Juani1 is the wonderful plastic bag recycling shop of Juanita Rivas-Raymer of Los Angeles. Juanita is not only an artist- she also teaches prenatal and Hatha yoga and is a Birth Doula.
Her amazingÂ Â La Bolsa ChicaÂ includes some adorable crocheted fish and an octopusÂ (recycled from plastic bags!), crochetedÂ plastic shopping bags (recycled from plastic bags!) and some beautiful crocheted wearables.
Her banner is fun and adorable – I love that she has worked in a clear photo of her most popular item. I do think the banner should have her shop name Juani1 (or the shop should have theÂ banner name if that is the business name)- it might be confusing for customers and hard for them to ever find us again if we use multiple names onÂ our shop homeÂ page. I love her banner tagline – Your Trash is my Art, although ifÂ Juanita will be adding more crocheted wearables she may need to rethink this. Her shop title (super important for SEO – you can often rank very high on a Google search with the right words here) needs to reflect what she sells in the way that shoppers might be searching. For example maybe working in the words – recycledÂ plastic bags if that is something she thinks her customer might be searching for. Her avatar is perfect – it is a friendly photo that works perfectly with her eco shop.
I think she can definitely make the crochet wearables work with the recycled crochet trash bags, but the visuals need to be more consistent and appealing. Before we talk about the visuals though, let’s take a look at the actual makings.
In previous posts I have talked aboutÂ the challengesÂ of building a brand with recycled or repurposed materials and the importance of having a certain commonality within your shop (there are always exceptions to this, of course). It is sometimes easier to work with one material in different ways, for example the incredible zJayne who upcycles t-shirts into bags, sachets, wristlets and more or what I do with cork in Uncorked orÂ the amazing workÂ Manila Extract is doing with coffee bags and Hippie Kingdom’s beautiful paper jewelry.Â
ItÂ can also beÂ easier to build aÂ unified brand usingÂ various repurposed materials to make the same things – for example recycling different materials and things into handbags.
With Juanita’s shop we see another way a brand can be built and that is with technique – in this case crochet.
Juani1 has 10 items for sale in her shop, so this is actuallyÂ a perfect time for her to think about some other ways to build up her shopÂ with crocheted goods (or if she wants to focus exclusively on crocheted plastic bags to head more exclusively in that direction). The advantage to being small is being able to change things easily even our direction. I would definitely recommend getting alot more items for sale into the shop (this is a process, it doesn’t have to happen overnight) after really giving some thought about where she wants to go with her makings and her branding.
There is almost no way to have consistent sales with such a small grouping of makings – it would be like a store in the mall being almost empty and surrounded by stores packed with goods for sale – it just doesn’t work. Now this isn’t to say that you can’t have a small shop with a few of your makings as a hobby and you absolutely can, but consistent sales will require more of a commitment and commonality with the offeringsÂ and it is totally up to Juanita, who has alot of other things going on, if she has the time to create more work for sale.
I would look to get 3 full pages of makings.
I would also look toÂ give the decorative items like the fish a little more usefulness. MaybeÂ in a little bit larger size this fish could hang in aÂ beach house as a plastic bag storer – any timeÂ we can make an item with great form have great function, too (especially in the current economy where customers are predisposed to spending less) – we will definitely improve our sales. I don’t think it always works to simplyÂ list the ways an item can be used (although that helps) – I would show it in use and focus on one of the functions with the marketing. The fish and octopus also could be marketed as DIY kits for crocheters who supply their own bags completeÂ with instructions and googly eyes if Juanita wanted to head in that direction – kits and patternsÂ are very popular on Etsy.Â
Once Juanita has some more makings I would focus back on her visuals and look to createÂ more consistent, visualÂ aesthetic. You definitely want to use all 5 photos in aÂ listing (it is part of what we pay for) and show the items in use. An upcycled bag that due to the very nature (and color) of its componentsÂ might look a little blah sitting all by itself would really pop being carried by someone wearing colorful clothing – it could reallyÂ highlight how a neutral colored bag can work toÂ a customer’s advantage by being much more functional with their wardrobe . We always want to focus on and play up our most positive features and all our features in a positive way.Â
Some other edits mightÂ include – adding more information to the shop announcement, breaking up the long paragraph in the shop profile into smaller paragraphs that are more reader friendly and adding a linkback to her shop’s homepage, get international shipping prices into each listing (over 25% of my sales are international, soÂ we want to make things as easy as possibleÂ for the international shopper – I know some people are afraid things will get lost and yes, sometimes -Â but very, very seldom -Â they do get lost, but I think we need to be fearless about this!).
Etsy has partnered with ATS to make international shipping easier and trackable – I haven’t used this yet, but have heard some good things. I would alsoÂ relook at the shipping price on the fish and see if there is a way to reduce that one, have enough featured items so something will pop in when something featured sells and maybe work in someÂ lower price point, less labor intensive items like the hairpins, hatpins in the sold items and never be afraid to have a couple high priced items- there are shoppers out there who only purchase higher priced work.
Add more information to each listing. Think like a customer- what do they need to know?Â There is a great article on writing item descriptions that answer your buyers questions from sparkleramaÂ Â HERE. The item description may be the only thing your potential customer ever reads, so adding information about you from your shop profile, etc can really personalize the experience – give those fish names and tell the story behind each piece! A huge advantage we have as small makers is our ability toÂ create a true shopping experience (rather than just a sale)Â for our customer!
I hopeÂ Jauni1 finds some information here helpful that she can use to grow her beautiful shop!