Document 117124

mag'ine that you're browsing the world's largest
arts and crafts show, with 4 million items to
explore: candles, ceramics, jewelry, photographs, soaps, clothing, sculptures, purses,
baked goods, quilts, scrapbooks and a rnyruad of
other handmade items. Now suppose thatyou can
shop for these treasures while relaxing in your own home.
Then imagine that you're an artisan who has the ability
to set up shop in a matter of minutes and gain instant
access to nearly 3 million buyers who are eager to support
from movies to sports equipment and everyth-rr:
Meet Etsy.
For those of you who aren't already familiar with this
charming website, Etsy. com is an innovative way to combine creative talent with entrepreneurial spirit and pro -
between while Etsy features highly specialized L- 1:ntr
items. To qualify for listing on Etsy, items must b,r ,,--r
tage (at least zo years old) or handmade by the seL=:
it's handmade, you can find it and you can sell i1-c']6r ":1w,
housewares, jewelry, toys, quilts, needlecrafts, &r[. r i.::rr,+]:''
mote your farm- or handmade products from the com-
goods, and the
fort of your living room. Etsy is that easy.
Another major distinction between eBay and Ets", ll,rt
Iatter is not an auction site. Items are listed in eacl- ;ru'
store at set prices, and buyers can instantly purclu=: :iirtrt
item of their choice. There's no waiting around fc,r i
tion end-times, no worries about being outbid b,t * :;r.,*:r"'
buyer and no astronomical price-jumps at the end. :: ltrilrl
auction. Vith Etsy, it's as simple as shop, click x1fl ;;-.',;
trio of visionary
zo-somethings' Rob Kalin, Chris Maguire and Haim
Schoppik. Their concept for Etsy was specific and is still
reflected in their mission statementr "Etsy is an online
marketplace for buying and selling all things handmade.
Our mission is to enable people to make a living making
things and to reconnect makers with buyers. Our vision
is to build a new economy and present a better choice'
Bry, sell and live handmade."
z1o,ooo are sellers.
Newcomers to Etsy often ask if it's similar to the r:ir
nomenally successful auction site, eBay. Aside fron- ;lrr
similarity of their names, the two sites are acfuallv :: ,;r-ri:
different. EBay features an arnazrrtg assortment of ---:ulrii
entrepreneurs and the legacy of handmade items. And was established in zoo5 by
dise sales of $t66.,ooo in 2oo5 to a stunning $8r.5 --.1,
lion in zoo8 and $B+.4 million in zoog (through i.;-'
The site has nearly 3 million registered users, of u i- :
suppose that all this can be achieved fromyour home, too.
fumt-g #ffi
Despite the current economic conditions, Etsv :,: rrr
have skyrocketed, from the site's modest gross merc - I l
list goes on.
Settertg ffip S$t#$*
The site is also user-friendly to "click and sell."
for an entrepreneurially minded individua- ;: Jtl
started selling items on Etsy. There is one covezt:
Clockwise: is
different from
eBoy in thot oll
items must be be
vintoge or hondmode by the
The "Etsy Teams" are another popular resource 1Etsy seller and soap-maker Nan Goodwin of Ariz-::
( explains, "These .:'
groups of sellers that virtually get together for the ipose of helping each other with their crafts, helpiri.
promote each other, and for general support. I belor^:
You con morket
your hondmode
goods to lorger,
jrr-p in and begin selling, you'll want to take
Artisan Frieni=
Ve participate on the Etsr- T.
ences by odding
time to peruse Etsy and become acquainted with the various aspects and areas of the site. Browse the categories,
observe prices and policies, and take note of quality photographs and well-written descriptions. Familiarlze your-
Etsy Team (SAFEteam).
self with what's available and, even more importantly,
what's selling. Then take some time to explore the
resources that Etsy offers.
them to
Hondmsde items
sold on Etsy olso
Etsy is a cut above many other sites in terms of its seller-
include edibles,
like these syrups.
support system. Learning opportunities and technical
support are available in ample supply and are easy to
find. This is particularlytrue in the forums, where sellers
(long-time participants as well as newcomers) glean
insight and wisdom on a range of topics. Sample threads
you might encounter on the Etsy forums include,
"Help me create a new banner!"
