Do Your Homework

susanfayeSusan Faye of SusanFayePetProjects is an “old-timer” in Etsy years! She joined Etsy in 2008, and has just shared with us her recent milestone of 2500 sales! Susan Faye credits her success to “4-1/2 years of serious but oh-so-rewarding work,” and to her supportive customers. Congratulations, Susan Faye! That is one big milestone!!

Susan Faye also shared a link to a “helpful hints” forum post she wrote back in 2010 when she hit the 500-sales mark. I am reprinting her “secrets to success” here (with her permission):

(From Etsy Form Post by SusanFaye titled Homework is not a dirty word…or, How I Quadrupled My Sales!, dated January 18, 2010)

In my younger days, homework was the bane of my existence, to be avoided at all costs. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed school. But homework totally interfered with after-school and weekend delights like sewing, knitting, painting, crochet, cooking, artwork and macrame. Homework was something I did between breakfast and the first bell of the first class of the morning.

Flash forward a few decades to the spring of 2008, when I joined the Etsy community. Still avoiding homework at all costs, I spent months wishing and waiting for sales. I finally decided to dive in and do a little Etsy homework. Lo and behold, I discovered a wealth of tutorials, how-tos, tips and ideas to be explored. Do this. Do that. The list of things to do was totally overwhelming. My only hope was to research, explore, and implement ONE idea at a time. Here are the highlights:

Homework tip #1: Consider custom or personalized options. I didn’t want to at first. But then someone’s darling husband wrote to me through Etsy and wanted to commission a special portrait of his wife and her recently deceased cat. I gave it a try, it was a success, so I added a custom portrait option to my listings. One hundred custom portraits later, I’d say it was a good idea.

Homework tip #2: Check out the competition. Whatever you make, do a search for like items. Chances are, there are hundreds, if not tens of thousands of other artists making similar items. What can you do to make yours stand out from the crowd? What are successful Etsy artists doing that others are not? I discovered that there were hundreds of artists offering custom pet portraits, but could not find any that included the pet owner. I’d found my niche.

And sales started to improve. My Etsy sales from October through December 2008 totaled $664. Woohoo. I was on to something. Time to do more homework for 2009.

Homework tip #3 : Shameless self-promotion is not optional. It is essential.

In January 2009 I started a daily blog – – as a way to showcase my art and connect with others. By spring I had started reading the Storque on a daily basis and leaving comments. I created a Facebook Fan Page and joined Etsy groups on Facebook. I experimented with buying different spots in Etsy Showcases to find out which ones worked best for me.

It wasn’t until summer that I learned about the value of re-listing several items each day to keep things current and on the most recent search pages**. I submitted items for the Voter feature on The Storque. I improved my packaging and began to include a colorful thank-you postcard with each order with all of my contact information on it.

The best thing I did was to create a tutorial and write to nice Etsy person Michelle. She included it in a How-Tuesday article on the Storque in…

Bingo! My Etsy sales for October through December 2009 were just shy of $3000! Homework is one of my new favorite things.

**edited to add: relisting no longer guarantees being current in Etsy Browse – instead, concentrate on SEO, titles and tagging (kp)

‘Celebrating 2500 Sales! ‘

Congratulations to Susan Faye on her milestone!

Christmas Cat Lady and Tabby Kitty...Original ACEO miniature watercolor painting - SusanFayePetProjects
Siamese Mom Cat Shadow Box Refrigerator Magnet for Spring - SusanFayePetProjects
2013 Mini Art Calendar for Nature Lovers - SusanFayePetProjects
SALE... Cat Lover Brooch...Handcrafted Softie Wearable Art - SusanFayePetProjects
Cat Mom Wearable Art.. Glass Pendant in Silvertone Setting - SusanFayePetProjects
Catnip Cat Toy... White Persian WILD THING... Catnip Ravioli - SusanFayePetProjects
Tabby Cat Coffee Mug and Memos Gift Set - SusanFayePetProjects
Lavender Sachet with Orange Ginger Tabby Cat Art, Handmade - SusanFayePetProjects

Treasury tool by StylishHome.


One thought on “Do Your Homework

  1. Thanks for sharing my milestone and my tips! I think the hardest part of trying to make a living as an ARTIST is that you have to be a BUSINESSPERSON too. What I love about Etsy is that there is a loving, nurturing staff and community that support that inner artist AND businessperson. The rest is perseverance, perspiration, and patience!

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