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Selling on Etsy

Author:  on 
August 17, 2013

TAFA search page results on Etsy with team badge

There are three options for those who want to sell online:

  1. Open a merchant account and have a shopping cart on a personally hosted site.
  2. Use Pay Pal to install payment buttons on products on our site.
  3. Use a marketplace to host our items. (eBay, Etsy, Big Cartel, and others).

Of these, hosting your own shopping cart on your own site would be ideal. However, self-hosting invites barriers which can overwhelm some people: monthly fees, SSL certificates for secure shopping, and inventory management all demand a certain amount of technical ability, financial investment and discipline. Joining a marketplace might make more sense for smaller shops or for those who want to use the inbuilt tools offered on that site.

Half of our TAFA Members have shops on Etsy and I have encouraged newbie sellers to use Etsy as I believe that it offers the best tools for the most affordable price. As with anything else, there are positives and negatives about being there. Let’s take a look at some of the things to consider.

Etsy’s Reach

Etsy was launched in 2005, making it eight years old. In it’s first years, it truly felt like a handmade community. It positioned itself as the top handmade market online and it truly had an impressive impact on the Do-It-Yourself and Handmade movement. The mission has become a bit vague nowadays:

[quote author=”Etsy Mission” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]

Etsy is the marketplace we make together.

Our mission is to re-imagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world.

  • We are a mindful, transparent, and humane business.
  • We plan and build for the long term.
  • We value craftsmanship in all we make.
  • We believe fun should be part of everything we do.
  • We keep it real, always.

[/quote]

Their team has grown in size and if you take a look at their pics, you will see a young, fun group: Etsy’s Team. For a long time, that youthful zeal translated into experimental strategies for the site and ignored important seller tools. New leadership has brought maturity and sellers now have access to information and data that can help improve strategies and decision-making. Etsy has always avoided direct marketing but instead, chose to focus on building community and growing its reach through word-of-mouth. Overall sales are robust. Here is their June 2013 report:

[quote author=”Etsy Blog” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]

We’ve got your summer reading list right here! Check out the monthly stats for a dose of knowledge, such as a 51.5% increase from June 2012′s to June 2013′s total of dollars of goods sold. (At the same time, items sold were up 38.1% year over year.)

The stats:

  • $93.8 million of goods  (after refunds and cancellations) were sold by our community in June, 8.8% lower than May’s $102.9
  • That represents 4,074,923 items sold for the month, 7.2% lower than May’s 4,391,101
  • 2,613,652 items were listed in the month, 8.5% lower than May’s 2,855,505
  • 922,443 new members joined the Etsy community in the month, 5.6% lower than May’s 977,061
  • 1.62 billion page views were recorded on the site in June*

[/quote]

Bloggers, magazines, trend setters, shop owners, and designers are among some of its audience that come searching for new, fresh products.  Recently, Etsy has started a Wholesale program and has partnered with Kiva to provide loans for its sellers. Etsy’s reach goes beyond selling products, it aims to change how the world creates and sells. Without a doubt, Etsy has played a key role in defining craftivism and the Handmade Revolution.

Etsy Headquarters via Apartment Therapy

Etsy Headquarters via Apartment Therapy

Cost

Etsy’s fees have not changed much since they launched and are affordable. They charge $.20 per listing for a four month viewing and another 3.5% of the item’s price when it sells. (Details here.) Add in another 3 or 4% for PayPal fees and you can estimate that a sold product will have 7.5% deducted in cost. I pay PayPal $30/month for TAFA’s shopping cart, plus other yearly hosting and SSL fees, so when comparing, take those fees into consideration. If listing fees on Etsy went over $30/month, one could start evaluating which option has more advantages and whether paying Etsy for the extra fees is worth it. Most of our members probably fall way under the $30/month fees.

Selling Tools

Sellers on Etsy have several great tools at their disposal:

  • Easy listing process. When they first started, you had to click through four pages to list an item and they did not have a copy function. Now it’s all on one page and similar items can be copied which makes the process much faster.
  • Etsy Mini: a great widget, this code can be used on blogs and websites. There are two sizes, thumbnail and gallery, and two choices of what can be shown, your own products or your favorites. The products are live images that link to the listing, a great way to bring in traffic from other sites. Here is the one we use for our TAFA Team:

  • Traffic data: Etsy provides good stats on which shop items are being seen, where the traffic came from, who is adding them to their favorites, etc.
  • About Page: Etsy recently added an About page where the seller can tell their story in a visual way and have outbound links to their other sites. Until then, only internal links were live on Etsy and having this has really helped sellers with their presentation and with bringing their audience from Etsy on over to their sites.
  • Tutorials: Etsy has always prioritized offering its sellers good advice in how to improve shop appearance, product development, customer service, etc. They offer guidance through their blogs and videos. In the early days, the forum was a vibrant place of discussion and many sellers also took leadership roles, helping less knowledgeable sellers with technical advice and feedback. Unfortunately, the forum has been greatly reduced and no longer has the sense of camaraderie it once had. Still, a novice shop owner has access to great resources through Etsy.

Etsy Labs

Community

Etsy’s emphasis on community has been largely successful. They state:

[quote author=”Etsy Community Page” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]

Etsy is more than a marketplace: we’re a community of artists, creators, collectors, thinkers and doers.

Join a teamshare ideasattend an event in your areajoin a streaming workshop or watch an archived one.

[/quote]

We’ve mentioned their blog and tutorials, but Etsy also has hands on interaction with sellers and buyers through workshops at their base in Brooklyn and through live events around the world. Although most of their efforts have focused on the United States, they have recently been doing a better job of doing more in Europe and of making the site more user friendly for the non-English speaking audience.

Teams

About three years ago, they launched the concept of “Teams”. Any group of people can form a “Team” around a concept or topic. Teams have formed based on common interests such as location, language, type of product, technique, and so on. TAFA has its TAFA Team. We have a private forum on Etsy, a Team blog, the team mini (shown above), and a TAFA destination on Etsy.  Being able to organize like this has huge potential. Our members use TAFA Team as a tag and if you type TAFA into Etsy’s search, you will see our member’s products. And, it’s especially nice that you can add keywords to narrow down the search. We currently have around 4,000 items using our TAFA tag. Here is an example of a search result using TAFA Pillow:

Search results for TAFA Pillow.

Search results for TAFA Pillow.

The potential is enormous, especially if all of the Team members promote these links on their sites and blogs.