"Advertising ideas? "
"How long before I relist? "
"A-re my prices too high? "
In addition to the forums, Etsy provides free on-line
classes and workshops on an assortment of subjects.
including photography, shop critiques and workshops
for newbies. Etsy also provides free, downloadable buttons.
banners and avatars to decorate your shop.
hobbvfarmhome com
a soap-making team called the Soap
notionwide oudi-
and Events forum, chatting with each other mostlr- al.We
compare I- - -soap, but also about our personal lives.
about selling on Etsy; w€ share soap-making tips .,
soaps and other bath and beauty products. Plus, if -*t r-.-one needs a little personal support, everyone else is r-...
there with words of encouragement, with some frle :- advice thrown in. "
In order to buy or sell on Etsy, you'll need to account. This is free and easy, and in minutes. r, be set to go. Selecting a username is very important : will be the name of your storefront on Etsy (for exarl-:
www. mystorename. etsy. com) , should you decii
begin selling. Obviously, you'll want your store n3tri-:
a good representation of you and your items. You : '
change your username at a later date, so take tin--carefully select it. Let your choice reflect you and
business-and be creative !
Etsy's fees are very economical, which undout .
pla-vs a part in the site's extreme success. As prer-l mentioned, registration on Etsy is free., and there al":
fees for buying items. To sell an item, the Etsy listir,.
Top: When regis-
tering your
occount, se/ecf o
usernome thot
represents you
ond your prod-
ucts well-this
will be the nome
of your storefront.
Bottom: Lobel
your products
::: il
is $ o .zo ,, regardless of the item's listing price. Each listing
Iasts until the item sells or up to four months. When an
item sells, Etsy charges a 3.5 percent commission on the
nome snd num-
form of payment with Etsy
your store infor-
sale price. PayPal is a popular
sellers, although some sellers accept personal checks,
cashier's checks and money orders.
with the item's
ber os well as
motion so customers con
reorder items
Many Etsy sellers believe that your shop's success is
directly related to the quality of the photographs of your
items. Strong photographs depicting your items in the
most attractive manner can reap dividends in subsequent sales. On the other hand, a less-than-stellar photograph can diminish (ot eliminate) your chances of
making a sale.
"Photographs are by far the most important and time
consuming [part of sellingJ," says Elizabeth Dahl, proprietor of two Etsy shops ( and "'When it comes to
online selling, it's the photograph that draws the buyers,
and it's also the photo that, for the most part, sells the
product. If you have a bad photo, your item won't sell,
period. "
Top: The quolity
As a seller, be sure r - -- appearance of your photogtapns.
of your photogrophs con he/g
offers tutorio ls
{sr gett(ng g<est
*-t uf'*p * r
You've chosen username, set up your shop, taken p:- - written descriptions and placed your listings, ani :
shots of your
you're sitting back in your chair, waiting for the sa- . .
come pouring in. Vhile it's possible to have erc:- '
steady sales right from the get-go, you might find th;-Etsy shop needs a bit of promotion to bring in the fr-; ,
"It is so easy to get discouraged selling on Etsr .the market is so large," says Heather Scott of i\[or.--: -,,
Home Quilts in California. Heather began quiltin{ r-. ''
10 years ago and started her Etsy shop, w.w-w.rffor-rr--,:, rn 2oo7. "There are times ru l-'
feel as though I'm doing great and quilts are sellin.
Arrd then there are times when I feel as thou3'l,. barely give one away. It comes and goes, so stickrn= '
your shop and promoting it anywayyou can (blogs. T,' .-
Bottom: A colen-
dar will help you
your to-do list so
you con keep
your inventory
fresh, correspond
with customers
ond ship items in
o timely manner.
As Scott explairs, "Photographs are definitely something that you need to nail down from the get-go. If you
around your town, word of mouth) is certainly helpttL.-
have lousy pictures, your sales will reflect that. It's
important to lemember that the people who shop on Etsy
can't see you oryour items in real life. All they have to go
off of are photos-so make them good! Even if you don't
have the greatest digital camera, there are websites at
your disposal that can help you clean up and enhance
Etsy shop,
your photos. "
Goodwin agrees that photographing Etsy products can
be difficult' "I have tried so many different locations in
the house, different backgrounds, different camera set-
tings. Fortunately, here in Tircson there is a lot of stllfshine, giving me plenty of natural light to work u'ith"'
keep track
camera you can afford, supplement this with
pzzchc4 azd Tazt )),see7azz sa) es ]2c7e2se-
or hurt your
hobbvfa rm
Here are some simple suggestions for promotin-
Add your Etsy shop address to your email sisr-' This works as daily advertising to everyone you :
r.r.' Join forums outside of Etsy. As wonderful as t1-= :
forums are, those folks are already aware of tlr-t
ders of Etsy. You'll want to bring new Etsians ir-fold. If you're selling handmade candles, for in s-,
participate in other Internet forums dedicated tc . - making-and mention your Etsy shop.
