In this episode, Lauren Myers from the Etsy shop, Ohh How Charming, and I talk about why Etsy is the platform to be selling on now.
Not only does Etsy handle much of the hassle of running an online store, but they have a built-in audience of millions wanting to buy from you.
With Etsy, you don’t have to worry as much about driving traffic to your shop. You get to focus on product creation, photos, optimizing your titles and listings with keywords, and creating content to drive awareness of your products and brand.
Lauren has made over 55,000 party supply sales on Etsy over the last five years, and she says that during the pandemic, her business is booming!
The most successful online entrepreneurs and bloggers I know all have products to sell.
Maybe this is the right moment for you to open your Etsy shop and experiment with selling your own goods.
If you’re considering it, this episode will inspire you to do it!
Table of Contents
- MiloTree Pop-Up App
- Blogger Genius 4 Biggest Takeaways Email
- MiloTree BlogStart Service
- MiloTree 6 Week Coaching Group
- Ohh How Charming Shop
- Ohh How Charming Blog
- Catch My Party
Subscribe to The Blogger Genius Podcast:
Welcome to The Blogger Genius Podcast brought to you by MiloTree. Here’s your host, Jillian Leslie.
Jillian Leslie 0:11
Hello friends. Welcome back to the show. I want to ask you, if you would like to get a weekly email from me on Sundays, where I talk about my most recent podcast episode and I share my four biggest takeaways from that episode.
Jillian Leslie 0:30
That way, it’s like a cheat sheet. It’ll save you time. You can see what we’re talking about what is happening in the world of blogging and online business. I’ll also put the podcast in the email so if you want to listen to it, you can right then and there.
For today’s episode, I have my friend Lauren Myers on the show and Lauren is a blogger but she is also an incredibly successful Etsy seller. She sells balloon garlands her Etsy shop is called, Ohh How Charming.
Up until this point, I think she has sold over 55,000 items on Etsy. What we talk about is how she got started, why she thinks she’s successful, what her tips are for people who want to start Etsy shops and why she really recommends the platform.
I think you’re going to get a lot out of this. If you are an Etsy seller. I think you’ll find it really interesting to hear how Lauren optimizes everything. If you’re thinking about selling on Etsy. I think hopefully this episode will push you to do it.
So, without further delay here is my interview with Lauren Myers. Lauren, welcome to the show.
Lauren Myers 2:06
Thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Jillian Leslie 2:09
We were just sharing before we pressed record a story about how I came into your radar. And so, would you share that story? Because I think it’s really sweet.
Lauren Myers 2:23
So, I always loved Catch My Party that was my go to place for inspiration, looking at parties and everything and right when a couple months after I started my Etsy shop, it was a Halloween party and looking back on it, it’s cringy of course.
But I just went and did it and I took the plunge created my account on Catch My Party submitted the party and it was featured. And that just gave me the encouragement like wow, I think that I can actually do this.
And it was just so special because it was a site that I looked up to so much and that my party was featured there are no words, honestly to describe how it meant to me at that time.
Jillian Leslie 3:04
Oh, wow, how many years ago was this?
Lauren Myers 3:07
It was 2015.
Jillian Leslie 3:09
Wow! So, five years ago. Wow. Well, I’m glad that I was able to give you that push. Again, we were talking offline how successful you have been on Etsy.
Would you share your entrepreneurial journey and how you got to where you are from 2015 to today, where you’re overwhelmed with orders? Share how you got into this.
Setting Up a Shop on Etsy Selling Party Decorations
Lauren Myers 3:38
So, in high school, I always wanted to have my own business. And I never knew really what at the time I wanted to do. It was just always something what do you want to be when you grow up?
I want to own my own business and people would look at me like, okay, what are you going to do with that? So that was always in the back of my head. And when Pinterest became popular, I guess it was maybe like 2013-ish, 14-ish, that’s when it was like huge.
And I discovered dessert tables. So, I would just start looking up the dessert tables and I just loved everything about that. So, I actually started creating my own dessert tables just for fun, not thinking anything to come out of it.
And then my husband proposed to me. So, then I was planning our wedding and making party decorations for that and tassel garlands, tissue tassel garlands were huge at that time. So, that was one party supply that I just absolutely love for whatever reason.
I even made them for the back of our wedding chairs and had a Mr. and Mrs. Garland. It was still just a hobby. I never thought that anything would come from it. And then my husband was in the military at the time and we were stationed in Washington State.
And I couldn’t find a job in my field and we honestly had nothing we had no money and at that point, it was just kind of like fight or flight. So, I took it into my own hands and it just clicked on my party decorations. This is it.
So, I took the plunge and I started making every color combination of tassel garland under the sun. And then in 2015, it was January 27. That’s my clicked open my shop on Etsy.
