill)
Cynthia from Shiny Rabbit: http://www.shinyrabbit.com.au/
Davina from Fluid Ink: http://www.fluidink.com.au/
Peta from Petrafanella: http://www.petrafanella.com/
Ever wonder how everyone else knows about all the upcoming events, and you only find out about something that would have been awesome to be a part of when it has already been and gone?!
Well let me help you with that. Here’s some links that will allow you to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening next in Perth and how you can be a part of it…
Many of these have the option to subscribe to weekly newsletters and links to other useful sites and listings. There are many more popping up all the time. If you know of a goodie, please comment below and share the love!
image ‘all in a row’ courtesy of Studio Jarrah: http://studiojarrah.bigcartel.com/
Etsy has taken their ‘shop local’ mantra to a new level, recently introducing Etsy Local. The idea behind Etsy Local is that you can shop Etsy offline. Etsy now allows sellers to list by location any physical markets they are selling at or attending. If a seller creates a new market entry, it also appears on their shop page… so buyers have the option to come and see their shop goodies in person!
Buyers can visit Etsy Local and see what upcoming markets featuring Etsy sellers are happening near them. Etsy Local can be seen and searched here: www.etsy.com/local – entering your city lets you see what is happening nearby.
When you enter a new listing make sure you are on EtsyAU to avoid confusion (some of the timezone information is automatic and it can cause a few hiccups if you try and enter start and finish times when you’re not on the Australia site). You can also add yourself to a preexisting event so that buyers and sellers can see a nice list of who (else) to expect at the event.
If you don’t find any local events you want to attend, never fear! The local ‘offline’ page also links back into etsy local online – containing a link to allow you to shop local on the Etsy website and buy from sellers located near to you. It’s really nice that Etsy has found a way to emphasise buying locally,
just in time for Christmas.
Have a go and add any events that you’ll be making your mark at before the end of the year, it’ll give team members a great idea of what busy little bees we are!
Etsy announcement: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7716/announcements/discuss/13309545/
FAQ (lots of ‘how to’ here… but remember to use EtsyAU when listing your event – https://www.etsy.com/au/local): http://www.etsy.com/au/help/article/4822
Discussion and other people’s questions answered: http://www.etsy.com/au/teams/7722/discussions/discuss/13312674/
A condensed version of this was printed in Bespoke Magazine
Hey Mr postman!
Let me get one thing straight, I love receiving orders – it means people like my work and when my customers are happy –I’m ecstatic! But posting orders is not my most favorite job. It can be time consuming, takes up space and you need to be organized – all of which are not my best points – so – to make things easier, I have sorted a few tools and resources that I would like to share with my fellow time and space poor, crafters (being disorganised is optional). Most of my orders are paper goods and they are generally small ‘letters’ which is lucky because the number 1 rule for keeping postage costs down is trying to keep things under 2cm high.
If you have organised your postage costs to be consistent and accurate, it will result in better sales and buyer satisfaction!
Advice #1 – keep package height under 2 cm
This will dramatically reduce postage costs. – use small boxes, more effective space saving protection and packing. Use your FREE letter gauge from your post office.
For bulky posting within Australia, use prepaid satchels – wrap item carefully, pop in a protective box etc. and pop the box in the satchel. A big money saver compared with just trying to post an oddly shaped box, it also means it is easy to quote an upfront shipping cost. Satchel weights are 500g or 3kg so aim for one of these. Also 3kg bags are wider so if the item is bulky but light, the 3kg may still be your bes option. (Bulky advice here from Kate Stevens of ceramic snippets- Ed.)
Advice #2 Get yourself a free letter gauge from you post office
This will ensure you keep things to a minimum because when your letters are over the sizes on the letter gauge, costs rise.
Advice #3 – make love or friends with your post office assistant.
This may require you finding a good looking one or possibly just one that knows what they are doing and is helpful! They can give you free advice and ‘stuff’ such as the letter gauge and FREE address labels – yep a WHOLE Book!
Advice #4 – get yourself a postage container
Fill it with
Advice #5 – Get familiar with Australia Posts 'calculate postage’- page
Its awesome. Very user friendly and will answer most questions. Use this in conjunction with you letter gauge and scales.
Advice #6 – Photograph your post
Do this at the post office once they have put their processing stamp on it. If you are not using a tracking code (and perhaps even if you are) It may help with disputes with your customer.
Advice #7 Get familiar with UPS Zip code look up site.
Did you know that it may speed up letter delivery to the US if you include the second/last part of the zip code? Its not often included on peoples address so you have to look it up using the above website. For example I may be given the address: 3284 Eagle Ridge Sierra Vista, AZ 85650 United States, but when I enter the details into the UPS Zip finder, it gives me the number as 85650-6635.
