Streamlining Production

Etsy is a marketplace of unique, handmade items. But making everything by hand can be tedious, time consuming and boring. Even if you are selling things that you make by hand, the number one thing you need to keep on your mind is: 

How can I make this item faster and better each time I make it? 

If you are always making brand new items and designs, it is extremely difficult to build a successful Etsy Shop. Etsy is a marketplace where items that range between $5 and $200 do best. So if it's taking you 10 hours to make something, and you're only selling it for $50, then you are only making $5 per hour - well below the minimum wage in the United States. 

As a seller of physical items on Etsy, you absolutely must figure out ways to make as many items as possible in as little time as possible. But as a creative person, I know that the whole concept of mass production takes the fun out of the creative process. So, instead of viewing the streamlining process as a burden, think of it as just another opportunity to be creative.

If you've already sold thing in the past with physical items, I highly recommend that you find your best sellers, or at least a style that sells the best, and keep making those items. Perfecting them and streamline the process as much as possible.

Think of your physical items on Etsy like the Porsche car.  The first Porsche Boxster cars were made in the 1950s.  Every year, the designers of the Porsche have refined and improved the car ever so slightly, always trying to make it a little bit better than the year before. But within the last 70 years, the Porsche is in many ways very similar to the original. If they had never updated the car, then fewer people would buy it today. But people by the modern version of the classic car because it is constantly being perfected, modernized, improved, and it is constantly inspired car owners all over the world.

So instead of dreading and avoiding the streamlining process of your physical items, treat it like an artistic expression. Always take your best selling items on Etsy, and constantly improve them. That way, those items are essentially the same as your original design, but it is instead a vastly improved version of the original. 

Another important reason to do this is for keywords. Keywords are the number one way that real customers will find your products. If you are constantly making new items from scratch, then you will also have to redo your product photography, keywords, and listing descriptions. And that's a ton of work. Instead, you should slightly be improving your best sellers over time. Occasionally you may need to update your Photography or Product Descriptions, but you will be doing it in very small, incremental changes. 

Even though Etsy is a handmade marketing place, you must think like a mass production company. Unless you are selling one-of-a-kind painted artwork for $2,000 a piece, you cannot afford to constantly experiment and make new things and start all over again from scratch. So make streamlining your design, production, and shipping process as your number one priority when having a Physical Etsy Shop.

Justin Wood

JPW Design Studio, California

Minimalist Website Designer