Hit social networking websites. If you particil- =-Facebook or Twitter, be sure to post links to r-o';:' :
shop. Mention sales or discounts that you're ofl. -
5-i F"*-:
3e explicit in the "store policies" section of your Etsy shop.
iou'll want to state your payment policies (\Mil you accept
!€ISona,l checks? Money orders? PayPat?) and youl shipnent policies. If you're only able to ship items once aweek,
i,e sure to state this in your policy. If you aren't specific
.bout youl shipping schedule, buyers might be anxiously
..,r-aiting their items for days before you've even shipped
.nem. When your policies are clearly stated, it reduces con--rsion and increases customer satisfaction. On the same
-rken, if you're able to ship five days aweek, be sure to state
-his, as well. Buyers love instant gratification, and if you can
:rrarantee next-day or even same-d"y shipment, you might
:te your sales increase.
Remember to set a standard policy for returns and
-xchanges. If you established guidelines ahead of time,
-.'ll be easier to deal with dissatisfied customers.
As is the case with many Internet-based businesses,
::edback is an important component of ensuring your
:uccess. Positive feedback can increase your sales, where-s negative (or even neutral) feedback can damage your
::putation and decrease youl income. This doesn't mean
-uat a single negative comment from an unpleasant or
rispleased buyer is going to ruin your business-but mul--ple negatives caused by your own negligence can hurt
,tu. Treat each transaction with importance. be efficient
.nd courteous with your colrespondence, pack all items
-arefully for shipment, and mail them promptly. Buyers
;re seeking quality products, but they're also seeking
you can proride both.
:-rality customer service-if
:- t well on your way to becoming a successftil Etsr- seller.
you have youl shop up and running rrith some
ems listed, I personally feel as thor-rgh beins active in
ixe Etsy community helps out a lot. \-herher you're
latting with other sellers in the fontms or joining a
street team, simply getting involved will help your Etsy
Left:Stofe your
shop, " says Scott.
shipping policy
Goodwin offers additional advice for Etsians, "Be
patient. Unless you have something extremely unique, it
will take awhile to get some attention. Read the forurrls;
there is a lot of good advice from other sellers. Take good
accurate, detailed descriptions. ALso,
remember customer service is aS important as your
in the "Store
Policies" secfion
of your Etsy shop
so there is no
confusion for
products. "
Regardless of the trials and triumphs you might
encounter d.uring your Etsy selling ventures., you might
also find yourself utilizing Etsy in another fashion' as a
buyer. It's nearly inevitable-the longer you spend on
Etsy, the more you're goingto explore, and the more items
you're going to find that you simply "can't live without."
Scott says it best: "Honestly, my favorite thing about
Etsy is shopping! I am truly thankful that there is a fabulous Internet site that allows me to purchase handmade
items from some super-talented artists all over the
world. It allows me to get out of the chain stores and malls
Right: Especiolly
for items thot
con be bought in
soop-be sure
you hove plentY
of supplies on
hand to fulfill
your orders.
for birthdays and Christmas, and [I can] give something
that someone will really respect and appreciate. Plus, my
kids look cuter, my home looks more 'homey' and I simply
feel better about buying handmade !"
Of course, you have to love that when you register on, a confirmation email arrives with a warm
greeting, pertinent site information and helpful links,
before endingwith the words, "-Welcome again! Love, the
Etsy Team. "
Arrd that's whv we love EtsY.
Somontho Johnson is the outhor ofThe Field Guide to Rabbits
(Voyogeur Press, 2008) lnd co-luthor of How to Raise Horses
(Voyogetlr Press, 2007), How to Raise Rabbits (Voyogeur Press,
2009), ond The Field Guide to Horses (Voyogeur Press, 2009).
She lives in northern Wisconsin ond roises Welsh Mountoin
lnd o few robbits.