Advice #8 – Wrap with sensible love.
I love to wrap. When I first started, I would tie with string, paper bags, doilies etc, etc. But my products were all under $5 and I was wasting a lot of time and $$ on the wrapping of a single greeting card. Yes sure if the order is a big one then I lavish care and attention, but time and resources = $$. Be aware of your costs, recycle old bubble wrap and envelopes. Use quirky things like vintage book pages, dressmaking patterns etc as packing.
Advice #9 – Join forums and discussions.
Don’t be afraid to ask! People LOVE giving advice. Join your ETSY team, crafters group, anyone with like minded craftyness and ask. Seek and you shall find…
Advice #10 – live opposite a red letterbox.
I do. Its very helpful!
Good luck! Davina - Fluid Ink Letterpress
Kathy’s exposure in the media is inspiring. Her products are totally amazing, perfect unique and beautifully made which is a pretty good start, but the way she has been successfully featured in several ‘big name’ publications is a fantastic boost to the handmade network here in Perth. Thankfully Kathy is a
generous soul and shares her ‘publicity secrets’ in her words below.
I started Lamonster in February 2012 and since then have been lucky to have been featured in publications such as Frankie Magazine, Peppermint Magazine, Tickle the Imagination, Kid Magazine and Kid Independent. To be included in both Frankie and Peppermint Magazines has been such a highlight and so exciting mainly because they are my two most favorite magazines. Ever. But also because of the amazing exposure that they have brought me.
In each instance I visited the website for each of the magazines – they have a ‘submissions’ section and give you the email address for the best contact. I try to contact a magazine a month – there is no
harm in trying! In the past I have emailed editors directly – sometimes I have gotten responses, but sometimes I just get emailed back a media pack.
When I contact magazines it’s normally very informal, I like to introduce myself and offer a bit of a background of what I do. I explain (very briefly) the processes involved and attach some promotional pictures and links to my website, Facebook and Etsy shop which I believe gives a complete view of what Lamonster is about.
I think the reason I was selected for both Frankie and Peppermint is that my style is absolutely on par with their target audience – mainly because I am their audience! I make clothing for children with an interesting/playful and vintage twist and both magazines love handmade, unique items. In particular Peppermint has a strong leaning towards garments made with an ethical/environmental consideration – so garments made in limited supply using organic or recycled goods would be favoured.
If I had 5 tips to offer they would be:
1. Know your target audience and aim for the magazines you know they would read;
2. Email the submissions contact provided in the magazine or on the magazine’s website;
3. Be informal in your approach;
4. Provide a little background on yourself and your business;
5. Link to all web content (Etsy/Facebook/webpage/blog) to give them a clear idea of your brand.
And remember that you have nothing at all to lose in trying! Who wouldn’t want free exposure to thousands of people who may otherwise not know about the fantastic things you have to offer?
Good Luck!! Kathy.
Kathy is a regular stall holder at local Perth Markets
and is also a member of Montage Pop up shop
Jenny from Eden Dreams shares some insights on how to run a successful workshop. She shares her skills, unique style and design flair with her clients with the objective of helping each student leave with one or 2 special pieces that they have designed and completed on the day. Her advice below is a valuable resource for anyone considering running workshops for any art or craft medium. Jenny is the driving force behind Eden Dreams – an amalgamation of the things she loves – nature and the beach…ideas and creativity. These are subjects she has explored artistically in various mediums since she was a child. Her love of nature shines through in her artwork and it amazes me that you can walk away from one of her workshops with a truly unique piece of wearable art. All of the images are examples of her students' work.
I’m Jenny from Eden Dreams Jewellery. I run one-day PMC (Precious Metal Clay) jewellery workshops. I have been running workshops for a year.
I would like to say that working with PMC is pretty precarious to a newbie so of course my job is to make sure the whole thing ran smoothly, errors, or potential, were identified before they happened, plan ‘B’s put into place if need be all whilst maintain a calm and relaxed demeanor. I want my ladies to have fun, which basically means I run about like a very clam looking headless chook keeping an eye on things ‘behind the scenes’ so that their day is fun!
Finding a Venue:
I spend quite a while trying to find a good venue… I wanted somewhere close to home (I would have held them at home if it wasn’t for my 2 year old) so that if I forgot something important, hubs could come to the rescue with it!
I booked a room at my local council offices which had an adjoining kitchen (important if people are there all day and want to cool drinks/food etc. with tea facilities etc). Also I needed access to hot water for my workshop for the finishing stages where patinas etc. are applied.