I only had a couple at that time and then I was just working hard behind the scenes to get all of them up but I just wanted to put a few on there at first, and then it was February 2nd, I got my first Etsy sale.
And I’ll never forget that email because it said “Congratulations.” There was a champagne bottle with confetti coming out of it and at that moment, I’m like, this is it. This is exactly what I’m meant to do.
And from there on, I just made it my passion and put everything I had into it to get to where I am today.
Jillian Leslie 5:49
Wow! And so, you went really deep into tissue paper tassel garlands. And that’s all you sold in the beginning?
Lauren Myers 6:00
In the beginning, I also had mason jars on there, the patented mason jars. They were popular at the time, but I was just focused more on the tassel garlands but I wanted to have something else that was relatable in the party world and just see what took off.
But it was the tassel garlands and then I expanded that into like a glitter banner overlay over it, so they could use it for a highchair banner with the wand. And then shortly after that, I got a Cricut machine.
Then I was doing cupcake toppers, paper shawl. So, basically all paper products during that time.
Jillian Leslie 6:36
Okay, and now you’re doing predominantly balloon garlands.
Lauren Myers 6:40
Jillian Leslie 6:41
And how did you segue into that?
Testing Products on Etsy and Finding Success
Lauren Myers 6:45
I listed my first balloons; I think it was maybe 2016. And somebody messaged me, a customer actually and asked if I had any balloons, and I went on Pinterest, and I started just seeing regular balloon bouquets.
So, like six in a bundle next to the dessert table and everything. I started out with only a few colors, the popular ones at the time pink, gold those and I just traded a few balloon bouquets.
And then I had a few jumbo balloons to like a flamingo or rainbow, unicorn. And all of a sudden, the balloons started taking off. But I was still so focused on the tassel garlands, because that’s what I started with.
And I was like, that’s my baby, I can’t get rid of these. And then all of a sudden, just over time, the balloons just started to take over and I received more requests for different color combinations. So that’s just how that unfolded.
Jillian Leslie 7:37
Okay, we just have to stop for one second and I just asked you this. Since starting your store in 2015, how many Etsy sales have you generated since then?
Lauren Myers 7:49
Jillian Leslie 7:51
That’s insane. And we were talking about like yesterday, right now during a pandemic where people cannot necessarily be celebrating in the way in which we’re used to, like your business is exploding right now.
Lauren Myers 8:08
Yesterday, I had 48 sales. And my average has been between 50 and 60 a day.
Jillian Leslie 8:16
Wow! And you are packing these up and doing all the work and we talked about this at one of the struggles you have is that it’s a pandemic.
While you’d like to hire somebody, your office in your house and you don’t necessarily want somebody in your house every day. So, you’re having to do all of this.
Once the pandemic is over, you can actually start to hire people because you reached out to me and you were like, “Oh my God, my business is exploding and I don’t know what to do.”
People Are Still Celebrating in the Pandemic
Lauren Myers 8:45
Honestly it was overnight and this is the busiest I’ve been in five years, which again is crazy for the time that we’re in now but it’s also nice too because I don’t want to say hope.
But people are still celebrating and want to make things special and life’s moments and everything and even if it’s not with a ton of people, even if it’s just at home with mom, dad, brother and sister.
They’re still making it special with balloons and that I can be a part of it just makes me so happy.
Jillian Leslie 9:16
This an interesting question, why do you think you’ve been so successful on Etsy? What do you know that other people might not know?
Why You Want to Use Real Photos on Etsy and Show You’re a Real Person
Lauren Myers 9:23
I think from the beginning when I first started, just looking at different Etsy shops, and not even specifically in the party world, but just all across the board. One thing I noticed is that people who had real photos, they had the higher sales or a best-selling item.
So that was always my goal from the beginning was I need to show people that I’m a real person, I’m physically making this product or putting it together myself. So, I always took real photos. Every photo in my shop is mine.
And then as it evolved, having a style photo, too Because people need visuals so showing a balloon garland on a wall over a cake table and just giving people an idea of how they can style it.
Because there are a lot of people out there who aren’t creative and they need to see that product in action before they want to make a purchase.
Jillian Leslie 10:18
So, a lot of people put up stock photos and you’re saying no, the more real. David, who you know, David, my husband and partner, we talk about this all the time.
And I think that when you can put yourself out there as a real person and go, hey, it’s me. This is me. I’m going to put together your order here. You can trust me and if you have any issues, you can come back to me and talk about it with me.
I think that sets you up for success, because there’s that thing of like, know and trust. And if you’re creating, one thing that we teach in our group is this idea of putting yourself front and center.
