5 Keys to Building a Really Successful Maker Business: An Interview with Ashley Schenkein Jewelry Design

Ready to take your maker business to the next level?

Learn a few lessons from Ashley Schenkein. She runs the highly successful Ashley Schenkein Jewelry Design. This maker sells her work at her studio in Denver, in shops across Colorado and California, and on her online store at asjewelrydesign.com. Schenkein amasses thousands of likes on her beautiful and simple jewelry, which sells at competitive price points.

I sat down with Ashley for an interview, and gleaned five tips from her rise from conventional day job to designer extraordinaire.

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Taking Action: Using Your Business’s Voice to Work for Change

Last November, right after the election that turned the world upside down, I wrote about five reasons for hope to be found in the Handmade community and the economy around it. Almost a year later the world looks even more chaotic and overwhelming than ever. Some days I wonder if there is anything that will keep us from sliding over the brink. But on other days (like today) I remember that I, and many of you, have a way to speak louder. We run businesses that speak to people every day, on social media and in the products and services we put out into the world. And we can use our voices to take action. Continue reading “Taking Action: Using Your Business’s Voice to Work for Change”

Create Desire for Your Products the Ikea Way

How do you use your website to create desire for your products? You show a) the quality of your products and b) how they are different from similar items being sold elsewhere. Many small businesses think that means a home page with few product photos and a welcome paragraph talking about what makes their store unique. But take a look at the websites of big retailers selling in competitive markets. There’s not a single welcome paragraph in site. How do they create desire? Do they lead with their products or their story? The answer is that they lead with both.

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61% of Abandoned Carts are Caused by this One Thing

An average of 69.23% visits to eCommerce sites result in abandoned carts. Seven out of ten customers who find something they want to buy on your site, and take the trouble of adding it to their carts, stop there and never come back—why? If you could rescue even a quarter of those abandoned carts your store’s sales would increase by over 150%. Well, guess what? 61% of customers say that they would stick with their abandoned carts if one single thing about the checkout process was different. Continue reading “61% of Abandoned Carts are Caused by this One Thing”

Alternatives to Etsy: Six Marketplaces Ranked

The tumultuous first half of 2017 has left many handmade businesses wondering about alternatives to Etsy. Changes at the top, layoffs, and a spate of new “experiments” all add to the normal level of uncertainty among sellers. It’s never a good idea to rely on a single sales channel for your business, but the question is what to supplement Etsy with? Setting up your own website gives you the best insurance, but marketplaces have their benefits as well. Read on to see how some of the top marketplaces compare to Etsy in terms of quantity, and quality, of customer traffic. Is one right for you? Continue reading “Alternatives to Etsy: Six Marketplaces Ranked”

Lift Off Summit is Coming!

What’s the most thrilling moment when you start a new online store? Making it public and sharing it with the world might be your answer, but there’s one more moment that’s even better: making your first sale! Too often website and online store projects are 100% focused on launching the site and lose sight of the website’s #1 job, making sales. So I am excited to announce a free, online event dedicated to helping online store owners get their first, and many more, sales: the Lift Off Summit.

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Infographic: Four eCommerce Conversion Rate Killers (and How to Fix Them)

eCommerce Conversion Rate Optimization is a job you could do for the rest of your life, just on your own website. There’s always one more change you could test, one more tweak to make. To help cut through the noise, I’ve created the following infographic that takes four of the most common ecommerce conversion rate killers, diagnoses them, and provides prescriptions for fixing them.

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What Makes Etsy Changes so Controversial?

Etsy changes things about their service all the time. Just about the only time they aren’t testing or introducing changes and new is the Christmas season. There’s nothing unusual about this—technology companies are always developing their products and services to improve them or keep them competitive. Shopify, for example, releases piles of new products at their annual Unite conference, and WooCommerce issues major updates at least once a year. But there is one way in which Etsy is different. When WooCommerce and Shopify make changes, it makes their users cheer. When Etsy makes changes, it makes their users furious.

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Abandoned Cart Emails are the Least You Can Do

Abandoned Cart Emails are the first automated email you should set up for your online store. Even though they might only work 15% of the time, that’s 15 orders out of every 100 abandoned carts that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. But there are also other emails you can send to past or potential customers in order to reduce cart abandonment and increase repeat business. Since I know that you can’t do ALL of them right away, I’m going to list them in order of importance, and at the end I’ll give you some links to get you started. Ready? Let’s go.
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