{Thoughts on Shops} Greener Frog Gets Your Gifts Wrapped Up EcoEtsy Style

Furoshiki is the ancient Japanese art of wrapping square pieces of beautiful cloth for gift giving and carrying items. It is a wonderful eco-friendly practice and alternative to throwaway gift wrap and lunch bags.

Greener Frog is the wonderful Etsy shop of Doris from North Vancouver, Canada. Doris offers stunning furoshiki wraps in two sizes. Her work is just beautiful – her shop “voice” is super friendly and welcoming.

Greener Frog Shop Banner

Greener Frog Shop Banner

Greener Frog’s banner focuses on her products (you can’t go wrong doing that) – it’s clear and bright. I believe Hop Frog Pond is the studio name and Greener Frog is the Etsy shop name- I am not sure. It would probably be better to give your Etsy shop your business name for SEO (search engine optimization), customer recognition, etc – there are exceptions to this, but even if you are working with multiple names- you probably want the name on your banner to be the same as your Etsy shop.

Her shop title (edited in Etsy under info and appearance) probably needs to be rewritten to include the word furoshiki for google searches. Shop titles are very important to search engines. The shop announcement needs updating (something we sometimes forget about, I know I have, and can make our shop look neglected to a potential customer). I think since we are people selling to people, our shop avatar should be our personal photo, but since Doris drew this cute little frog and he is very cute, I will just leave him alone!

Pictures are a challenge for everyone and when you have one product (with lots of versatility and choices, but still one product) – it is even more challenging. I would get some different angles (get the camera at the level of the item) and close-ups for those first pics and alternate them with some first pics showing the entire wrapped item.

Greener Frog's Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap

Greener Frog's Eco-Friendly Gift Wrap

I am not a huge fan of plastic flowers as props. I might switch them for something with more of a relationship to the wraps – party supplies, cupcakes, picnic supplies, etc or just try to rebrand with various angeles for the photos – maybe try wrapping some different shaped items –  this type of wrap would be great for those oddly shaped gifts we never know how to wrap. Props can be a great way to get interesting photos and create our brand but they need to be really unique and not work against our products. Using one of her 5 pictures to compare this wrap with a huge crumpled wad of throw away wrapping paper could create a memorable visual to really bring her message home.

Part of selling in a huge marketplace like Etsy is a numbers game – most of us need a certain amount of work for sale to get consistent sales and it helps to have items listed in multiple categories. I would try to grow this shop into 3 full pages of offerings. When you are selling just one product you need to offer as many options as possible – color, size, texture, shape, whatever works. I am not sure what categories these wraps should be listed in – Greener Frog has been using holiday which makes sense, but I don’t think it’s a high traffic category so I would get into as many categories as applicable such as bags and purses and housewares.

The problem with only marketing the furoshiki as reusable gift wrap is that the buyer doesn’t get the benefit of the reuse – they give it away as part of the gift and then have to buy another one (which has me thinking sets of wrap – can Doris make that work at affordable price points?) and also a fabric tag on this item with your shop name (make sure you are google-able or include your url, too) for reorders and a hangtag so the gift recipient learns the history of furoshiki, other uses for the fabric and how to recreate the giftwrap. Greener Frog should definitely get more specific about the other uses of this – lunch bags (maybe with matching napkins for picnics), totes, etc to reach a larger audience.

People love free. We have limited advertising dollars – and advertising doesn’t work anymore anyway- we are all too bombarded by it to notice it anymore – what we need is publicity for our maker businesses and free helps. The stuff we give away with our work can really help create our brand and create those customers that are more like cheerleaders for us – the ones who keep coming back and the ones that tells their friends about us.

Greener Frog's Gift Wrap

Greener Frog's Gift Wrap

I would give away alot of free with this product. I would start with free information about the history of these Japanese wraps in the shop announcement. I would include a free card about the wrap that the customer can use as a gift card when they wrap their present in this wrap – the wrap is definitely part of the gift here and your customer will want their gift recipient to know that.

I would include lots of free instructions about what can be done with this furoshiki – maybe links to online tutorials. This is something that would take some time to create, but it is something you only have to spend your time on once. The listings say “basic instructions are included” – I would say someting like, “Instructions for the many incredible ways to use this as giftwrap and more are included! The versatility of my  furoshiki will amaze you!”

Never be afraid to say your work is amazing! I used to sell a product line, years ago at mall carts and  it was something that was personalized with a computer and when I finished personalizing the item and turned it to the customer, in my early days I would say something like, “how does that look?” and the customer usually said great, but sometimes they would really analyze it   –  I started saying “this looks amazing!” when I showed it to the customer and they always agreed with me. This isn’t about being a used car salesman because we are selling amazing stuff here! We know the work and love and time that has gone into our makings and we want to share that with people!

Weekly listings and relists would keep Doris at the top of the furoshiki listings and getting the word furoshiki into her shop title (not shop name) should get her more views from Google, getting more items made (a note about this “more items thing” – when you basically sell one product – which I do in my Polarity shop – you need a way to give that one product a broader appeal) – for example if my lockets only featured designs that appealed to the same customer –  let’s say nature pictures – then I would have taken a product with a certain limited appeal – not everyone buys recycled jewelry and I would limit the appeal even further by only offering nature illustrations – so the opposite needs to happen here. Greener Frog needs to figure out a way to take a product with a somewhat limited customer base and grow that base through a broader appeal. Offering alternative uses to gift wrap for the furoshiki and a greater selection of items will help.

The fabric choices in Greener Frog’s shop are all gorgeous but have a similar aesthetic (and of course these are all made by the same person so that makes sense and is usually a good thing- we want to stay true to our own voice here, but when you sell one thing it may be wise to broaden your aesthetic a little) – maybe some fabrics with a different kind of beauty could widen her market – using different fabrics within the same furoshiki or repurposed fabrics (vintage pillowcases, solid fabric with stamped or embroidered words- I’m just thinking out loud here, but you get the idea) could create something really unique that hasn’t been seen before and better highlight Greener Frog’s sewing skills!

Thank you for volunteering your beautiful shop Doris- I hope everyone will give her shop a look and support her efforts to rid the planet of throwaway wrapping paper!

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  1. Very helpful as always, Cat!

  2. Every time I read another shop critique I find something new to improve for my shop.
    This posts are priceless!!!!
    Thank you very much for all the work behind.
    Keep it coming.

  3. Thank YOU Doris for volunteering your shop and introducing us to your beautiful work!


  4. Thank you so much for your valuable critique! It’s going to be very helpful :)