My original plan for last Friday was to launch my shop. But right before I hit "launch", I was reminded (thanks Mom) that I hadn't ordered business cards, my prints I ordered probably wouldn't be here in time to photograph and upload before the launch, and frankly, I hadn't built even a tiny bit of hype on any of this. And like 15 other things I forgot to do. So I've had to push my shop launch a week (to THIS FRIDAY!!!) and even then I'm probably not 100% ready ;)
But because of this, I wanted to make a little list of things that (for me) are necessary to launching a shop, hoping that if anyone else is wanting to launch a similar shop, this might help! (And it'll help me double check I've got my own little ducks in a row!)
- My biggest, most important tip ever is to get as organized as you possibly can. Like for this shop launch alone, I made a sketchbook dedicated to it, so I could keep track of everything. And then I literally mapped out every detail & timeline info in my google calendar.
- I highly recommend making a collective list of each thing you're wanting to be in your shop. Get really specific. If you're going to sell prints, how many designs will you have? What are the names of the designs? I even printed out the illustrations and stickers I wanted to sell and glued them into this shop sketchbook- so I could physically see it all together.
- Make a really in-depth list of everything you think you'll need to do from making the actual items (so like make clay pieces, fire clay pieces, paint, and then glaze clay pieces), to website (or etsy) maintenance, to social media marketing, etc. Get reallllly specific.
- Once you have those tasks, put them in your calendar. Google Cal allows you to schedule actual tasks (vs. events), which is what I did, but if you're a paper and pen person, that's totally fine! You just want to make sure each individual task is planned out, so it actually gets done. Just be realistic with your time. You cannot do 98 things in one day.
- Do you have business cards? If not order those. If you have design experience, you can do this in your preferred program, otherwise, a lot of sites where you can order business cards will let you do basic designing right on their website.
- How are you going to package your goods? (This works for both people who are selling digital things only vs. physical items!) Are you going to include a freebie goodie with each order? Do your prints come in stiff mailers? When they buy your ebook do they get a "handwritten" thank you note to download as well? This is all super important because most people return to a shop for other things if the over-all experience was wonderful. That includes how your things are packaged, etc.
- Have you been building hype? Have you even announced what you're working on? I know there are a lot of people who feel weird about talking about something before it's done / launched-- either being worried about someone copying their idea or embarrassing yourself if you don't follow through. Ignore both of those thoughts. Focus on getting the information out to the people who matter: your fans.
- So once you've announced what you're doing, keep talking about it. You don't have to be gross and sales-heavy or spammy. You can literally just show the behind the scenes of you working on your thing! So if you're writing your ebook, show you writing! If you're making handmade jewelry, show the process! I recommend doing these on Instagram / Twitter, etc. But you can also share these via your blog or newsletter!
- Website stuff: if you're adding your shop to your pre-existing website, those steps are going to be very different vs. adding your goods to an Etsy or something like Society6. So look at what some of your favorite shops are doing and do some research on what's needed. (Etsy, you may only really need a banner and an icon whereas for my shop launch that's going to be on my website, I have quite a bit more design work to do.)
- Product photos. How are you going to handle those? Take them yourself? Hire someone? Use mockups? All are totally valid, it's just important that you know how you'll do them, because this is what's going to visually sell your stuff.
- Product descriptions! I always, always forget how much info I really need to put in this department. If your product is a physical product, what are the dimensions? How did you make it? What materials did you use? Is it one of a kind (OOAK)? If you're overwhelmed in this area, again, I recommend on doing some research on what some other shops put in their descriptions. Is any of that applicable to you?
This is a small bit of the things I've considered for launching my own shop, but I would love to hear what you'd recommend! I'll try and do an updated list / follow up to this after my launch, to see if there was anything I forgot, liked, didn't like, etc.
If you're interested in seeing more behind the scenes of what I've been doing to make this shop launch work, you can pop over to instagram!