Navigating the CRISIS with your HANDMADE / ETSY shop (Covid-19 / Coronavirus)
Things escalated. Quickly DNA. What, a week, we, just had you would have told me that I was gonna be sitting here recording, this video ever, really. In my lifetime I would not have believed you but here we are so, welcome to this very, weird edition, of the teaser TV, show if, we've never met before my, name is Deborah engelmayer and I'm the founder of tea citko a community, filmmakers, and Haymitch up owners and today. We're going to be talking a little bit about coffee 19, and more importantly about its consequences negative. But also positive, on your shop first up I hope you're all safe and healthy and have your loved ones around I'm not going to be addressing the health and safety issues I trust you're doing everything, you can to help the world recover quicker and depending. On where you are in the world following your government's advice and I'm sure that if we all do a bit we can beat this thing sooner, than later and save more lives but, today I really. Want to focus on what, this new context, this new world is witnessed we're living through could mean for you and your shop now just like you probably are I'm learning, to navigate this day by day as one a human being and she a business, owner I certainly, don't have all the answers but I wanted to share a few thoughts when it comes to handling this with your shop I've been talking, at length with the members of the desert HQ community the last week and I wanted to share some of what's come up in our conversations, with you my goal here is not to sit down and walk you through a step-by-step, action, plan, to handle this crisis, because there's obviously no such thing this is really unprecedented and. So I don't think any of us can pretend to be an expert at handling this this is really something we're going to have to figure out together things change quite quickly as you know actually, by the time I upload this to YouTube who knows what will have happen in, the news so, this, is truly going to be a journey we all go on together and by we I mean of course the world and society at large but, in this specific case the handmade, community, so this video is really, much hamed to facilitate. Conversations, to offer suggestions, address, some concerns that i've seen and heard a lot of shop owners have and also, highlight, some positive, things and opportunities that could come out of this figure because they are some so, please feel free to use, the comments just below to start conversation, and should connect with it and I, will also add below, this video links to more useful, resources, communities. Videos, and trainings that I think are worth checking out, as well, as the timestamps of this video so that you can jump to whatever section, you're more interested, in I feel. That this video is going to be a little bit longer than my usual videos. So if you need to jump to a section you can do so using the jump links below really quickly though here's what I'll be covering in this video first, I want to share with you two important, ideas that I think are crucial, for you to keep in mind to, navigate this new situation then, we'll dive into questions I've, seen makers ask within my community or in social media so things like should I post my show up how to handle shipping and practical, things like that and again, the time stamps for these questions are all below if you want to jump ahead and then, we'll dive into marketing. And social media tips in a time of crisis, pretty much highlighting, opportunities, and helping you feel a little less awkward about it all so let's dive, in I want to start by sharing with you two reframes, concepts. Tools you can call them whatever you want really two things that, I want you to keep in mind and that applies to everything. I'm going to say in this video but that also I believe will help you for the weeks and month to come as you navigate these, unchartered. Economic. And business waters, number, one is that there is a huge. Difference between season, opportunity, and being, opportunistic I've been. Working with makers. And creators and. Designers and, artists, for long enough to know that most, of you don't, like to sell even in normal, times it's, not something you're comfortable doing it's not necessarily, something you enjoy and often it's not the reason why you started, selling your handmade creations in the first place so, naturally, selling, in these super, weird times we're all in right now for most of you I'm guessing is going to feel insensitive. Inappropriate. Out of place, awkward, and the idea of making the most out of a bad situation. Probably. Sounds opportunistic, and in some ways selfish, it's not though and I'll talk about this in more details in a bit when we get to the marketing, social media tip segment, of this video but, it's really crucial that you remember, that seizing, an opportunity does.
