I get absolutely giddy whenever I'm logged into the 0 – $100k Facebook group. You all are constantly inspiring and surprising me! The other day Vina Howell posted about the crazy success she's been having.
In just one month of sales, she made $20,000 selling JUST one product. Talk about impressive. After reading her post I knew there was a lot we could all learn from her process so I asked her to come on!
Turning Artistry into Profit
Vina Howell is an artist and lover of all things craft-related. Speaking to the choir, am I right? What I love about her story is that she's taken one of her passions and has turned it into a light for others during a pretty stressful time in the world.
With a graphic design background, Vina Howell stumbled on the 0 – 100K system to potentially sell prints of her artwork. She decided to take the course while on bedrest with her fourth child, which was a pretty big feat. At the time, she wasn't working, so it was a substantial financial commitment for her, but she knew it would pay off in value.
Fast forward to 2020, and while we're in the middle of the pandemic, Vina Howell decided it was time to dive into her store. She had tinkered around in previous months with setting her store up but hadn't decided on her brand. During the holidays, she found some success selling on Shopify but wanted to make a mark with selling through Etsy.
Creating Your Niche on Etsy
I'm sure most of you are familiar with Etsy, but if not, it is essentially a platform that started out selling handmade items. Since its inception, it has evolved into a bustling marketplace for independent and third-party vendors alike. It's really a neat place. And probably the best thing about Etsy is that most of the users are ready to buy.
Etsy has always been a magnet for artists and craft enthusiasts. It can be tempting to dive in without any thoughts about strategy in an effort to just get your products sold. Vina Howell is no stranger to shiny object syndrome. As an artist especially, there is a strong desire to capitalize on all of the unique ideas floating around in her mind. Artists want their products to sell but luckily, she was able to stay focused and remind herself what her goal was. She wanted to bring more income for her family. Vina advises to, let go of the product that you think will sell and sell what your customers are asking for.
You have to understand this because otherwise, you'll miss out on some amazing opportunities. Buyers on Etsy are motivated. They know what they're looking for and they'll buy it once they find it. Vina Howell wasted no time and brainstormed how she could add value to the marketplace.
As you know, everything was closed down during the height of graduation season due to the pandemic. Vina had many graduates in her personal life who were dealing with the disappointment of not celebrating their accomplishments. She saw this first hand, and it started to tug at her heartstrings a bit.
That's when she came up with the idea of selling graduation gifts on her Etsy shop. She started with just a single graphic t-shirt with a fun design. And the magic happened with how she optimized her listing.
Advice From Vina Howell…Sell What They're Looking For
We really can't emphasize this enough. Optimization is the key to success here. Vina didn't list her product as a graduation t-shirt. She studied what people were looking for on this site and used the same phrasing. Her listing was called, “graduation gift for her”. The sales started rolling in. And guess what?! Vina Howell didn't stop there. Every day she would log in and check what keywords were being searched and update her listing accordingly. Sometimes she would list a focus on high school or college and would watch sales spike. The trick is making sure your titles are relevant.
The next thing she did was to start slowly! You don't want to shoot yourself in the foot by having too many listings too soon. If the product you're selling is the one people are looking for, then stick to that before you switch your focus to expanding.
She eventually branched out by listing the same shirt in another few colors once she knew her niche was profitable and that her product was desirable. It's okay to follow trends. Actually, it's a great idea. A trend is a good indicator of finding out what people want.
Capitalize On Your Packaging
Sellers have access to their customer's email but it is against policy to directly message them. When sending out your orders it’s definitely a great idea to send out personalized coupons or even direct them over to other URLs you may have. Make use of the platform's original vision and try to personalize their shopping experience as much as possible. It does make a difference.
Vina uses Shipstation and Etsy to ship her products out. Both have been great because she gets an itemized look at what exactly needs to get shipped out. She recommends just going through Etsy first if you're on a smaller budget as the cost isn't bad, and it's really helpful to just get everything done in one place.
Vina Howell's Three Tips for a Successful Listing
- Follow the 0-100k system and use it for Etsy
- Take GREAT photos and know who your ideal customer is
- Give your client the concert experience. Word of mouth is powerful and you want to give them something to talk about. Personalize your packaging and have fun with it!
Combine these with my #1 secret to get more sales online and you are setting yourself up for success!
My Top Takeaways From Vina Howell
- Don’t Put it out there and just expect people to come
- Make it easy on your customers
- One product can make you 20k in a month (Vina just showed us how!)
- Use the resources that the current platform you have is offering so you can make the best decisions for your products
- Titles are important! Make sure they’re relevant
- Study what works. Focus on one product before adding others
- Use the words your customers use in reviews in your descriptions
- Sell what your customers are actually looking for
- On Etsy, replicate your listings
- Add upsells on Etsy to help push your customers to add a little extra to their order