The purchasing needs of today’s consumer are continuing to shift away from the mass-produced to the uniquely handmade. As a craftsman looking to share and sell your products, there are a number of platforms available to you based on your craft. Over the next four weeks, we will be taking a look at three different sites where you can sell your handmade items: Etsy, Craftsy, and Handmade @ Amazon. During the fourth week, we will then take a look at what it takes to brand yourself across these sites to ensure your customers have a consistent experience with you regardless of whether you are on one or all three (or more!) sites.
What is Etsy?
Etsy, in their own words, “is a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods.”. Founded in 2005, Etsy boasts an impressive 32 million items for sale and earned its 1.5 million sellers over $1.93 billion in gross sales during 2014.
What type of products are sold on Etsy?
Etsy is a marketplace unlike any other. Sellers offer items in three categories: (1) handmade items, (2) vintage goods (items that are 20 years old or more), and (3) craft supplies that you won’t find in your local big box store.
How do you sell your products? …and how much will it cost?
You’ve spent hours – days! – putting the final touch on your final project, and it’s ready to sell. Etsy makes it simple for you, and you can open your store in just four steps.
- Name Your Shop: You’ll need to name your store. Select something that helps buyers identify what you sell, is unique, and serves as a platform for your brand. I’ve named my shop Faith and Fabric, and I sell Catholic quilts and crafts…though you probably figured that out just by the store name alone. Tip: do your research, checking other social media platforms to ensure the name you come up with isn’t already taken somewhere else…even if you’re not yet using Twitter or Instagram for your business.
- Add Listings: Have your product photos ready, as you’ll be able to add your listings right away. You’ll need at least one photo, but can add up to five photos showing your product’s finest features. You’ll also set up other attributes of your product, such as product details, cost, and shipping information. Tip: statistics show that the more (quality) photos you add, the more likely your product will sell. Etsy offers, within its photo panel, the ability to resize and crop your photos so you can really capture the essence of your product.
- Get Paid: Depending on the country you live in, the way your payments are collected from buyers varies. Etsy will have you select your country of residence and walk you through setting up your account; you’ll likely need either a credit card or a Paypal account (or both).
- Open Shop: You’re open for business!In terms of costs – there is no membership fee to sell on Etsy, and listings cost just $0.20 to list an item. Items are displayed for up to four months and can be renewed for an additional $0.20 if they don’t sell during that time period. Once your item sells, Etsy collects 3.5% of the final purchase price. Keep in mind that if you collect your payments through PayPal , a nominal fee per transaction will be collected by Paypal, too.
What kind of support is available to sellers?
While it only takes four steps to set up a shop, it takes many more to become a successful seller. Etsy has been working hard to establish a greater rapport with its sellers, and there are numerous tools available to you to guide you as a new (or even experienced) seller. Their Seller Handbook has extensive information from the basic (how to take a good picture) to the advanced (understanding intellectual property rights). Etsy also sends out a seller newsletter with tips, ideas, and seasonal information to help you succeed as well as a seller blog you can follow. It will take some time and work, but if you love what you’re doing, opening an Etsy shop might be the right decision for you!
Are you an experienced Etsy seller? We’d love to hear your tips in the comments below! Check in next week as we dive into Part II: Selling on Craftsy.
Copyright 2015 Jen Frost.
All images copyright 2015 Jen Frost. All rights reserved.
About the author: Jen Frost is a Catholic quilter and crafter who evangelizes through fabric. She’s a pattern writer, quilt designer, and soon-to-be book author. When she’s not in front of her sewing machine, she can be found at the beach with her husband and son, toes happily buried in the sand. She writes and quilts each week at Faith and Fabric.