And so, how do you think you’re able to do that on Etsy, which is not necessarily a platform where it’s like, “Hey, I’m Lauren.” How have you been able to make it more personal? One is photos. Is there anything else that you’ve done?
Lauren Myers 11:30
Whenever I answer conversations too, I’ll use their name if they give it and just, “Hi, thank you for shopping.” And I always use my name and refer to myself as “I.”
Why You Want to Make Your Business Personal
I never say “we” because it is just me and I feel like over the years too, that’s one way that people have come to the realization that I am just one person and they can trust me almost.
Because even in my balcony I just have a photo of me. “Hi, I’m Lauren. I live in Florida, I have a cat, a dog.” And still keep it fun but professional, if that makes sense.
Jillian Leslie 12:11
I think that even with Catch My Party in the beginning, I think we want it to seem as if we were this big company. And over time we’ve stripped that away to be like, no, we’re just Jillian and David. It’s not this is a mom and pop kind of thing.
And, recently, I’ve been doing some podcast episodes talking about Instagram, and trends on Instagram, for example. And it used to be everybody wanted this beautiful feed of these unattainable photos with all these filters.
And especially during the pandemic, the feedback that I keep hearing is no, no.
Lauren Myers 12:57
Actually the other day I just shared on my Instagram story. I have a closet out in the hallway with more balloons than anything and one shelf completely collapsed.
I was calling it a balloon avalanche, because there were like thousands and thousands of balloon bags everywhere. So, I actually took my phone and I recorded the whole entire mess on the ground. And then I took a progress picture of me organizing it.
And then I brought my phone into my office and showed my office closet and just gave a recommendation for storage and everything like that. I had over 700 story views on that, and I’ve never had that many views ever.
And I think it was because it was just so real. I’m showing a mess. And it’s relatable to people they don’t want to see perfect all the time.
Jillian Leslie 13:45
No, and you do beautiful things. So even this woman who can style beautiful things has a mess in her house. And I think there’s something relatable about that.
Lauren Myers 13:55
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How to Test New Products on Etsy
Jillian Leslie 15:46
We say to people go test stuff on Etsy. You have an idea or a product don’t go open a Shopify store. Start on Etsy because Etsy already has an audience. So, if I’m somebody who is experimenting with a product and I want to start an Etsy shop.
What would be the advice you would give me because let’s say I don’t have a ton of time or a ton of money. How would I get my Etsy shop up quickly optimized using your best practices so that I could see if I could build a business?
Lauren Myers 16:23
I think that’s one of the number one thing about using Etsy that’s just amazing is they literally have everything for you. So, when you click open your shop, it’s literally a tutorial walkthrough.
Upload your banner, upload your profile picture, type in your shop policies, and they’ll even give you an example include shipping time, return policy cancellation, they have everything outlined for you, so anybody can do it.
And I’m not the website creator whatsoever. So, this is just user friendly for anybody at all. And the other thing with Etsy is their SEO is amazing. That’s another thing that you don’t have to worry about.
And if you’re looking to start a new product, and even just creating your titles, one of my favorite things about Etsy and I always tell this to people too is if you have a new product that you want to list, and I’ll just use the example of “flamingo party.”
So, when you go into the Etsy search, and you start typing “flamingo,” it’ll bring down a drop-down box of everything that people are searching on Etsy. So, whether it’s a Flamingo cake topper, Flamingo candle, anything like that.
So, they’re basically giving you what other people are searching for. And you have to take advantage of that because that’s how you’ll get into the search and everything like that.
Etsy is a keyword-optimized platform
Jillian Leslie 17:48
So, Etsy is a keyword optimized platform. So, your job then is to serve up keywords for your product and do you have any thoughts or advice about how you do that?
Lauren Myers 18:01
So, when I’m creating a product, I always like to sew it in my head, say if I’m using it for a flamingo party, you could also use it for a baby shower, a bridal shower, bachelor. And I always make sure to hit every single one of those.
Jillian Leslie 18:16
Kind of usecases, how would somebody coming to the platform use my product? What is their problem they’re trying to solve?
Lauren Myers 18:23
Exactly. And I think that’s the number one thing is to let that go if you have a specific thing in your head, like no, I’m only doing this for a flamingo party, you just have to let that go.
And just put it out there for everybody because in your title, I forget how many keywords they allow you now, but I always make sure to use every single keyword and even if it’s just “pink birthday party.”
Because you don’t know what people are going to type in the search. And if you can just hit that one person who maybe specifically wasn’t looking for just a balloon garland, but now they came up with pink birthday search.
And now you could have a sale just from that because you have such a wide variety of keywords in your title.
Jillian Leslie 19:05
And then in your description. How are you optimizing your description?
