{thoughts on shops} a trip to Un Lieu Sur Terre

 

Hi again cuties!  It’s another exciting shop visit!

Welcome to the wonderful whimsical world of Un Lieu Sur Terre.  The shop announcement promises *handmade storytelling* and so begins our delightful trip.

What lovely work you do, Lila!

Translated, un lieu sur terre means “a place on earth” and I love the way the shop instantly transports us to a charming, one of a kind world of eco friendly handmade textile delights. I love your creations, Lila! To add to the instant allure, the shop is in Paris France – in my eyes , an element that can be used to be a BIG helpful part of branding. Just the locale alone is whimsical & exotic to most: things that offer great appeal to folks in most countries buying your goods, nicey! Beautiful products + romantic whimsical feel = instant magic!

{ Showcasing your Beautiful products }

I feel this delightful shop evokes exactly what I know Lila’s brand is: positive, inspiring, eco friendly beauty thru wonderful, imaginative designs.

I love the gorgeous works artist Lila has created. It’s a lovely mix of hand-drawn pillows & cushions, art panels, garlands and more. Right away we can garner that Un Lieu Sur Terre is a specialty shop, whose niche market would be lovely folks looking for a touch of whimsy and a collectible piece of her beautiful art that tells a story. This *specialty* feel lends itself well to a boutique atmosphere, where the shop sells unique, often one of a kind pieces.

Speaking of boutiques, I think it can be good business sense to envision how your e-shop would look ideally, as a brick and mortar shop. This gives us tangible, concrete ideas of how to best design our e-shops when we can envision the coordinated look of a brick and mortar shop in our heads. For example: if your vision for your shop would be a minimalist, zen-inspired boutique with gallery-style displays showcasing each piece of art as it’s own masterpiece, then it’s those style of attributes I think you’ll want to include and work towards in your e-shop, thru the various components you can use to shape your style and brand. (banners, avatars, listing photos, product lines, etc).

Or perhaps you love the look of a funky downtown shop, where there are many delightful piles of your wares, in an array of colours, great music in the background, etc. Of course, this lends itself to a totally different look online! I suggest envisioning your shop in a concrete way, and then using this vision to create the look of the e-shop you’d like! It’ll also help us to define who we are and what we want to be as a shop; key elements of growing our businesses.

In the case of Un Lieu Sur Terre, I think she’s already well on her way, shop style wise. To me, it’s a charming, up-scale indie boutique.  This brings us to the next element I’d like to explore today

{ The Colour palette for the shop }

I love the way Lila has developed a colour scheme for her shop. The palette of muted greys, a spectrum of rose and pinks, purples and blues live harmoniously together with accents of white. I think colour palette is KEY in our shops: it creates visual continuity even though the shop is filled with a variety of different beautiful items. It’s another significant part of visual branding: ways to make our images and products instantly stand out in a good way and instantly recognizable.

I like to think of an e- shop colour palette in the same way we could think of the importance of a what colours we’d choose to paint and decorate our brick and mortar stores if we opened them. We want our shops to look cohesive: I think it lends a professional air to our businesses- an important element to relay to our customers when they only have our photos to look at! I believe colour also sets an important tone in the shop. So if you can, determine the colour palette you’d like in your photos, and work toward that goal. It will make photographing our works simpler and the results more effective.

What if the items in our shops are from a wide spectrum of colours, with no distinct colour palette? Then I think there is an opportunity to find creative ways to tie our shop images together – last week we looked at tweaking exposure & contrast to create photographic consistency. Another element is using a similar background in all of your 1st image product shots. This is something I think Lila has achieved in many of her photos, but I would recommend tweaking it just a bit in others. As I see it, Lila’s shots with the solid lighter grey backgrounds, with minimal prop accessorizing, achieve a fantastic look.

While most of the images in the shop are from the same colour family, two of the current photos are from a different colour family {as seen in the image below} . One helpful tool to use is the Big Huge Labs color palette generator. Just upload one of your images (I do mine thru flickr for free) and then it will generate the dominate colours. Doing this for most of Un Lieu Sur Terre we can see the dominant colours. Lovely! Now using individual photos, we can see ones that a) fit well or b) clash/don’t match. I’d suggest redoing the photos that don’t match. Swap certain photos for others that work better. Not sure of your colour palette? Experiment a bit. It’s worth your time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ De-cluttering our photos! }

I think Lila does a fabulous job of photographing some of her pieces. For  a couple of the images, the photographs are a bit cluttered. I love that they show the image in use in a great vignette (something shoppers love to see – it gives us ideas on how to feature this lovely work/ get this look in our own home) but has too many colours and different focal points that only detract from the MAIN item that needs showcasing.  Simple photographs show well, offer more chances for you to be featured and allow folks to

focus on your beautiful work.( Just like a de-cluttered life helps us breathe better! I’m working on that one myself!)

