Thinking about opening an Etsy shop?
Etsy is a great place to sell handmade jewelry, art, photography, crafts, clothing, furniture, housewares, vintage items and more! If you're thinking of selling your wares online but don't know where to start, give Etsy a try, risk free!
There are pros and cons of any online selling platform, and Etsy has its share (mostly pros!) I have three Etsy shops, FairyLynne, GypsyInMyBlood, and MyFairyPoems. Although it is advised to only have one Etsy shop, even for diverse items, I chose to have separate shops. This is allowed, as long as you disclose your other shops in your public profile.
The pros, as I see them, are:
- Layout and scripting are already done.
- Lots of online info and support through forums and teams.
- Each listing costs only 20 cents for 4 months.
- When an item sells, you can relist it automatically by including more than one item in your listing inventory, or if you prefer you can relist manually.
- You can include up to 5 images with your item listing.
- You can design your own header banner, have one made for you by any graphic artist (or talented teen!) or purchase one through an Etsy shop that specializes in banner creation. You can change it any time you like.
- You can make 10 separate menu sections to organize your shop.
- You can manually rearrange the items in your shop.
- You can set up shipping profiles to save time when listing an item. I have one for regular earrings, one for heavy earrings, one for regular necklaces, one for heavy necklaces, etc, because I know how much they will weigh, and therefore how much to charge. This also makes it simpler to update listings when postage rates change - just update the profile! [Highly recommended!]
- When you list or relist an item it becomes the first item in your shop. It has long been suggested that there be an option for shop owners to make their chosen arrangement permanent, however this is not yet a reality.
- Etsy no longer supports feedback about buyers. I found this feature very useful for estimating a buyer's trustworthiness. If other sellers had problems with this person, I would not be likely to bend over backwards for them. That said, most Etsy buyers are friendly, honest, and understanding when occasional problems occur. (Etsy now has direct communication between Etsy shop owners and Etsy personnel when a serious problem needs help resolving.)
- You must promote your own shop and/or items. I do not recommend Etsy paid ads for this - the click/buy ratio can make it too costly! Optimize your traffic flow by using targeted keywords, especially short phrases (20 character limit) and descriptive titles. Use variety, and check your stats to see what's working. Other ideas: have a separate blog where you post about new items and link to them on Etsy, or much simpler, open a Twitter account for your shop, and post items, promotions, etc. there. A Facebook page for your shop is also a good idea, as is other social media like Pinterest and Instagram. Show your process (without giving away trade secrets!), make a tutorial, share info. Also, get business cards and hand them out. If you make jewelry, wear it when you go out and keep those cards handy! (You can offer free local delivery/pick-up, just reimburse the shipping fee or make a custom listing for the person with free shipping. If you both have smart phones, you can do the whole transaction right there, in person, and arrange delivery/pickup.) Another way to promote yourself: local markets, fairs, etc. Guest blogging is another great way to get yourself known.
Often, Etsy sellers find an item does better when they raise the price! As long as there is value and good customer service, set your prices as high as you reasonably can, unless you want to run yourself ragged working for next to nothing.
Prepare ahead for seasonal sales, keeping shipping times in mind. You can now include a Priority Mail shipping option in your listings.
Tip: When copying/pasting Etsy links to include in a listing, you can remove the question mark on, or the ampersand on, depending on where you want the link to go. The parts after that are not essential and the links look better without them.
Example: https://www.etsy.com/shop/GypsyInMyBlood?section_id=14708806&ref=shopsection_leftnav_6 (original link).
https://www.etsy.com/shop/GypsyInMyBlood goes to my main shop page.
https://www.etsy.com/shop/GypsyInMyBlood?section_id=14708806 goes to a specific section on my shop.
Always test your links to make sure they work!
Shop Link Tip: When you have business cards made, you can use this format:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/GypsyInMyBlood (actual link)
GypsyInMyBlood.Etsy.com - that's all you need to link to a shop, just be sure to test the link before having it printed on your business cards!
(Links are case insensitive, so capitalize or not, whichever you prefer.)
Pro or Con? You Decide!
For more sales, it is generally recommended to open your shop to international shipping. You can now totally prepay some international shipments, including customs documentation, online via Etsy. That's a recent and very handy feature. That said, you need to calculate/list shipping prices for the countries you ship to, and international shipping prices just about doubled recently. Also, insurance for loss or damage can be very expensive, and may require a higher priced shipping method. My personal choice is to list shipping to my country only (U.S), and if someone really wants an item they'll ask about shipping to their country, and I can decide whether or not I want to ship the item there.
Okay, I'll stop now before your head explodes. Hope you have found this info helpful!
Randi / GypsyInMyBlood