How to Optimize Your Descriptions on Etsy
Lauren Myers 19:10
The first thing that I always do in my description is I have welcome to Oh How Charming. And the reason that I have that is for Google. So, if you were to type in on Google, Flamingo bling garland and it pulls in your product listing from Etsy.
The first thing they will see is your item description. So, I always just like to have my business name there first, just because same thing if one person if it catches their eye, and then they remember Oh How Charming. Let me type that in.
And then under that, I like to have a little description describing the product of how they can use it because I believe Google brings in two lines. So, then I’ll just describe the product.
And just say looking to take your party to the next level purchase this DIY balloon garland kit to woo your guests. No experience necessary, just a little one liner like that.
Where if somebody’s not sure about buying your product that maybe that can change their mind and make them feel a little bit more confident even.
Jillian Leslie 20:09
And then will you go through the colors or what you get or the actual specifics?
Lauren Myers 20:18
Yes. So, I always put exactly this listing is for one DIY balloon garland kit, the colors included or I list them out there, optional balloon pump or balloon decorating strip, then I also put how long it takes to assemble the garland.
And even for a regular balloon bouquet I have in there how long average float time for helium balloons is. So, kind of just putting everything out there. All the information is in front of the customer space.
Jillian Leslie 20:49
So, they can feel comfortable. I like how you’re doing that. I’ve got your back kind of thing.
Lauren Myers 20:54
And people have questions of course, but I just think if you can have as much information in there as possible and really you have to let people know what they’re getting.
You don’t want to be one of those people where you just put a picture up and don’t even have a description of what’s included.
Jillian Leslie 21:12
Now given though, you come to Etsy and there are hundreds if not thousands of balloon garlands, why do you think yours are standing out?
How to Get Your Listing to Stand Out
Lauren Myers 21:21
I think I really think it goes back to using my own photos. Keeping up with the trends is huge too. Right now, Halloween is huge and people are going for that. So, there’s more of a demand for Halloween Garlands.
And even though it feels crazy to be putting Halloween products out in August, but I think the biggest thing honestly is keeping your shop fresh. So, then you’re just always in the search with seasonal holidays, everything like that.
Jillian Leslie 21:51
Are you getting repeat customers or is it predominantly one-off customers?
Lauren Myers 21:56
Yes, the amount of repeat customers I have now. I have a couple girls even who were like I will never go to anybody else and they order from me 20 times and I have this one girl, which is absolutely amazing.
She has been my customer since tassel garlands, and she was one of my first-five star reviews five years ago. So, it’s really cool when somebody sticks with you that whole entire time.
Jillian Leslie 22:22
And do you think reviews are important?
Lauren Myers 22:25
I do think reviews are important. Of course, you want people to brag about your product in a sense too but you’re always going to get negative reviews, and you just have to remember that people are people.
But I honestly don’t think that people look at reviews as much as you think. As a shop owner of course you’re going to obsess over it and I do think that part of it is because Etsy is such a new platform.
And the other thing that Etsy has now two is Best Selling Badges.
Jillian Leslie 22:58
Okay. What does that mean?
Lauren Myers 23:00
So, I honestly don’t even know how they do it. But they award Best Selling Badges on products. So, I think it’s if you sell it a certain amount in a day or a month, you get a Bestseller Badge on it.
So, that again, it’s like that, oh, she’s a best seller, then this must be a popular product that people like and are buying.
Jillian Leslie 23:19
Got it. And do you have them on a bunch of your products?
Lauren Myers 23:23
Jillian Leslie 23:24
And do those continue to sell? Do they continue to be your best sellers?
Lauren Myers 23:28
Yes, they really are. And another feature that Etsy has too is it tells you how many people have the item in their cart. So, it maxes out at 20. So, it’ll say over 20 people have this in their cart, or 10 people have it in their cart.
So again, it’s like those little things that I really think gives people the confidence and wants to shop with you.
Jillian Leslie 23:51
And that little nudge.
Lauren Myers 23:53
Jillian Leslie 23:54
Are there other products like this?
Lauren Myers 23:55
Yes. And if you only have one left in stock, it’ll be like hurry up only one left in stock, and it’s in five other people’s carts. So, Etsy really helps with that.
Etsy’s Advertising Policy, Good or Bad
Jillian Leslie 24:05
Let’s talk about advertising on Etsy. Do you advertise? And haven’t they changed this policy? So, can you excuse step through that?
Lauren Myers 24:15
So, at first, I know we talked about this before I was completely against the Etsy ads.
Jillian Leslie 24:23
You mean paying for ads to get your products to show up higher in search?
Lauren Myers 24:29
Well, this was a mandatory thing that you had to be involved in, and you had no choice whatsoever. So, if you had a certain amount of sales, then Etsy was going to take your products and market them.
