Anyone attending the Virtual Labs when I'm in there being an opinionated buyer has likely seen some version of my Five Rules for Etsy Success: 1) Don't sell crap 2) Have great photos 3) Make your tags, titles and descriptions work hard 4) List often 5) Promote, promote, promote.
This time I'll ramble on about Rule 1. It's true that "crap" on Etsy is very much in the mind of the beholder.
I often see stuff that makes me wonder what the heck the seller was thinking, but then I'll also note that they've made sales of items I wouldn't have in my house. That serves as a useful reminder that one person's crap is another's wonderfully creative or useful thingie.
So, how to avoid trying to sell crap? First, love what you make. If you don't think it's awesome, why should anyone else? If it's just out there because you think it will sell, you're not being true to yourself, or respecting that potential buyer.
Then, ask yourself some questions:
• Is it the best quality it can be for the price?
• Would you buy this item if you couldn't make it?
• Who is your competition? Does anyone else sell this item?
• If it is a commodity product, such as jewellery assembled from standard components, what is it about your product that makes it better or more interesting or more appealing? Think about materials, technique, design, and of course YOU.
Great photos, brilliant tags, titles and descriptions, strategic listing and relentless promotion can take a shop a long way toward success, but it all starts with the items.
If you're feeling stuck, try brainstorming some ideas alone, or with friends or Team mates. Ask your customers or readers of your blog what could make your items better, or what they're looking for that you don't have. Research your competition. And of course subscribe to the Etsy Success newsletter and read the monthly Etsy Merchandising Desk articles for timely information about current and upcoming trends, features, and events or occasions that can spark fresh ideas.