Furoshiki is the ancient Japanese art of wrapping square pieces of beautiful cloth for gift givingÂ and carryingÂ 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 offersÂ stunning furoshiki wraps in two sizes. Her work is just beautiful – her shop “voice” is super friendly and welcoming.
Greener Frog’s banner focuses on her products (you can’t go wrong doing that) – it’s clear and bright. IÂ believe Hop Frog Pond is the studio name and Greener Frog is the Etsy shop name- I am not sure. It would probablyÂ 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,Â and canÂ make our shop look neglected to a potential customer).Â 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,Â 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.Â I would get some different angles (get the camera at the level of the item)Â and close-ups for those first pics and alternate them with some first pics showing the entire wrapped item.
I am not a huge fan of plastic flowers as props. IÂ might switchÂ them for something with more of a relationshipÂ 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 -Â this type of wrap wouldÂ be great forÂ those oddly shaped gifts we neverÂ 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.Â Using one of her 5 pictures toÂ compare this wrapÂ with a huge crumpled wad of throw away wrapping paperÂ could create a memorable visual to really bring her message home.
Part of selling in a huge marketplace like Etsy isÂ a numbers game -Â most of usÂ 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 toÂ grow this shop into 3 full pages of offerings. When you are selling justÂ 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 beÂ listed in – Greener Frog has been using holiday which makes sense, but I don’t think it’s a high traffic category soÂ 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 andÂ 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,Â etc to reach a larger audience.
People love free.Â We haveÂ limited advertisingÂ dollars – and advertising doesn’t work anymore anyway- we are all too bombardedÂ by it to notice it anymore – what we need isÂ publicity for our maker businesses and free helps.Â 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.
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 forÂ the many incredible ways to use this as giftwrap and more are included! The versatility ofÂ myÂ Â 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 andÂ it was somethingÂ that was personalized with a computer and when I finishedÂ personalizing theÂ item andÂ turned itÂ to the customer,Â in my early daysÂ I would say something like, “how does that look?” and the customer usually said great, butÂ sometimes they wouldÂ really analyze itÂ Â Â - Â IÂ started sayingÂ “this looks amazing!” whenÂ 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 timeÂ that has gone into ourÂ makings and we want to share that with people!
Weekly listings and relistsÂ would keep DorisÂ 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,Â 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 -Â let’s say nature pictures – then I would have taken a product with a certain limited appeal – not everyone buys recycledÂ jewelry and I would limit the appeal evenÂ further byÂ onlyÂ 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.Â Offering alternative usesÂ to gift wrap for the furoshiki and a greater selection of items will help.
The fabric choices in Greener Frog’s shop are all gorgeousÂ but have a similar aesthetic (and of courseÂ 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)Â - maybe some fabrics with a different kind of beauty could widen her market -Â using different fabrics within the same furoshiki or repurposed fabrics (vintage pillowcases, solid fabric with stamped or embroidered words-Â I’m just thinking out loud here, but you get the idea)Â 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!