Not Make, you opportunistic. An unfortunate is, someone, who sees, a chance, to get something out of a situation, at the expense of someone, else ethics. And morals, this is not, what, you are doing if you keep selling during this crisis, if you keep marketing your handmade products, if you keep posting on social media this is what a lot of people stuck, at home right now always, breaking mortar businesses, wish, they, could do it does not make you a sleazy, manipulative. Person not, if you market and sell your product ethically which, means not tapping into fear for, more fake urgency, and scarcity, all these yucky, tactics, that you shouldn't, not be using during a time of crisis or ever really and I, know that's not how you guys are selling and talking about your products so really, like your, good if you, have the opportunity, to keep making sales take, it if we want life and business and the economy to go on you, can't shame, or guilt yourself. For running your shop in business during this times you, are the, economy, so that's the first thing you need to keep in mind seizing, an opportunity is. Different. To, being, opportunistic, number. Two is being very clear about what's in ears on and control versus outside, ears on or control this is actually an exercise that someone had me go through last week I've done it in the past but it felt particularly, useful and relevant in this specific, new weird situation, worried because, one I help me reduce my anxiety around, the state of the world my life my business all, of the things you're probably worried about too at the moment and second. And most importantly, it actually. Helped me come up with ideas. And action, and solution, it's a very simple exercise, but it's a very powerful reframing. Device, basically. There's some things you can control and others, you can't most of you are probably thinking right now okay yep thanks very useful but, stay with me and actually if you need to post this video grab, a piece of paper and write down three things you can not control at the moment and three things you can you'll probably come to the same realization as I did which is that my brain was obsessing, over things, I really, could not control or döner answers, to and that, therefore I was totally, wasting brain power and energy on meanwhile. There were things I could control, and I could act on but I didn't, think enough about because my brain was cluttered, with useless anxious, thoughts we, feel anxious as human. And we freeze in fear when we feel we are losing control and our sense of agency this. Exercise, really do it puts you back into the, driver's seat and it will help you turn your anxiety. And your fears around your shop or your life into. Actions, which leads to progress the only, way through this is going to be forward and progress, leads to growth for example here. Things you cannot control you cannot control what's going to happen with the economy you, can't you cannot control borders and trade restrictions, and have affected the Postal Service's and shipping services are going to be you can not control if you are under quarantine how, long it will be for on the other end though here are some things I can control you, can control what to do with the extra time you might have because. You're stuck at home you can control what you say and communicate, to your customers and, you can control how you prepare, your shop for when things get back to normal so really do this exercise, and see what comes up for you and keep, it in mind for the, month to come every time, you feel uncertain which honestly.
Is Probably going to be a little bit more often than usual coming. Back to this now let's move on to the second part of this video where I want, to talk to you about a few concerns that you might have questions, that I've seen arise. Inside the HQ community, and offer, you, suggestions, as much, as possible the first question I've seen a lot is should I pose or close my shop temporarily, we've had a few members inside, the HQ community wondering, whether they should close the shop temporarily or if they're on Etsy, put, it on vacation mode and on. One hand there's a concern, around getting, orders and not being able to feel, them or to ship them and on. The other end there's a concern that it could be hard to come back from a prolonged vacation. Mode because. You effectively, disappear, from search and you're, not building your relevancy, score or listing quality score during that time while, other shops might, the, way I see, it and my advice to you as of today would be to instead, and as valued on Etsy or for your own website extend. The processing, times I think it's he lets you set it to 10 weeks or maybe 8 weeks and it's. Just the delivery time also, most. Importantly you want to communicate with every single, customer, you get an order from contact. Them make sure they are aware of the potential delays, and if, you need to you can absolutely cancel. An order remember. Everyone's going through this no one on this planet right now isn't aware of what's going on with coffee 19 people, are going to understand, and if they don't honestly just cancel, the order and good riddance you don't want that type of nasty, customer in your life the only reason. I think you should close your cart on your website temporarily or your, shop or pretty shop sorry on vacation mode is if, for some reason, and, touchwood. That never happens, is. If you get sick you need to care for someone you can't get to your suppliers or your studio for a month at a time or for any other reason, you can't monitor yourselves, your emails your Etsy convoys diligently. Keep communication. With your customers open, and handle. Things case, for case other than that I think that, if you communicate, effectively and, extend. Your processing. And your delivery times there's no reason, to shut, your shop down, second, question I've seen a lot is what about shipping, and handling, orders and similarly. Here we've had a few members in the tche community who are still getting orders and there have been since lock downs and quantities I've started in different parts of the world and most. Of them feel, lucky, because they're still getting sales but instead of being excited about it they're worried, about the logistics of it which is totally understandable and, might, be your case too, obviously.
There, Are a lot of different factors coming, into consideration. Here based on your, location and, that of your customer, you might not, be quarantine, yet you might be quarantined but but the post office might be considered, an essential, service and, beyond. What's being imposed by your, government or authorities, you also get to the site on a more personal, level if you are comfortable going, to the post office if it means that it exposes you that, you can't maintain proper. Social. Distancing, so a few, options, my member have been discussing and implementing. Around this if you can instill this side you continue shipping could. You post in batch every couple of weeks instead of every time you get an order which is totally, acceptable if you've extended your processing, in delivery times and community. Carried that to your customers, and it of course decreases, your risk of exposure because you're going less often, do. You have access, to postal box or street posting, and is there a way to get, the packages, picked up from your door off or, sorry from your front porch and of course the last thing you want to check our daily. Updates from, your, Postal, Service and daily, update from, postal, service of the country estates, and regi new sheep mostly - but, usually though your Postal, Service website will offer information, on what countries they know they are having delays, with so, that's really where at stuff but as long as you contact every customer, you communicate, effectively with them I really think it'll be okay and remember again everyone, is going through this and everyone. Is going to understand if you have to cancel an order or if it is delayed, especially. If you've communicated that. Possibility, to them in the first place okay moving on to talking, a little bit about money you, need to be conservative with your expenses, right now you need to reduce your cost and you need to keep money in your business most. Of you if you're selling your handmade products online probably, actually, have a really low overhead, so you're looking pretty, good compared, to most brick-and-mortar businesses, out there your. Sales might, take a hit or not but they might over, the next few month but you should also be able to reduce your expenses considerably. And so it is not the best time to order for example a big stock of supplies for a new collection you wanted to launch in six months where possible, put things on hold and reduce, your cost and speaking.
