Sale away!

As we have come to the end of lockdown things have changed somewhat, many businesses have unfortunately had to close their doors and more people are looking to or have started working from home.

A few years ago, I decided to do just that. I started by selling custom and second-hand clothing on eBay. This went well and a few years later I became full-time self-employed mainly selling vintage clothing and the odd antique gift.

I’ve always loved old things. I remember going to my ‘step’ Nans house and spending hours pawing wide-eyed through her huge collection of vintage jewellery – a beautiful gold vintage bracelet with matching snake heads stands out in mind. I wished she was my real Grandmother (because then she might let me have some of it!). 

Another memory is being at church at about 10 years old, my brother and his friends discovered a hatch in the floor under some carpeting, this led to a whole cellar wonderland of long-forgotten exciting and dusty antique treasures. I was not allowed to go and investigate being deemed too young. This really did suck and I sulked for days imagining what adventuring I was missing out on.

As I grew up I started collecting weird and wonderful items and had love affairs with different eras- the 1960s still winning out as my favourite.

So when buying vintage clothing became more of a ‘thing’ I knew that selling it would be something I would be good at and enjoy too!

I continued listing on eBay and then graduated to using Etsy, who are more handmade / vintage gift orientated.  It was a bit daunting to begin with and took a bit of getting used to.

In the second week I got my first follower on Etsy and was slightly disturbed. Firstly not only had Etsy decided to email me to say that someone was ‘following’ me and given me their personal details – name and country, they had also informed me what other products Niccoli from Russia ( who looked suspiciously like a vampire!) Had ‘liked’ recently.

I felt my heart pound a little harder as I read that apart from my innocent fledgling jewellery page. This suspicious stranger had most recently added to his wish list in this order-

*A DIY printable Halloween scream mask.

*A book guide to horror classics.

*A very real looking psycho knife and…

*A mystery box??

What’s in the box I thought? A head? Like in the film seven???

I had a creeping sense of dread, maybe he was planning to fly over from Russia (perhaps with his bat wings) and do away with me!!!

After a little bit of panicked research, I realised that my first Etsy follower actually happened to be a prop maker – which made sense …. Phew!

In the first few of starting up on Etsy- I did not sell a single thing!  Not a vintage jumper not a vintage bracelet, not even a cheap pair of vintage earrings! Zip! My shop was dead, and I started to wonder if I was doomed for failure. But after some research, tweaks and the addition of social media my sales started to happen, and I began to make a small steady income.

Of course, not everyone wants to have an online shop or sell vintage goods, you may be a fitness instructor offering online classes, a baker who wants to promote home-delivered goods or a trades person wanting to widen their client base.

Whatever your chosen career path we all have one thing in common – it doesn’t matter how amazing your product or service is – if no-one knows about it. No-one will buy it.

So enabling people to find you easily is key!  I’m no expert! I still work hard every day to increase my web presence but here are my top tips for growing an online business.

RESEARCH – Think about your target market – male/female, age group? etc. Will you be promoting locally or to a wider audience? Make a note of any competition and see how similar successful businesses operate.

WEB PRESENCE – Try to make your page/website eye-catching but clear and concise with the relevant information available at first glance, For example, location, opening times and a brief description. Be sure to include a contact number or email for any enquires from possible customers.

PROMOTE PROMOTE PROMOTE! It’s all very well and good having a Facebook page or website but you need to work hard to direct that desired traffic to you!

SEO- There is a lot to say on this subject but briefly- Read up on search engine optimisation – some simple pointers will help you with listing on google, keywords and photo tags and how to get your website in front of the right audience.

SOCIAL MEDIA – Do use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, TikTok, You tube etc It will take more time to begin but the more places you promote your business the bigger your audience will be plus most of these platforms can now be linked making it much quicker and easier to share one post to several pages with just a click!

CREATE SHAREABLE CONTENT – Competitions, giveaways and discount vouchers are a great way to gain custom or perhaps share a funny or interesting post linking back to your page.

EYE-CATCHING ADVERTS- Use short punchy titles and pictures that draw the eye, any info needs to be to the point, you may only have a few seconds to catch someone’s attention.

PERSEVERANCE – Do not give up. Many companies take a few years to turn a profit. It can take a lot of time, energy and hard work to build a successful business but keep it up and you will reap the rewards!

So if you have thought about it why not test the waters and perhaps jump aboard the self-employment ship!

Oh and- a quick shameless plug- please do check out my website

and follow us on instagram for if you love vintage clothes and want a first peek / chance at new products before they hit the shop!

Sale away!!  Dolly x

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