Like Instagram, Facebook, everything like that, and you had no choice you had to be involved in it, and they take and they take a certain percentage of it.
And when it first happened, my whole thing is I should be able to decide if I want to put ads on my products are not and especially, they’re going to be taking my best-selling items.
And now they’re taking another cut of it, just because obviously they’re going to use those products advertised. But honestly, I do have to say now this is the busiest I’ve been in five years so I can see why they did it.
Pricing Products on Etsy
Jillian Leslie 25:20
But how do you though have to think about pricing your product? If you know that another percentage is going to be taken by Etsy, have you upped your prices?
Lauren Myers 25:30
So, I have upped my prices on balloon garlands. Well, the other thing too is that you have to offer free shipping on products $35 and more, or and above. I really don’t have a ton of higher priced items.
One of my balloon bouquets for six balloons is $4.50 cents. So, with that my profit margin is high enough that if there was an ad on it, it wouldn’t affect it at all because my margins good for that.
But for the balloon garlands where some of them are over $35 then I just add in the shipping costs into there.
Jillian Leslie 26:10
Into the price.
Lauren Myers 26:11
Yes. So, it would say free shipping but that’s already calculated in the price.
Jillian Leslie 26:18
When you compare your price, are you looking at other sellers on Etsy and going am I more expensive? How does it work in terms of price? Are people very price sensitive?
Are they quality sensitive? What do you find? Are you more expensive than other people selling balloon garlands?
Lauren Myers 26:38
I think my pricing is definitely across the middle. There’s the hard thing now and I do think that some buyers realize that.
So, now you have all of these shops who are coming on and they’re using Pinterest photos and their pricing is like $10 for 10 balloon garlands which is just unheard of and those shops don’t have positive reviews either.
So, I would say they kill the market. They’re trying to kill the market and bring all the pricing down. But your main Etsy sellers who have been there from the beginning, we’re all in the same price range.
And all of us come up high on the search. So, if a customer did see that and it was $1 or more, less or more than somebody else, I don’t think that it would make a difference.
Jillian Leslie 27:29
And let’s talk about your strategy. Do you think Etsy sellers need a blog?
Do Etsy Sellers Need a Blog? Yes!
Lauren Myers 27:37
I always think that you should have something else just that your own. I also think a blog is really good too. You can share more photos. So, if you do a style party for me, then I can put all other photos on there.
I can give tips on how they can style it and I do even send some of my blog posts to customers if they asked me. “Hey, how did you put this greenery in here?” And then I’ll send them a link to my blog post here.
I have everything listed out here for how you can add greenery into your garland or whatever it is.
Jillian Leslie 28:09
So, again it personalizes you. So, just for anybody who is listening, if you have an Etsy shop and you want to blog, we can set it up like we did optimize your blog.
With our BlogStart Program, here’s my plug, go to milotree.com/blogstart and we will set up your WordPress blog. So, you think your blog is been beneficial for you?
Lauren Myers 28:34
Jillian Leslie 28:35
And we feel you don’t necessarily want to put all your eggs in one basket because Etsy not that they would but that they could shut your shop down.
Lauren Myers 28:44
And that’s always been in the back of my head too. Again, not in a negative way. But just I think that you should have your name out there multiple ways if you can.
Jillian Leslie 28:54
So, let’s talk about first of all, how do you test products on Etsy? When do you know? So, going back to that example of I want to start my Etsy shop, I want to test if there’s an audience for these products.
How do you start to know if what you’re putting out there is viable?
Lauren Myers 29:15
I actually tested maybe a few months ago a DIY Balloon Wall Kit. So, basically this whole wall behind me would be covered in balloons. I created basically taking my DIY balloon garland kits already taking a few of them using fishing line to pull it together.
And when I first did that, I saw the balloon wall popping up on Pinterest and Instagram. So, I was like, oh, wow, there must be demand for it. Well, obviously, it’s huge.
So, the price point is going to be a lot higher, even though it’s a DIY kit just for how many balloons that you’re getting in there. And I think I had it listed on my Etsy for maybe like three months and not one person bought it.
And I did get a conversation on it. But the other thing is, I think it was just so intimidating for people. If they see a four-foot balloon garland, it’s like, okay, what do I have to lose with that?
But creating a full wall. People, I just don’t think are ready for that?
Jillian Leslie 30:22
Do you realize that people were too intimidated by the balloon wall? And that wasn’t going to fly. And how often then are you testing new products and new ideas?
Lauren Myers 30:31
Honestly, the balloon garlands I can’t remember if it was 2017 or 2018 when I put my first one out, but I don’t think that they’re going out anytime soon. And they just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger.