Of Launching. New collections, and products another question that got asked in the teaser issue community was. Should. I still launch the new products, and collections. That I was working on before this mess and this, is again a case-by-case type, of situation, it depends on what you're selling obviously, in this case it was about a collection for kids clothing that is already designed for. Which stock, and supplies have already been bought and for which there's already existing pictures, ready for the product, listings it's not a product that's inappropriate, in any way so I see no reason not to go ahead and add those new products to the shop I probably, advise against, it if it implied like an important, investment in materials, but, if your stock is ready and this, is something that people will still likely to be interested, buying I don't. See why not it really, comes back to this idea that I shared with you at the beginning of this video of not feeling bad about making money during this time it does, not make you a bad person or, an opportunist. In another case another, member was wondering, what, to do if your products are not something, that is likely to be bought in the coming weeks a month and in. This case it was digital, downloads, for, kids party, printables, so you can see the problem here and in cases like this again use your best judgment, with Donna laughter or how long it will take to get things back to normal but, maybe instead of launching something that's unlikely to sell use, that time to work on other areas of your shop and of your marketing, and to get ready for when things do get back to normal or if, that's a possibility for, you consider, pivoting, slightly, for a little while and offer, a new type of digital product, that your customer, would feel they need more right, now like, in this case printable. For kids activities, at home I understand, of course this isn't possible for everyone but for those of you selling digital downloads, for example, it might be worth considering, another question, that came up in the HP community forums was is it still, worth, it to work on opening, my shop and start a business and I've, heard that from makers and community members who either, don't have a shop open yet or just, open one and who are not thinking like a great timing this is just really not a great time to jump into business and although, I understand.
The, Fear behind it I actually think it's a great time to be working on opening, a shop and starting, a handmade business, there were some really, good replies to this question, from, inside, the community mostly, from, other, members saying that yes it is a good time still because, a business is not a sprint it's a marathon and, that it takes time to set it up to build traffic. And views to market, it properly and while, we don't know how long the restrictions, will continue, or how, they might be this is not the, new normal, there is panic and there is uncertainty now, but, with time and more information it will change and once that happens people, will stop being interested in purchasing, things again, someone, also said yes it's a great idea to do it now because it's, not like you have a lot of cost in studying, an online business and by, the time you get the moving we might be seeing some normalcy, again we had someone else also recommending, using this downtown to work through training. And courses and saying. That this was actually a great opportunity to get ready for when things get back to normal and I honestly couldn't, agree, more whether, it's, inside the HD community or elsewhere, there are lots of free and paid resources and. Courses, online that you can tap into to, work on your business during this time and make, a lot of progress so you're ready for action when the dust settles, so yes it is still relevant to work on opening your shop and starting a business even if it feels like it isn't it probably is actually the best time for it especially if you're at home with less work or no work at all to do okay another question I hear is I was mostly making my revenue from offline, events, like markets, and shows and selling in retails shops what. Do I do and this, is honestly a difficult, one because this most likely means yourself are going to stop for as long as lockdowns quarantine, zand social distancing, are in place but depending on your cash flows is a few things here you can do well to really of course you can decide to simply wait until things get back to normal and suddenly take a bit of a hit financially but. My advice would be to use this time to set yourself up with an online shop if you can it, doesn't mean you can't go back to selling in retail and that markets, down the track but it's a great opportunity to use this downtime to add an online element, to your business model and it, gives you a security, blanket really in case some of the retail shops you are used to selling in go under or markets. And shows that you sell in I'll take too long to reopen or foot traffic is only slowly, coming back up finally, the, biggest concern, is of course I'm scared my cells will completely, stop or, slow down very.
