Sunday, October 31, 2010

Etsy Team Discovery Interview: Mary Andrews

by KathleenCavalaro

photo from Mary's Facebook page

Many of you may know Mary Andrews as marymary, a beloved Etsy admin who, among many other things, helps develop the merchandising desk themes and writes for the storque. But many of you may not realize she has a very successful Etsy store. Mary has kindly taken the time to answer some questions for our team, to offer shop advice, share some front page tips, and let us know a little more about herself.


Can you share with us one of your guilty pleasures?
One of my best guilty pleasures is reality television when I get a chance to indulge. While I may not catch an entire season of any one show, I'll give almost any reality show a chance and can get sucked into an episode at the drop of a hat.

Please finish this sentence: If an Etsian has recently opened up their new store and they are disheartened that they haven't made a sale yet, my words of wisdom as a pick-me-up would be....
You are certainly not alone and welcome to Etsy! While there are many things you can do to help increase sales in your shop, sometimes time is a simple factor. For those things other than time, I hope you'll take a moment to check out the resources I mention below for newbies.

We want to know the real marymary! How would you describe yourself in three words using only words that start with 'D' (for Discovery):
  • Determined
  • Detailed
  • Dynamic

What special features on the Etsy website, would you recommend for newbies to frequent in order for them to keep in the know?
  • Etsy Success Email: Sign up here for weekly tips all about the latest and greatest ways to rock your Etsy shop.
  • Etsy News Email: Sign up here for the latest important news that might effect your shop.
  • Etsy's Community Hub: Get bite sized updates pertinent to sellers as soon as they come as they launch.
  • Etsy's Merchandising Desk Blog Series: A monthly guide full of seasonal tips, current trends, and ideas for merchandising your shop.
  • Community Forums: Get personalized help from seasoned sellers and Etsy staff. Keep an eye on the staff announcements section for the most current releases.
You have a very successful store called Contrary. Do you still remember your very 1st Etsy sale? How do you promote your store?
Ha, my very first sale was over 5 years ago when Etsy had just launched; I was selling jewelry designs and a hodge podge of other creations I was making in my final year of art school. If it makes any newbies feel better, I joined in July and it took through August to make a first sale. After hanging in there for the long haul and continually applying changes to my shop to keep it evolving with the times, I've made just over 4,000 sales.

On promotion, tips I use on my own shop include:
  • Professional looking photography is key. Anyone can scroll through the archives of my shop to see how my product photos have evolved over time. I've taken each photograph myself, but hands down after listening to the advice of others and altering the way I take photos, my sales increased immediately and my items were featured on blogs and in the media.
  • Search Engine Optimization. While not an expert by any means, I try to carefully title, describe, and tag my items in a way that search engines like Google will be able to find and return my products to the masses shopping on the web. The majority of traffic coming to my shop comes from search engines, so effectively updating my products for this type of organic traffic is important to me.
  • Google Analytics: Applying Google Analytics to my Etsy shop has helped me understand where different traffic comes from, what they are searching for, and what I can do to improve. If you haven't applied them to your shop yet, find out how right here.
  • I keep a personal blog, Contrary Garden, manage a Facebook fan page, Contrary Jewelry and I use Twitter via the username marymarytweets. I use each of these tools in different ways to suit my personal style that hopefully engages the people following each feed. I don't rely on any one tool as my key to promotion, but simply try to enhance the awareness of what I've got going on with a mix of each.
  • Then there's that healthy mix of making and listing new designs along with just hanging in there with a positive attitude.

The front page provides lots of controversy in the forums. Can you share with us the process that goes into choosing the front page of Etsy? And what can someone who has never been on the front page do to improve his or her chances of making it there?


Currently, the items featured on Etsy's homepage are primarily scheduled manually by 3 different Etsy staff members. Controversy surrounding Etsy's homepage comes into play when items and shops are repeated in that space. Until this process can be handled by an algorithm, I think there will always be questions of fairness or playing favorites in this curated area. It is our goal to create a visually stunning experience on Etsy's homepage, showcase the scope of talent from all across the site, and promote further discovery into the site upon first look.

Improving chances for your items:
  • Getting into Treasuries. Because Etsy's homepage is entirely scheduled with community curated Treasury collections, your products will need to be in these collections for a chance to be featured in this area. Check out this forum thread for tips from a seller who has made it into thousands of treasuries.
  • Photos are the single most important thing you can improve for not only Etsy's homepage, but features across Etsy and the internet in general. Check out this photography guide put together by Etsy for some tips for success.
  • Tagging your items well. Once you have used up tags for the most important attributes of your products, try applying some of the seasonally appropriate terms found in the monthly merchandising desk posts with your remaining tags. Not only will this help Treasury makers find your items, it will help shoppers searching for these popular terms find them quicker.

When making Treasuries with the homepage as your goal:
  • Make sure all items featured are following Etsy's Terms of Use to the best of your knowledge. If it claims to be Vintage, is it tagged first with Vintage, etc?
  • Use items with visually stunning product photography.
  • Use items from 16 different shops; don't use your own shop/s or more than one item from the same shop.
  • Make sure to replace items that sell with updated for sale items.
  • Bonus: Create collections based on the monthly merchandising themes and tag them with these key words.

What’s your favorite holiday?
My personal faves: Halloween and my Anniversary, which just so happen to be one in the same.

From a merchandising perspective: I'd have to say Valentine's Day aka The Season of Love since there are so many different perspectives to be interpreted from the romantic, funny, adult, and more innocent sides. Etsy designers never fail to impress with new portrayals of this favorite holiday - I'm absolutely looking forward to seeing what crops up across the site in the upcoming season.

