Our Expectations And What You Can Expect From Us As a New Member

Your first two weeks as a member at GS Handmade is a critical timeframe. We have discovered that newbies find the most success when they jump right in with both feet and get busy learning, experimenting, trying out our suggestions, working with their mentor (a.k.a. “boutique buddy”)  and getting the things done on the “two week checklist” (see below).

The “two week checklist”

(aka what we expect from you the first two weeks of joining the newbie group)

A handy checklist with step-by-step plans to get your shop up & running the right way.

1. Pay your shop fee (we will send you a link in your acceptance letter to pay this one-time fee that covers our admin’s time when setting up your GS Handmade shop)
2. Once you join the Newbie group, please set notifications to “all” so you will know what is going on. If you don’t get notifications, you need to commit to checking in the group at least once a day. Please respond to tags. You may miss out on potential sales, tech issues, important updates, etc. if you don’t.
3. Wait for Heather or Raenita to set up your shop , after we’re done,we’ll make a post just for you and it will include all of your login details, shop link, etc. We will also tag you if we have any questions about your username, etc.
4. Make sure you can log in and use your password correctly. If not, let us know so we can fix it.
5. Look through files and find the one about setting up your storefront.
6. Load banner & logo (see file on photo sizes to get correct sizing)
7. Set up shop description & policies
8. Look through files and find the one with instructions for listings. Please make sure your photos are resized to the correct size (see file on photo sizes) and that you zip any digital downloads you may be adding. There are two types of listings on GS Handmade ~ a “simple” listing, which is just a very straightforward listing where the customer outright buys it, and then there are variable listings , where the customer can make a choice (size, color, etc.)
9. List 1 item–post a link to it once it is published in this group so an admin can check and make sure it is correct.
10. Once first listing is approved by admin as done correctly (or any changes are made that were needed), list 9 more listings and then let us know when you are done.
11. Join the GS public group where you can share your new products. Practice sharing a couple or a link to your shop and introduce yourself.  Join the “public” facebook group here
12. Find file for Relisting and practice relisting a couple of your products.
13. Practice sharing a couple listings of your own and also some of the  other GS Handmade shops or products to your social media platforms.
14. Participate in the Wednesday Waves. Nancy will post the info a few days before so you have time to schedule your posts, if you won’t be around on Wednesdays to do it.
15. If you have questions, ask in the group. Chances are, someone else is wondering as well and will be happy you asked.
16. Graduate!!!!! Have fun…hustle….join in…..be proud to be a GS Handmade shop owner
Going forward, after you graduate to the bigger group, these are some of the key things we want you to understand:
When you open a shop at GS Handmade, you’re not just joining a selling platform, you’re joining a community of other makers and creatives. We expect community participation from you.

What does community participation look like and what do we expect from our community members?

You participate in group discussions in our help desk. Often times other members post things they’re struggling with in their business, or admins may post a question (or poll)  to help us decide on the direction we should go. We value everyone’s input and encourage as much participation as possible. We all rely on each other for support and contributing to the overall conversation. Sometimes we are planning an event like an auction, or a holiday lookbook and we need and want input from everyone. We aren’t really a community if the same people contribute over and over, and some people never voice anything. No question is silly and we (the admin team) WANT to help, and have as much input from as many members as possible.

This is not a list an item and run platform. We need everyone to drive traffic to their shops and the site in general. Whether that is sharing on social media, sending out emails, blogging , or networking with your friends and family as well as your customers.

We expect everyone to give equal time to GS as they do other selling platforms they have accounts on. We don’t want to be second, we don’t want to be last, we don’t want to be an after thought. When we accept you as a new member, please understand we saw potential in you, your products AND what you can bring to the GS Handmade table, including your following/customer base, and social media followers.

Don’t let any of this overwhelm you, we will teach you how to do these things! If you don’t have an account on all of the major social media platforms or are on a platform but don’t know all of the cool things you can do there, we will help you with that.  We ask for a reciprocal amount of time that we invest in you, we ask for loyalty, that you will be looking out for the betterment and growth of GS when you join up with us.

We expect you to hustle! We expect you to try and route sales and custom orders through your GS Handmade shop. We don’t like to see people taking the “easy way out” by sending a paypal invoice to a customer when they could have easily routed a sale through their GS shop in the same amount of time (we will help you learn how to set up reserved or custom orders for these scenarios).

We believe we are the most unique creative community, and actually we believe we’re the best one out there… there is no other community like ours where you will be mentored, taught and helped~ and not just regarding your GS shop, but also your business in general. We run “boot camps” on how to use tools like mailing lists, email campaigns, social media and other things that will help you become a better business owner, and you will learn marketing/promotion as well as other things to help you grow your business.