Treasuries

Etsy’s front page showcases a treasury or curated selection of items that somebody put together. Anyone with an Etsy account, both sellers and buyers, can create a Treasury. This has been one of Etsy’s big successes in terms of creating something that its users truly enjoy. The rules are basically that you cannot promote your own items in the treasury nor more than one of any one seller. It’s altruistic, encouraging the community to explore, share what they like and network with each other. Of the thousands that are created, Etsy staff picks which ones make it to the front page, a goal that many treasury makers desire.

Many of our TAFA members enjoy putting treasuries together, sometimes featuring only TAFA members, other times mixing them with another team they might belong to. Once again, a TAFA search on the treasury page pulls up those treasuries using our keyword: TAFA Treasuries.

TAFA Treasuries

TAFA Treasuries

 

Some teams do a great job of organizing weekly themes which their members might contribute to. The idea is to share the treasury elsewhere, on blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. and bring an audience to further explore those represented.

Teams and Treasuries are just a couple of ways the Etsy community organizes and expresses itself. An effective team will develop a loyal following which will benefit all of its members.

Appearance

Having all shops look alike using a minimalist design is one of the reasons I think Etsy has succeeded in retaining its appeal. On eBay, shops have control over their fonts, their layouts and the result can be truly horrific. The Etsy community invests a great deal into photography and the layout allows photos to pop. It’s attractive, easy on the eyes, and makes for an enjoyable experience. One problem has been its automatic cropping of photos to fit into its thumbnail sizes, which is compounded by having two different dimensions. Gallery images are slightly wider than thumbnail images. The solution is to crop images to a square, leaving room for cropping on the borders. Looking at a page of dolls with all of their heads cut off can give one the shivers!

If one chooses to self-host a shopping cart, consideration of the design needs to be taken into account. Several TAFA members use software that seems outdated in this photo-hungry age of Pinterest trend-setters. Product images are tiny and hard to see, fonts and links might be unattractive, and the navigation clunky. Since Pinterest went through the roof, I have seen other sites adopt similar layouts, including some of Etsy’s search pages, Google+, Flickr, and many others. Interestingly enough, Pinterest has responsive design while Etsy still does not. This means that the site will rearrange itself depending of the size of viewing screen. Responsive sites use building blocks, called grid design, which will move around when viewed on a cell phone screen, notebook or desktop. A responsive design eliminates the need to scroll across the screen to see all of the content. Instead, one only needs to scroll down.

Competition

Etsy has grown immensely in the last three years, which means, “good news and bad news”…  Here is a report from Etsy’s CEO, Chad Dickerson, from earlier this year:

[quote author=”Chad” image=”” w=”” h=”” image_align=””]

It’s been two years since I stepped into the CEO role, and we’ve made a lot of positive progress. At the beginning of July 2011, Etsy was on the verge of passing 10 million members, but not quite there. 95% of payments on Etsy were processed by a third party, and Etsy was an English-only website with no mobile apps.

Fast forward to today, and Etsy has surpassed 30 million members. We’ve made Etsy available in nine languages, with payments capabilities across the world. In each of the past holiday seasons, the year-over-year growth rate of sales in the community has accelerated, bringing opportunity to more people than ever before. The company has become an award-winning leader in the B Corp movement, setting an example for other companies that you can both prioritize social good and run a strong business.

The 900,000 independent businesses on Etsy are selling their unique goods to millions of people around the world, and the sense of connection comes from real human interaction, not slick marketing. There are over 8,000 self-organized Etsy Teams supporting and empowering each other. One of the beautiful things about Etsy is that as we grow, we are only a larger collection of many smaller things, an umbrella for many communities. Thank you for being part of what we are creating together!

[/quote]

Good news? Etsy has a thriving purchasing audience.

Bad news? Competition is fierce.

I opened my shop on Etsy a year after it launched and did well there until I launched TAFA in 2010. I still have a nice shop stocked with almost 100 items, but as I have zero time to promote it, very little action happens there. This is the thing that most people who open a shop on Etsy don’t realize: You have to work it in order to make it work! People think that they can list a few items and that the sales will come pouring in. A shop on Etsy needs the same dedication and promotion as a stand-alone site would demand. Sure, we can hope for internal traffic to find us, but the bigger it gets, the more unlikely it is that you will be “found”.

CraftCount keeps a tally on Etsy’s top sellers and the results are quite telling:

craft count aug 2013

My shop actually made the top sellers list in the vintage category a couple of years ago. I’ve had 1,651 sales there since I opened (meaning that I’ve probably taken over 4,000 photos as I try to have 3-5 photos per item!), but this year, my total sales have been around $1,200 or $150/month, not quite enough to live on, eh? And, I normally have at least one item featured in a treasury every week. Again, I have not been promoting my shop, so actually, this is better than one could expect.

Etsy sellers are allowed to sell Handmade (meaning you made it yourself), Vintage (over 20 years old) and Supplies (almost anything under the sun). The top sellers are all Supplies and they far surpass the other categories. Granted, this is a count for number of items, not total value of goods sold. CLBeads has over 6,000 items listed and a huge number of them are under $5. They opened their shop exactly five years ago, so let’s assume they are selling 48,674.40 a year with an average of $5 per sale. That’s $243,372 income a year. Sounds good, but take away the fees, paying for staff (there is no way this is a two person operation!), warehousing costs (no, inventory will NOT fit in that cupboard in the living room) and it’s a decent income for several hard working people.

Etsy launched with the goal of giving artists a marketplace and access to visibility. Supplies and vintage were allowed in because they were seen as complimentary to the lifestyle of makers who re-use and are eco-conscious. Now the marketplace is so big that it is impossible to control what is sold. They do have an Etsy police, out looking for violators and shutting down shops, but I see stuff all the time that is listed that I know is newly made and not by whomever was selling it. And, by having both Supplies and Vintage so broadly defined, factory made products far outnumber the handmade ones. Anything found at a thrift store might be pawned off as vintage without any kind of authentication:

etsy shoes

etsy baseball caps

Do these look older than twenty years to you? Hard to know, but I believe that Etsy made a huge mistake in not having some kind of a vetting process to weed out sellers who bring in junk. Sure, one person’s trash, another person’s riches, but still….  Etsy could have been truly amazing! It still is, in many ways, but not as a purveyor of all things handmade.

