I have thought of writing a post about Etsy for quite a while now, but something odd today really triggered me to write. First, Etsy is a web site. It is a place where handmade items, art supplies, vintage items, etc are sold. Mass marketers are not encouraged to be there, so it is a wonderful place to find something unique!
I have had a shop on Etsy for three or so years now, since I make jewelry and I like to sell it, so I can justify buying more beads and jewelry supplies. Jewelry creation is my real passion. I do strung work, off-loom bead weaving (my greatest love), chain maille, wirework and metal work. Everything I create is one of a kind – I’d get bored making the same thing over and over again.
Etsy is fairly affordable. It costs nothing to create and open a shop. What costs you money is posting photographs and info about each individual piece for sale. Etsy charges you 0.20 for each item you place on sale, and this lasts for three months. When items expire, you need to renew them, if you still want them sold, and they will cost you 0.20 apiece to renew. I currently have 130 items for sale, so I guess that adds up. My Etsy bill is probably about 5-8 dollars a month; you can pay with Paypal.
People can shop on Etsy with all major credit cards, Paypal, and Etsy gift cards. Etsy sets the whole thing up for you and makes it really easy. They have recently added the coolest feature EVAH. From your home computer, you can type in the weight and dimensions of the package of merchandise that you wish to ship to the purchaser, and you can print out a USPS mailing label right on your home printer and attach it to the package. For most small items, all you have to do is walk down the sidewalk and put the labelled package in your mailbox. SWEET! Etsy deducts the postage cost from your Paypal account.
I check Etsy every few days, to check merchandise and check if there are purchases. Etsy automatically emails you if there are any purchases or communication, but it also seems wise to check. Also, you need to manually check and make sure there is no merchandise you need to renew. You can check your shop stats and see how many people looked at your site each day or week, which items they looked at, and whether anyone has favorited or “liked” your shop or a particular piece.
Here’s the weird thing. When I checked on my Etsy shop today, there had been a MASSIVE amount of traffic in the last few days. I had dozens of favorites of my shop and of items. The really odd thing was, it seemed to be the same 2 or 3 items that were favorited, over and over again. One of those pieces is the piece shown above. Now the Etsy Home Page features selected items (I’m not sure how they select them) and it is said that you will have a massive surge in traffic if one of your items is featured on their home page. The thing is, I checked the home page and none of my stuff is on it. Maybe it was there a few days ago? I can’t quite figure it out.
You can also pay extra money to advertise items through Etsy, either through paying to have little ads posted, or paying for a bump in their search engine. Thing is, I’ve only tried advertising once, it was a long time ago, it didn’t do squat, and I’ve never done it again. So, weirdness. It would be kind of like posting a blog and suddenly having traffic leap up by a factor of ten on one post, without being featured on something like Freshly Pressed. I did notice that 40 hits came through the Etsy search engine, but I don’t know why.
I will of course have to make a plug for my Etsy shop here. I also want to make a plug for my friend Diana, because she does the most amazing Shibori tie dye EVER and I’ve bought like a million of her gorgeous pieces. She uses the best quality shirt material, including bamboo, and you can machine wash without losing your color. You can check her out here. She has no idea I am doing this, so she may be similarly bewildered by a sudden increase in traffic.
If you create something you’re proud of, and you want to try to sell it, Etsy is a great place to get your feet wet. And no, I don’t work for or with Etsy, and they haven’t paid me any money to write about this (although I think they should). I have had very good experiences with Etsy, both buying and selling (and, yes, I have bought quite a number of amazing things off this site over the years). I have yet to get ripped off or deceived, which is a pretty cool thing. So check it out! Surf! Run a search! And hold on to your wallet, because those cards are gonna be jumping right out of there!