A New Venture: Adding an Art Service to Etsy
Well, I'm at it again! I enjoyed doing portraits so much I decided to offer it in my Etsy shop. I've never offered an Art Service on the platform before, but I do have an artist website I list service options. The problem is that I get more traffic on Etsy and social media rather than the website. So I connected the dots and put a listing up on Etsy for custom portraits.I had no idea where to start because when listing on Etsy you have to be as detailed as possible. The following is a detailed outline of what I did and how I did it just in case anyone was wanting to do the same.
First and foremost, make sure you have example work. Second, and for some reason this was the hardest part for some reason; make a detailed list of everything you do and do not offer in this listing. What I also included was how the whole ordering process works, processing time, and how you can receive you finished files.. When you create a listing on Etsy you have to specify if it's a physical or digital product. If it's digital (the portraits are) you have to also choose the "made to order" option. Think of your entire listing description as the roadmap for potential buyers.
Like I said, the listing was the hardest part for me. It's not just a "custom portrait" that you get files for. I started with sizing, standard 8"x10" portrait. From there I added the subject scale (person in the portrait); head down to mid-waist. Also, something to think about is how many people can be in your portraits? I set the max number at two people per portrait, leaving some option. Something else to consider is your backgrounds. Once you have your person (subject) finished your going to want to do something with what's going on behind them. I laid out some options for that are of the composition as well; plain flat color background, color gradient, background blur, or custom line-work. For each of these options I had example work to go along with it. I headed to canva and made a slide per example and labeled it. I also made a slide for the main picture of the listing which consisted of the basic information of the listing and a basic slide with the ordering process shortened. In the actual listing description WRITE OUT EVERYTHING! ( I cannot stress this enough!) This is to prevent confusion about what exactly you are offering and to show how potential buyers would be spending their money with you.
Include what types of files your clients will be receiving from you when the work is finished and how they can access these files. I mentioned in the listing description that clients may receive finished files via Etsy, email, or both depending on what they want to do. With this information state your processing time (how long it will take you to finish their piece and have it sent out).
Of course you'll want your potential clients to know exactly how to order with you and what you need from them for this particular project. This is an absolute MUST in your listing description! What follows is exactly how I wrote up this specific part of the listing description:
"How It Works
*Once you decide to purchase a portrait, please message me with the following information*
- Include the High Resolution picture of your choosing for your portrait.
(The better the quality, the better your finished portrait will be!)
- Include if you'd like the background a single color, a gradient, or if there is a
background visible, that you'd like that to be blurred.
I also offer custom line-work backgrounds (see marked example photos)
*(Please include color specifications and background choice with this information.)*
- Include how you would like to be contacted/receive your finished files.
If you choose to receive your finished files by email, please include
your email address in this message."
Again, be as specific as you can be. Include anything and everything so that you and your client know what to expect. Your listing description is the roadmap for your client to know what they are getting and how to get it.
Finally, another difficult aspect of this is determining your pricing. A 1-2 person portrait with a simple background, I can't see charging an arm and a leg for. It is also a digital product AND I considered how much time it takes me to finish one. This was how I came to the dollar amount that I have listed.
Once all of this is finished and posted, you're still not finished! Well, I still wasn't finished. I had to make content for my social media outlets to advertise my new listing. All of this needs to be as clear as possible as well. If your telling people this is what I'm doing and if you're interested you should check it out, you need to give them a way to check it out. I made content with the slides I posted in the listing. Some with links, some stating "link in bio". All of the content made has the name of the shop: HopeToDieClub, where the shop is located: Etsy, and what the listing is for: Custom Portraits.
Recap time! Listing an Art Service on Etsy was daunting. I know what I'm doing and what I'm offering to people but I needed to establish this in writing. Be precise and exact. State what you are offering and how it is being offered. (physical product or digital). What are the parameters of the offered project ( sizing, minimum and maximum subjects). What you need from your clients upon purchasing ( High Resolution photo, decision on background and color scheme, how to contact, and how to deliver finished work). How to convey this information when purchased ( message on Etsy the following information...) When the client can expect their piece to be finished and how they may receive their files (5 days). It's also important to mention plainly in your listing and in your listing title that the finished product is digital (in my case) and that no physical product will be sent to them via regular mail. One last thought, it doesn't hurt to include actual disclaimers in your listing. I specify to read the entire description BEFORE purchasing a portrait and if there needs to be any clarification to contact me. Hopefully all goes well.