Downers

There are two specific things that really bother me about Etsy:

1. We are not allowed to sell handmade items that are made by somebody else (unless they are vintage). In the past, I bought wholesale from fair traders and re-sold their products on eBay. There are many small scale artisan groups who do not have access to technology, to banking systems, or to reliable postal systems, so people like me could really help them access larger markets. Or, one of our TAFA members wanted to represent a group of disabled quilters and she was turned down by Etsy’s staff. Etsy should be at the forefront of making these possibilities happen for all of the disenfranchised groups and people who truly depend on selling their handicrafts and art for their livelihood. Etsy has long expected each seller to do everything: make (or buy), photograph, list, market, sell, ship, and do customer service. It’s neither a realistic nor fair model. I think that a big reason has been lack of maturity and exposure of Etsy staff. Most are quite young, have exposure only to their local indie markets and don’t have the knowledge or understanding to identify products that would benefit or damage the larger vision.

2. Etsy can close your shop at any time. This is a major fear inducer. You do NOT own your shop on Etsy, Etsy does. Three of our member’s shops have been closed down for crazy reasons. No warning, just “prove who you are” after the fact. This is scary business as listing 100 items is a significant investment of time and energy. I highly recommend downloading a copy of your inventory on Etsy on a regular basis.

Conclusion

Etsy is not the perfect solution for evverybody, but it is an excellent option for those of us who need a shopping cart or who want a presence there. I have seen many Etsy sellers succeed and move out of Etsy to set up their own shopping carts. Many retain a presence on Etsy and sell their seconds or sale items there as a hook to bring its audience on over to their self-hosted sites. There are other options out there, too, and quite a few of our members have shops in several places. I find it hard to manage more than one, but I do think that if you have the capacity to spread things around, it’s a good way to ensure that when things are slow in one place, they might be better in another. Each person who uses Etsy needs to decide how to engage with its community. It’s a great place to learn new skills, to make new friends and to mature as a seller, but it can also be extremely time-consuming.

Half of our members have shops on Etsy and I believe that we can become a major destination there. Our members are vetted in based on their professionalism and while many of us still have much to learn, most have top quality textiles and fiber art along with excellent supplies and vintage items. If TAFA can become known for the best of these on Etsy, we will save a lot of people quite a bit of aggravation from searching through the junk and baubles that now flood the site.

YOU can help us get there! Send your people to Shop TAFA on Etsy!

Type TAFA into Etsy’s search bar or here is the link:

https://www.etsy.com/search?q=tafa&view_type=gallery&ship_to=ZZ

flipcard

What about you? 

Do you have a shop on Etsy? Anything we missed or that you would like to share? How has your experience been, both as a shopper or seller?

Feel free to leave your shop links as a comment so that we can take a look at them! Whatever you decide to do, we live in an amazing time with many choices where we can access the whole world. But, it’s so much easier when we have a supportive community to help reach that audience that we need. Our motto here on TAFA:

Together we can do great things!

About

I've been working with the arts and craft world in many capacities since 1988. Handmade textiles have been my core focus since launching TAFA in 2010.

My hope is to contribute to the economic development potential the arts bring to the world, along with the intrinsic beauty shown in the work. May the world become a friendlier place for artists and nature!

Arrived in Kentucky after a childhood in Brazil, college in Minnesota and 20 years in Chicago. It's been a ride!

69 Comments

on Selling on Etsy.
  1. Amy Grafstrom
    |

    http://www.everythingetsy.com/2013/10/new-etsy-guidelines/?utm_source=MadMimi&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Etsy+News+Alert+%7C+Exciting+Scary+New+Etsy+Guidelines&utm_campaign=20131002_m117411450_Thoughts+on+the+New+Etsy+Guidelines&utm_term=Exciting+Scary+New+Etsy+Guidelines
    “The Takeaway
    So what can you do with this information? What does this mean to the average Etsy seller?

    We think it means opportunity to grow. We think it means security to invest in your brand. We think it means a new set of possibilities as to what you can make and how you can make it. Look closely, and you’ll see an exciting road ahead.”
    Yes there are concerns, but …. many people did not like us because we are not a 1 person operation, we are a collective and to some that made us wrong. I agree these moves will enable people to stay with Etsy even when they grow larger. I do not agree that they should allow drop shipping from another location. This IMO is a huge mistake that will change the face of things drastically. Barbara

  2. |

    Hi Rachel. I just read this post from you, and am sorry I didn’t read it before. I’ll start going back to add the tag TAFA to my items on Etsy. Many thanks for your tenacity and brilliance! Big thanks, Susan

  3. |

    There’s a lot I could say on this topic. I’ll try to limit myself. Some of it has been echoed above. I used to get worked up about the changes on Etsy but a while ago realized that Etsy will change and do whatever they decide to do, and although they may invite community feedback on new or planned features, they usually go their own way, so it’s kind of futile to get upset about it. On the one hand, I wish Etsy still served its original purpose, that only handmade by one maker goods were allowed there (it’s how things were or at least were supposed to be back when I joined in ’07). On the other hand, they are a business, and it clearly is more financially lucrative for them to open their doors wider. I don’t think the changes they’ve implemented in recent years/months had malicious intentions in any way. They just seem to be doing more of what pays more. Imagine if your small business had an opportunity to increase revenue by branching out beyond your initial goal/mission, wouldn’t you be at least tempted to do it?

    I’ve seen many shops close on Etsy, and I’ve seen some shops close, reopen, then close again. A lot of people have moved on to independent shopping carts on their own sites, a lot of businesses have grown — mostly business that can do production work (stamp out 100 screen-printed tshirts, print 1000 letterpress cards, make 2000 bars of soap, stuff like that). I still think that whatever your situation, it’s worth at least having a storefront on Etsy, just so you have a presence there and have a sample of your work there. No matter how big Etsy has ballooned, it still offers the kind of built-in traffic that you can’t get on your own site, and you just never know who might stumble across your work there, and what opportunities it may open up. This is really the main reason I keep a shop open there. Though my sales there in many months have been virtually non-existent. As Georgianne mentioned above, my sales were a lot better when my things were priced lower, i.e. severely under-priced. Like Georgianne, I’ve realized that it’s not sustainable for me to price my work any lower than it is now. (Like Georgianne, my physical ability to keep up with all the hand-work is at capacity, and I’ve definitely had health issues because of it.)

    The reality is that the average Etsy shopper has a limited budget and will look for bargains and comparison shop. The customer who can afford the middle-end or higher-end items simply can’t be bothered to sort through dozens of pages of junk. Who can blame them! Things are more democratic this way, when virtually anyone and everyone can set up shop, but I do long for a more juried approach. It’s one of the reasons I moved into doing higher end juried art/contemporary craft retail shows a couple of years ago. However, the shows have their own sad reality — they are incredibly expensive to do, physically exhausting, and the sales are in no way predictable or guaranteed.

