Scaling Your Business, Getting Started

Killin' It on Etsy with Kelly Parker Smith of Hello World Paper Co

Episode 059: Show Notes

Today on the podcast, we have Kelly Parker Smith of Hello World Paper Co. For those of you who don’t know, Kelly is a retired third grade teacher who started an Etsy shop and has had a booming business ever since. She has over $400,000 in sales on Etsy and even started her own podcast where she talks all about what it’s like to be an Etsy shop owner and run a product-based business. Kelly has been on Etsy for almost a decade, so she knows the ins and outs of why the platform is such a total rock star for product-based businesses.

Today on the podcast, we have Kelly Parker Smith of Hello World Paper Co. For those of you who don’t know, Kelly is a retired third grade teacher who started an Etsy shop and has had a booming business ever since. She has over $400,000 in sales on Etsy and even started her own podcast where she talks all about what it’s like to be an Etsy shop owner and run a product-based business. Kelly has been on Etsy for almost a decade, so she knows the ins and outs of why the platform is such a total rock star for product-based businesses.  |  The Strategy Hour  |  Think Creative Collective

On today’s episode, Kelly shares with us why she chose Etsy to sell on in the first place and how to build an audience when you are first getting started. She even talks about some pros and cons of Etsy and how some of those cons can actually work in your favor. Kelly lets you know how to stand out in the sea of many Etsy shops and gives some strategies to communicate with your customers outside of Etsy. She also gives some secret tips and tricks to maximize your presence, improve your SEO on Etsy, and get found quicker. So get out your notebook, especially if you are considering hopping over to Etsy, because there is a lot of good stuff in this episode.

Standing Out From the Crowd On Etsy

Just getting started and putting yourself out there is absolutely the first step. Etsy is a great place to start because it is inexpensive to get going and allows you to slowly build and grow with time. The number one way to stand out on such a crowded platform is to have a killer product and to really refine it with good packaging along with great customer service, and people will keep coming back. They will trust you and your product, and will continue to want to buy from you. You have to stand out with your personality and your customer service, as well as your packaging and your photos. All of those things will give you the strategies to get you to that next level of success in your Etsy shop.

Building a Personal Connection With Your Etsy Customers

Kelly is a really big advocate for building a personal connection on Etsy. In order to rank higher on Etsy, it is important to fill out your shop’s ‘about’ page and add a picture to your page. Adding more of yourself to your Etsy shop is another way for you to stand out from the sea of other vendors. People come to Etsy for that personal connection. They come to Etsy because they want to meet people who are side hustling, who have done this full-time, who have families, and they want to know that about you as the shop owner. So when you make that personal connection and when the customer service is there, then they’re not looking at everyone else. They’re going to come back to you.

The Challenges of Selling On Etsy

Selling on Etsy means you’ll end up facing a lot of the same cons or challenges that most other online business owners face. For Kelly, one of the first cons of selling on Etsy is that they are constantly changing and updating. Because Etsy is always adapting to the market, they are constantly implementing changes to the platform. Although it is good to change with the trends, each change means that sellers constantly have to figure out the new updates that are implemented, which can take a lot of extra time. Another challenge of selling on Etsy is that shop owners do not have complete control. If Etsy shuts down, so does your shop, which can bring on some challenges of its own.

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My number one tip for standing out on Etsy is good photos.
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How Etsy Sellers Market Differently

When Kelly first started on Etsy, social media was not as big as it is today. Her main focus was to send people to her Etsy shop and get more and more traffic sent directly to Etsy. However, as trends changed, so did Kelly’s strategy. Instead of sending people to her Etsy shop, her main focus was to capture a new audience on her website. Since Etsy does not allow you to capture client emails, directing them to your website is key. Kelly uses the Etsy thank you email to include a link to her email list signup page, which acts as a great funnel to grow her list and her audience.

Doing the Math to Make the Right Investment in Your Business

In the beginning, Kelly had a manufacturer do drop shipping for her store. However, this did not allow her to personalize her products or create the customer experience that she desired for her business. Bringing her manufacturing in-house required a significant investment, however, after running the numbers, it made complete sense. By manufacturing the products herself, Kelly would actually save more money and she already had enough sales coming in every month to have a predictable income. Therefore the initial large investment, although big and somewhat scary, was absolutely the right move for her shop and her business as a whole.

The Tips and Tricks for Being a Successful Etsy Shop Owner

Etsy has no hidden agenda, so sellers can feel secure in applying Etsy’s suggested strategies to their shops. The best place to learn tips and tricks is to sign up for the Etsy Success Newsletter to constantly be up to date with new policies or any suggestions they have for sellers. These tips include anything from how to structure your titles, whether to use some capital letters, to how many words to use in total. The biggest tip from Kelly’s experience is that Etsy does not give you anything it doesn’t want you to use. So if you follow their instructions, and use the applications and tools that they provide you, then you are bound to find success on Etsy’s platform.

Highlights

  • Learn how to stand out on Etsy and build an audience in a very crowded space. [0:07:26.6]
  • Find out how a personal connection will help you stand out on Etsy. [0:10:42.3]
  • Understand more about the challenges of selling your products on Etsy’s platform. [0:12:11.1]
  • Discover how Kelly markets herself differently as the trends on Etsy change. [0:15:03.9]
  • Find out what guided Kelly to make the investment in her business to manufacture her products in-house. [0:24:29.2]
  • Kelly shares her tips and tricks for being successful and visible on Etsy. [0:32:01.3]

#TalkStrategyToMe [0:47:27.1]

  1. Compile a list of 25 keywords that directly relate to your target audience and your product.
  2. Fill out your about page on Etsy, and “fill the space”.
  3. Think like a buyer, and fill up your five photo slots on your about page (one of yourself, 3 product shots, and one BTS/office video) and your listing (close up, far away, size, action shot).

Today’sGuest

Kelly Parker

Hello World Paper Co

Website | Instagram | Facebook

Kelly Parker Smith is a retired third grade teacher who had a big dream to make pretty things and help people in need, so she started an Etsy shop which totally took off! With over $400K+ in sales on Etsy, Kelly now wants to help other Etsy shop owners go full-time doing what they love through courses and her podcast with Caroline Hull called Creative Biz Rebellion.

She believes that great products become even better when paired with top-notch customer service, a little surprise and delight, and, of course, the perfect packaging! Kelly is also an illustrator who works with pen and ink, typography, watercolor, and has a serious addiction to pattern design. Kelly lives in Belleville, IL (20 minutes outside of St. Louis, MO) with her husband, three boys, and their rescue kitten, Katniss.

KeyTopics

  • Standing out from the crowd on Etsy

  • Building a personal connection with your audience.

  • The challenges of selling on Etsy.

  • Marketing differently as an Etsy seller.

  • Investing in your business.

  • Tips for finding success Etsy.

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