Thursday, November 19, 2009

Niche within a Niche - How do I compete on Etsy?

I was poking around in the Etsy community section and saw a twitter update about a cute comic about a first sale.  I like comics, who doesn't?   Just click on the picture on the left twice so you can read it.   I giggled, it's cute and I'm sure there are many etsy sellers out there are nodding in agreement!

I registered for Etsy in 2007 but never got around opening up shop until about 3 months ago.  I was fortunate to receive my first sale within 2 hours of posting.  After that, it was a waiting game.  If it wasn't for the sneak attack, I'm sure I wouldn't have gotten sales for a weeks. 

It's hard to get buyer's attention, like any business you are competing and your listing can get easily get lost in the midst of the hundreds that also get put up every day.  How do I compete? 

I started the shop in the mindset as something to help fund my hobby, not to replace my day job.  This pads a barrier against discouragement.  When I was ready to list, I searched anything that was tagged 'origami' to see what I was up against.  The most common product is the traditional origami crane. It's not hard for anyone to learn to fold the crane, diagrams are on the internet and it's easy to get commericial origami paper.  Unless you need lots of them, why bother buying from Etsy when you can make it yourself?  What they did something to make their product special or unique. Some had beautiful embellisments, were jewellry, converted into ornaments, or use the highend materials like yuzen or washi.

Well, I wasn't going to try to sell cranes as that niche market is saturated.  I was already selling them on my regular website and if an Etsy buyer wanted some, they could contact me.   However, I like the crane. So I did research and found I can make products that use a variation of the crane.  My niche within a niche! 

So I made a few samples and listed them.  The response was great, I only got one Etsy sale one item, but a non-Etsy buyer who's into amature photography saw my envelopes and asked me to make ones that would fit 5 x 7 photos so she can give out as Christmas this year.  That gave me my boost to fund my origami addiction.  :)

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