    I would like to see a ‘curated’ TAFA shop. Instead of setting it up from scratch, perhaps one of the currently available retail platforms could be used. I want it to be clean looking, modern, and sleek, something that will attract a discerning audience. But it won’t go anywhere without a major marketing effort behind it and without clout. I would be a lot more enthusiastic about this type of sales venue than about directing people to Etsy search results or to Zazzle. As great as it is to see all sorts of wonderful stuff when you type in “tafa team’ on Etsy, it’s an extra effort to educate the potential buyer about it, and en extra effort for them to do it, and on every page, there’s an opportunity for them to leap off TAFA results and go shop non-TAFA stuff on Etsy.

    At the same time, I do still believe that it’s useful to have a presence on Etsy, if not for actual sales then for exposure. Plus, I do still believe in Etsy, partially because I have had a few great opportunities come my way because of it, partly because without my start on it 6 years ago, I probably wouldn’t be where I am now, and partly because of the connections with other shop owners I’ve built, and the amazing stuff that can still be found there (you just have to look longer and harder for it now).

    • |

      Our group has had great success with our coastal artisan market site, http://www.boardwalkartisans.com . It automatically organizes listings and creates a great shopping experience for our customer base. Artists can choose to link from etsy, but could easily change to Big Cartel or a similar site as the artists grows. It’s not difficult to set up or maintain. I’d be happy to help TAFA set up something similar. I’d love be able to include those TAFA members making beach/coastal pieces in our market as well.

      • |

        Hi, Beverly! I remember when you first started this and it looks great! I would definitely like to learn more about how you set this up and will contact you by email. Thanks so much!

  4. |

    Nothing is perfect.
    I firmly believe that in the years to come that it will be each of us crafters and artist sharing each others work
    to our fans, customers and followers that will make a difference and get a person and their work noticed by the right people.
    Just as we should work at multilevel incomes we should work at multiplaces of sale.

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/SouthernlyHaute

    https://squareup.com/market/southernly-haute-handbags

    http://southernlyhaute.com/

    Ms. Scarlet Faith

  5. Priscilla Stultz
    |

    A very interesting article. I have had a shop on Etsy for several years, but can’t say I have spent a lot of time prompting it. But, I have had some success selling recycled denim vest using a patriotic theme. I think the customers find me through goggle.

  6. |

    I have not yet read the Wired article but the dailydot article got me to thinking about the new Etsy Wholesale. We applied and were contacted to give more information on what we could provide. We have done wholesale for years with no problem. It just felt wrong the things Etsy was asking. One of the most important points we make to a new wholesale inquiry is that everything we do is handmade. Each piece of fabric is unique even if some are similar. We can’t even show our customers the exact fabric they will get because we must search and purchase the textiles from the tribal women to make their order. Sometimes we need to come back and say “sorry we cannot locate any raspberry hemp batik right now.” Having to produce a spreadsheet with sku’s and detailed info on quantities for each as per Etsy’s request just did not work. My point being if this is what Etsy wants for wholesale hmmmm, handmade? Yes I suppose there are some sellers who use xyz designer cotton prints that they can buy by the bolt or other things, but I really felt they were pushing many sellers out of the equation. That’s fine by me in the long run. We get daily request for wholesale information and we can continue to do it on our terms.

    • |

      Yes, that would pretty much push anybody working with recycled materials out as well. But, this is still new to them and I’m sure they will adjust things as they go along.

  7. |

    http://www.dailydot.com/business/etsy-brave-new-economy-crumbling/
    I thought this post was an interesting addition to our discussion here. Many of the same points are being made. I doubt Etsy will ever result in a great deal of sales for me given the time I have available to devote to it. But it does make a convenient way to showcase some of my work to those who go to my website. And it is less expensive than the shopping cart that I had previously linked to my wordress site.

    • |

      Wow. That’s pretty depressing. The Etsy Goes Pro article on Wired was also quite insightful. Thanks, Pamela!

  8. Georgianne Holland
    |

    I have been fascinated by this post and comment thread on our Etsy forum! I can relate to both the excitement over Etsy (especially how I felt in the beginning when I first launched my shop there), as well as the frustration that has been expressed by many of you due to current experiences. In my work making one-of-a-kind and limited edition fiber home decor, I found early success, for which I am grateful. I have come to realize it was likely due to the fact that my initial items were improperly priced (meaning I was all but giving them away). My first collection of both pillows and wall art were under-priced based on my lack of self confidence. Perhaps you’ve been there: undervaluing the creative process in order to “compete” with others. As I built my collection and did the math required to truly understand my handmade fiber art business, I adjusted my prices as well as my expectations. I’d had enough success that I decided to open my own shopping cart website in addition to what I was doing on Etsy. http://www.NestleAndSoar.com

    In the past 18 months, my full time position as an artist, author and small businesswoman (actually, I am a medium sized woman) has made it difficult to attend to all that I should have in order to keep Etsy as a viable stream of income for me. I have some energy about changing that, which is why I’ve joined this team! I am certain that my charging a Fair and Appropriate price based on the actual costs of my handmade items (and selling only retail) has limited the potential of my small business. I am one woman who simply cannot make the kind of art I do in large quantities. Carpal tunnel syndrome! Should I only make art that seems to sell well for others? No, I believe that success comes from being true to myself instead of trying to copy others. I am slooowly building my reputation as a collectible fiber folk artist, so my prices reflect that. Perhaps someday, collectors will jump on my new designs and there will be a line out the door. I have a great imagination and a lot of ambition!

    So, I am echoing much of what I have read in this thread on our TAFA Etsy group! I feel very fortunate to be pursuing my dream of making a full-time, respectable living as a fiber folk artist! Am I there yet? No. I think a lot about making production art that would enable me to present a run of 250 like pieces to a broader audience and perhaps even wholesale. I certainly wish all of my websites had been more lucrative in the past 18 months. My accountant feels exactly the same way! Please don’t think of my input here as a complaint. I guess I am adding to this discussion today because hearing everyone’s thoughts on the current state of doing business on Etsy helps me feel a bit better! Perhaps I’m not the only one who has seen traffic on my Etsy shop grind to a halt since last Fall? We are all working very hard, trying to attend to ALL of the tasks required when one runs an online enterprise. Sometimes it is a thrill, and sometimes it is a chore, and every day I am grateful to be able to connect with great people like you, and customers from around the world, because I am thrilled to be an independent online creative!

    Best wishes in your continued striving, creativity and awesome lives,
    Georgianne

    • |

      I just love your positive energy, Georgianne! You have worked so hard to make your presence professional, clear and customer friendly. All of these systems that you have set up are still new and they will pay off, I am sure of it.

