This is an old saying, and it makes a lot of sense. Especially to a businessperson …
As members of the JET Team, we all have one thing in common. If nothing else … Etsy is important to our business. We all have stores on the site, and Etsy is the place where we connect – with customers and with each other. Our Team has its base on Etsy, and it is where we interact every day on the JET Team discussion boards.
Many JET members have stores on other venues. Quite a few members have Artfire Studios. Some may do business on eBay, Amazon or other hosted selling venues.
I’m writing this sort of as a discussion; comments and questions are encouraged and will be addressed in future posts. I’m going to write a series of articles here dealing with other venues and the importance of creating a true brand for yourself with a separate identity and location – your own website.
I've been doing this for a long time. Old time JETs know I run a fairly busy web business off Etsy; Jetlings may not be familiar with me. I have a lot of experience when it comes to selling jewelry online.
I learned a while ago that having your own website is important. We began selling online in 1998 – on eBay. I really liked it. But in the following two years, the rules began to get very restrictive. Even one year later - in 1999 - their policies weren’t in line with what I wanted and we started a website. Why? Simple … because I wanted to do business on MY terms. And I have learned a lot in the last 10 - 12 years ...
Now most of the business we do is through our website. I started the Etsy store as a second store in 2007 to sell only handmade items; I wanted a different location and the atmosphere reminded me of eBay in the early years. Then I found the JETs and now Etsy is almost like home.
The point is … you control everything on your own site. You truly set store policy and you are really the boss. You don't have to worry about others selling jewelry just like your jewelry, copying your photos, making their shop look just like yours, competing for shoppers the way they are on Etsy or eBay.
Of course, there is one advantage a site like Etsy has … a ready pool of customers.
With your own site, you’ll have to rely on search engine traffic. You’ll need to promote in as many ways as you can, some free, some not. It will cost SOME money to advertise, which is similar to paying listing fees.
Some of the JETs already have websites; this series of articles will be helpful to those members as well. Cost effective promotion can help make a site that does nothing into a thriving business with some work. We'll go into the best ways to get the word out for the least amount of money!
Over time, your site will grow in traffic and importance; and you’ll gain a steady stream of sales. It never hurts to have more than one business location!
We’re going to start at the beginning of the process – finding a web host, registering a URL, building a site and different ways to get your site online. So post your thoughts and questions below. Your comments and questions will help move the discussion to cover areas that most interest you. In later installments I want to cover promotion, linking, setting up a shopping cart, payment choices – and a lot more. Let’s get started!
Bob Edwards is a proud member of the Jewelry on Etsy Team - JET. He is a jewelry designer and metalsmith in New York City with over 30 years of experience in the jewelry trade, specializing in handmade gemstone pendants and birthstone rings. This article may be reproduced provided it contains this author's statement and all links remain intact. ©2011 Robert Edwards