{Thoughts on Shops} Natural Grace Has a Passion for Creating Organic Lotions!

Natural Grace is the wonderful organic and vegan lotion shop of New York’s Heather McCoy. Heather creates amazing creams, facial and bath products, baby products, herbal oils and green home care items. She has a passion for creating organic lotions!

Natural Grace Baby Wipe Spray

The first thing I see is her shop banner which is beautiful and works very well with her shop name Natural Grace. It definitely represents grace and elegance and I love the idea of branding eco skincare products to the consumer looking for elegant, graceful skincare. I am not sure how well it connects with her banner tagline “food for your skin”- the tagline almost creates two different brands within the same shop. The fonts are great. Her shop tagline Organic & Vegan Lotions & Creams, Food for your skin! – creates great SEO for the search terms “organic and vegan lotions” and “organic and vegan creams” – it does not search as high for food for your skin or the more crowded categories of organic lotions and vegan lotions – just making sure item titles contain some good search terms by checking titles with Etsy’s show preview feature could help improve Heather’s placement with this.

Natural Grace Shop Banner

Natural Grace Shop Banner

Heather has some wonderful “food for your skin” product shots! Makers of skincare products have a photography challenge on Etsy because the skincare marketplace is very competitive with product lines sometimes looking very similar so they really need their product photography to pop off the page and because the very nature of a skincare product line creates products that look very similar in photos since the packaging almost becomes the product - it can be doubly difficult.

Natural Grace Food For Your Skin

One of the things that sometimes happens is that lotion makers feel the need to add varied props and varied colors into photos in order to differentiate their products from each other since because their products are packaged consumables they often look alot alike.

Sometimes these props and colors end up looking like the products belong in different shops, dilute the branding and create a disjointed page. Many of the large skincare sellers on Etsy have very minimal, clean backgrounds with minimal and consistent propping and great macro photos - I think this helps them let their brand do the talking – one reason packaging for a product line like this needs to represent the brand well – the brand is created through the consistency of the photography!

Heather could give some of her product away in exchange for photos to sellers who take great model shots – I am sure that in exchange for some wonderful facial cleansers and lotions and potions she could get her products in those model’s hands for some amazing photos- the cross promotion within each other’s listings would be great for both sellers! This could get her the kind of lifestyle imagery that blogs love to feature, too.

Now this is a challenge and a process! I would suggest creating more product photography like the pictures shown above which are gorgeous and just needed a little color tweaking to totally pop! This would get Natural Grace’s branding consistently focused on “food for your skin” which is not only the tagline but something Heather is clearly passionate about.  If she wanted to really focus on this I would take another look at the shop banner and avatar (I like the seller’s picture here - Etsy is a person to person selling environment where it works best to get personal) – having these kind of product photos in Natural Grace’s shop banner would really personalize it and make it less generic (no clipart) and get it focused on her tagline of “food for your skin” if that is her direction.

I would relook at some of the profile verbage and order of information and maybe edit into something like:

“I’m obsessed with creating organics! I associate good skin care with good food. You care about what you put in your body so why wouldn’t you care about what you put on your body too? Since our skin absorbs over 60% of what is applied, it is important that we use good stuff and that’s what I make!

I became interested in natural skin care when my oldest daughter, Grace who is now 16, was a baby. Her skin was super sensitive and she was always breaking out with hive like patches all over her body which made her absolutely miserable. After several trips to the pediatrician the doctor concluded that “it could be anything” causing the breakouts. Of course I was desperate to find a solution so I researched on my own and learned about the dangers associated with the use of so many chemical ingredients found in most commercial or synthetic bath and body products. It made sense to me and I’ve been hooked on using natural products ever since.  {<— great story that creates a personal connection to her work – customers will know that she will care about their skin, too!}

All of my products are hand crafted by me with love and attention to detail. labeled, packaged, designed , too.  to help keep the costs low.   {I would delete this since it almost turns a positive – the personalized attention to detail you are offering – into a negative- you don’t want to sound like by doing it yourself  you are creating something less than what they could get elsewhere}. I donate a portion of my sales to the CNY Autism Speaks Organization. I feel as a mom we need to greatly limit the exposure to chemicals in our children’s environment. ”

Natural Grace Personalized Bridal Party Gift

Natural Grace Personalized Bridal Party Gift

Heather has a wonderful 100% satisfaction guarantee – something that I can’t recommend enough! People will rarely, rarely ever take you up on it and it gives customers peace of mind and creates an atmosphere conducive to buying  (I think this wonderful guarantee gets diluted a bit by the lengthy discussion of it in the shop policies, so maybe I would chop that info down a bit) – it is a great selling point. I would put it everywhere.