      My biggest concern with you, especially now that you are mentioning carpal tunnel, is in your physical capacity to deliver when things do take off. There comes a time, I think, when it’s OK to step back and have the production, at least of some items, done by other people. Maybe you will eventually take on a couple of apprentices and keep the designer role. It doesn’t sound like you are there yet and some people want to keep things very small, but it’s something to consider, especially when thinking of doing wholesale.

      I also think that we should look at the resources we have as a larger group and see how members can partner with each other for certain things, from supplies to production. Perhaps one of our fair trade members could work with you on delivering certain products. Or, perhaps you have local employment efforts that could be tapped into. It’s something to think about.

  9. Debbie Maclin
    |

    I don’t make a fortune on etsy, but I’m basically pleased. I’m not sure what drives sales. I have customers that buy from me on a regular basis and, then, customers who buy once and never return. From looking at the etsy statistics, most of my sales come directly from google searches. It’s taken awhile to get here. I started my store three years ago with fabric I brought back from Guatemala in two suitcases. I’ve always been able to con family and friends into going to Guatemala with me and bringing back bags, and now I’m going to ship back for the first time.

    I don’t like it that the Chinese companies are not selling “hand made” on etsy, but if the customers weren’t buying, then they wouldn’t be selling.

    I’ve just started my own website http://www.spanglishfabrics.com because I want to add bags, table runners, and other items from Guatemala that I can’t sell on etsy (I obey the rules). We’ll see how it does. This site is basically so I can continue to buy from the artists in Guatemala that I want to help. I’m using volusion for the site and the fees are much lower than etsy fees, but the learning curve on setting it up has been much steeper also.

    Anyway, thanks for the e-mail leading me to this forum. I’ve been checking out etsy stores from this group and they are wonderful. Debbie

    • |

      Yes, Debbie…. It’s really unfortunate that Etsy does not recognize people like you who are helping those who don’t have access to the internet or other skills needed to sell on Etsy. We can sell plastic, but not a handmade textile from Guatemala……….. Oh, well… Good luck on the new site! I know how hard it is to set these things up. Between the two, you should do very well!

      • |

        Actually Debbie and Rachel, you can set up a coop for selling in this situation. You are part of a team, you are marketing, customer service, shipping, maybe a bit or a design consultant, I have been seeing more of these types of shops on Etsy. It is legal.

        • |

          Two of our fair trade members were shut down by Etsy even though they did much of the design work… So, it’s risky…

          • |

            Yes you can set a sort of cooperative but I am not sure if the people manufacture in another country. ou can do it Read the new rules carefully!

  10. Debra Dorgan
    |

    Very interesting read. Those statistics of supply shops’ sales are amazing hey. Good for them, for knowing what the market wants. With regard to some of the handmade shops, the word ‘handmade’ can have some different meanings to many, as mentioned already.
    I look forward to the group here being private too. It needs to be. Way more professional of us, ha. See you over a the brainstorming forum soon. Thanks for sending us reminders and links Rachel. It really helps, initially. Love Debra

  11. |

    I do think views have meaning. I analyze our views from the standpoint of averages. So I calculate how many views our shop gets before 1 sale. For a while our average was running about 700 -750 views to 1 sale. Currently this is where we are
    last 7 days 1 sale /497 views
    last 30 days 1 sale/513 views
    This year 1 sale/629 views
    This really helps me keep things in perspective. I know my work on SEO is paying off as this view number/sales is dropping so I feel it means we are bringing more qualified traffic which is enabling us to convert more views into sales. It also helps me when like right now I look and see 899 views today with only 1 sale. I know the next sale is very close because of these averages. I also know I need to drive a lot of traffic to have those days where we have many sales in 1 day. There is a lot of knowledge as well as comfort in understanding your numbers. It really can help give you direction.
    Rachel I don’t know that we will ever leave Etsy (I know it took forever for you to convince us to even get on there) There will always be some who are more comfortable shopping on a site like that versus a stand alone website. Barbara

  12. Delight Worthyn
    |

    I have been on the front page a couple of times and I got soooo many views and hearts but not sales(I sold one small item)This was proof to me that the front page is not all it is cracked up to be.I have experienced, however,the Etsy emails and this really great for sales.Getting noticed and thus included in an email is mostly politics.I just don’t fret about it anymore.For me it is TOTALLY about Google.

  13. Bozena Wojtaszek
    |

    Oh my, how good it was to finally arrive here 🙂

    Reading Rayela’s article and all your comments really help to not feel alone and hopeless.
    I love Etsy, and would love it even more if I make some sales. I was working hard on my shop and it looked that I know what to do. Then it all stopped. Just when I made my 100th sale and hoped for some “roll”. It was last November. I’m still working hard but the results are rather poor.

    Now you all made me to rethink it once more. And to put even more efforts but in better directions. Thanks for this!

    • |

      Yes! I also think that last November was a turning point! Interesting!

      • |

        Hmmm…. Why would that be? Did something change big time then? I really don’t remember.

        • Delight Worthyn
          |

          Same here.It must be something for people to have had the same experience.

          • |

            I have no idea.
            I do my best to re question everything here in order to make things better. Still there are things that are above my understanding. What do people do in order to have 1500-3500 views per item?
            Sometime I feel I really don’t understand anything!

            • |

              Well, views don’t mean all that much in my book. It probably just means that that item has been renewed over and over and hasn’t sold. I’ve always been kind of annoyed that the view number doesn’t go back to zero when you renew because to me, it makes the item look stale.

            • |

              For example, my Garden Greens has had over 3,000 views, been in a gazillion treasuries, and hasn’t sold, even when I had a 50% off shop sale!

            • |

              I know but it has been there for a long time. I am talking about people who have all their shop with such numbers. 3500 views 355 treasuries. Am I dreaming?

              I make at least a treasury a day and was sure i appear in a big number of treasuries until I discovered this. Do you think they pay someone to promote their shops? I m not comlaining just wondering what is my fair chance to win in this game.

            • |

              Hmmm…. I guess I don’t understand what you mean. You mean that their treasuries get these views? Can you point to an example?

              See, I don’t think that views necessarily translate into sales. There is a lot of “promotional” games on Etsy where people will promote each other’s stuff within the site and it doesn’t necessarily get seen by the people who actually buy stuff. I believe that we need to figure out how to get design blogs (with huge followings) and Museum Shops (who might want to buy to re-sell) and interior decorators, etc. to find us. They are the ones who would really use us as a resource and who would bring true business.

