From the Blog

How to Brand Your Etsy Store

Etsy has taken the small business world by storm in the last eight years, introducing a craft show/antique store vibe to online commerce.  Many people have chosen to sell on Etsy because they enjoy creating things and displaying them or they like to “flip” older items, highlighting their style and how they can be combined with newer or different things to create fashionable alternatives to off the rack.  Etsy offers a relatively inexpensive way to enter this market and without the seasonal or geographical constraints of craft fairs or the costs of renting and staffing retail space.

People enjoy shopping at Etsy because they want something handmade and created with care and they enjoy knowing that a real person designed or crafted it.  It’s not for cheapskates – the genuine skinflints comb the thrifts looking for true bargains and deep discounts.  Etsy is an experience in treating yourself to a unique item made or found just for you by an identifiable person.  This appeals greatly to generations of people who were brought up on mass produced, aggressively marketed everything.  Just as bread at a farmer’s market tastes fresher, soap purchased from an Etsy storefront seems more authentic.  You cannot mass produce authenticity.

Knowing this, as an Etsy storefront owner how do you brand yourself in a way that will not subtract what Etsy customers consider an important part of the transaction – that realness?

First you have to understand what branding is.  A brand isn’t just a logo, like it once was when it appear on the backsides of cattle.  Yes, you do need a logo – an image that identifies your business and makes its products immediately recognizable.  But you need more than that – you need to shape in the minds of your customers and, most desirable, the general public what you are and what makes your products unique and necessary.

Step one, then, would be to go ahead and define for yourself what you are and what makes your products unique and necessary.  Really brainstorm out what you have to offer and how your stuff is different from everyone else’s.  Use your friends and family as sounding boards and try to get helpful feedback.  When you’ve got that down, tackle the logo.

When designing your logo, choose something that reinforces who you are in a way that will especially appeal to your target audience.  Carefully consider color and style.  If with your store, you want to evoke Grandma’s kitchen of yesteryear, probably black and zen is not the best choice.  See if you can find someone who knows graphic design – a professional marketing company, a friend with experience, or perhaps an acquaintance you can swap product for skills with.

When you’ve got your logo, then move on to your tagline.  A tagline is a snappy phrase that, with or without your logo, will immediately bring your shop to mind.  Here are a handful that worked marvelously to create company recognition:

  • Don’t leave home without it
  • Change we need
  • Have it your way
  • Does she or doesn’t she?
  • The pause that refreshes

Again, like your logo, you want your company’s unique selling proposition to shine through in the tagline like a beacon leading like minds to your storefront and product.  Tailor your language to match the logo as much as you can, and when you’ve got a great match, put it on everything.  Everything.

Design your stationery, your business cards, your signage, your boxes and containers using that logo and tagline.  Use it online on Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, in your business correspondence, on your website and blog, and, of course, on Etsy.  As you build recognition and association, so you build your brand.

Remember personal characteristics are also part of branding.  Madonna has a brand.  So does Barack Obama.  The personal characteristics they have chosen to highlight and amplify lend to their brand.  You want all of your transactions to reinforce the belief that your brand also encompasses reliability, personability, care, and trustworthiness – along with style, comfort, flare, beauty or whatever other brand characteristics you’ve selected.  People will associate you with your brand, so make that association positive and consistent.  That is what will help make your Etsy store a full success.

Megan Cooperider is the Project Manager for Deksia. As a public relations and advertising graduate from Purdue University, she wears the Public Relations and Social Media hats from time to time as well. Upon graduating in May of 2012, Megan moved to Grand Rapids to pursue her career. In her spare time, Megan enjoys spending time with friends, family and her huskies, Luke and Chandler.