The Making of a Trilby Hat – Isabella Josie

Several people have been asking me how a handmade hat is created – so I’ve created a short video to show. Hope you enjoy!

via The Making of a Trilby Hat — Isabella Josie

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All About Etsy Listing – Stocking your online shop – Part 2

If you have followed my last post you will of begun to set up your very own Etsy Shop. Please feel free to take a look at my Etsy shop (www.isabellajmillinery.etsy.com) as you work though this post as it will help you to understand what I’m writing about.

The Listing section is all about putting the stock / products in your shop. Each time you put an item up for sale in your shop you will be creating a ‘listing’. 

The listing page is quite long, so I’ve captured it in several screen shots. I’ll explain the main sections of each image as we go. The screen shots were taken a few weeks ago, and Etsy does regularly update its forms and templates so if its a while between me writing and you reading this post things may look bit different. At the time of writing a series of additional attributes (e.g. colour, occasion, celebration) have just been added under the categories section.

Listing Image 1: Here we go:screen-shot-2017-02-05-at-17-00-06

Photos

You can add up to 5 photos and its a good idea to make sure you use all these opportunities. The first image becomes the one that Etsy will show under its search results. I’ve heard that Etsy prefer light, bright, plain backgrounds and over the last few weeks I’ve begun to use FotoFuze to make sure the backgrounds are as clear as I can get them. The image on the left is the original and the one on the right is ‘Fotofuzed’. Sometimes its just a matter of personal preference as to which one you want to prefer use. I’ve also heard that Snapseed is a useful photo app if you are taking pictures on your phone or tablet.

Pink and Silver Saucer Hat without FotoFuzePink and Silver Saucer Hat with FotoFuze

In term of the types of image to use, I try and use at least one photo from each of the following groups:

a) Studio type image – image of the whole product against a clear background.

Studio image

b) Perspective – hat on a model or mannequin so the viewer can get an idea of the actual size of the product.

Perspective image

c)  Close Up – showing the details of a specific feature

Close up of detail

d) Lifestyle – your product ‘in action’. For me this could be a hat at a wedding, races meeting etc. This is a picture of my floppy felt hats being worn on a county walk.

copy-of-isabella-josie-millinery

For the 5th image I normally use a photo of a different (but related) item I have in my shop which the viewer might be interested in. I do of course make sure that this is clearly stated in the description.

If you would like to have a look at this in action please take a look at the items in may shop: www.isabellajmillinery.etsy.com As you will see I have improved my photo skills since the screen shots were taken. I still have more work to do as I’ve recently found out that it’s best to use a square or landscape image to avoid having part of  your main image lost in the thumbnail size image.

Listing Details Section

Title: This section is key as the search engines use this information to find your item. You have 140 characters to play with. Use the most important words near the front of the title –  ideally phrases rather than single words to highlight your product. For example “small turquoise hat” would be better than “small”, “hat” or “turquoise”. It’s worth remembering the first 70 characters of title text appear in Google and the first 140 on Etsy descriptions.  

Think about the words a buyer might be using if they are looking to buy an item like yours. Separate your search terms with ‘space hyphen space’ or a ‘comma space’ e.g. ‘handmade hat – blue cocktail headpiece’ or ‘handmade hat, blue cocktail headpiece’.

It’s worth popping some words into Etsy and Google search bars as it will give you a hint as to the most frequently searched for terms. The Google analytical tool, Google Trends is also useful for comparing the popularity of similar words – for example is ‘pillbox hat’ more or less popular than ‘cocktail hat’?

The next three sections (categories, price, quantity) are quite simple to complete as they have drop down menus and the wording on the side to help you. For the categories section it’s really a matter of deciding which one works best for you. Remember to include the actual cost of selling your product in your pricing structure!

Description box

Renewal Options: I normal opt for the manual renewal so I get to choose when I relist an item as some of my headpieces have seasonal appeal. At the time of writing, each listings costs USD$0.20 + VAT, this roughly equates to 16 pence + VAT per listing for a 3 month period. Went it comes to your product pricing, it’s also worth remembering that Etsy charge 3.5% of a sale item and there is also a payment processing fee (this is dependent on the method you choose).

Type: again a self explanatory area, are you selling an physical product or digital download item?

Description: this is where you get the opportunity to really ‘sell’ your product. Think rich descriptive language. It’s important to also include the same wording as you have used in your title to increase the chances of having your products found on Etsy. If you use Etsy Rank you can get a listing grading to indicate how your wording and order of words may attract potential buyers.

Tags

Shipping: You can set up shipping profiles if you regularly sell items with the same shipping costs or set up individual ‘custom’ prices for each item you sell. Remember to check that your insurance covers you the countries you want to ship to.

