10 Ways to Brainstorm Ideas for New Products

10 Ways to Brainstorm Ideas for New Products on Etsy

I don’t know about you guys, but June happens to be my slowest month of the year selling online. I’ll be lucky if I can get 5 orders a day when I typically get 10-15 orders a day on any other month. So with that being said, I panic lol. And when I panic like that the first thing that I think to do is to create new products for my shop.

But, how do I come up with ideas for new products? There are so many different ways that I brainstorm ideas. I actually have a list of idea’s that’s so large it’s quite overwhelming.

Here are the 10 ways that I brainstorm ideas for new products.

 

Improve Existing Products

Before you go off to create more products perhaps you can improve on products that you already have? I do this all-the-time. Over time I’ll realize that a product is not selling as much as it used to, which usually means it needs to be updated. So before I jump into new projects I focus on updating my existing product designs first.

 

Offer Matching Items

My business exploded overnight from just this one simple tip: offer matching items or items that go well with your products. So for example, I was selling just printed invitations for the longest time, and baby shower invitations are among the most popular. After a while I had a lot of customers messaging me asking if I offered matching diaper raffle tickets or thank you cards. So over time I slowly started to add matching items like those to my shop. I know 100% that offering matching items makes a difference.

In fact, when I was searching for a specific quilt for my daughter’s nursery I found two different quilts that were made by two different sellers. The one seller had an option to purchase a super cute matching pillow along with the quilt, and that’s what sold me on that purchase. The other seller lost my potential sale because they didn’t offer the matching pillow.

 

Sell Holiday Themed Items

Another way that my business exploded was by offering holiday themed items. People LOVE seasonal items. If you can sell an item with a seasonal theme then please do! You would be surprised how much pumpkin stuff sells in fall. Fall is surprisingly my biggest season for selling online.

 

Search for Trends

Where on earth did this unicorn trend come from?! I have no freaking idea! But I do know that if you jump on a trend quickly you can make some big $$$. But, how do you find out what the latest trends are? Research, research, research! Use platforms such as Instagram to see what people are posting. Use #hashtags to search for terms related to your products and see what’s going on in the world!

 

Use Stats on Etsy

If you sell products on Etsy then you should definitely check out your stats page! There is a brand new feature which I absolutely LOVE! When you locate your stats page, click on the “customers” tab. There is a super useful tool called “What else your customers have searched for”. Use this information to your advantage!  See what other search terms your customers are searching for and brainstorm new products based off of those keywords.

 

Use the Search Bar on Etsy

Another one of my best magic tricks is to use the search bar on Etsy. Did you ever notice that when you start to type words into the search bar on Etsy there are keywords that start to pop up on a dropdown list? For example, if I start to search for “Baby Shower Invitations” on Etsy the search bar automatically suggests search terms like “baby shower invitations elephant” or “baby shower invitations for a girl”. I can use these search terms to work off of when brainstorming products.

I can even go further by using the search bar for searching for terms alphabetically. What I mean by this is there are only a limited amount of suggested terms that come up when I search for “baby shower invitations”, but if I try to further my search with each alphabetical character, I can find more specific commonly typed suggestions. 

Yeah, that was totally confusing. Let me show you. I’ll start searching for “baby shower invitations a” and additional terms pop up such as “baby shower invitations all star” and “baby shower invitations animals”. Then I can search for “baby shower invitations b” and terms pop up such as “baby shower invitations boy” or “baby shower invitations boy nautical”. I can keep repeating this step for the entire alphabet to gather ideas for my newest design!

How To Brainstorm Ideas for New Products for Etsy

 

See What’s Selling

Another way to brainstorm ideas for new products is to see what’s selling. A lot of people feel sneaky doing this, but it’s actually something that all businesses do. It’s very smart to see what the selling trends are. On Etsy you can view what’s selling by typing what you sell into the search box and then refining the search by showing “most recent”. So for example, if I type in “baby shower invitations” into the search box I can select “Sort By” and click on “Most Recent”.

The most important point that I should note here is that it is SUPER important that you see what type of items are selling, but not to actually copy those items. Copying items or designs can get you in trouble with copyright infringement. Make sure that you are using this information wisely and to create completely different items from your competition.

 

Play a Word Game

This may seem silly, but playing a word game is an excellent way to get the creative juices flowing. My favorite word game to play is called Word Storm. The way the game works is very simple, you write down a word, then write down a bunch of other words that come to mind when you think of that first word. Before you know it you’ll have a long list of random words that you can work off of to brainstorm an idea for your next product or design.

 

Create a Mood Board

I bet you landed on my blog from using Pinterest, am I right?! 🙂 Well, Pinterest happens to be my #1 place for creating a digital “mood board”. A mood board can be a physical board or a digital board (Pinterest) that’s made up of pinned photos, doodles, and ideas for your next project. Pinterest is great for creating a mood board for your next project.

Create a Pinterest board and call it “Mood Board” or “Brand Board”. You can set the board to private if you’d like.

Next, take the keywords that you chose to describe your idea for your project and search those words on Pinterest. Choose anything that you would like to use for inspiration for your project and pin it to your board. Photos, color palettes, fonts, etc. Try to find as many inspiring things as you can.

Soon enough you’ll have a big giant board of ideas to work off of.

 

Ask

Finally, the biggest tip that I can share with you is to ask your customers directly. I don’t mean that you should message each and every one of your customers to see what products they are interested in, but you can post a question to social media or create a poll. If you have an email list you can certainly send out an email with a survey and perhaps offer a coupon for those who complete the survey. 