Considerably. And unfortunately. That is a possibility. I think some niches and industries, will thrive during this crisis, others, are going to struggle a bit more it really goes back to this exercise we did at the very beginning of this video and accepting. That some things you cannot control I know it doesn't in any way make it easier to accept but at least it takes your focus away from that, and on, to what you can control, if you have low. Overheads, and overall, low costs because you're selling online, remember, that you are in a great position to bounce back and recover quicker, than, most businesses, will and things. Will, get back to normal in the meantime control. What you can and use that time to triple, down on working, on your business working, on your marketing, working, on your systems batching. Product pictures, graphics, for Pinterest or what, have you all the things you didn't have enough time for before, and that, will help set, yourself up for success when, things settle, so your sales and activity, pick, back up quicker, you can and, you should also use this, as an opportunity to keep top, of mind, via, your, marketing, and your social, media even, if your sales go down or flat which is a perfect, segue to the. Next thing I want to talk to you about which is selling, marketing, and using, social media during. The curve in nineteen crisis, I say during, the crisis, like these tips don't apply outside of this wheel situation. We're living through but, really, this is what you should be doing all the, time it's just that now you, really. Can't get away it was not being mindful and sensitive, to what people were going through in your messaging, the way you, use your social media platforms, and what you say in your marketing, more, than ever needs, to be focused on the human element, this is what selling, and marketing ethically. Really ease its putting the human element, in genuine. Relationship. Building at the center, of your marketing, and of your business efforts and selling. On social, and selling in general should always be, about humans, about stories, about, connections, about understanding, at their core what, your customers, feel want, and are going, through in their lives it's always been the case but, now you're, forced, to really understand, that so that your marketing, doesn't sound funny, or just plain awkward if we're being honest here and please, do not take this out of context, I mean no way saying that I'm happy with what's going on in the world of course not but, I can't help but actually, feel a little excited, about this for you because it's.
Really An opportunity to really learn how to connect, and sell your handmade products without actually, selling your product I've been saying this many times in numerous, videos in the past that, to, make selling on social work you have to focus on social not. On selling. People, come to social media to be entertained, inspired, to connect to, kill time and procrastinate. Not, to be salted sales happen, because you build relationships, not because you tell someone on Instagram shop, now link in my bio and, this is more, important, and more true than ever if you want to navigate this crisis as well. A decent, human being does that ways but also if you want to keep selling, during it or recover. Really quickly from it when things come down before it, was easy to just drop a caption on Instagram, like new cinnamon, scented candle, in the shop by now but, today it would feel a little odd and insensitive, to use a caption like that so you have to find new ways to talk, about your. Products, so for example instead if your brand has a funny, voice. And personality you could say something like I feel I've been waiting, all my life for an acceptable excuse, to spend my entire day and pajamas, watching, dub metrics shows and eating, peanut butter cookies, with a cinnamon, scented candle, burning in the background, this, day has finally come. This is better because it talks about your product, but it also is something. That people can relate to it is a bit funny it's not insensitive. It tells a story and, it puts your product, into the perspective of what they are going through this. Is what, marketing, on social media should always be but it truly is what, you need to tap into more than ever right, now you cannot get away with, pushy. Sales, ecaptions', anymore here's what you, must, remember, and why this is a great opportunity a lot, of people are going to stop, posting on social media to stop marketing, to stay quiet because it's too awkward they, don't know how to handle it and so they're going to stop trying they're going to retreat they're gonna go to ground until the dust settles but not you or at least I hope not this, is actually, a great opportunity to. Stand, out by being present, you, want, to do the opposite, you want to be the brand you want to be the maker the shop they, remember. When they're ready to buy again because, you kept posting, and stayed top of mind during this way with weird, times by, providing, content, and post they found useful funny, inspiring, and that made them connect, with your brand at a deeper, level if your customers are the type of love funny or sarcastic memes, and gifs Bustos.
If They want inspiration, and motivation share. Motivating, and uplifting, stories in quotes use, your brain and social, accounts, to show up for them and provide, value. And just so we clear here value, isn't necessarily, a 2000, world long blog post an hour long craft tutorial, or anything, like that it can be as simple as a, funny gif or a quote that makes them smile or feel more connected, remember. Yourselves, might take a heat or they might not but, even if they do and actually especially, if they do keep, showing, up things. Will go back to normal and when they do your followers, and your customer, will still be there except. With an even stronger connection. To your shop and to your brand finally, guys please, please please look after yourself mine buddy the whole lot this is a challenging, situation we're, all in so make sure you prioritize, your health move your body keep your mind active cut, the news down once, a day is honestly, enough and I say that I must, be talking to myself seriously. Too much news and you're stuck in this anxiety loop, that you do not need in your life right now once. A day is just fine, most. People, will triple, their social, media consumption. And be stuck on the news don't. Be that person, replace, your social media and news consumption with more, useful things lean, into, online communities, for support, be it free facebook groups or membership, communities, like the Taser HQ, find, a tribe, you can lean on connect, with and get support from use, the time you have to dive into online, courses, and resources and work on your, business focus. On the opportunities, we mention in this video get, that sense of agency back, by actually, using this time to make, progress and to prepare I will link to many free resources below, from guides to free courses and free communities, so make sure to check that out and in, the meantime you guys I love you all please take care and stay safe and I'll speak to you real soon Oh.