            • |

              I might be mistaken but the way I see it is that if you have got 3000 view and 250 hearts, the hearts get to be seen by thousands of people wondering in the circles. If these numbers of different people see you your chances to sell are getting bigger. I was told once by a specialist of internet sales that it is all a question of visibility.
              Have a look at what I have found today on facebook. In Hebrew we say that these are problems of the rich:

              sure wish etsy charged a flat rate at the end of the month and not a percentage. Do you think it’s fair for the ones who have to pay $400
              at the end of the month? Do you think those who make more sales should
              have some say about what goes on?

              Tasha BelleButters Burton I also know some people who pay way more than the 400 to Etsy. I’ve heard folks with Etsy bills in the thousands and when they didn’t pay Etsy right away, Etsy suspended their accounts. At least with BigCartel, they won’t suspend my account, but they will kick me down to the free service, which is limited, but my shop won’t entirely get blocked.

              Yokoo Gibraan I think I also did a lot for etsy too, as much as they promoted me, I promoted them. Jessica Lynch

              Yokoo Gibraan In the winter months my bill is on average $1500 to etsy Tasha BelleButters Burton
              ל
              Tasha BelleButters Burton Girl… that 20 bucks from BigCartel… just saying lol

              It is too late tonight but tomorrow I will look for the shops I have found and show you.
              Thanks for brainstorming with me.

              Good night

            • |

              Yes, I think that some people invest a lot of time and energy in getting more hearts, etc. But, again, I really feel that if that same time and energy is invested on the outside, there is more potential for finding the shoppers. Many of the promoters are other shop owners who might not necessarily buy.

              And, as for the people who are paying that much in fees, I think then it is time for them to “graduate” and set up their own shopping carts on their own sites. That was what I questioned in the post, that there comes a time when using Etsy might cut too far into the profit margin. But, leaving Etsy might also be risky, so it might be OK to pay those fees. Each person has to decide that for themselves. If they have succeeded in building repeat customers on Etsy, they might lose them when they leave. Or, they could reduce their inventory on Etsy and just have their best sellers or seconds there and then have that shop send people over to their new site.

            • |

              Do you think we could open our own shop of TAFA?
              And then if we all work promoting one shop it could be more effective.
              Or am I dreaming?

            • |

              For now you are dreaming… 🙂 Several other members have asked me to do this, but we would need staff to manage it. Once you start dealing with purchases like that, you need to have customer service in place and all kinds of things. TAFA brings in very little money for me and I still have to pay off the main website and I could really use an assistant, but if I can’t get a salary, how can I involve someone else? The other problem is that there is not enough member involvement in the things that we do have. There is a core group that is active, but the majority does not even make use of the opportunities that are there for them for free. So, I don’t think we are ready to think about this yet. If we can get our Etsy team to become vibrant, active, successful and have a strong bond, that could be the foundation for something like that down the road. I can’t do everything myself and I need to focus on what is good for ALL of the members, not just the ones who have Etsy shops.

              I did set up the Classified Ads page to kind of test the idea of having a marketplace, but so far, very few people have used it: http://www.tafaforum.com/classifieds/ I think that could be very interesting if it became a destination and from there we could look at having something else.

  14. |

    Being an artist marketing is my worst skill.
    I have had a shop on Etsy for about 6 months.
    No sells as of yet.
    In honesty I am not to the promotion stage. I am focusing on creating inventory.
    Handbags & carrying cases for things as small as Eye glasses to I-Pads and Lap tops.
    I use the Square for purchases on the go and they have a free market for listings.
    You do not pay until something sells.
    I will be marketing both sites to see which takes off faster.
    Will try to let you guys know if anyone is interested,
    Good luck to everyone on Etsy is is about the best we crafters and artist have right now.
    Just as with any business…. You get out of it what you put into it.

  15. |

    In response to Barbara, there’s “crafts” which as you said are what you do with your kids. Then there’s ‘craft’ which is handmade wonderful things that are also art. Fine handmade furniture is craft. Textiles is craft. Glassblowing is craft. It’s both ART and CRAFT. A fine magazine to read to find CRAFT is American Craft.

    I agree definitely about the people complaining. I am active in teams and treasuries because I find the teams can be a good resource such as those dedicated to SEO. But I do get weary of those sellers on teams who complain and whine all the time
    lin

  16. |

    A few comments. We love Etsy we also love our website. I will admit Etsy gets more attention from us because it gets more attention. It is easier to manage because so much is done for you. We spent months looking at website platforms, made a decision and later realized missing components that we could not see before signing up. We do not make treasuries yet are featured in quite a few. I don’t believe the time spent gives enough return for the maker for me to spend time on that. I work social media, Facebook, pinterest, Wanelo, indulgy, svpply, tumblr this is a great venue for the arts in my opinion. Very visual with tons of artists using the site, so IMO more of our type of crowd. I don’t change tags for holidays, don’t normally run any sales. In general I find a lot of people in the Etsy general forum (not Tafas) are negative, spend more time complaining than working their shop. You don’t normally see the big sellers there as they are working. We don’t work teams as I often find they want us to promote other sellers items that are not our cup of tea. We get a lot of followers I believe because we stick to a certain type of style when favoriting others items. Target marketing is key IMO. We are about colors, ethnic textiles, tribal bohemian, individuality, culture which in turn goes along with travel. ethical fashion, but we don’t preach. I work hard at our Facebook presence to keep it colorful, fun and interesting. Not just buy our products. Occasional promoted posts has gained us + 6800 FB followers. We send traffic to both our website and our Etsy shop depending on where the product is. Etsy is great, but I think you have to look at your business as a whole and analyze who you are, who you want to be and stick with it both with your products and your marketing. Promoting your Etsy shop on Pinterest is great, but joining a team where you must pin others items to your pinterest can really dilute your impact. If I see a cool item on someones Pinterest but then I seen 30 more completely different types, styles I will not follow them. I tried the Wanelo and Pinterest teams 🙁 I have since deleted all the “stuff” I pinned from those teams that did not match our aesthetic.
    Small note, I do not like when Etsy is referred to as a “Craft” site. Maybe it’s just me, but crafts are something I do with my children (or did they are grown now). There is a lot of wrong advice out there. My suggestions is don’t listen to everyone. Sorry for rambling 😀 Barbara

    • |

      Thanks everybody for the good energy and support.

      I have to admit I love ETSY and I adore the stimulation it gives me to keep searching and learning. Usually I am not at all on the complaining side at all and even now I am fighting to make more jewelry and make changes according to what I think should be right for me.

      I will not be here today since I run a workshop and I am very excited about it. I will surely follow your notes tonight when I come back!
      Have a great day!

