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Etsy. Tell me about it!

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heartbroken_kk posted 7/21/2013 01:45 AM

Ok, I am exploring more self employment ideas. I have access to, or can make or create a lot of cool stuff I could sell. I think I could actually get $ for my labor!

Succulent starts, unusual or heirloom plants or seeds, manzanita branches, burlwood, grapevines, grapevine trunks, vintage boxes and barrels, wine bottles for whathaveyou, reclaimed old growth redwood lumber, interesting planters and pots, petroglyph reproductions, other yard art, etc.

Anyone a seller on there? Or a regular shopper? Tell me your experiences please!

Amazonia posted 7/21/2013 06:16 AM

There is a lot out there in way of articles about how to be successful on etsy, but from what I've seen it boils down to:

1. Accurate price point, around the same as your competition. Too cheap and people think there's a catch; too expensive and they will just buy from someone else. Personally I LOVE when vendors offer free shipping. Sometimes the shipping cost can make or break my decision to buy from someone.

2. Really, really, really great communication. I have seen more rants about sellers who only respond during certain hours, sellers who don't respond on the weekend, sellers who don't respond at all, sellers who take three days to answer a simple question.... Etc.

3. Accurate, good photos. And lots of them. Show angles, use a clean background to show details, use other objects to show size, close ups when necessary, full size shots as a must.

4. Strong descriptions. My biggest pet peeve is vendors who copy and paste the entire lengthy description so that it's generic to all their products instead of specific to the one at hand. Use the same fabric for two dresses? C/p just that info! Include measurements, weights if applicable, materials, allergens if applicable, care instructions if they're going to surprise a buyer, etc.

5. Timeliness. I've also heard a lot of rants about products that were "sent" but never received, or sellers who were constantly asking for "just a few more days" to finish an order. Most people pay using PayPal (is there another option?), which I believe has a standard 45 day dispute time. As a buyer, I want to receive my products, at the worst, within that window. Because PayPal won't let you file a dispute if the vendor can claim to be working with you and just not finished with the product. It's a pretty common scam, actually. I've seen it a lot with custom stuff like wedding dresses, maybe a thousand dollar dress, it never materializes, but by the time the buyer expects to receive it, it's too late to file a claim.

Amazonia posted 7/21/2013 06:17 AM

Oh, and you'll need to promote your shop. Etsy searches auto filter to the latest postings first, so keep your shop fresh by reposting when you can, or by adding new listings periodically instead of all at once.

See if you can find some local or national blogs where you could showcase your stuff to get attention.

heartbroken_kk posted 7/21/2013 11:20 AM

Thanks Ama! Hmmm. Instant responsiveness by email isn't exactly a strength of mine.

Amazonia posted 7/21/2013 15:29 PM

Customer service is vital to running a small business, which is essentially what Etsy is. Would you be able to commit to sitting down twice daily (weekends included) to answer emails? Twelve hours is pretty reasonable turnaround time.

A lower investment option might be finding a local shop/flea market/craft fair/farmers market where you could sell instead.

Amazonia posted 7/21/2013 15:31 PM

Ps Etsy does have vacation settings that allow you to put your shop on hold (i think, based on seeing empty shops with a vacation notice) if you won't be available for a period of time, but you wouldn't be making sales then either, or gaining exposure.

heartbroken_kk posted 7/22/2013 01:12 AM

I want to be able to take weekends off, turn off the computer for the night, and have vacations, and not have that piss people off.

Hmmm. I don't want to be owned by my business.

Amazonia posted 7/22/2013 05:40 AM

That's always seemed like the biggest downfall of etsy to me. People really do expect you to be available all the time. Especially if you do any kind of custom listing. It'd be one thing if you just list products and only ship exactly "as is" but every single time I've purchased something, it's been customized or changed slightly, and I go through probably 10-12 rounds of emails with the seller. Even when I've considered buying "off the rack" I generally have 3-4 emails worth of questions. It's much simpler as a buyer if those can all be accomplished within a few hours of quick back and forth.

Everyone I've known who has run a shop and not made it their exclusive employment has gotten burnt out quick, or not been able to turn a profit. I have one friend who does make really good money making custom paper sculptures, but she really was on email 10-12 hours a day, seven days a week. And her client rants were remarkable. Maybe she's got me jaded against it!

Her shop is currently down because she just had a baby. She took it down the same day she found out she was pregnant, because she didn't want to deal with the stress.

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