Tags: I try and use the same words as in my title to help the buyer find my products. I always include my name as a tag too (Isabella Josie) so I (or a buyer) can easily find all my hats in one place. Try it out yourself and you will see what I mean. Always use all your tags – it gives you the best chance of having your items found.

Materials: If you fill this section in it shows up on your listing overview which is always handy.

The image below is how one of my listed items looks in preview mode. Various aspects of my listing page are pulled though to the ‘overview’ information on the right hand side of the Etsy listing. For example if you select ‘I did’ for ‘who made this item’ the wording “handmade” will show along with shipping information, materials and categories used. overview easy listing

That’s it for Part 2 on the Listing section, I’ll be back again with a 3rd and final part. I hope you have found this post helpful, I am by no means an Etsy expert and still have a great deal to learn. Any advice you have to offer would be great to hear, please send me your comments!

Note: The views I have expressed in this post are my own, and this article isn’t run or sponsored by Etsy, Snapseed, EtsyRank, GoogleTrends, FotoFuze etc. 

Open for Business – Isabella Josie Millinery

I am so excited!

Isabella Josie Millinery is ‘Open for Business’.

If you have been reading my blog for a while you may remember that I have dreamt of selling my makes for quite some time. Way back in 2013 I was writing posts about my business thoughts and it sort of went on a ‘back-burner’ until I fell in love with hats.

I’m delighted to say that I have two pieces of excellent business news to share.

I have just opened my first ever online Etsy based shop to sell hats, fascinators & headpieces. It’s called IsabellaJMillinery which was as close as I could get with Etsys 20 characters shop name limit. Please click on the link and have a look around. I’m still working on my online shop but feel like it’s at a point I can officially say ‘I’m open’!

I’m keen to help others get started on their own online shop and I have contacted Etsy to see if I can get permission to use some behind the scene screenshots so I can write some ‘step-by-step’ opening an Etsy shop guides. Fingers crossed they will get back to me soon.

My second piece of news is that a range of my Isabella Josie hats are proudly on display in the real world in a local beauty salon called Marina Beauty Box at Port Solent Marina near Portsmouth, England. Port Solent is a great place to look around so if you live in the local area please do pop in and have a look. For readers who live further afield here are a few pictures so you get the idea.Isabella Josie Millinery @ Marina Beauty Box at Port Solent, Hampshire

Can you see my hats? There they are, very proudly displayed at the front door. If you look inside the shop you will capture a glimpse of a few more on the right hand side – Voila! Isabella Josie Millinery Hats on display Marina Beauty Box, Port Solent, Hampshire

Small Steps

Over the last two weeks I have taken a few steps closer to my year’s goals of opening an Etsy shop and booking a stall at a local craft fair.

I have brought a diary in which to set small daily(ish) goals. I am using the diary to make better use of my time and to remind me of the actions I have taken. It’s easy to feel deflated when something doesn’t work out and forget what you have already achieved, having a written note is such a positive reminder.

Planning my year

I’ve also created some ‘inspiration’ boards of hat and headpieces I love and feel inspired by. Over the coming weeks I’ll be adding in images of shapes and colours that I want to use in my work.

inspiration boards

To keep a balance at work / home / dream plans (and to avoid becoming completely obsessed by hats!) I’ve joined a local running club with my husband. I’m part of the beginners group and we are doing interval training, this week it a 30 minutes 4 minutes walk/2 minute run cycle. The aim is to be doing a 10km run in May. I’m feeling rather intimidated by the challenge but know I need to get fit  – my last attempt (some of you may remember our knitted and crochet flower bras) was for The London Moon Walk back in May 2014.

trainers fresh back from running club!

The plan to ‘stay creative’ is progressing well and I’ve made a few hats to sell – all based around an aqua colour theme….maybe the diary has inspire me more than I first thought with the colour choice?!?  ‘Take proper photos’ will be one of the next diary entries so I can post the designs onto my webpage www.isabellajosie.com.

aqua and royal sinamay saucer perching hat. Isabella Josieaqua and royal blue perching hat. Isabella Josieaqua sinamay percher with lace trim. Isabella Josieaqua free form sinamay swirl with feather trim. Isabella Josie

I’ve also been researching ‘Distance Selling Regulations’ – which are now called ‘Consumer Contract Regulations’ – to make sure I know a bit more about how to set up an online shop correctly.

So, these are the small steps I have taken over the last fortnight. How about you? What steps have you taken towards something you want to achieve?

Time to Create and Motivate

I have spent the last few years dreaming of opening up my own craft shop cafe or developing a small craft based business. However, this is still very much a dream and although I have started to sell a few hats to friends and family I have not summoned up the courage to go beyond this.

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