One year on etsy - What have I learned

It's the first year anniversary of my online shop on etsy. I decided it would be a great excuse to share with you what I've learned this year and what I wish I'd done differently.

An etsy shop is a commitment
This isn't like one of those places where you drop a file and wait for the money to get to your bank account. Etsy will reward you for being active and updating regularly. Your shop won't work unless you do.
I've noticed a real drop in sales/favourites/views from March until now and I realized this was due to the fact that I stopped talking about the shop. I was too busy to update it on a regular basis and that's ok, I had to prioritize other stuff. But I got discouraged by my stats when in fact it was my own fault. If people don't know you're selling, they can't buy it.
Somewhere along the way, I stopped talking about my shop almost completely. I got self-conscious and afraid people might get sick of me always mentioning it. But what I need to understand is that even the people that really like your work don't see everything you post. That's due to the algorithm everyone keeps talking about and also... people have lives that don't allow them to be online 24/7. So you see, making one post about that new product and never mentioning it again is probably not enough. And I shouldn't get discouraged when people don't buy it.
This created what I called the cycle of disappointment


The other day I asked people on insta-stories if they knew I had an online shop.
I shouldn't be surprised that almost half the people who responded didn't know I had it.

Know your why
The tagline I created for my shop is paper goods to make you smile.
I wanted to make things that people wanted to own and that made them happy whenever they looked at it.
Also, as a designer, the quality of what I'm selling is very important to me. For my prints, I use a fine art paper with a beautiful cotton feel and they should last more than a lifetime. I never want my clients to think they're getting something that feels cheap. (I've been there as a client and I never want my clients to feel that!) This obviously means my products have to be more expensive than something printed on my cheap home printer.
But to be honest, I didn't create the shop thinking it'd be my main source of income. Don't get me wrong, the money is nice, very nice! But with the time it takes me to create/produce/photograph/write descriptions/package orders, I know I don't make a lot of money there. Then I think of how happy you might be when you finally open it and it really is worthwhile.
If you keep in mind why you started you shouldn't get discouraged by the things that aren't directly related to it.

Make more products
Let's get to the practical stuff. The more products you have available, the more chances of them getting discovered.
In my shop I sell mainly prints for two reasons:
1. I love them;
2. They require the least money investment on my part - meaning that if they don't sell as much, I lose less money because I can print fewer of them.
But I've realized that products that have a purpose and aren't just decorative tend to be better received.
The calendar I made last year was my most sold piece ever and the postcards also sold well.
This gave me the confidence to invest in creating new products this year (like the notebooks I shared with you last week).


Shipping is a pain
Be careful with your shipping materials and costs.
Fortunately, I spent a lot of time researching which was the best way to package my orders and have them arrive at their destination in pristine conditions. So I'm happy to say I never had a problem in that department.
I wasn't as careful when calculating shipping costs so I have to tell you that I had to pay more shipping than I anticipated more than once. So take your time.

This year I made 50 sales. Most of them were for the US. And my products now have their homes in places like Portugal, UK, Canada, The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, and Austria.
If you ever bought something from me: Thank you for supporting me and helping me believe I can live this life that I love.