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February 25 2014

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February 07 2014


Sweet and Savory Fondue Recipes

Back in the days of bell bottoms, ironed hair, and harvest gold kitchen appliances, fondue parties were all the rage. The 1970s have returned with a vengeance, and so, it would seem, has fondue. Here, 8 versions to try. See a primer on basic fondue ingredients »


Reposted fromcuty cuty
How to Craft a Killer About Page

Photo by A Girl Named Leney

When Forbes staff writer Holly Slade was researching a story about running a small business from home, she went to Etsy to find shop owners to profile. Specifically, Slade was looking for shop owners with at least three staff members. After perusing the About pages of several shops, she found two that fit the bill: Bread and Badger, a sandblasted drinkware shop owned by Amanda Siska, and Dock Artisan,  a shop selling wooden charging docks for mobile devices owned by Joel Young. Both shops describe their at-home workshops and list their shop members on their respective About pages, which landed them spots in Slade’s published story, “Running a Shop from Home: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.”

Your shop’s About page gives you a chance to tell the story of your business. In turn, About pages all across Etsy collectively paint a portrait of the community as a whole. An informative and captivating About page can help create a devoted following of customers. It can also spark unexpected opportunities, including press coverage and collaborations. Amanda and Joel reported a spike in traffic from Forbes readers in their Shop Stats. Amanda notes that her social media fans were duly impressed. Being featured in the story, she says, has had “a lot of impact in establishing our credibility as a shop.”

But figuring out the best way to put your shop’s story into words — and images — might seem daunting. With that in mind, here are four tips to get you started.

Tell Your Shop’s Origin Story

The best About pages feature a memorable story that describes how the shop owner got started. “People need to connect the product and the story with the person who made it,” says Joel Young of Dock Artisan, which is based in Murphys, California. ”Otherwise, it’s just this cyber land of ‘Where does it come from?’”  Joel traces the evolution of his family business, including the initial creative spark and notable milestones, on Dock Artisan’s About page.

On Bread and Badger’s About page, Amanda Siska describes how she dreamed of being a tattoo artist before discovering that glass engraving is similar in technique, but, she writes, “without sterilization and possible regret.” Amanda also describes how her husband, Sean, quit his day job to help her expand the Portland, Oregon-based business. If you develop a case of writer’s block when you sit down to write your story, imagine you’re explaining it to a customer at a craft fair or to a friend. Then, put those words to paper.

Bread and Badger hard at work.

Amanda Siska hard at work.

Captivate With Beautiful Photos

High-quality images are another key to great About pages. This is your chance to give customers a behind-the-scenes look at your company, so include images of yourself practicing your craft in your workspace. If you’re hoping to attract press coverage, be sure to upload five professional-level, high-resolution photos (those measuring at least 1,400 pixels wide). This shows you’ll be ready with the good stuff if the press comes a-knocking.

Around the time of his Featured Shop interview in 2012, Joel of Dock Artisan sprung for a session with a professional photographer. He says the investment has served him well. “If you’re an online company, everything you have is your pictures, your product, your workspace,” Joel says. “So, don’t skimp on pictures and don’t skimp on quality.” If hiring a photographer isn’t in your budget, take your own publicity-ready photos and organize a photo shoot on a budget by using readily available elements like flattering natural light, simple backgrounds and props for context.

Joel uses a specialty router jig in his outdoors woodshop.

Joel Young uses a specialty router jig in his outdoors wood shop.

Vive la Différence

Highlight unique materials, production processes and anything else that might help your shop stand out. For instance, Joel Young’s About page describes the ecologically sound practices that his shop uses to source local materials for their product lines, which fuse nature and technology. “We believe in natural selection when it comes to harvesting our wood,” he says. “Every year, storms come through the Sierra Nevada Mountains and blow over trees and break limbs. We give this wood a new life with purpose.”

Across the world in Vilnius, Lithuania, Inga, Kestas and Viktoria from Bure Bure Slippers use their About page to explain how they source wool from their herd of Skudde sheep and use ancient felting techniques to create their line of shoes and slippers. They paint a vivid picture of their mountainous rural organic farmstead through striking images and connect the dots from their free-grazing flock to a finished pair of cozy footwear. On Bread and Badger’s About page, Amanda explains how she and her husband do their own sandblasting in their garage using a CrystalBlast cabinet and 60-gallon air compressor.

Bure Bure Slippers’s process extends from farm to feet.

Bure Bure Slippers’s process extends from farm to feet.

Meet and Greet

When you include photos and information about you and your shop members on your About page, you put a friendly, approachable face on your business. On her About page, Valerie Lloyd, founder of Seattle-based vintage craft supply shop Smile Mercantile, writes: “I like to think of the Smile Mercantile as an old-time general store with friendly and reliable folk (me) working behind the counter. I have a deep love for history, and I find that living with vintage pieces connects me to the past, and the people who were here before me.”

Bread and Badger’s About page includes a smiling image of Amanda Siska and the names and photos of her husband and shop member. It also links to Bread and Badger’s website and Facebook and Twitter accounts, encouraging people to interact with the business in a variety of ways. “If we were a brick-and-mortar storefront, I would be sitting in the store talking to people and they’d be able to walk right up and talk to me,” Amanda says. “I want customers to know about me, my business and even my family. That’s the kind of thing that I would talk about if they were to meet me in person, so I don’t need to be too shy about that online either.”

Amanda creates digital artwork for Bread and Badger from her hand drawings, and prints it on transparency film.

Amanda Siska creates digital artwork from her hand drawings and prints it on transparency film.

What are some of your tips for telling your company’s story? Share in the comments!

Seller Handbook Best-of Archives | Photo Ideas for Your Shop’s About Page                 3 Questions for Telling Your Creative Origin Story

Julie Schneider is a Brooklyn-based artist, teacher and punster. When she's not working on Etsy's community team, she's writing, drawing and making cards and papercuts. Keep up with her latest creations on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest.

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