 

Hopefully this long list of brainstorming tips has helped you brainstorm ideas for new products. What other ways do you use to brainstorm ideas?? Let me know in a comment below 🙂

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How to Sell Your Handmade Products on Amazon

How to Sell Your Handmade Products on Amazon

Hooray! My long hiatus has finally come to an end! For those of you who don’t know, I recently had a baby at the end of February and I’ve been SUPER busy ever since. Even though I’m a work-at-home mom it’s still very hard to juggle my business, blogging and two babies (I also have an 18 month old).

I’ve also been really busy with a couple of other new ventures I’ve been pursuing and selling on Amazon is one of them.  I recently applied to be a seller at Handmade at Amazon and I was accepted 🙂 

Update: I have stopped selling on Amazon Handmade after less than a month! Check out why with my newest blog Why I Stopped Selling on Handmade at Amazon.

I know I post a lot about selling on Etsy, and that’s because Etsy is my main squeeze. And now Amazon is my side snuggle 🙂

Handmade at Amazon is still in its early stages. Currently, you have to apply to be a handmade seller at Amazon. 

 

What is Handmade at Amazon?

Handmade at Amazon is a new section on Amazon.com that offers handcrafted items. You can list, sell, and ship your handcrafted items via Amazon just as you would with Etsy.com.

 

Why did I choose to sell on Amazon instead of strictly selling on Etsy?

Well, for lots of reasons. I’m a firm believer in never putting all of your eggs in one basket. God forbid, what if something were to happen to my Etsy shop? I’ve heard tons of horror stories about shops being suspended. I would be left with nothing. I wouldn’t be able to provide for my family.  That’s seriously my worst nightmare. So, selling on Amazon is kind of like a “fall back”, I guess. 

Selling on Amazon also opens up my business to a different audience, meaning I can reach more people and achieve additional income.

I also wanted a new challenge. I’ve been selling on Etsy since 2014 and I’m pretty used to the operation on Etsy. By selling on Handmade at Amazon I’m opening myself up to a new challenge, which is much needed.

 

What are the requirements for selling your products through Handmade at Amazon?

The first requirement for selling on Handmade at Amazon is that your products have to be made entirely by hand, hand altered, or hand assembled. Massed produced products are not allowed to be sold through Handmade at Amazon and you cannot sell items made by other people.

Next, there are only certain categories of products that are allowed to be sold on Handmade at Amazon, here is an insert from their website..

“Right now, Handmade at Amazon is open to artisans who make Jewelry, Home products (Art, Baby Bedding, Bath, Bedding, Furniture, Home Décor, Kitchen & Dining, Lighting, Patio, Lawn & Garden, Storage & Organization), Beauty & Personal Care, Pet Supply, Party Supplies, Stationery, Accessories, Baby, Sporting Goods, and Toys & Games. If your products don’t fit into those categories, don’t worry – we are working to open up more categories in the upcoming months. Sign up to be the first to know.”

 

Are you allowed to sell your products on Etsy and Handmade at Amazon?

Yes! You are absolutely allowed to sell your handmade products on Etsy as well as Handmade at Amazon.

 

What are the costs of selling on Handmade at Amazon?

So far, it seems to me that the price of selling on Handmade at Amazon is much steeper than the costs of selling on Etsy.  Unlike Etsy, there is no fee to list items but there is a $39.99 monthly fee for the professional selling plan. In addition to the selling fee, you also have to pay a referral fee for each product that you sell, which is 15% of the entire transaction (including shipping fees) or $1.00, which ever is greater. So, if you are selling something for $29.99, your referral fee will be about $4.50. That’s a pretty hefty fee if you ask me, Etsy only charges a 3.5% transaction fee and shipping costs are not included.

 

How to Apply for Handmade at Amazon

Applying to become a seller with Handmade at Amazon is easy, you’ll need to apply on a desktop computer and the application takes approximately 30 minutes. Click here to begin filling out an application. You’ll be asked to provide photos of your products, your workspace and your production process so make sure that you have those ready to go 🙂

Once you complete the application it will take about 1 week for Amazon to review the application and send you an invitation. Once you accept the invitation you can fill out your profile and start listing products for sale!

 

The Pros and Cons of Selling on Handmade at Amazon

Lastly, I want to give my final all around thoughts on selling at Handmade at Amazon so far. I’ll be honest, selling on Handmade at Amazon is nothing like selling on Etsy.  It’s similar, but definitely different. For one, I don’t believe that I get as much traffic from Handmade at Amazon than I do from Etsy.  The reason for this I believe is people go to Etsy specifically to look for something handmade.

Not many people go to Amazon to search for handmade products. Also, when people are searching for products through the search bar the first products that show up in search are the Amazon Prime products, unless they’re searching directly underneath the “Handmade” category. Selling on Amazon Prime is different from selling on Handmade at Amazon. To be honest I’ve only made about 5 sales within the past 3 weeks.

And as I mentioned earlier, the prices are pretty steep compared to selling on Etsy. Not many handmade business owners would want to pay the $39.99 monthly fee, especially if they’re just starting their business.

I also feel that navigating the site is not very user friendly. Link text is small, pages are hard to locate. It’s confusing when you’re a first timer, but I guess that happens when you’re trying new platforms.

One good thing about selling on Handmade at Amazon is that you open yourself up to a new audience, as I stated above. You can use Amazon as an additional income stream like I am 🙂

 

 

If you happen to try Handmade at Amazon let me know about your experience in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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