There’s enough competition out there in the lovely handmade world. Let’s not create competing factors in our  photographs.  I think we need to establish ONE focal point. Photo props should ENHANCE the item for sale, not detract from it.

 

{ Create ample white space }

I also suggest making sure all of our photos have ample white space (the space needn’t be white to be white space – it just needs to be blank and uncluttered). White space in photos allows each of us to use our imaginations to get a glimpse of how we could use this item/ why we need it! (create demand!) and allows us to see this item in our own spaces. You’re already there with so many of your photos, Lila. I’d recommend reshooting a few to make all the images consistent that way!

 

Now..

I think this shop is just charming. And I think that element could be played up more in the shop branding.

Simplicity is part of her beautiful branding – so let’s make sure our photos match the style.

Last week we chatted about maximizing all of our listing photographs. I think this is something Lila could work at as well. We have 5 image opportunities with each listing! Let’s be sure to use them to their full potential to show our work at various angles, in use, our other works, etc.

{ Playing up your assets }

In the handmade world, there is a special distinction for entirely unique creations that are not replicated. I think of this as a real asset -it sets us as handmakers apart from mass-makers. We call these One of a Kind works, or OOAK. I think it’s important to use these terms in our listings and tags if they apply. Many folks searching for handmade art will have an idea of whether they’d prefer original art, if it’s one of kind or a print or copy, etc. Lila offers many beautiful OOAK products. Let’s embrace that more! Let’s articulate the magic of each piece. Here are some ways I’d suggest doing that:

{ Telling a story in each listing }

I think Lila does a great job of including the information we need in a listing: description of the items, size, materials, etc. I think it passes the litmus test well of *does it answer the potential customers questions* so that they needn’t contact us for answers (because this slows down the buying process)  Not sure if your descriptions do this? Ask a few friends. Ask 3 or 4 folks to look over a couple of listings. Ask them what questions would they have if they were buying this item online. Then see if you’ve covered most of them. Certain info can be covered in our shop policies section. Finding the right balance in a listing between too much and too little can be tricky, but it’s looking good here!

One thing I would suggest: enhancing the feeling of the shop brand right away in EACH listing. I like how this her art fabric panel listings start off telling me about the inspiration for the piece (love that story). I’d love a few more descriptive terms in both the listing and the tags: maybe words like whimsical, romantic, relaxing, enchanting, fairy tale, etc. to help create the feeling I know Lila has created in her piece. Each piece is unique and tells a story. This is part of her branding and her personal motto as we can see from her works. Weave these stories throughout your listings. People love to purchase a piece of magic with a story behind it. I think it will enhance your listings even more!

{ Colourful Tags }

I think Lila does a great job with the tags. She uses descriptive words, her team names, key words for searches, vital terminology: like eco friendly, etc. I would suggest a few other kinds of words, too. I love seeing colour words as tags. Without fail, I VERY often have a colour scheme in mind when I’m looking for items to feature in articles or blog posts. And I know the same is often true for treasury making! And, in terms of buying, often times with art or décor (like in the case of this lovely shop) a buyer has a spot in mind for the piece in their home – so they have a colour palette  in mind already. Using colour words will help more folks find your shop, create more features and hopefully result in more sales! YAY!

Also, be sure to use key terminology for your listing category, in this case: art. Descriptive words such as collage, mixed media  would be great additions. These come to mind right away when I ask myself to describe your lovely works nicey!

 

{ The nuts and bolts of the shop }

I adore the shop banner: it’s handmade and unique and personal: just the type of shop I know Lila is! Thinking back to how our shop banner is like a brick and mortar shop sign, I think it’s perfect!

I think Lila could utilize her shop byline more. Currently it reads: eco friendly & handmade gifts. A little bit of elaboration would be great. Remember: our shop bylines are KEY SEO contact points. Including IMPORTANT branding words like whimsical or eco friendly handmade gifts with a story or whimsical eco friendly handmade gifts with a story might be a great revamp. There’s too much competition in searches for just eco friendly & handmade gifts. We’re all specialists! Let’s tell the world, in words and in our images, what our specialties are. Make your shop uniquely you! I think you’ll be pleased with the results!

 

{ Increasing views }

In order to make sales we need to have folks looking at our shops. Lila has a gorgeous shop. With a few tweaks I think it’ll be uniquely amazing! But now we need folks IN her shop looking at her gorgeous works!