What were you for Halloween?
Last year I was in contact with the Etsy seller, Yokoo, and had her permission to reference her Etsy look. This year I handed out candy to the little ones instead of dressing up...there's always next year.

Since you live in Brooklyn, who is your favorite Real Housewife of New York? (only if you watch this obviously)
As mentioned above, I love reality TV. While I haven't watched any of the seasons start to finish, I've enjoyed seeing a few episodes of the DC spin off and can't get enough of the Salahi's antics.

What’s it like in the Etsy offices? I imagine you are always challenging each other’s uniqueness. Who is the most eccentric?
The Etsy offices are an ever changing, dynamic, and growing evolution of both space and new talent added to the team. In my personal opinion, Michelle Spaulding aka HeyMichelle, is the most eccentric - but in the best imaginable way. She is an office style icon, can make you laugh at the drop of a hat, and fearless community advocate in all aspects of the word; absolutely someone I consider lucky to work with.

And finally, any words of wisdom to our new team?
I think you've done an incredible job of featuring new and undiscovered shops across the Treasury. If I have any words of advice for yours and all Etsy Treasury focused teams it would be to realize the promotional opportunities outside of Etsy's homepage available for collections. While the homepage is a wonderful promotional opportunity, Etsy uses Treasury collections tagged with merchandising themes for all sorts of featured link results including the daily emails, front page center banners, and blog articles. Sometimes these link results provide a much longer term form of promotion and can be added to at anytime by any Treasury maker so long as the tags match up and are relevant to the theme.

Thanks Mary for all the great info! Our team appreciates your support and the continued support of the Etsy admins. and community at large.


waterwaif said...

Thanks so much, Mary, and it was great to get to know you a bit!

jen said...

wow what a great interview! so many great tips and so fun to get to know the names that we hear on etsy :) thanks so much for this interview!!

Anonymous said...

This is such a great interview. As someone nearing my 2nd month anniversary with no sales, I will take to heart all your advice for newbies. I have a feeling I will reference this wonderful interview again and again for it's advice!

Kathleen Cavalaro said...

Thank you so much Mary! I love your answers and attention to details.

Cristy (Garden 22) said...

I really enjoyed reading this interview. I'm glad I followed the link from twitter :)

Thanks so much for sharing!

Art By Amarose said...

Excellent interview. Nice to hear a little bit about Etsy behind the scenes.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoyed reading this interview. It is nice to get a glimpse of the Etsy admin and the behind the scene stuff. Loved the wonderful tips for sellers and will definitely be looking closely at your suggestions.

cara. said...

such a great interview! thank you mary and kathleen!

WhiteRabbit7 said...

Great interview!!
Thanks so much.

Rena Rossner said...

So neat to get to know you better Mary! thank you for all your advice!

Becky D @ Kings Down Road said...

This is great!! Thanks!

SpareBedroomStudio said...

Wow! Thanks for sharing, Mary! Very nice to get an admin's perspective...and to get to know you on a different level. So helpful and fun! Didn't know you had a shop :) Fabulous!!

OohLookItsARabbit said...

Thanks so much Mary for sharing your wisdom with our team. And thanks Kathleen for such a wonderful interview.

Mary Andrews said...

Thank you guys for the wonderful comments; it was so much fun getting to interview with Team Discovery. Huge thanks to Kathleen for all the behind the scenes work and looking forward to seeing everyone over in the Treasury!

xoxo, Mary

Creative Arts said...

Thanks Mary for sharing! There are some great tips for new sellers and it is good to know that most new sellers go through that "Will it ever sell" period.

peaseblossomstudio said...

What an enjoyable read! Thank you for sharing with everyone, Mary!

Alaina said...

Wow! Thanks a lot!

Lisa said...

Great job, Team Discovery! This is a fantastic article & thanks Mary.

PoleStar Jewelry - Handcrafted said...

wow great interview! Thank you for linking my thread Mary! You always take the time to be so helpful despite your workload, and it is much appreciated!

April Starr said...

Wow, what a great interview Mary, thanks so much! Fascinating to find out some of what goes on behind the scene! :)

Jewelbabe said...

Thanks for a very interesting perspective. As a frequent treasury maker, I often wonder what it "takes" to get my treasury to the FP and this info really does help! And I'm sure the newbies will find it helpful as well! Thanks Mary!

Tulin said...

Fantastic article! It clarified many questions I had and many I didn't realize mattered. Thanks again! This was just what I needed!

HappyHound said...

Thanks Mary!

What a fun interview & great tips!


ArtfulVintage said...

Thanks for the great information and the insight!

d3b...* said...

this is an amazing feature.. great tips and advice.. and of course great to know more things about you..

Ayca HOSER said...

Great interview!
Thank you Mary & Kathleen!

saltcityspice said...

Great interview, Mary & Kathleen! I especially appreciate the advice for new sellers - thanks so much for taking the time to do this.

Polly Anne said...

Thank you for an encouraging interview. I joined etsy in Nov. 2009 and didn't get my first sale until March 2010, but I am here for the long haul! I can only dream of getting 100 sales, let alone 4,000... :)

ShesSoCrafty said...

WONDERFUL Interview and great advice!

ArtisanSoapspa said...

Thanks for allowing me to 'get to know you' marymary :) Your shop and your creations are just beautiful! I am glad you are a part of the etsy team.

soulsongcreations said...

Thanks so much Mary for taking the time to do this interview, it was a great read and I appreciate your advice!

TheNightJar said...

what a terrific interview-great to get to knw MaryMary better- Happy one day late Halloween/anniversary to you

Dawn said...

Thank you - what a great interview!

Lauren said...

what a wonderful interview, thanks Mary! I so enjoyed getting more perspective into tagging and what else is important behind just a spot on the front page! fabulous to hear from you!