Design and Redesign

It is no secret that running a profitable business is about efficiency: how to get the most work done in a limited amount of time. After running my Etsy shop for a year, and watching the sales pile up in the shops of successful Etsy sellers, it became clear that creating items easily duplicated greatly reduced the work load and increased the efficiency of a shop. The sellers with the greatest number of sales weren’t creating unique items, they were either selling supplies, kits or artists who sold prints of their work. Just like mass-market retail, if you can replicate a good idea, you have the ticket to profitability.

A large  chunk of the Etsy customers are also sellers. They see a good thing, then think ‘I could do it that’. Kits and tutorials are a good way to break into that ethic and capture the enthusiasm that is already lurking in the marketplace. As an Etsy seller, I spend lots of time cruising through the shops looking at interesting items, and generally turn to a favorite shop when I have an occasion to buy a special gift.

Over the course of the last two years, I ‘ve developed four kits which sell very well in my shop, certainly better than any of my one-of-a-kind, handmade items. When an item sells, I can relist it with a single click, launching it back into the marketplace with little effort. Images sell kits on Etsy, not the packaging: stage a sample of the finished product and show the kit contents. The extra work comes from packaging and shipping the sales, especially if multiple kits are sold to an international buyer. If I was to turn my energy into selling kits for wholesale market, which I’d determined was the next logical step, I needed to work on my packaging.

A slip on New Year’s Day which injured my thumb, and the exhaustion that followed the Christmas holidays forced me to take a break from felting. I decided it was time to work on the kits, creating a cohesive look for my line. A single box and variations on one label design would enable me to expedite shipping and project an image of quality for my brand.

I am fortunate to know several excellent graphic designers, so deciding what I wanted and who I wanted to hire for the job was a concern. After considering some options, I hired Cathy Rundell of Run Cat Run to do the job. She is a parent at our school, who lives nearby and has extensive knowledge of packaging design. She suggested the wrap-around label, with product information on both sides so no matter how the kits were stacked on a shelf, a customer would see enough information to be pulled in. I am thrilled with the results.

Currently, I’m working on getting the new kits loaded in my Etsy shop with a separate listing for each colorway. Next comes the fun work of walking the streets looking for wholesale accounts. If you know of a yarn store, children’s boutique, gallery shop or DIY craft venue in your neck of the woods that would be a good match, please pass along their address. I am happy to send a sample kit to prospective retailers.


4 Responses to “Design and Redesign”

  1. 1 Carrie Friday, April 9, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    The kits look great! You continue to impress 🙂

  2. 2 Gail Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 8:54 pm

    It is nice to have you back on your blog – I’ve missed your ideas and creativity. This is very well thought-out and presented. Good luck to you – your products are so well done. Have you contacted businesses on Bainbridge Island?… Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, Esther’s Fabrics and Calico Cat Toy Shoppe?
    Best to you…

  3. 3 joniphippin Monday, April 12, 2010 at 8:24 am

    Great post. Your product looks fantastic. I love your spider loga and I think the wrap round is so professional without being to formal. I LOVE it.

  4. 4 kim Friday, April 16, 2010 at 7:19 am

    leah… the packaging for your kits is GORGEOUS! wow, you are such a talent! i bet you will sell the pants off these… 😀

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