Nature’s Grace needs to get her name out there and be seen. She needs a village (we all do). She needs alot more hearts (signals her shop is being noticed) and to be connecting with alot more people. I really didn’t start to have consistent daily sales until I had about 1000 hearts (lotion makers with their repeat buyers should be able to do it with alot less) – a send-a-friend referral program, discounts for reorders- it looks like she does this, free samples- this would be a great thing to give brides for her bridal party package prior to them ordering, cross-selling to your existing customer base are important for makers of consumable products. Those repeat buyers are yours for the taking if you offer up a great product (you do!) and stay in touch with them.

There aren’t alot of shortcuts to creating a village. Although getting on the front page of Etsy can get you alot of hearts and attention and into the favorites of treasury makers - there is not any exact science to getting there (having amazing pictures and consistent branding will absolutely help). I know people who are on the front page constantly (they all have amazing photos, amazing branding and make good treasuries involving people with these same qualities – they also almost always belong to multiple treasury teams that require members to promote each other and make treasuries almost daily).

Teams are ways to form connections to other sellers who are also buyers. There are local teams and if you do craft shows and trunk shows- that would be a must. There are charity teams. There are medium specific teams. There are niche market teams. There are lifestyle teams (YAY for team EcoEtsy). There really is something for everyone. If I was building my village today I would probably want at least two (now this is time dependent because they do you no good if you can’t actively participate, but they do help form connections). Again, you are building your village.

Natural Grace Hand and Body Lotion

I think getting Natural Grace’s branding tightened up - is it graceful, elegant glamour girl eco skincare (banner, avatar) or food for your skin (best photos,tagline)- can it be both? maybe, but I’m not sure that something powerful isn’t getting diluted – it is obvious that Heather is very smart and can maybe make these multiple branding pieces work, but it might be easier to get noticed by the right customer with a tighter niche.

Heather has done a good business with facial products- washes and toners, so maybe expanding that line or offering it as a gift set or in different sizes, etc would be a good idea. I believe that customers tell us what they like and want with their buying habits and things start happening for us when we focus like a laser beam on their needs. This is why it is a good idea to keep your best sellers front and center and in the top pages of Etsy searches! Heather tags alot with ingredients and I’m sure consumable product buyers do shop this way – I would try adding some tags about who the products are for and tags that focus on the season – some examples would be hostess gift, summer travel, summer nightlife, honeymoon, graduates, gardener (think chapped hands), etc.

I hope something in here is helpful for Heather and thank her for volunteering up her wonderful shop and of course, it is all just the opinion of one person- there are no magic bullets and no one way of doing things. It is clear Heather has a passion for organic, vegan lotions and that passion is what will make her shop stand out!

Once Heather has everything in her shop branded the way she feels comfortable and she is confident she is targeting her market she can also look for some outside publicity by targeting blogs her customers would be reading. One thing I have done is register with help-a-reporter-out  which sends you daily (often 3 times a day) lists of requests from media outlets for information – you should only submit to things that are applicable to you, but I have gotten a couple write ups this way and since we never know where any publicity could lead I would recommend it.

Note -Heather is incredibly generous and promotes a local charity (the charity is part of a national charity) with her earnings. I had charity pieces for this charity in my shop a year or so ago and was bombarded with people asking me to rethink where my donations were going  -  it is something to consider since her generosity could possibly backfire with shoppers. This controversy could be old news and the group may have garnered back support from parents and people dealing with this, but I just thought I would put this info out there, maybe one of our members knows more about this?

Comments

  1. Wonderful article with great tips! Good luck Heather!!!

  2. This is my favorite feature..Polarity did a wonderful job with this critique and I have gotten lots of great pointers from her in this! I enjoyed looking at Natural Grace’s shop and will certainly go back to visit at gift time!

  3. Thanks for volunteering Heather – I also should have mentioned what a wonderful website you have!

    - Cat :)

  4. Thank-you so much for this wonderful post. I am soaking up all the great information and ideas here.. my wheels are spinning! I really feel that the suggestions made are exactly what I need to make my shop POP!

    Thanks for taking so much time and putting so much thought into this article. Very much appreciated!

    Heather