Team Handmade Shops

sylvie’s perspective…

While this is still a recent addition to our team, I wanted to touch on our team ‘website’ to make sure everyone understands how it works.

The whole point of our team is to distinguish ourselves from the resellers and ‘large collectives’ that flood Etsy searches.  To make it easier for shoppers seeking true handmade, to find us in that sea of cheap mass produced stuff.

So Kathijane formed a team, we all joined, we have a blog for sellers, we have discussions to help each other.  The next logical step was to have a place where a shopper could easily find all of us in one location and browse through our team shops.

We all know how expensive it is to design and build a ‘real’ website.  And the maintenance that goes with that.  So until that would be feasible for our team to do, we thought this would make a nice substitute, in a way.

The teamhandmadeshops.com site is really a WordPress.org blog, as opposed to a WordPress.com blog that is free and limited in designs.  WP.org allows you to have your own domain name and there are limitless templates to design it in a way that it looks more like a website.  This was the perfect answer for us.

Teamhandmadeshops.com was registered and because I belong to a site with cool templates, I had access to those and we selected one that seemed to fit our purpose.

The banner at the top has our team logo with one little change.  We removed the ‘Etsy’ from it.  It’s our feeling that we are not promoting Etsy.  We are promoting our team.  We are a team of handmade shops who just happen to sell on Etsy.  So Team Handmade Shops became the logo, to match our domain name and it also coordinates with the team tag we use.  There are items from different sellers included on the banner.  They were selected randomly because they have a white background and for no other reason.  They are not clickable and therefore do not promote any one above and beyond others.  It’s easy to change it out from time to time, so if you would like a chance to see an item of yours on the banner, make sure you have some items with an all white background.

Below the banner going across horizontally are categories.  We used the same exact category list Etsy does.  I added leatherwork to it because we have several leaterworkers on our team and this will help them turn up in searches for leather.  As time goes on we can add other categories that could help other special items turn up in the searches.  Remember, this isn’t Etsy.  It’s Team Handmade and we can add whatever we want.  We’re all about helping the team and its members.

Below the categories are special themes.  Color and style blocks.  The photo representing each theme is a static treasury.  That means it cannot be clicked on to show the actual treasury or the items featured in it.  It is a screencapture of that treasury and links to a teamhandmade search of that particular theme.  Again, care was taken that no individual or item is promoted or featured above and beyond anyone else.  It’s just to represent that theme on our team.

When you click on the link, you arrive on Etsy on a search for ‘teamhandmade red’.  Every member who has items tagged with ‘teamhandmade’ and ‘red’ will turn up in that search by relevancy as that is the default search on Etsy.  Every theme is set up the exact same way.  This gives us all a chance to be found by shoppers looking through teamhandmade shops.  Now you know the importance of tagging appropriately.

One thing I noticed is how skimpy some of the searches turn up to be.  That’s because out of 680 members or so, only a small handful are tagging with teamhandmade.  It’s not mandatory for any member to do so.  But it helps all of us if we all tag with it.  It behooves those of us who are aware of this and tagging with the team tag, to tag all of our items with it.  That will help a lot.  Then as we become more high profile, our hope is that other members will notice and want to tag their items with ‘teamhandmade’. 

And that’s all there is to it.  Oh, that, and now for the real work—-promoting it.  Set a link to our website anywhere and everywhere you can.  I am now in the process of making some stickers and little moo-size cards for Team Handmade Shops that will have the site on them.  More on those next week.  But really, the hard work of promoting this now lays ahead.  This was the easy part.

I still believe that we can rise above all the resellers and ‘large collectives’ as a group.  If we can do that, we will all benefit individually.   So onward and upward as they say.  (I never knew who the ‘they’ was though) 

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