Immediately you said, "where do I sign up?" and bit your fingernails all day from anxiety because they told you not to tell anyone. Oh sure, you let "hints" slip to your Etsy teammates and you told your family because hey...they don't know what "Etssttyiie" is anyway! For months, you stalked the Featured Sellers, tracking their sales and asking anyone who would listen what to expect. You told your friends you could have anywhere from 5 to 50 sales and so you ordered some packaging supplies and a few other supplies to "get ready" for the big event.
This article is to help those who have been contacted and have no idea what to expect. Because believe me, you will not believe the attention this will get you.
My experience was a little special. After all, I was already very busy...it's candle season after all! I had craft shows scheduled and just happened to be just about completely out of vacation. I figured I am a smart cookie and I could figure out the scheduling. Plus, I had plenty of people say they would help...right?
Count on a few things:
- You WILL (or at least the odds are VERY good) need time off of work if you work full-time. Plan ahead and don't accept the feature if you can't do it. Really...I was in tears many days because I didn't know how I would get the candles made and shipped. I never expected the volume of orders I received.
- Your sales estimate won't even come close. I had well over 230 sales from the feature (on Etsy and my regular website) and they keep coming because there is still a link on the page that stays on for a few weeks. Granted, other people get 50 sales but those sales are way more than what they are accustomed to.
- They say they will help but they may not. Don't count on friends and family to help. Things come up, their phones stop working, they forget, the dog ate it...well something, etc. Yes, I had a handful of people who did help and it was very much needed and appreciated. I was still up until 2AM and getting up at 5:30AM every day because I needed more help.
- Do order some supplies ahead of time. I mean some. You may end up shocked by what people order so don't even try to guess. Order a safe amount of packaging supplies so you are ready to go in that aspect.
- Take advantage of the attention. Promote that Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, etc. You will gain all kinds of followers!
- Make sure your Etsy page tells them that their orders may be delayed due to higher than normal volume. Give specifics if you can (i.e. two weeks).
- Make sure your Sellers Notes reflect the delay as well. That way they see it again in the order confirmation they get from Etsy.
- Send an email with information to your customers which also reiterates the longer wait and tells your customers about your Facebook and Twitter. Many said they were happy to wait and congratulations!
- Schedule the creation of your product. I know that it is easiest for me to make huge batches of one fragrance at a time. Therefore, I waited until all was said and done before I started making candles. It cut my time by more than a half!
- Keep up with the order entry. If you enter your orders into Peachtree or another software like I do, get those sales orders in the computer as they come in. It will help you feel like you have a handle on things!
- If it is in stock, ship it out now! Ship what you can as fast as you can to get the order completed. This will help your sanity and will make many of your customers extremely happy!
- Do what you can with the convos. I am all about customer service which you can see by my feedback but I simply had too many convos to keep up with while working full-time. Reply to those that are most important and go back to the others when you can. The trick for me was to read them in my email and NOT open them in Etsy if I could not reply right away. That way, they appeared unread in Etsy and I could respond when I had a chance. I did miss one convo because I did not leave it unread.
- Pump yourself up! You are going to need stamina and energy. Promote your feature on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and wherever else you do promo. Tell your teams and live off of the enthusiasm you get in return. After all, on Etsy, you are a "celebrity" during the feature so eat it up and use that energy to give you energy!
- Delay the unnecessary in your life. If it isn't necessary (i.e. blogging), don't worry about it until you are caught up.
- Remind yourself it is only a short time. You may very well ask yourself, "what have I done?," as you wake up from the 10th night of 3 hours of sleep and can't remember the last time you saw Grey's Anatomy or your friends/family. Just remember, it will only last a little while. Enjoy it because the attention is mind boggling! I had so many "shout outs" and team support and congratulations convos, it was crazy.
Being the Etsy Featured Seller can be intimidating and outright frightening but once the dust settles, it is a very worthwhile adventure to take part in. Congratulations to future "celebrities"....you won't regret it...not even a little :)
Former Etsy Featured Seller, November 6-8, 2009