Congratulations to Woolybison.etsy.com for being the fifth shop chosen for a critique. To read more about shop critique week click here. I will try to squeeze one more shop in later today before moving on.
So jumping right in, as I always do:
Your banner is fine, although I would be happy to see it show off your work a little better. You don't have any featured items and the difference between visiting your shop in list mode vs gallery mode: (scroll up then down)
is pretty substantial.
If you like the non featured look I'd suggest a product shot in your banner. If you feature three items, I'd still say the banner is somewhat generic but your short shop announcement lets your customers see your work right away so it isn't a huge issue.
Next, on to the shop announcement: You say "Everything is handmade individually in my studio here in Seattle from recycled suit jackets, as well as both new and vintage wools, and lined with cotton and other found/rescued materials."
And I find this a bit confusing, especially as someone interested in supporting reclaimed materials.Are all of your works made entirely from reclaimed materials? Are they all made from jackets, the outsides at least? Do you buy some materials for your bags or repurpose the entire thing. I'd like to see a statement somewhere that reflects how much you actually reuse: Ie. I reclaim 100% of the materials for each of my products. Or, My products are made from repurposed materials. The occasional "new" piece of fabric is added to enhance the structure...
I assumed after peeking your shop a ton that you do use all reclaimed materials but I had to do a lot of looking to come to that conclusion. Save your customers the time and always answer their questions before they think to have them.
You have an incredibly captive audience with the reuse of found materials. I love that the bag were coats and skirts and they live on as a new product. What a great story!
This bag is awesome! I do want to point out that although you tagged this bag as unisex and for men, there is no mention of that in your description. Also, if you are going to make lots of unisex bags (and you should!) it would be great to have a picture of a bag with a man. I actually see this worn by a guy, on a bike, wearing a wool jacket. You can get a bit more playful with your branding, it will draw more attention to your work. Also, gifts for guys are hard to come by on Etsy, this is a huge market that you are just grazing, I'd love to see you embrace it.
One additional note about your listings, you sell internationally (yay)so be sure to convert your measurements to CM as well. Here is an easy Conversion Site. CM conversions are welcoming to international customers and trust me, they appreciate it when we take the extra minute to do the math for them.
I have to say that I love what you did here with the skirt in the 5th photo. If you could do that for all of your listings, you wouldn't have to tell buyers you reclaim, you would be showing them. A picture really is worth more than 1000 words (especially in advertising).
One more quick piece on your photos:
I'd like to see something inside the open pocket, just to give me a sense of how much I can actually fit. I do get a sense of scale from the 5th photo but as you know, people love to fill their bags; just how much of my home can I take out with me in one of yours?
When I think of you making the bags, I also think of the time it takes for you to find and deconstruct the materials. I think with the labor involved in repurposing you could bump everything up around $25-$45. As your customer, I expect you to be paid for all of your time (and gas money) and I want you to charge accordingly.
Additionally, as a consumer, a higher price is going to speak to me about long term durability. If I am going to buy a bag that is more than $50, I want it to last. The difference between $125 and $150-$165 is the underlying statement of longevity, craftsmanship and use.
I'd love to see you fill your shop, sell tons more and become the next big name in bags, but at the same time I'd be content to see you raise your prices and get paid better to sell fewer and work less. (how do you want to do it?)
If you do think you want to be a top seller, or a more frequent seller, use that small price increase to pay for advertising, you're certainly ready to show off your shop.
Also, there are TONS of blogs and magazines dedicated to reclaimed work. Hash out a press release and submit it, tell the simple story: from coat to carrier bag (cute ain't I?). There isn't a "green" blog or paper out there that wouldn't want to reward you for your innovation and skill and I am sure a well written press release, or simple "how to" could get you a lot of publicity.
Your products are stunning and you deserve both more attention and a higher salary. I honestly had a hard time not putting your whole shop into my shopping cart.
I absolutely love your work.
Okay Readers, back me up, higher prices, bags for guys? What resonates with you? What did I miss?
I'll be back tonight (late) or early tomorrow with the final shop.