We expect you to add your GS Shop links to your social media platforms so potential customers can find you on our platform. We expect you to add this information to your business cards and other marketing materials you may have.

After you get to know everyone, and see how drama-free, and genuine our members are, you will WANT to do these things and give back to the community that has invested in you and helped you grow so much, that’s not an expectation but it’s what we actually see happening on a daily basis. Reciprocity in our community is awesome. We truly place community over competition and people before profits.

We expect you to participate in special events like auctions (we usually hold them 4-6 times a year) , either by being an auctioneer, or to help promoting the events. (They’re also lots of fun and a community building experience too!)

We expect you to not only share your GS Handmade listings but also your fellow GS shop owner’s items too on social media, if you see a post in your newsfeed, like it /share it/comment on it. What one person does or doesn’t do at GS Handmade affects everyone else.

We expect you to be kind and caring and drama free when interacting with other members and admins.

We expect you to be giving of your time as well as your knowledge. We all have something to contribute that can benefit others in GS. Whether it’s advice, or sharing something that you did with your business and it worked well… whatever it is, we all have different strengths and talents, we can all do something in a positive way to help someone else.

What can you expect from other community members and our admin team?

If you’re all in, and committed like we ask of you, then here are the things you will experience as a result of just being a fellow shop owner:

Friendship and Uncondtiional support – in business and in life too! We commit to helping you learn, we commit to providing opportunities where you will learn about not just using the features of the GS Handmade site, but other ways to grow and market your business in general. We’ve got your back, unconditionally.

We will NEVER bury your listings with crazy algorithms , we will actually promote your listings and your shop. We will NEVER make you pay to be seen on our site. We don’t block, or undermine your success, we will do the literal opposite of that. We are very active on all platforms of social media, we maintain a mailing list of almost 5,000 subscribers and we will share in email campaigns, newsletters and email blasts about GS and the shops we host.

You can expect to have your questions answered in a polite and timely manner. If we don’t know the answer, we’ll attempt to find out for you.

You can expect to people to actually care about you as a person and small business owner.

You can expect to be recommended to other people/potential customers. We have a “contact us” form as well as a “request a custom order” form on our website, if someone is looking for something, we will refer the sale to GS members/you if that is something you can do/make for the customer. On social media, people often ask for recommendations, and we always suggest our members if the query applies. In handmade groups on social media,we will often see a thread requesting certain products, gift ideas for people etc, and we will always suggest our members & their shops and tag you in it.

You can expect to have your business cards sent out from other members in their packages/orders (we do a business card exchange twice a year) and you will get further exposure and visibility to new potential customers in this way.

If you meet certain goals, you can expect to be eligible for extras, gift packages, GS Handmade merch and even social media banner spots on our pages and groups.

If there happens to be a very rare occasion of a customer complaint from one of your customers, we will give you an opportunity to explain what happened, and make it right before we refund the customer or make other reparations to them. We will never approve a negative feedback or review that could potentially damage your business without giving you the opportunity to work it out with the customer first. We have your back, we are makers too, and although we expect excellent customer service, superior craftsmanship and timely shipping from all of our shop owners, we understand that mistakes can happen sometimes. Sometimes it’s something completely out of your control, or it’s actually the customer’s mistake~ in those scenarios we believe things can be worked out without losing a customer, or damaging your business reputation.

You can expect that your money from your orders will be available pretty much immediately after you withdraw the funds from orders (via paypal)

You can expect to be involved in a site that does not discriminate based on skin color, religion, sexual identity or orientation, or political affiliations. Obviously we don’t support hate, but this platform is open equally to all people, races, genders and belief systems. Membership /The application process is open to ALL makers in the United States.

Cross promotion- we actually have a spot inside our product submission form that allows our members to cross promote each other and drive traffic to each other’s listings. Example: One member designs & sews a dress, they may share a link in their listing to a fellow member’s hair bows that would match with their dress and vice versa.

You can expect autonomy in the items you sell and the way you manage your shop. You’re the captain of your own ship at GS. You don’t have to worry about us trying to micromanage your shop or your products. Your business is your business. You’re welcome to list pretty much anything you make unless is hateful. We may suggest you do promotions, sales, or other ideas but we will never force you, you can always opt out~ you’re the boss of you and your shop on GS.

You can expect that anything we ask of you is done with the best of intentions. Our admin team has over 107 collective years of experience selling handmade items online. We know a thing or two about a thing or two. Trust that we know what we’re talking about, and we’re sharing tips, advice, and suggestions from a place of experience and the reason we ask you to do things a certain way is because we’re trying to HELP you and avoid your having to do costly trial and error. We’ve done most of the legwork for you, and we’re trying to save time, money and frustration when we make suggestions.