But I am a huge believer in following Pinterest, Instagram, even what you see in Target well before everything happened, just keeping up with the trends and seeing what’s out there. And I think that’s how it helps to keep everything fresh.
The Power of Pinterest for Etsy Sellers
Jillian Leslie 31:02
Let’s talk about Pinterest and Instagram for you How do they help your business? How do you use them?
Lauren Myers 31:09
So, Pinterest for Etsy sellers is amazing because every time that you list a new product on your Etsy shop, they have a little please save button. Then you can just click it right there.
It brings in your title of your listing that you have. It brings in your description and it actually shows the price and then says visit Etsy here. So, your shopping is there but it says go to Etsy instead.
And I think that that’s great, honestly because people know Etsy, they’ve commercials on now. So, it’s something that people are familiar with. It’s kind of like a Target now.
So, I think that that’s great because if somebody sees your listing on Pinterest, they’re more likely to click it because they’ve heard of Etsy before.
Jillian Leslie 32:00
Interesting. Okay, and then are you also creating your own Pins? If you’re doing blog posts are you creating collages? Are you creating Pinterest image like images that could link to either your blog or your shop? How are you doing that? If yes.
Lauren Myers 32:17
Thank you to you and David, I am not doing that. So, that was something that I never did before. Even when I posted a new blog post, I would just copy the link and then Pinterest brings in all of your photos, I would never do anything about that.
And then during our course, when you told us about even using Canva to create collages, and just putting the wording on there to make somebody want to click and buy something, the call to action.
So now for my new balloon garlands, I’ll usually bring that photo into Canva and then click here to create your own boho rainbow garland or some type of call to action like that.
And it honestly works and I felt so uncomfortable about that of telling somebody what to do. But that’s what people need.
What is the MiloTree Entrepreneur Coaching Group Like?
Jillian Leslie 33:06
Oh, that’s great. Okay. So in fact, we’ve known each other. And then you were in one of our MiloTree Coaching Groups, and now you’re in our continuing membership. And I was asking you, what do you think of it? What was it for you?
Lauren Myers 33:22
It’s so amazing. And it was just those little things the creating the Pin like that for Pinterest that doesn’t even take that much time, but it could bring you five sales that you wouldn’t have had before just by doing something so simple like that.
And even just how David fixed my website for me, all of those things that just got put on the back burner. And they really helped I think, moving forward to make things easier for me for marketing wise and social media.
And just the support of the community and feeling like you’re not alone because being a business owner too, it’s just me and my office right here. So, you feel like you have co-workers too not friends.
Jillian Leslie 34:08
Like people cheering you on who are doing different things. But I always find that there’s this interesting cross pollination like, “Oh, I never thought about that. I’m not a homeschooler.” But wow, how does homeschooler think about this, homeschool blogger?
How does a food blogger think about this? And I think there’s something very additive and it’s like when you were saying you have to think about all the different people coming to your shop.
And how they might use a product that you would never have thought of. Or to say I’m going to go do pink party for a flamingo balloon to go wait, how can I expand my thinking?
So, one thing I really like about bringing people together in our groups is that cross pollination.
Lauren Myers 34:56
It’s the truth and it’s just even if you see somebody ask a question that maybe you thought of but never thought to. And then it’s just helpful all around, honestly. If I could do it again I would.
Jillian Leslie 35:10
Oh girl, you’re continuing on like I was telling you next week what we’re going to be teaching on, in our monthly group. So, tell me about Instagram for you and how you think about Instagram for business building.
How to Use Instagram to Sell on Etsy
Lauren Myers 35:22
Even though on Etsy you’re sharing style photos, but Instagram, I think is that more, you give them that full party in a sense.
And the cool thing about Instagram is when you share a picture, then usually on the same day, I’ll share a behind the scenes video of how I set up that party.
Jillian Leslie 35:44
So, you’re talking about sharing it on your feed, and then doing a story related to that with behind the scenes.
Lauren Myers 35:52
Yes, with the behind the scenes and I think that that’s just a really cool way to connect with your followers and your customers and I always encourage in my little cards I send with each order.
I have on there to tag me on Instagram to share your creations with me. And whenever a customer tags me, then I always share it back to my story. And of course, make sure I comment.
And again, if you have a new follower and they see an actual customer photo, then it’s like, oh, wow, I can actually do this at my house too. Not looking at just a style photo and thinking it’s something that you can achieve yourself.
Jillian Leslie 36:31
Where are you getting sales Pinterest or Instagram?
Lauren Myers 36:36
Pinterest definitely over Instagram. Recently, I do think that I’m getting more sales from Instagram. But personally, in my experience, Instagram is not the place that you’re going to get a ton of sales.