  17. |

    Hagar, I don’t get featured in a lot of treasuries every day so that’s not an issue. I try to make a treasury every couple of days especially since I am a team leader on 3 teams and that’s one of my responsibilities. I fall short on that, for certain. I am able to automate some of my tasks thanks to apps. I agree with Rachel about the huge sellers on Etsy–she’s right, there’s no way those are really handmade.

    As for all the misinformation that’s out there, as a team leader I see all kinds of rumors, all kinds of misinformation passed around as if it were gospel. Sometimes it’s a language barrier, sometimes it’s people wanting to be important, sometimes people just misunderstand. Treasuries ARE important. The # of faved items in your shop is important. THey all add to the algorithm by which your shop is ranked and shows up in search. If people would only read the information put out by Etsy, things would be better.

    As for the question of “to etsy or not?” it really depends on where you’re at. I use Etsy because right now it’s easiest and I can’t afford to run my own website. It’s a way for me to establish a niche, to practice what I need to do, and get my feet wet. I hope I’ll outgrow Etsy. But I’m not going to condemn it like some people do. Everyone starts somewhere, whether it’s at a small craft/vendor fair in a church hall or trunk sales or on Etsy or Ebay or whatever. I know someone who established a successful fashion business starting out in his garage. It took him 10 years.
    Does Etsy have flaws? Of course! Every venue has flaws. Every venue has issues. If you’re clear eyed about it, you can work around those flaws and keep things working for you and do the best you can. The point is to KEEP TRYING. That’s what I aim to do.

    • |

      Hmmm…. I wish we had a like button here! 🙂

  18. |

    A comment was made earlier by Hagar that there is no way that someone working alone can have more than 200 items in a shop, do treasuries, do work on tags and descriptions, list new items, AND make new items. I resent the implication that those of us who do have many items in our shop are not who we say we are. I am fortunate/unfortunate in the sense that I do not have a day job due to a disability. As such I do have the time to work several hours a day on my Etsy business (I’m also working on expanding outside of Etsy) as well as spend time working on new items. I have no one helping me — it’s all me. I’m way behind on a lot of things, like editing photos, reading material on marketing and SEO and such, but that’s because it IS just me doing it all.
    Otherwise, I found the article to be interesting but the comments are what intrigued me most. I wish you all success in your businesses and your craft

    • |

      Nice shop, Lin!

      Yes, 200 items is definitely achievable. I used to maintain over 200 items in my shop and another one that I manage has over 200 items: https://www.etsy.com/shop/AfghanTribalArts. I’ve taken all the photos there, too. But, I think that if you look at the top sellers on Etsy (the CraftCount graphic above), there is no way that the top supply shops are one person operations. Of course, it’s a lot easier to maintain a shop that has repeat items and you just renew things when they sell, but not if they are all one of a kind and each needs their own photos.

      If you look at the top handmade sellers, beanforest is churning out pins, a super fast process that can be mass produced, Nora Jane is selling rubber stamps that she designed but that are commercially made, Zen Threads is selling silk-screened t-shirts, and so on. All the power to them! I’m all for small businesses succeeding, but none of these are labor intensive handmade items. It will always be harder to sell original work unless one has already established a faithful following. The point, I think, is that Etsy started out as a voice for the handmade and continues to do so in many ways, but the marketplace no longer reflects that commitment. They should just admit that they can no longer control it and just let it go wherever it will. Even if it became a free-for-all like eBay is, if the search engine is good and navigation takes people to where they want to go, then we can all still sell well there. Of course, I would rather it did not become more “commercial” than it already is, but it really doesn’t matter. We still have to promote outside of site and it continues to offer an affordable and attractive shopping cart.

    • |

      I surely did not mean to offend anybody but I have a question for you: Do you also make 4-6 treasuries a day and reply to the numerous people who feature you in a treasury? Do you have time to edit your tags once a month so that they correspond to all the USA holidays of the month?
      I am sure you don’t.
      These are the shops with well over 1000 sales.

      What intrigues me even more is that all the shops I checked use mostly singular tags (as opposed to what we were asked to do and make 4-6 treasuries. We had a post few months ago from Catherine Bayar quoting ETSY workshop in Istanbul. She said that ETSY admines claimed treasuries are no longer important. Only social media works. Who cam explain all these contradictions to me? We have been spending days and nights changing our tags. So why are the successful shops are those who do not play the same game?

      Yes, I am frustrated! And sorry if I offended you in any way. I also do all the work myself.

      • |

        Hagar, I don’t think it is productive to compare what each person does. There are many different strategies and any one of them can be a total time sucker. Each person needs to decide where they want to focus their time and energy and I can bet that any one of us will agree that there is not enough time in the day to even begin to do all of the things we would like to do.

        That’s why having an organized Team can be extremely effective. People have different talents and interests and if each person does a little bit, hopefully it all directs traffic to where it benefits the whole group.

        There are a lot of interesting ideas and feedback in these comments and I think that we can break them down and explore each strategy or tip and see how we can learn from them. We can do a lot more of that on our forum. But, for the comments here, I think it is really interesting to learn more about what people are thinking about in general and what specifically does or does not work for them.

        • |

          I see exactly what you mean Rachel and I do agree that working together is always a power. By the way i was working with friends here and in the States while doing my search. We all learned a great deal!

          Nevertheless my discoveries were like a slap. What can I tell you?
          You know me for a long time and I am a very positive type of person but this nearly broke my will power.
          I am working twice as much now trying to correct and add items to my shop but sometimes it feels useless.

          I am willing to do any work together in order to find out what is right for us.
          But now I am going to sleep since I have a very challenging day tomorrow.
          Good night from the Judea mountains.

          • |

            Sweet dreams, Hagar! Don’t let these things get you down. The internet is always changing and it really IS overwhelming to keep up with things, but we can help each other. Dream of some good things tonight and wake up refreshed!

            We really need to see all of this as an opportunity, not as a barrier. We look, investigate, try to figure things out and then need to be flexible, bending to both change and our abilities. I have been doing this for a long time now and still learn something new every day. I figure it gives my brain some good exercise! 🙂

  19. |

    Delight’s comment about being found through Google searches just reinforces for me that a seller should really focus on what happens outside of Etsy, not the competition inside. There is plenty of competition from other marketplaces and independent sites, but I think that one of the big challenges small self-hosted sites have is in establishing buyer confidence. Because Etsy offers some security through conflict resolution and feedback, a bad seller can also suffer from poor customer service or deception. On a small, unsupervised site, buyers might be more wary to purchase something unless they have already established a relationship with the seller through their blog, social media sites, etc.