Getting more views (more folks looking at your items) is the next trick.

Using craftcult.com’s heart-o-matic tool we can quickly see that Lila’s shop has an amazing Views per hearts ratio. This statistic is important in that it means that when folks look at her work, they LOVE it! YAY! However, we need MORE folks looking at her works. How can we do this? A few ideas: all of the tweaks we talked about above is the first step.

Using craftcult again I see that Lila’s been featured 5 times on the front page of Etsy. In those 5 times, she’s SOLD the item featured item either ON the day she was on the front page, or shortly thereafter 3 of the times! That’s fantastic! Again, I think that show us that we just need to get more people VIEWING her products! Her niche market already LOVES her work

So how do we increase views. Here are a few of my ideas on that…

{ Finding the right number of listings }

I think you need more listings, lovely.

One page isn’t enough choice. It means you only have 18 doors for folks to enter your shop. Each listing is a new opportunity to bring folks in and once they’re in, a good amount of choice means folks are sure to find something they absolutely love! A few more listings would mean more exposure. Spreading out your listing times or renewal times is another great trick. One or two each day over a week is, in my opinion, a better way to spend that Etsy $0.20 listing/renewal fee then 8 items listed/relisted all on one day at one time. As an International marketplace we need to tap into the potential of as many fun time zones as we can. Creating new items on a constant basis is another necessary tool. We need a listing strategy in our shops. That’s good business in my eyes.

Next…

 

{ Let more folks know about your custom artisanal work }

I’d suggest playing this up more, Lila. Spread the word thru more listings that you offer custom work. Show us in those listings some of the possibilities. Help us envision how we could work with you to have a custom delight created for ourselves or our loved ones. Specialize in custom ideas for certain seasonal times of year (mother’s day; wedding gifts; a season, etc ) and advertise towards those goals (including tags in listings will help folks looking for these specific things find you more easily)

Next…

{ Creating a meaningful EVENT! }

Successful businesses of all sizes know how to create a buzz! One way to do this inexpensively is to create an occasion in your shop: the launch of a summer collection; a celebration of your etsy-versary, the beginning of fabulous new options for custom creations, etc. It needs to be  something meaningful.

Now..

  • Set a date to launch this event a little while in the future.
  • Prepare your work. Make new items.
  • Photograph them beautifully.

Now.. get ready to create the BUZZ…

  • Take a few hours and craft a list of blogs you love that you would love to have feature you!
  • Take time to write a well crafted, not too long note/email that you can send out as a press release of sorts.
  • Make this message to your chosen bloggers personal, not too long, and include just a couple of fabulous photos (in the body of the text if you can – it makes seeing your work immediate – bloggers won’t need to search around for the images or download them.) Let them know about your EVENT, perhaps offer a few favourite blogs a special promo code for their readers, etc. I know that when folks contact me like this I always at least look at their shop for curiosity sake. At the very least, you’ve had a few new folks you already admire look your way AND if some of them choose to feature your beautiful work, even better!
  • Use your social networks to spread the news. Take a cue from marketing masters: give sneak peeks, a few special discounts, create anticipation and generate excitement.

…………

Alrighty nicies.  Those are a few of my thoughts!

It’s been fun meeting you at this charming shop today!

Comments

  1. love your shop, lila! thanks!

    and i really appreciate all of your comments, nicies! go team!

  2. I love your insight on every shop you look at. They are always so helpful & relevant :)

  3. Hello !

    I tried to send you a big thank you on your Etsy account but it came back to me :: So here again MERCI BEAUCOUP for your very careful and thoughtful work. I can only imagine how much time it took you to put all of this together and I am extremely grateful for it. I did exchange pictures and had a great fun with your color palette that is so ‘ME” ! Love the idea of the brick and mortar shop metaphor Working on taking new pictures soon AND adding more items as the Etsy “80-20 rule” is completely off right now…
    Can’t wait to read and learn from your next “client” next week !

  4. Another incredibly thoughtful and informative post. I learn something new each time! Thanks, especially, for the tip on the color pallette generator. Very cool!

  5. Fabulous job again! I’m still working on the tweaks you suggested for my shop and am super excited about them. I love these ideas, as well, and love this shop! Very cool!

    • Thank you for your nice comment.
      I truly enjoyed the Thoughts of Shops from last week. looking forward to seeing changes you made !
      Lila

  6. thanks for your kind words, nicey!
    it was a pleasure visiting Lila’s lovely shop!

  7. Thank you for this article. These are the very issues I am trying to improve in my shop. Thank you for the very specific advice!