I ensured there was parking and easy access (wheelchairs included). A very important point here was insurance and my classes were covered by the council (on a casual basis I could run 12 a year before the insurance issue became my own problem!) so that was great.
This took a lot of planning and even roping some friends into doing tests runs at my house on 2 occasions for cost price of materials! I wrote down comprehensive lists on timings of the class & content and then a further equipment checklist.
The timings I ran through with my friends, when booking a venue and potentially having other people in the room straight after you, you cannot overrun!! My class bookings were for 7.5 hours and his included
half hour either end to set up and pack away. I also made notes at each timing point reminding me of important things that I couldn’t forget to add to ensure smooth running and no hiccups.
My checklist of equipment runs into 3 pages of A4 and is comprehensive and has never failed me! I provide all tools, equipment, chemicals, jewellery making parts (apart from the PMC). I also take a board that I pin my own designs to and have print outs of other designs which they can either correctly copy or get ideas from. I think seeing the pieces in person gives a good insight into ways of finishing a piece, different styles, different ways you can attach ‘things’ to ‘other things’!
I start the day by giving a talk on PMC, what it is and how it works and then a run through of how the day will proceed so everyone knows what to expect at different stages. I give demonstrations, show my designs so students can see what can be made and to start the creative juices flowing! I also provide some yummy biscuits to help with this.
I take this really seriously and made sure I am careful to explain everything I can think of for students to use the equipment safely, e.g. safety glasses for torch firing, disposable gloves for handling chemicals. I give a group talk before torches are used on those and have a second one there for when the first one becomes hot so we can sway torches to let the first one cool down. I also give practical demos.
I wrote up a disclaimer too and have each participant sign this before we start. It basically says that I will not be liable for any mishaps and they undertake the course at their own risk etc. I also state that things can and do go wrong so it’s not ‘guaranteed’ that they will take home one complete piece (this hasn’t happened but I’m just covering myself!) and also if they feel they don’t want to take part or feel a certain
bit of the class is dangerous then to notify me immediately. Sorry if this seems a little intense but in today’s society with law suits etc., unfortunately I do take this very seriously because you never know!!
I don’t get return business as what I teach can be furthered at home but I certainly get word of mouth bookings. I might at some point offer more advanced courses but it starts to get complicated and would have to be run over several weeks etc. so I’m not going down that route. Maybe in the future.
Amount of people:
I only have 4 ideally but a maximum of 5 people. This ensures I have enough time to watch over everyone and prevent hiccups before they happen – PMC is very temperamental! Also because there is a big design element to it and also turning the PMC into a finished piece of jewellery, this takes time to work out how that can be achieved and that’s very much where my knowledge and ‘expertise’ comes in.
The best place to publicise your course is while at markets because people are there, they can see the sort of things they can make and get a deposit out of them there and then! Also a good one for free
advertising is on Gumtree – they have a section just for community hobbies/classes etc. and I get a lot of enquiries through there. I also add heaps of pictures of the type of things they can expect to make. I also got free/cheap postcards etc. from Vista advertising the courses which I put into customer bags etc. or pinned on local noticeboards. Facebook is another good one.
Behind the scenes:
There is a lot of organisation going on whilst it might seem like ‘a good days wage’ when you work out the figures, this doesn’t take into account the huge amount of organisation that goes on. Room bookings, collecting keys, paying deposits, answering enquiries, ordering stock, checking payments coming in etc.
I have 3 Word document for each stage of an enquiry/booking which I send out. The first one is a comprehensive guide to the day, what ‘it’s about, cost, venue, pictures etc.
If someone then goes on to want to book I send out another standard email with bank details etc.
The final confirms their booking, date time, how much paid and further details for the day and also I attach the disclaimer.
At the end of the day, my main thing is to make sure my clients have a great time and a successful day. They are parting with a ‘reasonable’ amount of money and I would hate for anyone to leave disappointed. As it is my ladies have always left on a high, proud of what they have learned and achieved and ready to tell anyone who will listen what a great time they have had with me and that’s what I want.
CONTACT JENNY at EDEN DREAMS: http://www.edendreams.com.au
Annie from Osmosis creates beautiful lazer cut and cross stitch jewellery. She is a founding member of Perth pop up shop MONTAGE. Montage Pop-up shop is a temporary store of local designers creating handmade goodies.
Everything from jewellery, bath products, toys, aprons and homewares to fashion, art and papergoods plus a few surprises in between, all hand made and produced in WA! Montage’s mission is to create a unique shopping experience using the
‘pop-up’ concept of temporarily appearing in a location before disappearing and
‘poppingup’ again. Montage also hopes to encourage customers to support local
handmade products by West Australian designers. Montage Collective have opened several successful ‘pop-up shops’ previously, in Fremantle, Northbridge and the Perth CBD.