    The same tactics for being found on the internet should be used everywhere and I see many of our member websites which will have galleries of images with no description, no tags, no words that could be picked up by search engines. So, all of those sites have less of a chance of being found than those which use key words and text to describe a product.

    • Delight Worthyn
      |

      yes,always,without fail fill in that ‘alternative text’ area.Visitors won’t see it but google does!

  20. Lorraine Deschamps
    |

    I agree with “Delight” and was going to list some of my handcrafted items on ETSY. I was there when ETSY was launched and it was very cool to see an exclusive market for crafters. But no more – I see more and more items on the site that are not handmade. Why they are permitted to list these items is profits for the new landlord. The site is so saturated with it ETSY has as lost its speciality. I had success back in 2006 with a few items and then took off my shop. If I list my items again the odds are so great that there will sit there it is not worthwhile. I have monitored items that are very unique and different and very few sell. The stuff that is selling you can buy anywhere.

  21. |

    A very comprehensive article. Every artisan should read before starting a shop.

    • Delight Worthyn
      |

      The best advice for me was to really know my market -who I was trying to reach and speak to them when tagging.Use some global tags but then tailor the rest.Thia is the only way to get seen and not get pulled under.The getting to know my market was much harder than I thought it would be,and took much longer.

      • |

        Can you give us an example, Delight? What was something that you learned that surprised you?

        • Delight Worthyn
          |

          I thought of Etsy as being a youth market and sort of made that my model.It turns out my market is older,they buy antique / vintage and they know their stuff.I also tagged with broad style or period tags thinking a lot of people don’t know a cloche from a toque.When the fascinator was all the rage I tagged small hats as such when they were really cocktail hats.Someone said,’nobody knows what that is’ so you have to tag with fascinator.For my people this isn’t the case so I am no longer buried.
          A big surprise for me was realizing that tagging specifically, say ,Regency,would sell it.

          • |

            That’s really interesting, Delight! Thanks for sharing with a concrete example. I’ve seen many people describe Etsy as a young market and it’s interesting to me that your target group is also older. I think it builds confidence for all of us as I believe that most of TAFA’s members appeal to the over 30 population.

            • Delight Worthyn
              |

              I should also add that many if not most of my buyers found me thru google searches and joined Etsy to purchase from me.This may account for the age of customers.

  22. |

    Wonderful to see all of these comments! Yes, it is intensely frustrating to see cheap junk flood Etsy, but again, if we stop thinking of Etsy as a handmade site and just see it as a platform that offers a good shopping cart, we’ll probably all be a lot happier. There are Teams who have been very successful at promoting their own little corner of Etsy and that is what I hope our TAFA members can do.

    Who knows? Maybe another handmade market will spring up. 10,000 Markets (now defunct) seemed like it would be a good alternative to Etsy, but their quality went down, too, and then they closed. Or, maybe Etsy itself will do something within itself to showcase the artist made work. They are doing some positive things with Kiva and their wholesale efforts and they have the capital now to make choices. They are still very young and will continue to mature over time.

    As I was writing this article, I was looking for things on Etsy that I had seen before and I realized that one of the problems is that the site is now so big that it gets harder and harder to find the information that you need. That’s another thing I think they should address. They do provide so many excellent tutorials and business advice, but it’s easy to get lost when searching for something.

    We’ll see how it all unfolds!

  23. |

    I really appreciated your comments on ETSY. I’ve been considering using it to start selling my fiber art pictures, and I have to admit it is a bit scary/daunting to take this step, yet exciting too. I have a few friends with ETSY accounts and one is in TAFA as well. Now to continue to do my research and decide when the time is right for me to “jump in”.

    • |

      If you wish us to brainstorm together you may write to me a convo on ETSY.

  24. Delight Worthyn
    |

    I have a love/hate relationship with Etsy.I have a website and use Etsy as a shopping cart.I have tried Big Cartel-the $20 a month plan.Didn’t sell much but liked many things.My sales are at Etsy,like it or not.
    Etsy has changed so much since Chad took over.They now sell Chinese made items that are not handmade and if they are then they are sure not fair trade!How can you compete with the down ward pricing.It seems to me Etsy is on it’s way to becoming another Ebay so it looses it’s uniqueness.

  25. Erin
    |

    Overseas sellers have flooded Etsy with “handmade” items in the past few years. Etsy’s stated policies make it appear that they do more to shut down those types of factory shops, when the reality is far from that. I have the Etsy mobile app which features shops from a variety of categories “curated” by the Etsy Team by appearance. Daily these featured listings are filled with very obvious factory made goods, and some of the shops don’t even make an effort to make up a story to cover it up. And the reason? Etsy makes a LOT of money off of these shops, which helps to significantly increase their sales and the overall value of Etsy as a company. Unfortunately this makes it very difficult to compete as a craftsperson on Etsy. That said, the perks of using Etsy sometimes outweigh the negative, but it is hard not to feel down about the competition on Etsy.

    • |

      Now I know that this is you, Erin! Do you have a blog? I clicked on your Gravatar, but no info there… 🙂

  26. |

    I don’t know where to start. I have been on ETSY since 2009. I am designing my jewelry, taking the photographs myself, posting it to my shop, making treasuries, writing a blog, using facebook, pinterest…
    Still as a good friend of mine said:
    ‘Far too much work for too little money”.
    Since google bought ETSY and we were indicated to change all out descriptions/ tags and titles sales havr nearly stopped.

    So recently I just checked the successful shops that sell handmade good in prices more or less similar to mine.
    Surprise, surprise! They use nearly only singular tags. I can can see the reason why. ETSY is a mall, many people just window shop like in real life. They don’t look for anything special. They buy when they find something. By making very specific descriptions I miss all these people who would never think of searching for fabric necklaces.

    The other thing I figured out is that there is no way they work alone. Nobody can have 200 items, change tags monthly to meet up the American monthly subject, pack tens of items after preparing it and go to the post office. ANNNNNNND make for to six treasuries a day and respond to the tens of people who than feature their shop items.

    I do not want to become an industry. I understand why it could be good for ETSY.I do not want to employ people.

    The other thing is that we have no idea how many shops closed down during a month and how many shops have not sold a thing, So all these characters do not tell me the real picture. HOW MANY HANDMADE ITEMS WERE SOLD?

  27. |

    Thanks Rayela. I just opened my Etsy shop a month ago and after getting some familiarity with the process am now trying to figure out how to better promote it. What fun it was to actually see one of my pillows on your post about TAFA. So many great hints here. I will gradually work on implementing some of them.

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