Etsy is an e-commerce website with an emphasis on handmade or vintage items, and art and craft supplies. The listed items cover a wide range including: art, photography, clothing, jewelry, food, bath and beauty products, quilts, knick-knacks, and toys. Many individuals also sell craft supplies such as beads, wire, and jewelry-making tools. Vintage items must be at least 20 years old. Etsy follows in the tradition of open craft fairs, giving sellers personal storefronts where they list their goods for a fee of $0.20. Etsy also charges 3.5% per sale; most of its listed items are between $10 and $20 dollars.
Though popular as a side business, some professional artists consider maintaining their personal storefronts as a full-time job. Etsy has over 17 million users, 800,000 active shops, and 2011 sales of more than $525 million dollars.[i] With these statistics and defined market niche, Etsy is a crafters and artist’s paradise.
How to Begin
Set up an Etsy account:
On Etsy’s home page, click on ‘Sell’ and ‘Open An Etsy Shop’
Either sign up with a Facebook account or enter name, email address, password, etc.
You will need to confirm your email name through your email account later.
Select a user name for your store. This is not a store name and may be anonymous.
Choose a shop name:
Your shop name appears with your items in the Etsy marketplace.
Pick a name that has personal significance or helps identify what’s in your shop.
After choosing a shop name, you will receive a confirmation page with a green bar toward the stop that says: Success! Your shop name is now xxxxxxxxx
Add Items or Stock Your Shop
Fill out the ‘About this item’ and ‘Categories’ as completely as possible. This will help buyers searching for your product.
Add a photo of the product. Use natural light where possible and close up shots to show detail.
If adding actual photographs to your store, reduce the resolution, and add watermarks to protect them.
Each item listed will cost $.20. When sold, expect to pay an additional 3.5% of the sale price. Build these charges in when pricing the product. Providing free shipping is a bonus, but remember to price that in as well.
Complete the item description categories. A more accurate and defined description improves your chances of being ‘found’.
Price the product. Pricing is half art, half science. Research similar items for an idea of what the market will accept. Homepreneurs discussed craft pricing strategies in a previous post.
Sign up for payment method
Etsy processes PayPal and Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Payments are directly linked to a checking or savings account. Sellers can also be paid via personal check, money order or other.
Complete the billing portion
Each item listed costs $.20 for a four-month listing. If an item sells, a 3.5% charge is added. Sellers will be billed at the end of a month.
Add Shop Introduction and Policies
Add a nice welcome message and read Etsy’s FAQs and Do/Do Not lists for what to say in your policy areas.
Confirm Your Email Account
Log into the email you entered above and confirm that it is really your email.
Some Secrets to Selling on Etsy
This information is from a former Etsy employee and active shop owner.
Etsy has hundreds of millions of items for sale at any moment in time. How are you going to sell yours? Secret: Hard Work and Good Products
This secret isn’t very helpful and applies to eBay, Facebook, Craigslist, and the antique store down the block. Here are some basic additional tips that you can use:
Take Better Photos
- You can take the best photos in the world but it isn’t good enough. You are in sales on Etsy; treat your product and photos as sales tools.
Make things that People Want
- A cardinal rule for selling anything. If you are trying to bring back the Pet Rock or lava lamp, good luck. How many people will want this stuff? A few here and there, maybe, but probably not enough to make it worth your time.
- Do market research
- Browse the sold items
- Find a void in the market and fill it with your product
Make Something that Others Don’t
- Try searching for a product like ‘paper mache dolls’. I got 591 returns on that search. If you think your paper mache dolls are great, they better beat 591 others. That is your competition.
- What makes yours different and better? Prices? Selection? Quality? Photos? Think hard about this before venturing into a tough market niche.
Create a Cohesive Line of Products
- Pick a common theme and expand on it. Take the paper mache doll: make Mommy dolls, Daddy dolls, baby dolls, pet dolls, all in a similar way. Narrow down from general to specific products. Become known for your specific product.
- Nothing will kill an Etsy store and reputation faster than poor customer service. If you promise delivery within 5 business days, get it done. If your return policy is liberal, take the products back without complaint.
By Dion D. Shaw
Dion D. Shaw is the founder and owner of Homepreneurs
Homepreneurs. New Day. New Opportunity.
Homepreneurs does not endorse nor have any relationships with any of the services listed. Homepreneurs receives no compensation or consideration for its suggestions. Homepreneurs strongly urges all interested parties to conduct research and accepts no responsibility for any losses incurred.
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Etsy is a trademarked name and image with all rights reserved.