Etsy is everywhere. If you’re a a crafty entrepreneur or a vintage specialist, Etsy is the online marketplace for your wares. However, building a profitable business out of your crafty money making ideas entails more than just listing your wares on a popular site. You need to know how to present yourself, your business, and your products in a way which attracts customers, and then, keeps them coming back. While an exhaustive guide to Etsy success could (and does) fill many, many webpages, here you’ll find all the basics you need to start selling on etsy in once simple, easy-to-read article.
Give careful thought to the products you’ll be offering for sale; on Etsy, you’ll have a lot of competition. Bring something unique to the table. This may require visiting other Etsy pages in your category to discover how you can add an original twist to, say, organic diaper covers. Your creativity will help customers remember you the next time they’re looking for similar items and designs. And while many online entrepreneurial guides counsel you to find a niche, make sure that your money making ideas also have wide appeal. Guitar picks, for example, will attract more customers than cat sweaters.
It goes without saying–although we’ll go ahead and say it–that your crafts must be well-made. People are tired of generic, mass-produced, easily ruined products found in today’s retail stores. When they go to Etsy, they expect handmade goods that last. If they’re disappointed, you’ll hear about it–as will everyone in their immediate circle. Not only will you lose that customer’s business; you stand to lose business you never knew existed. Build a reputation for great work.
Once you’ve decided to sell your crafts online, it’s easy to get so excited that your throw up a storefront before you have much inventory. That’s a mistake. Etsy shoppers like to browse, so make sure your have a well-stocked inventory. If you only have a few options, they’re likely to get bored and move to a shop with more choices. In a similar vein, if your crafts are reproducible, try to have a reasonable stock on hand; if you’re sold out, your customer might not return. Use Etsy’s “Quantity” feature to keep your links viable, obtain statistics, and help you track store information via Google Analytics.
Your brand is the perception people have of your business. It comprises your company image and the emotional connections customers make with your products. Think about the kind of concepts you wish to define your business. Do you want to be green? Project religious values? Appear quirky, fun, chic or geeky? What makes your Etsy store stand out? What kinds of marketing approaches attract your target audience? When you decide what kind of store you’ve got, design your logos, banners, printed materials, packaging, and even written descriptions to reflect that brand. Keep your presentations unified and consistent. If you put as much effort into constructing a brand identity as you do your products, you’ll develop a distinct Etsy presence.
Etsy is filled with valuable instructions and advice on how to best set up your shop, so this section won’t linger on technical details. There are some key points, however, that you overlook at your peril.
You must, above all, have excellent images. Your photos are the only way customers can see your products, so use the best camera you can find. Take advantage of each of the five shots per product, and be sure to include a close-up and a full view. Occasionally, props might set off your product’s colors, or demonstrate use, but add these sparingly; it’s best not to clutter your photos. Make sure your photos reflect your brand and shop image; do some browsing for ideas.
Next, set up an attractive shop. Dream up an easy-to-remember name that reflects the your brand. Give thought to your shop’s arrangements. Etsy offers you the option of organizing your shop into sections; take full advantage of this feature and make it easy for your customers to look at your wares and find what they’re looking for. For each product, provide thorough descriptions, including measurements, care instructions, gift suggestions, materials and interesting facts. Remember you’re not there to talk to the customer; try to anticipate buyer questions and add some personality to provide a sense of personal contact.
To make your shop stand out amid competitors, choose suitable tags (keywords) that describe your products. Use these tags to indicate color, use, style, vintage, materials, and other specific details. After all, if you’re selling stuffed felt owls, you want to attract people looking for just that. Take advantage of the “Top Three” feature, in which the most recent three items you’ve listed show up next to your avatar when you appear in other sellers’ favorites lists. Potential customers browsing these lists will be drawn to your store by these displays.
Finally, offer several price points in your store. Price your crafts fairly, of course, and don’t undersell–but don’t price every potential buyer out of your market. After all, the customer who can only afford a low-end headband may, if she likes your work, return for that hand-woven bedspread when she gets a raise. Never underestimate the power of a wish list and payday!
Even if you’re running your Etsy shop late at night, uploading files in your basement, long after everyone has gone to bed, you’re not alone. Take advantage of Etsy’s communities, forums, and blogs. There you’ll make friends, trade advice, and learn from others’ successes and mistakes. It’s highly unusual for a new entrepreneur to be an overnight success; take advantage of every opportunity you get to learn how to make your money making ideas better. Don’t limit yourself to Etsy promotions, either. Write a craft or sales blog, link to others with similar interests, and trade “blog tours” with your colleagues. If you’re active on crafting (or other) forums, include your blog or Etsy store address in your signature, when permitted, as a form of quiet marketing.
Your most valuable connections? Your customers. Nurture your relationship with your customers by providing quick, courteous customer service. Let buyers know what to expect by putting together a clear store policy, describing in detail how you will handle payment, shipping returns, damaged items and other transaction questions. Take the time to send e-mails describing your shipping process and other important information whenever you make a sale. Ship items carefully and appropriately, with packaging that includes your store’s name and logo, and which reflects your brand (a “green” merchant, for example, should not going to use non-recyclable plastic). Speaking of shipping, it’s crucial to remember that 25% of Etsy customers come from outside the U.S. Don’t be fazed by the idea of international shipping; you can do it, and gain customers in the bargain!
Finally, it’s important to remember that your Etsy store is a business, and to treat it as such. Contrary to what late-night infomercials and talk show guests wish you to believe, it’s not possible to earn a living working a couple of hours per day. Can you make money on Etsy? Even enough to quit your day job? Sure. Many do the former, and some have achieved the latter. However, in order to accomplish that level of success, you need to devote many long days not only towards your crafts and art, but filling orders, perfecting your shop, and making sales connections. Never forget that you’re running a business. Look for opportunities to make a sale: advertise on your vehicle, pass out business cards, donate items (labeled with your shop URL) to charity events and fundraisers, speak or write about online commerce–remember your brand, and get creative! The more professional you are, the more likely it is that you’ll succeed.
Selling on Etsy can be whatever you want it to be: a hobby, a second income, even the beginning of a new career. Whichever level of involvement you choose, you’ll enjoy the rewards of creating and selling what you love.