Etsy Trends Expert Gives the Lowdown on What Works in E-Commerce

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Dayna Isom Johnson, Trends Expert, Etsy

Etsy is the place where millions go to shop for handmade or vintage items and supplies. And it is Dayna Isom Johnson’s job to spot what’s hot and what’s not.

Johnson is also the face of Etsy to consumers, appearing on various broadcast outlets and she is a judge on the upcoming NBC show “Making It.” “Making It,”  hosted and produced by Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman, is a craft-based competition show.

Johnson started her career in the marketing department at women’s clothing retailer Chico’s before joining Etsy in 2011 to work in the communications department. Later on she actually she created her role of Trends Expert, identifying what’s hot on Etsy and passing this information onto consumers and Etsy’s more than 1.9 million active sellers through her trend reports and media interviews.

Johnson, who holds a Bachelor of Science in fashion merchandising management from Fashion Institute of Technology, has expertise across a multitude of categories of handmade and artisanal items, from home decor to fashion and accessories.

Johnson passes on some online selling tips to TNJ.com.

TNJ.com: How did you come to join the Etsy team?

Dayna Isom Johnson: I previously worked in marketing for a women’s retailer.  When making my next career move, I wanted to remain in retail, but also explore the tech space. Etsy offered the best of both worlds, and six years later, I’m still loving each and every day of my job.

TNJ.com: As the Trend Expert what do you do?

Dayna Isom Johnson: As Etsy’s Trend Expert, I’m constantly on the hunt for the latest and greatest products and stories from Etsy sellers and share those popular trends with media and the rest of the Etsy community.

TNJ.com: What are the top three mistakes people make when trying to sell online?

Dayna Isom Johnson: First, underpricing products. Trying to determine pricing can sometimes be tricky, but the most important elements to keep in mind are the price of your materials, labor and overhead costs, the profit you’d like to make on each item, and how similar items on the market are priced. You want to be sure your prices are fair, but also account for all of the love and hard work that you dedicate to the making process.

Secondly, proper product photography. Unlike shopping in a boutique or a department store, when you browse online, you can’t pick up the product. You can’t touch it, hold it in your hands, or feel the texture with your fingers–all you have is the photographs which is why they’re so critical when selling online. Aim for clear and visually engaging photos for your products and remember to consider consistency in backgrounds, lighting and styling. Your shop should reflect a cohesive story and photos are key to doing that.

Third, inventory management–creating an inventory management system is crucial to running a successful business. Shop owners should consider a well-kept workspace with dedicated areas for additional inventory, and use the shop manager tool on Etsy for adding new listings, shipping labels and more.

TNJ.com: What are the top three things online seller should do?

Dayna Isom Johnson: The first thing would be to set goals. Set unique goals for your business. It can be something as simple as “sell one item a month” or “create a social media post once a week” highlighting products from your shop. Whatever your goal, make it achievable, flexible, and scalable—and remember to celebrate when you reach it!

Then, find the right balance – Moving from hobbyist to business owner means you will now wear several hats in addition to being a maker. Being a business owner means writing customer service emails, paying bills, packing orders, re-ordering supplies and so much more. Find a good balance between managing your business and being a maker.

Lastly, have fun. Yes, the business end can get a little tricky, but always keep in mind that you started your business because you’re passionate about the items you’re making. Find ways to keep your passion alive, celebrate small achievements along the way, and remember to stay creative.

TNJ.com: What do you enjoy the most about being with Etsy?

Dayna Isom Johnson: I love connecting with the sellers. They all have such unique stories and learning about the journeys they’ve taken to starting a creative business is so inspiring. Knowing that the work I and my colleagues at Etsy do helps support 1.9 million creative entrepreneurs around the world make a living while making a life is the ultimate motivation to get out of bed every morning!

TNJ.com: How can an Etsy seller use trends to their advantage?

Dayna Isom Johnson: Trends are a great way for sellers to attract the attention of shoppers for of-the-moment styles and add variety and excitement to their product offering. Sellers can check out the Etsy blog for my most recent trend guides as well as follow Etsy’s social channels and Seller Handbook for sneak peeks of what’s new and fresh.