If you are creative then read on, as this could be the start of something new for you
This week I started my Christmas shopping and I must admit that this year I have actually managed to get myself organized a little earlier than usual (the day before Christmas Eve!), even managing to ask friends and relatives for hints of what they might like as gifts!
Yes, I know it takes away the element of surprise but I would rather give a ‘wished for’ gift than something that will be relegated to the back of the cupboard (or shows up for sale on eBay!) before Boxing Day is over.
So, having asked my sister for some ideas, she very kindly came up with a rather long list to which I could refer. Now, my sister is very creative – she loves making things by hand and creates some fantastic items from really interesting and unusual things like bits of driftwood found on the beach, scraps of fabric and felt, buttons, pebbles, badges, shells – even old newspapers!
Then I discovered that most of her ‘wished for’ list consisted of items to help her create – decoupage scissors, a book on ‘upcycling’, modeling clay and so on – and this got me thinking, particularly at this time of year when hand made goods are often purchased as gifts – about the website that is known as Etsy. The site for all things crafty!
If you’ve ever tried to sell hand made items on eBay or Amazon you’ll know that it’s very easy for them to get lost amidst the massive amount of listings for manufactured items. That’s not to say that eBay is a bad place for selling your creative products, but if you are serious about creating items yourself and selling them online then you should definitely consider Etsy as well.
The reason I say ‘if you are serious’ is because Etsy specialises in the sale of handcrafted goods, craft-related bits and pieces and vintage items. Because these are the only goods that you can find for sale here, you know that the potential buyers viewing your products are specifically interested in the types of items that you have for sale, meaning there is a potential for greater profit as prospective buyers will be willing to pay for a good, well made, unique product.
And that makes it a great site for this particular niche market.
The best way to get to know Etsy.com is to explore the site for yourself, but to help you along the way, if you are creative and fancy making and selling things (or if you just want to have a look to get some ideas for last minute gifts!) here’s a very brief overview of how to get started and how the site works.
Everything has a set price
Unlike eBay where people will bid for an item, Etsy only has fixed prices. If you are going to sell on Etsy this is advantageous as you’ll be able to set your price and know exactly how much profit you’ll make on each item you sell – much like eBay’s Buy It Now listings. As a seller, you’ll pay a small listing fee initially and that allows your item to appear in your store on the website for four months, or until the item has sold.
Once you make a sale the commission that Etsy will take is set at 3.5% which is very reasonable. The fees will be added to your account as soon as you make a sale and, like eBay, you will be invoiced on a monthly basis for the accumulated amount so you’ll need to make sure you put enough money aside from your sales to pay the bill!
All you need to get started on Etsy is a quick run through the sign up process on the website and credit card details ready for when you start listing. The Register button can be found at the top of each page unless you’re already signed in, so simply follow the on screen instructions to get started.
You’ll get your own ‘shop front’
When first registering at Etsy.com you’ll be asked to enter a username for your account, and you’ll also have the option to create a shop name for your storefront. This is your opportunity to enter a name that’s memorable and that relates to your hand crafted items so that your buyers can easily find you again to make a repeat purchase.
Setting up your shop name can be done as you go through the process of putting together your own shop front. Just click on the ‘Sell’ link at the top of the page and then select the option to open your shop. If you’re serious about selling on Etsy then it’s definitely worth investing some time into your storefront.
A professional shop name, an attractive banner, a profile picture and fully completed information will do wonders to reassure a prospective buyer that you’re offering legitimate and high quality products.
You can of course start selling without adding all of the information to your Etsy shop but I do recommend that you put in some effort here and get it all set up correctly from the start. As soon as you have more than one product to sell people are likely to return to your shop to see what else you have to offer, so a professional look and feel will help you maximise your selling potential.
Creating a listing is easy
Once you have set up your shop on Etsy you can start listing items through it immediately. Just click on the ‘List your first item’ link to get started. Just like other online marketplaces you’ll now have the ability to select from different options to give potential buyers details about your items. From an appropriate category to photographs to a description to style and so on; you should include as much accurate and informative information as possible within your listing.
If you’ve already done some selling on eBay you’ll understand the importance of great keywords, high quality photos and a compelling description, so spend some time making sure you’ve included everything that’s needed.
There’s great community spirit
Finally, there’s quite a close-knit (excuse the pun) community over at Etsy. Community is a really important facet of how the site is shaped, and with co-operative teams, online and in-person workshops and events and more, there’s loads that you can get involved in.
Forums like this can also incredibly useful, as there are a multitude of business owners operating through Etsy who are happy to share their knowledge should you have any questions on how best to work your own sales strategy.
So, there’s something for you to think about. Perhaps you already hand craft items but have never thought of selling them before – or perhaps you fancy trying your hand at creating unique products with the bonus of being able to sell them online. Etsy.com provides the opportunity for you!
Now I’m off to purchase some more felt and fabric!