Wendy Conklin had no big plans for starting an Etsy business when she joined the site in 2012. All the Texas resident wanted was to put her newfound upholstery skills to work and recoup the cost of a recent class she took.
“I didn’t know what was going to happen,” says Conklin.
What did happen was a quick sale, followed by another and another. Four months after opening her Etsy shop, ChairWhimsy, custom orders for brightly colored reupholstered chairs started pouring in. Four years later, Conklin quit his job to run ChairWhimsy full-time and is now earning six figures a year from his business venture.
Etsy was founded in 2005 as an online marketplace for handmade products. Over the years, it has evolved to include vintage items and craft supplies, but it remains one of the most popular places on the web to buy unique craft products.
“The beauty of the Etsy platform is that anyone with a creative mindset can be successful in our marketplace,” according to a statement from Etsy. “The sky is the limit in terms of who can turn their passion, hobby or side job into a financially viable small business.”
However, the website can be overwhelming for first time sellers. If you’re new to the world of Etsy, here are some tips to help you be successful.
- Select the right product.
- Post great photos.
- Tell a story.
- Pin photos to Pinterest.
- Tag items with relevant keywords.
- Consider advertising and free shipping.
- Use Etsy’s selling tools.
Select the right product
Before you open an Etsy shop, make sure your items fit into one of the website’s allowed categories:
- Handmade products.
- Antique items that are at least 20 years old.
- Craft supplies.
Traditionally, the top categories on the site have been home goods and furnishings, personal jewelry and accessories, and craft supplies, according to Etsy.
In addition to selecting the right products, research the going price of similar items at other stores to determine if your commercial enterprise can be profitable. When calculating your costs, don’t forget to include Esty’s fees, which include a 20-cent fee for a four-month quote, a 5% transaction fee based on the sales price, and a 3% payment processing fee. plus 25 cents. .
Post great photos
Since Etsy is an online marketplace, good images are vital for sales, according to experienced sellers. However, there is no need to invest in expensive equipment as most smartphones are capable of taking quality photos.
“Photography is everything,” says Joni Morgan, owner of Fact + Fiction Toys in Big Rapids, Michigan. She’s been selling handmade wooden toys on Etsy for seven years and has seen some new sellers fail because their photos aren’t engaging or engaging.
While some sellers may use photo filters or frames, Morgan has found success with a simpler approach. “I just use a white table from Ikea and put it near a window to get natural light,” she explains. To perfect his technique, she watched YouTube videos for photography tips.
Tell a story
For buyers, Etsy promises the opportunity to purchase handcrafted products not available elsewhere. “People love a story,” says Morgan. “They want to hear your background and how things are done.”
Being transparent about who makes your products, whether it’s you or a team member, and what materials are used can help encourage sales from those looking for support small business owners.
“Today’s women and Etsy consumers are more socially conscious and more aware of sustainability, environmental impact, and natural alternatives,” says Suzanne Sachs, whose Etsy store, ArtDecoDiamonds, sells vintage engagement rings and jewelry. . Emphasizing the use of sustainable materials and business practices can be another way to attract customers.
Pin photos to Pinterest
Many Etsy sellers overlook the power of pinterest to boost sales, says Conklin. “For a while, 50% of my traffic came from Pinterest,” he shares.
Pinterest is a social networking site that allows people to save, or pin, images to virtual boards they create. Other users can follow specific boards or people on the site. They can also search for images of their interest.
In many cases, Conklin found that people were following her photos long before they made a purchase. Since ChairWhimsy offers custom chairs, photos also serve the dual purpose of sparking potential customers’ imaginations and helping them envision their own chair.
Tag items with relevant keywords
Both Conklin and Morgan agree that omitting keyword tags in product listings is a common mistake.
“The keywords you set up for your listings drive traffic,” says Conklin. However, he adds that many people think too much about keywords: “You have to think like a normal person.”
By tagging a listing, Morgan tries to imagine what people might enter when searching for her products, such as wooden, handmade and organic toys. He also starts almost all of his product titles with the term “wooden toy” to help his listings jump to the top of search results.
Consider advertising and free shipping
To help customers find her listings, Morgan uses Etsy advertising and offers free shipping.
With Etsy Ads, sellers can set a daily budget that will help their products stand out in search results. “Right now, my sweet spot is $1 a day,” says Morgan. He tried to increase his ad budget to $5 a day at one point, but didn’t see significantly more sales as a result.
Free shipping it’s another way to stand out in search results and drive sales. “If you offer free shipping on orders of $35 or more, people love it,” Morgan explains. Sellers offering free shipping must build that cost into their prices to remain profitable.
Use Etsy’s Selling Tools
Etsy provides sellers with a variety of tools to help them be successful. These include a forum, a seller’s handbook, and the Etsy Summit, an annual community education program. In addition, there are newsletters with seasonal tips and information on sales trends.
For example, the company’s 2021 holiday trends guide notes that nostalgia and a “cottagecore” aesthetic are expected to trend across categories this year. Meanwhile, the Fall 2021 Trend Guide notes that searches for fidget toys are up 3,697%, while searches for classroom posters are up 140%.
“On Etsy, someone searches for a gift box every two seconds and someone searches for wall art every second,” according to Etsy.
In the years since Conklin opened her Etsy shop, she has seen the business grow. While that means more competition, it also means more customers and more opportunities. “I tried to sell some stuff locally, but realized there weren’t enough eyes on my chairs,” he says. “Because (Etsy) has grown so much, that has made it better.”