A few months ago, my small-business buddy Zoe Brennan got in touch. She's recently opened a fab little shop (Hell Yeah) in Glasgow's Hidden Lane, and she was wondering if I'd travel up there to deliver some Etsy Workshops to her local Etsy colleagues.
I jumped at her proposal - I've been wanting to try the idea of travelling to deliver workshops for a while and this seemed the perfect opportunity to test it out. I'd have the chance to catch up with Zoe and see her shop, and also a bed for the night!
So we set to work - Zoe took bookings from fellow Glasgow Etsy Team Members and I got my travel arrangements sorted.
On 4th September I got up to Glasgow - and, after a quick diversion to see the famous Duke of Wellington and his ubiquitous traffic cone - I got a taxi up to the Hidden Lane, just off Argyle Street. And what a treat it was - a colourful collection of buildings hidden away from the hustle and bustle of inner city Glasgow, all housing a selection of artists, designer, makers and musicians round a cobbled courtyard.
After a quick nosy in Zoe's gorgeous shop - filled with products from some great designer-makers - we walked across the courtyard to The Hidden Lane Tearoom, to get set up for the first workshop, before welcoming our first attendees.
It was a great session, with a diverse mix of really talented makers and sellers. From vintage jewellery to tweed bags, intricate illustrations to knitted scarves - we had a great range of beautiful items represented. Some makers were based in the Hidden Lane itself, but some had travelled much further... including a familiar face in Laura Bremner (of Juniper Press), the Captain of the Aberdeen Etsy Team, who'd made the two and a half hour journey to Glasgow!
We were treated to some amazing refreshments (with gorgeous vintage crockery) by Kirsty at The Hidden Lane Tearoom. That carrot cake was something else...
The following morning (after a very good night's sleep in Zoe's spare room), we welcomed another group of Etsy sellers - including more Hidden Lane residents. We had another great mix of jewellers, illustrators and sewers. More epic refreshments (and another piece of that amazing carrot cake), and a whole heap of Etsy chat - including loads of really good questions - and we were done.
My two workshops flew by, and it was so exciting to meet so many new folk who were all so keen to learn all things Etsy. Zoe and I have had some great feedback - and we are already talking about me returning to Glasgow to deliver more sessions. I'm dreaming about that carrot cake already.
Huge thanks to everyone who attended; and to The Hidden Lane Tearoom who provided such a lovely venue for us. Also thanks so much to Zoe, without whom these workshops would never have happened!
For more details about my forthcoming Etsy Workshops in Liverpool, see this link (though please don't expect carrot cake!). If you are interested in future Glasgow workshops please contact Zoe (firstname.lastname@example.org) to express your interest. And if you'd like to chat about me coming to your city - and you're happy to help organise this - then please get in touch.
Having an incomplete "about" section on Etsy is not only a missed marketing opportunity, but it's also a mistake because Etsy will recognise your shopfront as being incomplete - and therefore your listings may appear further down in search results as a consequence.
Often people will think that their own personal story is disinteresting, or they'll feel that they don't want to share personal information with strangers.
However, sharing a little information will make your shopfront more authentic, and it engages your customer, making them much more likely to buy - and return too.
So, what to tell your prospective customer? Here are three starting points:
1. Start at the beginning
How and why did you start your business? It's so easy to forget when it's your day-to-day, but we are actually living the life that other people dream of. Tell your story here.
It may be that you scrawled an idea on a napkin, you might have been chatting to a friend over a bottle of wine, or perhaps you trained to do this exact job - and you are fulfilling a childhood dream. If you have a triumph over adversity tale that you want to share then it's entirely appropriate to include it here. Etsy marketing may even pick up on it!
Whatever your story - it's your story - be proud and share it with the world!
2. Sitting room, studio or shed?
Tell us a bit about where you work from. Everyone loves having a nosy at other people's workspace - and as a creative the intrigue is even greater!
Whether you work from home, in a shed at the bottom of the garden, or in a shared studio space, tell us more about that. It's not everyone that has the opportunity to work like this, and it's genuinely interesting to other people.
You can - and should - use the photos section to show us your workspace in more detail. This adds credibility to your business story. And don't feel you have to tidy up specially either!
3. What's in a name?
If you have an interesting business name then don't be shy about sharing how you came up with it.
Maybe you've used your child's name, your favourite colour or another word that has extra significance to you. Perhaps it was just a word you liked the sound of, or something that just "felt right". Did you speak to people about it, or did you come up with it alone?
There's normally an interesting tale to tell with a business name - unless of course you went for the easy option and used your own name (and what idiot would do that...?)!
This blog post was originally published on www.beckagriffinillustration.co.uk in September 2017.