Another e-mail question. This time from Constança from Portugal. She's thinking of opening an Etsy shop and wants to know about my Etsy Experience.
Martin and I have always made things. Martin is the more artsy one of us and enjoys illustrating and painting. I'm the craftsy one, I sew (although Martin is really good at sewing too!), screen print, gocco print and paper craft.
As I was starting to upload photos to Flickr in December I was getting questions on items around our house which we made ourselves so the idea of opening an Etsy shop came up.
I started out with the Mini and Bonus pillow covers and later added the Mini design on double cards, note cards and favor bags and a little later on the robot designs.
I'm pretty satisfied with the results. I'm not making a lot of money and what I make I usually spend in other Etsy shops but it's been fulfilling in terms of the joy of having a shop and others liking our designs.
We're not really sure how to go on with the shop at the moment. Our original stock is thinning out and although we have a million ideas we also don't have a huge amount of time and it does take time to run even a little hobby shop like ours. Selling a five dollar item doesn't really pay considering the fact that the production takes time and it takes quite a bit of time listing the item and once you have orders, you pack and ship which takes time too.
The more expensive items in the shop are more worthwhile in terms of making money although they also take a lot more time to make. For the pillow covers I'm prewashing and ironing the fabric, hand cutting the screen template, screen printing, setting the print by ironing again, zigzaging and sewing the pieces, assembling the cover and ironing once more. With the dollar being extremely low I don't make much on each cover when translating into Swedish kronor. I still enjoy it all, it's just that with a full time job, a house, a family and the blog there's simply not much time left. What I'm saying is that I might keep the shop on the slow burner and add new items if and when we have the time. I'm starting to realise there are only 24 hours in a day and I should at least sleep six of them and have a couple left over for sitting down infront of the TV and reading a magazine or two.
Here are a few tips that I've learned along the way. Maybe you can add some in the comments section if you have a shop.
- Weigh your items and your packing materials before setting the shipping cost. I wrapped my items with too much (unnecessary) material in the beginning and ended up paying far more for the shipping than I'd stated. Do wrap everything nicely but simply though and add a little "thank you for your business" note.
- Unless you know your items will fly through the door of your shop add them as "1 available" and relist the item after selling it instead of listing a larger quantity. You pay for each item and if the listing time runs out and you haven't sold everything your'e loosing the listing fee and will need to relist again and thus paying twice. To be fair the listing cost is very small, but still.
- Don't charge too little for your items. Do a search on simliar items on Etsy and find out the going price and consider if this works for you. If not charge what you think your item should be worth. If not you end up running to the post office a lot and making next to nothing.
- You may want to have a few not so expensive items in your shop, at least to begin with, just to get your shop going. As you're selling and getting good feedback your shop gets more trustworthy and will attract buyers more than a shop without any feedback. You do get feedback by buying on Etsy too though so if you've been a good customer in other shops you are probably a trustworthy seller too :)
- I'd say skip the Showcase (advertising your item on a certain Etsy page for 24 hours). Others may disagree but having my items there over a weekend didn't do much for the sales. Again in all fairness quite a few faved my shop after seeing it there, but it's up to you if you want to spend the money.
- Advertise your shop by sending e-mails, letting fellow bloggers know you are out there instead. I sent some e-mails to Flickr friends who had featured me on their blogs earlier and they were all so sweet and posted about my shop which brought me some business.
That's my Etsy experience. I have to say I do love Etsy, I love that I can get affordable art there and cute fabrics and it's such a pleasurable experience buying from all the wonderful shops.
Are you Etsy sellers? I'd love to visit your shops!