Annie shares some insights into the increasingly popular retail trend ‘Pop Up Shops’.
Why did you start The Montage Collective (Montage)?
It was started when one of a crafty group of friends found out about the possibility of getting a low rent shop for a couple of weeks in Freo. It was such a success we just kept going
How did you find each other?
We knew one another initially via an Etsy forum that is no longer going, but many of us have kept in touch since.
What were your goals for the first pop up?
Personally I saw it as an experiment to see what would happen & if it would be worthwhile financially. Also as a way of getting my work seen by more potential customers. I then realised that it’s also a great way to spread the “locally hand made” word & show that shopping does not always have to done in chain stores. I think it has worked on all levels.
Where was the first Montage pop up?
Adelaide St, Freo
How do you find your next shop?
Keeping our eyes open for empty shops in potential areas & trying to persuade owners to give a reduced rent for a short stay (not always easy!!) Also repeat shops where it has gone well.
Whats the best part of being involved in a pop up?
Making can be such an isolated activity, it’s great to work on something as a team.
Whats the worst part of being involved in a pop up?
Scheduling meetings – we are scattered all over Perth and many of us have jobs so getting everybody to come is really hard.
What are your future plans?
We’d love regular venues in various suburbs so we can move around without having to deal with new landlords every time. I sometimes think a full time shop would be great, but that might make it a lot harder in many ways. I like to make more than I like to sell!
Do you have any advice for someone wanting to start a pop up?
The people you work with are just as important as the product they make. Get to know any potential members a bit before you approach them.
Make sure you have some sort of rule as to what is or isn’t going to be in your shop. It makes decisions easier. e.g. we only have people who are hands on with what they make & that it’s made in WA. E.G. We might find somebody with a fab product, but we find out it’s actually made in Asia to their design. We are strict about this rule so we can’t stock them however much we like what they make.
Are there any resources you think are valuable for those looking to start a pop up?
You need to think creatively for venues, just keep your eyes open online, when out shopping, driving and passing real estate agents. Visiting handmade markets is a way to get to meet makers as a customer & see their product in person. Private Facebook groups & Google docs are great for discussions and decision making plus keeping track of finances.
Julia of Juliaheartfelt http://www.etsy.com/shop/juliaheartfelt, is WA Street team member and an avid treasury curator having curated close to 350 treasuries, 55 of those have been featured on the Australian Etsy home/front page! Julia has been kind enough to share some Treasury making secrets:
I’ve survived my first year of being an etsy shop owner but not without masses of help and support and the generosity of many fellow WA street team members. As a little payback I thought I would offer a few insights into the world of “treasuries” for the newbies in the team.
Treasuries in case you didn’t know are a collection of 16 items from different shops usually with a connecting theme.
It’s just a case of going to the ”create a list” on the treasury page and then copying and pasting the url of the item you select in each compartment.
With the introduction of Etsy Australia my main goal is to get my treasuries onto the Front Page. There is a certain criteria required for this. Now I may not have it exactly right but this is what I work to.
All the products you choose must be currently for sale and delivered to Australia.
Just remember treasuries are a great tool to have in your arsenal. I was recently lucky enough to have one of my items listed on the US front page. This item received hundreds of hits and was sold within hours of its listing. If you are really struggling to get you product seen, treasuries may be an answer.
This is my latest Front Page treasury, On the front page of Etsy Australia on Saturday 16th February at around 10am: http://www.etsy.com/treasury/MTEwNTk4ODJ8MjcyMzk1ODQ2MA/make-it-metallic
Julia works with Nuno felted silk scarves and pure silk products. She has recently added a new range of hand dyed silk scarves for the warmer climes.
Julia is a recently retired mother of 5 and grandmother of 10 grandchildren ranging in ages from 4 to 18. The realization that she could blend silk fabric with Australian merino wool and silk fibres to create a new and unique fabric – an adaptation of the ancient art of felting which was initially invented by Australian textile artist Polly Stirling – lead to the creation of Juliaheartfelt.
TREASURY RESOURCES ONLINE
From Kirsteene Phelean our own Australian Community Manager for Etsy, on how to create treasury for Australian front pages: http://www.etsy.com/teams/7716/announcements/discuss/10306156/
The official Etsy treasury instruction post is here: http://www.etsy.com/help/article/82
There are several useful third party sites that show front page history lists. You can view them retrospectively in case you miss it being live. Some even email you when you are on the front page in the US if you sign up. Just do a web search for ‘Etsy front page history’ and you should find a few.