How To Be Your Shop's Best Critic

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Cheyne, works at Etsy on the Seller Education team, and she recently contacted me and asked me if I would share some of my experience with ways I've critiqued my shop as well as a few ways I think fellow sellers can do better at critiquing their own shops. 
She ended up quoting me in one of the most recent articles on the Etsy blog!
You can go check it out here.

I loved being able to contribute and share a little of what I've learned so far in my Etsy expereince. 
I am by no means an expert, but I've definitely learned a few things over the past year or two of selling, and I always want to make sure I share and give back to the artists and makers community when I have the opportunity to. Because there have been so many people who have shared and helped me in my journey and I wouldn't be where I am now without them!

So in light of that, and in the spirit of sharing, I thought I would go ahead and share some more about some of the things Cheyne initially asked me, and some of my more extensive answers, in hopes that maybe they'll help some of you new Etsy shop owners out. 
P.s. Don't worry, I'm still going to do a Q&A post! I've really loved getting all of your questions over the past few weeks. So if you have anymore related to this, or anything else, just let me know!

Have you ever given yourself a shop critique or received one from another seller? If so, what's the biggest thing you've learned from a self critique or a critique from someone else? Any really big lightbulb moments? 

I think the biggest importance in any shop is consistency in your information and overall aesthetic and way of doing things. For instance: I was stating in my shop info that my knits took 3-4 weeks to be made before being shipped, however I didn't have that information in each listing and so a lot of my customers missed seeing that because they didn't necessarily look at my shop info before purchasing! As a result I was having to answer a lot of "when is my order going to be ready??" emails. 
Being consistent and clear about what you're promising each of your customers, in every aspect of their buying experience, will keep them coming back as well as, ultimately, cut down on work for you. I also state that I only answer Etsy Convo's Monday-Friday 8-5pm because those are my work hours for the shop. Because I'm also a photographer, I have a very large work load that I have to manage throughout the week, and so it's very important to have some down time for myself and end my work day at a decent hour so that I can maintain my overall health. This doesn't always happen of course, there are many late nights of editing and knitting, but the more I'm able to stick to a good work routine, the better I can ultimately be for my customers.

Is there one area you feel your fellow sellers always struggle with that needs a lot of attention (in terms of the commonly critiqued shop elements)?

I think there are a lot of shops that have some really amazing products but have poor photos of said products. I know that pretty imagery is what I am most drawn to when I peruse Etsy and what also definitely helps get you into treasuries and on the front page! Granted, not everyone is a photographer, but with how amazing point and shoot cameras are these days, and even our phones, it's really not that hard to get good quality photos of the products you're trying to sell. I think natural lighting is definitely key. But even if you still feel intimidated by trying to get some good photos for your shop, ask a friend or local photographer in your area to help you out! Even if you don't have the budget for it, you can most likely trade skills with them and work out an agreement for them to take some photos for you in exchange for some of your products! 

Any extra sage wisdom you'd like to share about looking at your own shop or giving feedback to someone else?

Do not compare yourself to other Etsy shops.
Or, let me rephrase that, you can compare yourself in a healthy way, by gauging in the ways that you can change to be similarly successful, but once you start thinking "Gosh I wish I had that many sales" or "Man why am I not this popular?" stop it right there!
You can't compare your beginning to someone else's middle. 
Everyone has to start somewhere and all of those Etsy shops that we all love and admire for their great success, started just where you are at one point! They just worked their butts off to get to where they are now. And that's what you have to be willing to do too. Just stick to what you're best at, learn and grow in the areas you aren't as great in, and don't compare yourself to others and their journeys because everyone's is different and comparison is the thief of joy.

Definitely be sure to check out Cheyne's article though. 
I learned a lot from reading it myself, especially since I'm in the process of renovating my shop and designs a bit, I have lots of new things I need to make sure I update and adjust!

P.s. Not sure I ever blogged about this one, but hey look who's also in this other article on the Etsy blog. ;)