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Here’s #7…

Writing Descriptions That Sell…

Want to hear a story?

Our daughter Libby started making
doll clothes and selling them on
Etsy this year.

She wanted to do it all by herself,
part of her, ‘I’m a big-girl now’
phase or something.

So she didn’t want Cinnamon to help
her with the sewing activities, or
photography, nor did she want me
to help her with the selling

We were excited by all of this and
thought it was amazing that she was
taking the initiative, she’s only 9.
Good for her!

Her first listing was on Etsy in no

Trouble was – it didn’t sell. She had
taken an okay picture, made an okay
outfit, listed it for an okay price,
and written an okay description.
Actually it was all fairly good,
better than some of the other stuff
we regularly see on Etsy.

Finally, a little discouraged, Libby
told me that she was frustrated, and
asked for my help.

I made one simple change and her
outfit sold within a day.

Can you guess what I did?

I went into her listing description
and wrote the following sentences,
(actually, this is a paragraph
because I didn’t save it, and don’t
remember the exact wording, but it
was very similar to this),

“I’m Liberty Jane Miles, from Liberty
Jane Clothing, you know, the doll
clothes company? They named it after
me, and this is my very first outfit
I’ve ever made. I’m going to be a big
designer someday, so if you want to
be able to say you bought my very
first outfit, then you should buy
this outfit”

Bam, it sold within a day.

So what did I actually do in those
3 sentences? Well, I’ll tell you in
a minute. First let me properly
introduce this important topic.

Here’s the proper introduction…

If you can take a good picture, and
learn to write clear, interesting
product descriptions, then you are
going to do really well in your
online selling efforts.

These two activities – photography
and writing – are like a one-two
punch of selling power. Or, to put
it in more fun terms, (and since I’m
hungry at the moment), they are like
that Peanut Butter and Chocolate
combination that most people find

Many people think that effective
sales copy has to be smarmy,
long-winded, manipulative.

But the truth is – good sales copy
isn’t any of those things. It’s just
clear, concise, conversational
writing, that describes the important
information customers need to know.
That’s it.

Okay, back to Libby’s listing and how
I made a little change that had a big

You know what I did – right? I used
the power of a story. And with my
story I gave people a fun and
interesting reason to buy her outfit.
That story closed the deal. It wasn’t
manipulative, or contrived, it was
just a difference point of view, that
got the reader interested in the item
for a ‘bigger’ reason than just
getting some new doll clothes.

The buyer was now going to be part
of a journey with Libby – invested
in her future career as a designer.
The story gave the buyer something
to talk about with friends and
family. It made the buyer consider
the long-term impact of her
seemingly simple buying decision.

Wow – all that from 3 sentences?

Yep! That is the power of a story.
The power of effective writing that

So, how can you write effectively to
sell your outfits? Here are a few

First, write clearly! Simple words.
Simple sentences. Don’t stress over
punctuation elementary school rules
about writing.

Second, be complete. Take your time
and consider all the good reasons
that your customer should buy from
you, and buy that particular outfit.

Third, use stories, and your
imagination to enhance the meaning
and importance of your item.

Ever heard of Malibu Barbie?

Think about what they did. There is
absolutely nothing that connects that
doll to Malibu except the creative
imagination that the marketer used
when creating it. Then the clothes
and accessories.

Obviously Pleasant Roland was a
master at using the power of
stories, and built the American
Girl Doll brand on that simple

Starting last year we launched our
International Collection so we could
do the same thing. It’s been a fun
and meaningful part of our work.

Now we have Outback Libby, and Euro
Libby, and even “gasp” Malibu Libby.
Guess what? No one seemed to mind
that we were taking a play straight
from American Girl. It was different
enough to be our own, but familiar
enough to poeple that they enjoyed it.

Can you come up with your own story

Fourth, and finally, when you write,
make sure that you take each idea,
topic, or piece of information and
give it a unique paragraph. Break
things apart using lists, bullet
points, line breaks, or images to
break your information up so it is
easy to see and read.

There is no need to cram everything
into one gigantic paragraph. People
won’t read it.

Bottomline – writing descriptions
that sell is a tradeskill that you
need to continually study and
improve on.

Now go write an amazing description!

Jason & Cinnamon

10 Comments on The Start-Up Success Guide, #7

  1. This gave me a lot to think about. A couple of years ago, I started designing international costumes for AG and others after seeing a book by Joan Hinds. I did like what I saw but want to take it further with clothing from countries that haven’t been represented.

  2. just in the process of creating my new website, I would love to make and sell clothes for American Girl dolls using your patterns

  3. Humm..I’m thinking too. My writing is boring. Since I named my shop after my grand daughter I have a feeling that “Emma” is going to have to play a more whimsical part in my descriptions.


    • Emma’s Doll Shop is not very memorable. It could be greatly improved by using a few different words that are more memorable and create a ‘mood’, like:

      Emma’s Explosions – (and make it all about crazy creations)
      Emma’s Empire (and go with a whole queen/king/castle concept)
      Emma’s E… (anything that start with an “E”… alliteration is a great tool.

      You get the idea,

      Hope this helps,


  4. I love these but I like to print them to read later …and again! I find they print out so light, however, it’s hard to read. It’s very light on the computer too. I haven’t found a way to adjust that. I have an iMac. Is it just me?

    • Me again! Somewhere in an article you wrote, Jason, I believe you mentioned that no one had taken over the niche of just producing quality AG jeans. Do you still feel that’s the case? I’ve been doing alterations and tailoring for over 30 years and have 10 years experience in theater costuming so I can easily take on a niche if I can find one! Right now I’m making AG dresses but have only sold 2 in the 6 wks. I’ve been on Etsy. I know my pictures are a big issue but I just don’t the money to invest in the camera equipment you recommend. Even used stuff. It’s one of those deals where you have to have money to make money. I do plan to get a tripod to tide me over.

      Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

      • I do feel the same way. Jeans are harder to make than dresses, so there are tons of people trying to make and sell dresses, and they shy away from Jeans. But if you got really good at making “Premium” jeans – and come up with a cool / trendy name and concept – I think you could do well.

        Ultra Premium Denim Jeans is a current phenomemon that we proved could be migrated into the doll space. Someone should really do it.

        You need to get a good camera for your birthday or Christmas or something. Amazingly, even an Iphone 4, which you can get for free if you sign up for a new cell plan, has a great camera in it that could work very well. Try your best to creatively find a good camera – and whichever camera you use – study all the photography techniques – so that you get the very best performance out of it that you can. The pictures sell the product.

        Hope that helps,


    • Hi Sue,

      These were originally formatted for our email newsletter. On an Imac hit the F2 key a few times to brighten your screen. That may help. We actually turned the Start Up Success Guide articles into an ebook – Craft Business Power – which you can get on a kindle…Or read on your computer too using the Amazon reader app. Here is a link:

      Hope that helps,


  5. I need a good camera, and lots of help on my writing.

    I am just comig back from a stroke, and need something worthwhile to do,
    my girls I sew for is getting up and away from dolls and I love to sew.
    I really need something to do with them.

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