It’ll just be like maybe one or two here and there.
Jillian Leslie 36:53
So, Instagram is more brand building for you?
Lauren Myers 36:56
Yes, I would say so.
Jillian Leslie 36:58
Like putting yourself out there authentically. And are you putting yourself out there?
Lauren Myers 37:02
Yes, I’ve tried to do. I haven’t been that on top of it lately, but even with my balloon avalanche, then I showed my face on there.
And same thing. It’s not just this account called Ohh How Charming. It’s, oh, there’s Lauren. There she is. She’s talking to us and keeping us up to date.
Jillian Leslie 37:22
And was that weird for you in the beginning? Talk about that because the thing that I’m really trying in my own businesses is to put myself out there, and to get out of my own way and being like, Oh, no, how does my hair look today?
Nobody cares how my hair looks, except me. I want to be teaching people to do that more to get out of our own way especially as women I think we’re so self-critical. How’s your journey been in terms of putting yourself out there?
How to Get Started Going Live
Lauren Myers 37:54
Honestly, you just have to start and do it. I know that sounds so cliche, but the first thing you have to do is just record yourself. The first time I did it, same thing. I’m like, “Oh my gosh, my voice sounds horrible, people are going to think I’m annoying.”
They’re not going to want to hear with what I have to say. And you just have to let go of all of those limiting beliefs. And remember that people are there for you, they want to see you, you’re an inspiration to them, you’re providing value to them.
And once you shift your mindset to that you feel like you’re talking to friends too. And eventually, once you start, and nobody else is that’s the other thing. No one else is going to realize that you’re uncomfortable either.
And once you put yourself out there multiple times, then people start to interact with you and they’ll just like I said, become your friend.
And once you share the story, just talking about something and once you have that one person respond to you too and just say well, thank you so much for that or I never would have thought of that.
That’s just an absolute confidence boost to so then it makes you want to create more because it feels like people are listening.
Why Putting Yourself Out There Can Be Your Competitive Advantage
Jillian Leslie 39:00
And I think of it now, as a competitive advantage. Most people do not want to put themselves on camera. Most people are terrified, like me like you. But for the people who do it.
The small percentage of people who actually do it, I think it’s such a benefit. So, you have to go, oh, I’m glad most people are terrified of this. And I’m willing to face my fear and do it because I’ll be that small minority of people who are taking that risk.
Who are willing to get out of my own way and go, I’m not going to think about my hair, or I’m not going to think about my voice. I’m just going to go do it. So, it’s like, it could be like a little advantage if you’re willing.
Lauren Myers 39:50
I think so too. And I just think it goes back to the same thing from the beginning that as much as people are themselves, they do care about what you have to say too.
I actually even just had somebody yesterday send me a message and said, on one of my pictures, what length would you recommend I get for this or what length of picture here?
And I do sometimes think is because I do show my face on there and that people feel comfortable actually reaching out. I think that’s another benefit too is that people are more likely to ask questions about a product if you are showing your face.
It’s like, oh, there’s a smile behind there. She looks friendly. She’ll be able to help me and she’ll want to help me because she cares.
Jillian Leslie 40:37
Interesting. Now when people think about ecommerce, and they go, Hmm, Etsy, Shopify, what is your thought about that to start?
Etsy vs. Shopify?
Lauren Myers 40:49
Etsy all the way. And when I first started, I’m trying to remember, I think the obviously the first thing that came up on Google when you type in like handmade was Etsy at the time. And I do remember seeing things about Shopify.
But for me that was just too much to take on. And I wasn’t in the place where I could hire somebody to optimize keywords and get my SEO where I would pop up in the search where Etsy has all of that for you already.
Jillian Leslie 41:21
Exactly. One thing that we say is your business is all about traffic. It’s all about getting eyeballs on your products.
The thing with Shopify is yes, you don’t have to pay the Etsy fees, but you’re going to pay for that in blood sweat and tears or in paying for advertising in other ways. Like customer acquisition is difficult. And driving traffic it’s a slow build.
Therefore, if you turn on your Shopify store and think okay, now the people should show up. Oh, no, no, you’ve got to work to get the people to show up the thing that is nice on a platform like Etsy is, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel.
You already have the fish in the barrel. With Shopify, you got to get the fish into the barrel.
Lauren Myers 42:11
It’s the truth. And I know that there are a lot of people now who have Shopify stores even with Etsy. And I really don’t know the reason why. That was just something I never felt like I had to do, I guess.
But yeah, I just can’t imagine having to start out and you would have to invest thousand more hours. Then just going with Etsy because they do everything for you.
Jillian Leslie 42:39
But you were mentioning taxes.
