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how to grow on etsy
starting an etsy shop
I am Dylan, a multi-six figure Etsy & Shopify seller. My Etsy shop ranks in the 0.1% of Etsy shops worldwide and we reached $1M+ in sales in just 5 years.
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Are you struggling to make sales while selling branded items when you don’t actually have a brand? You’re not alone. Many Etsy shops, especially those dealing with print-on-demand (POD) products like hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, and totes, are making a common branding mistake: they’re simply slapping their shop’s name on generic items and expecting customers to flock to their virtual doors. The reality? It’s not working. Today, I’m going to delve into the big mistakes in branding, guide you on how to rectify them, and provide the steps to grow your brand into something that people genuinely care about. I’m Dylan Jahraus, and I’m here to help you navigate the intricate world of Etsy!
Before we dive into the branding mistakes and solutions, let me stress the immense potential of building a brand on Etsy. Etsy offers a unique opportunity for businesses, unlike platforms such as Amazon. Getting your branding right is crucial to your success on Etsy. So, let’s address a prevalent issue: branding products with your shop name but without creating an actual brand around it.
Imagine you’re browsing through Etsy, and you stumble upon a product with a brand name you’ve never heard of. You’re not alone; many shops create brand names that hold no meaning or recognition. The problem arises when sellers are heavily invested in their brand vision, business plan, and story. They’ve spent a lot of time building a brand that means a lot to them, and they might have even filed for a trademark to protect their brand name.
The rationale for this approach often comes from examples of major brands like Nike, Adidas, Life is Good, or Chanel, all of which have successfully established themselves without needing extensive product differentiation. However, there’s a crucial difference: these brands are known and trusted by customers worldwide.
Here’s the problem: when your brand lacks recognition and meaning, customers often prefer plain, solid-colored products over those branded with a name that holds no significance. It’s a matter of perceived value.
Ask yourself this: would you choose a plain-colored jacket over one with a random brand name you’ve never heard of plastered across the front? Chances are, you’d go with the solid-colored option.
So, if your shop falls into this category, here’s what I recommend:
Reduce the presence of your brand name on your products to less than 10% of your product mix, with 2% being the ideal target. Instead, focus on having 90% of your product mix featuring designs, words, or sayings that mean something to your target customers. After all, brands are built around and for people. If your products don’t resonate with your customers, there’s no brand. So concentrate on creating designs that matter to your audience.
Consider adding your brand name to products when you reach around 5,000 orders and witness growing multi-item orders. But, and this is essential, only do so if your customers express a genuine interest. Run a poll on Instagram to gauge their preferences. Premature or aggressive branding can set you back significantly.
Build a cult-like following beyond Etsy. Focus 80% of your efforts on crafting a lifestyle and meaning for your brand that your customers can relate to. Make it about them, not just your products. The remaining 20% can be devoted to showcasing your merchandise. Always encourage your customers to connect with you outside of Etsy on platforms like YouTube, podcasts, and Instagram.
If you find yourself stuck with a brand but no engaged customer base, I encourage you to reach out. I offer a program, the Multi-Six Figure Etsy Blueprint, which may be an excellent fit for your situation.
Can I successfully brand generic products like t-shirts and hats on Etsy?
While it’s possible to build a brand around products like t-shirts and hats, it requires creating meaningful, customer-centric designs that resonate with your target audience. The key is to establish a brand that customers genuinely care about.
How do I know when it’s the right time to add my brand name to products?
The right time to add your brand name to products is typically when you’ve reached around 5,000 orders, and you’re experiencing growing multi-item orders. It’s crucial to gauge your customers’ interest through platforms like Instagram before proceeding.
What should I focus on when trying to build a cult-like following for my brand?
When building a devoted following, focus on creating a lifestyle and meaning that your customers can relate to. Make it about them, not just your products. Concentrate 80% of your efforts on connecting with your customers on a personal level, and allocate the remaining 20% to showcasing your merchandise. Encourage your customers to engage with you on various platforms outside of Etsy, such as YouTube, podcasts, and Instagram.