{Thoughts on Shops} Tinkan Designs – unique, recycled ring pull jewelry and more!

Tinkan Designs is the amazing upcycled shop of metalworker, blacksmith and artist Annabel from the UK.  Annabel is a self-taught jewelry maker and general maker of ‘things’! She has used a variety of recycled materials over the years, mainly because she hates waste (a true eco-etsy girl) and she finds it hard to throw anything away if it still has some life in it.

Her industrial jewelry is very cool and unique and Annabel is looking for just a little tweaking of her shop to help her recycled ring pulls really pull in the customers!

Tinkan Designs Shop Banner

Banner, Title, Avatar, Announcement, Sections – Her shop banner has a great industrial feel that definitely suits her shop and a personal shopping environment like Etsy works best with a personal avatar – Annabel’s is perfect!  I would rework the shop title (the last I heard Google was still treating hyphens as spaces, but in this case it isn’t) since it is showing up in Google as:
Unique and RecycledJewelry Accessories and by tinkandesigns
Unique and Recycled-Jewelry, Accessories, and metalwork  Purses, metal ‘Noz-bugs’, and wheel-rim Barbeques…and of course much more ring-pull Jewelry!
It does not rank high enough for unique, recycled jewelry to be worth using it as a shop title. I would play around with it. Tinkan Designs ranks very high for ring pull jewelry and I would probably work in tab pull jewelry somewhere – although I can see that a tab pull is different from a ring pull – I didn’t know this before looking at Annabel’s shop and I would guess many potential customers wouldn’t either. Also since there are no images on page 1 of a ring pull jewelry Google search I would title an item or 2 with this wording on Etsy and a couple of blog posts and see what happens.
The first page of our Etsy shop has several urls- using the same url (for example tinkandesigns.etsy.com) consistently will help avoid your shop competing against itself for placement.
Her shop announcement is hard to read and if I am unfamiliar with some of the verbage, her customers might be, too, so I would rework it. Since the first 160 characters is your shop’s meta description for search engines you need it to tell who you are and what you do. I would probably rework the first characters to something like : Tinkan Designs – recycled ring pull jewelry, accessories and metalwork
Tags & Titles – Etsy has very strong SEO and huge page rank so your item’s title is the most important verbage on your item’s page but since most Etsy sales still come from Etsy searches tagging for the most impact and highest placement is crucial, too.
Gold Earrings from Tinkan Designs

Gold Earrings from Tinkan Designs

Let’s take a look at tagging for a pair of earrings. Tinkan Designs has titled these “Gold Earrings, made from recycled gold-colored aluminum ring pulls”. Your item’s title is the most important wording on your item’s page.
TIP – Switching our shop over to List View from Gallery View (click the box on the far right of your shop’s home page under your featured items) will make it much easier to see what wording we are using and overusing in our titlesit’s easier to read than our Currently For Sale page and we can see at a glance what items are getting the most views
The first thing I would do with a new item is think about what a customer looking for my item might search for. This is a challenge for those of us working with recycled materials and I totally understand tagging these earrings with the color gold, but since most shoppers looking for gold earrings are probably searching material and not color I might skip it for a more relevant search such as dangle earrings or metal earrings.
I would do a quick scan of the search bar with a couple of ideas to see some high-volume search terms (see below)


I could end up with something like “Mixed Metal Earrings from Recycled Gold Ring Pull Tabs

Repeat your title in early tags – mixed metal earrings, metal earrings, recycled earrings, ring pull earrings – I would move the team tags to the back and end up with something like:
Jewelry, Earrings, Dangle, Mixed Metal Earrings, Metal Earrings, Recycled Earrings, Metal Dangle Earrings, Pull Tab Earrings (I wouldn’t repeat ring pull earrings since Tinkan Designs has this search term wrapped up already), Upcycled Earrings, Long Dangle Earrings, Eco Friendly Earrings, Industrial Earrings plus a couple teams
Now these are all very competitive and not very specific search tags, so I might work in some more specific words from Etsy’s monthly trends such as these for February : football party earrings,  game day jewelry, eco valentine, bartender earrings, etc
I would also use Craftopolis, Google Adwords, your shop stats, the Treasury page for trending tags and Etsy’s monthly merchandising post for tagging ideas.
Tinkan Designs Photos

Tinkan Designs Photos

Pics – Tinkan Designs has clear, bright pictures!

I think her solid or near-solid backgrounds like this one on top pop right off the page! Who could resist clicking this pic for a closer look! Sometimes multi colored, textured backgrounds (like the photo below it) can detract from detailed work  – her solid greys and woodgrains also work great with her industrial style!

I would also crop the photos myself so that Etsy’s cropping doesn’t cut the items off in 2 directions which makes it harder for the viewer to focus. Tinkan’s first page has alot happening and I would probably look to add some negative space in some first photos. We want customers’ eyes to end up where we want them to be!