Lauren Myers 42:41
Yes. That’s the other thing how certain States now they require taxes on products. So, Etsy takes care of all of that for you. So, they calculate the sales tax already, and then they’re remitting it to that State that requires it.
So, on Shopify, and I know its only certain thresholds that you would have to hit but for me, why would you want to have to worry about doing any of that? There are 50 States.
So, that’s a lot to keep up with all the laws and what each state’s requirement is where Etsy just takes care of all of it. And you don’t even have to think about it.
Jillian Leslie 43:18
So, for you, it seems like you’ve got your shop, you know what kind of products people like you take your own photos, you really flesh out your listing with keywords, but also, in your listing. It sounds like you’re making your customer comfortable.
I will tell you how long this will take you. I will provide all of the necessary things you need to create a beautiful balloon garland, I’m here for questions. And so, people purchase it.
And then it seems like you’ve got your blog as a way to support your business. Put your own skills like your own styling skills out there, beyond what you can show on your Etsy shop to say I’m a real person.
I’ve got some flair here you can follow what I’m doing. I’m going to break it down for you, again to make you feel comfortable, but also to give you ideas and to set you up as an expert. Like I know how to do this.
And then it sounds like you’ve got Pinterest driving sales, both by pinning your Etsy products. So, they go directly back to Etsy, but also being able to again, show your skills, with your custom Pins.
Are you linking those back to your blog? Are you linking those to your Etsy shop? Are you linking them both places?
Lauren Myers 44:33
Both places, for the more DIY tips or how to style this, I’ll definitely do it back to my blog post. But then in my blog post, which you have taught me, thankfully, was at the beginning of your post to make sure that you have shopped here for this product.
Because if they do want to then get that product, it’s still right there in front of their face, but I do both to my Etsy and to my blog,
Jillian Leslie 44:59
And then it seems like Instagram is really brand building for you, maybe a couple sales, but it’s really putting yourself out there and being able to flesh out the picture.
Lauren Myers 45:09
And Instagram for me is and I guess along with my blog, too, it’s my creative outlet. And even though my business is creative, I just absolutely love more than anything setting up and styling a party. So, I guess that aspect is I look at that as my hobby almost.
Jillian Leslie 45:27
Lauren Myers 45:29
Jillian Leslie 45:29
Like your happy place.
Lauren Myers 45:31
Yes. So, yes, I’m going to style this pretty party and I’m going to post the picture about it and that’s just like, almost a stress reliever for me too, because that’s what one of my favorite things to do.
Jillian Leslie 45:43
So, for anybody who’s listening to this and says, you know what, I should go set up an Etsy shop, what would be your closing advice for them?
Advice for Setting Up Your Etsy Shop
Lauren Myers 45:55
Number one; is just do it and the best thing about Etsy too is it’s free to start, only thing you have to do is pay for your listings. And I want to say that they even have a promotion now or if you use somebody’s link that you can get 10 to 20 free listings.
So, even if you have however many products, I mean, 20 cents for your investment is, you really can’t find that anywhere. And you basically have your own website then set up.
So, even if you’re on the fence about it even just to try it out it’s so worth it for how cheap it is.
Jillian Leslie 46:32
But here’s the thing, if I let’s say start this, can I get my listings to show up?
Lauren Myers 46:38
Oh, yes, absolutely. And I think it’s just going back to typing in those key words and just really getting as many products as you can on there in the beginning. You don’t need to have 100 products.
I don’t mean that even if you start with 10 to 20 and really just optimize your keywords and put them on Pinterest, do everything you can in the beginning to try and get them out there. And the other thing is, you have to believe in yourself.
And you have to want it enough to know that this is what you’re meant to do. And I always tell people too and I don’t mean this in the mean way, but just because everybody has an Etsy shop doesn’t mean that you should have an Etsy shop too.
Jillian Leslie 47:34
I love that Lauren if people want to reach out to you learn more about you. What is the best way?
Lauren Myers 47:41
On Instagram. I’m @ohhowcharming same as Pinterest. My Etsy shop is ohhhowcharming with three H’s and then Instagram and everything else is two H’s
Jillian Leslie 47:52
Okay, got it. Well, great. Well, thank you truly, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Lauren Myers 47:59
Thank you so much for having me. It was so fun.
Jillian Leslie 48:01
As you know, I am all about testing ideas. I’m also all about finding products to sell. And I think that Etsy is the perfect platform to test because there really are no major startup costs and you can get it up in a day.
So, just be thinking about that. Is there something you can sell? And can you test it on Etsy? Also, do you want to get a weekly email from me, where I talk about my podcast episodes and share my four biggest takeaways from each one.
Plus, you can listen to the episode right there in the email if you want to. This sounds good to you, head to bloggergenius.com and sign up.
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