Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should
If you’re at all creative, you’re probably able to make a variety of handmade items. This does not mean you have to sell everything you are able to make. In fact, many Etsy shop owners make the mistake of starting too broad. They know they can make knitted sweaters, painted signs, cat toys, and origami wedding favors. So they open an Etsy shop, list everything they make, and then wonder why they aren’t getting any sales.
While there are certainly exceptions, the most successful Etsy shops work within very specific niches. This means that they make one type of product, use one particular medium, and/or target a very specific audience.
Why You Need A Niche On Etsy
Finding your niche on Etsy may seem counterintuitive. After all, it seems like the greater the variety of items that you have in your shop, the better your chances are of being found. This is not true.
Think about this scenario: A customer is in need of a personalized silver necklace. She searches on Etsy, finds one she likes, and says, “Wow! I like this style. Let’s see what else this seller has to offer.” She clicks on the storefront and is then immediately confused. Where are the rest of the personalized silver necklaces? Why does she now see wooden growth chart rulers, industrial metal letters and planner stickers? She isn’t going to stick around in this variety store for long. Instead, she’s going to find an Etsy seller that specializes in the type of necklace she is looking for because she trusts a seller who looks like an expert in the craft.
Selling a great variety of products does not make you look professional. It makes you look scattered. It makes you look like Wal-Mart (not that I have anything against Wal-Mart, really). It’s just that as handmade sellers, we don’t want to look like Wal-Mart. We want people to pay top dollar for our well-crafted handmade goods (not low low prices for sub-par, mass-produced products.)
Overall, finding your niche on Etsy will help you:
- Market your products to a specific audience
- Stand out in a saturated market
- Become a recognized expert in your craft
- Develop a signature, recognizable style
- Brand your storefront
- Get found in search (by both customers and influencers)
- Develop authority on Google (good for being found in Google searches)
- Source raw materials in bulk
- Make your look like a professional seller who deserves the price you are charging
- Develop trust with your customers
- Streamline your systems and processes (which will save you time and eliminate stress)
Examples Of Finding Your Niche On Etsy
To help you think about this practically, I’ve collected a few examples. Take a look at each storefront and see how these sellers have found their niche on Etsy:
- The shop BohemianFindings has over a million sales. When you visit this storefront, do you see a huge variety of items? Nope. You see mostly charms. And they all fit within the bohemian style. The majority of the photos are composed in the same way, and you can pinpoint the target audience by simply glancing at the first page of items.
- Cricket Paper Co. is another high volume seller. This Etsy shop features more than 500 variations of removable vinyl planner stickers. The banner is made to target a very specific customer. And again, the photos are styled with consistent angles and backgrounds.
- In the home decor category, Crystal Cove Design Studio is a great example. You may not always need a personalized shabby chic picture frame, but when you do, you’re going to come across this store in search.
- My favorite example of effectively carving out a niche is probably Melissa Kaiserman’s shop, A Time 4 Everything. Melissa makes wallets and accessories for a cash envelope budgeting system. It’s genius.
How To Find Your Own Niche On Etsy
So how does a maker with so many talents find her own niche on Etsy? Consider these questions:
- What do you make that is unique?
- What can you make that serves a specific purpose or solves a problem?
- What is something you wouldn’t mind making over and over again?
- What is something that you can make with reasonably priced materials?
- Can you target a specific event or occasion? (baby showers, weddings, etc.)
- Who is the intended audience?
When you think you’ve narrowed down your product ideas, think about how you might be able to get even more specific. Remember, there is a difference between a category and a niche. A category is a broad term- a specific craft or product. You crochet, you knit, you make signs, you work with vinyl, you make home decor, etc.
A niche, on the other hand, answers the questions:
What specifically do you make?
How do you make it?
It’s not enough to say that you crochet, for example. What do you crochet and for whom?
I crochet personalized hats for babies.
I crochet headbands for runners.
I crochet sexy swimwear for women. (Is this a thing?)
I crochet chokers for offbeat men and women. (It’s just getting weird now, isn’t it?)
Here’s another example:
You want to sell bags. Oh, ok. Sure, that narrows it down….
Get more specific.
I sell upscale leather bags for men.
I sell personalized canvas totes for children.
I sell personalized equipment bags for dancers and athletes.
I sell fancy handbags for women who love the nightlife.
I sell bold fanny packs for bold people.
Do Some Research
After you’ve decided on a potential niche, make sure you do some research. Search for this item on Etsy and on Google.
- How many sellers make the same type of thing?
- What do they charge?
- Is the market saturated already?
- How can you bring a unique perspective to something that has been done already?
It’s important to consider whether or not there is a market for your niche on Etsy and who your potential customers might be.
So if you’re just starting your business, consider finding your niche on Etsy. And if you are an experienced seller, think about how you can improve your shop by focusing on more specific offerings or audiences.
An Additional Resource For Finding Your Niche