Descriptions – Tinkan Design’s descriptions are well-written, but hard to read – I would add spaces between the paragraphs to break up the text and make it easier on the eye.
Branding – To build a sustainable business we need to get clear on our brand – when we know what we do that makes us special and more importantly why we do it, any changes will make sense for us.
What makes us different? What makes us remarkable? What is our “secret recipe”?
(wait, don’t tell me) – How do we add value to the people who buy from us? How do we add value to the people who interact with us? Is our brand consistent, is it authentic and honest?
Annabel’s brand is all about remaking throw-away things into amazing new things (this is not an easy thing to do and she does it well). She has a cool, raw, edgy industrial style.
It actually took me awhile to see that her shop name is pronounced Tin Can Designs – I was pronouncing it (in my head and when I was talking to myself – which is more often than I admit) Tinken and was thinking this was Annabel’s last name! If she loves it- of course she should keep it – never, ever substitute my judgement for your own – I might rethink it though. It could be limiting and maybe not personal enough for her very distinctive work style.
Because her materials have a past (we won’t hold that against them) she has a great opportunity to tell the story of her pieces with her branding and packaging. Annabel’s prices are low (an issue for those of us working with recycled materials – particularly throw-away materials –  is that we really need to communicate our process and find ways to add value so that our prices do not end up too low to be able to wholesale).
I would think about really creating stories for these pieces – like the beer can the girl drank right after finding her guy in the arms of her ex-best friend and right before she tossed his t-shirt collection – valued at $2500.00 via Ebay – in the donation bin or the beer can the philosophy major drank because how can you walk around sober when you’re an insignificant speck in an infinite and uncaring universe (or maybe something a little more upbeat) – with packaging and hang tags that work in the story of the material, Annabel could really define her brand (making Tinkan Designs the shop for ring pull jewelry) and add value to increase her price points.
Promotion –  I don’t know anyone who has had sales success with Etsy Search Ads – to be fair though, I personally only tried them for a short period and views actually dropped – this could be a coincidence or just bad timing, but it made me wonder if our eyes normally fall past the top row of any page and more toward the center anyway. Most customers will search a few pages, so relisting often enough to stay in those first few pages with your most important search terms is always a good idea.
I do know sellers, including myself, who have had success with Facebook Ads, Blog Advertising and Blog Giveaways.
(not blogs geared to artists/crafters though – I have had the most success with blog advertising and/or giveaways by creating my ad around a specific product of mine that targets the blog’s demographic – for example a bee necklace on a beekeeper blog, etc)
Tons of views are coming thru Pinterest postings these days – so making your photos as pin-able as possible is a good idea. You can also pin your own item now and then and joining is a great source of inspiration – although you always, always want to be making things that come from your heart and are unique to you; things you are passionate about – staying on top of what is trending via sites like Pinterest is important, too!
Tinkan Designs Recycled Bracelet

Tinkan Designs Recycled Bracelet

The most important online promotion is always relationship building. This is very personal work we are doing and it pays to put yourself and your energy out there. Relationship building can take up alot of our time and energy and it is up to us to decide what to invest our time and energy in!

Wrap Up – Since ring pull jewelry is not necessarily something people know they want (until they see it and maybe even until they touch it – I have the same issues with my own jewelry and so do most people working with recycled materials) and not terms people may be searching for, selling online is challenging – Tinkan Designs needs to think outside the box with her merchandising just as she has with her makings!

With some tweaks for SEO, some changes to her cropping and use of negative space and a focus on branding her items and creating value for her customers – Tinkan Designs may need so many ring pulls for her added orders that we will all need to be chugging back the brewskis for her (which means our user group conversations about what we all did last night will be way more exciting than the usual – composted the leftovers or retiled the back steps with used cereal boxes).

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  1. Thank you much for introducing us to Annabel and her unique designs. Your comments about her shop are very helpful and ones that we can all take note of.

  2. Thanks so much Cat for such positive feedback!! Wow! its definitely motivated me to spend some time doing the things you suggest.:) -thanks for the tips on titles and tagging -I HAVE been struggling with those.. -and Yes I kinda knew that my page was looking a bit busy, its good to get an objective view on which pics work better than others! Everything you have said is REALLY helpful, I can’t thank you enough!
    Annabel xx

    • PS: I don’t actually mind people thinking my name is ‘Tinken’ designs, instead of ‘TinCan’ as it is a play on words, as my nickname is Tink (from Tinkerbelle) and my initials A.N. hence TinkAN, but also of course Tin Can from the ring pulls… I didn’t want it to be too obvious tho! I did used to have an explanation of this in my shop announcement, but got rid of it, as wasn’t sure if it was necessary! Do you think I should explain? wasn’t sure what you meant about it not being personal..?

  3. what a great shop!!Love the work!
    wonderful and insightful tips for her business as well :)

  4. Thanks Jenn – you are definitely on the list – another brave team Ecoetsy member!!

    hugs- Cat :)

  5. Awesome! I must research how to submit my new shop to this critique overview as the information you’ve given to Annabel is a-mazing :-) Having this kind of suggestion to tweaking is probably just what I need to get my writing in front of a larger audience and make my shop run more efficiently. And now I’m off to check out Annabel’s shop too! Thanks!