It seems the topic of having an Etsy shop has come up several times in conversation recently. People have asked my thoughts on having one, what I choose to sell and how easy or difficult it is to actually maintain. So I decided to compile my thoughts on some of the questions I am asked the most.
1. Do you like selling on Etsy?: Yes, I have thoroughly loved my experience selling on Etsy. Etsy is such a community of people who love the things that I love. I find that people generally view my shop like a storefront and enjoy it. I have misplaced a few items over the years and I have always had pleasant conversations with those I have sold to. Yes, yes and yes…Etsy is wonderful.
2. Is it as much work as it seems?: Starting an Etsy shop seems like way more work than it is. There are several steps to begin, but it really is very easy and might only take an afternoon. Choosing to start is the MOST difficult part of the whole process. The idea of how much work it is can debilitate you, but it isn’t that scary…i promise. Once your shop is set up, the listing can be very simple depending on your product. I used to spend tons of time on descriptions and back stories for my items, but have quickly realized that, although interesting, it isn’t necessary. Taking pictures is also way easier than it seems My first pictures were so silly, but items still sold! Another daunting sight is the shops that you find when searching have 300-1000 items. They have worked up to that point and you don’t need to…right now. I think I started with 40 items and sold my first item in a week. Listing items becomes easier and faster as you become more familiar with the process and more comfortable with your ‘shop feel.’ Once the items are listed, you never have to go through that process again. The only maintenance is relisting if items haven’t sold after 3 months.
3. What if I am terrible with photography?: This was a huge stumbling block for me when I started. I knew how to point and shoot and my pictures were terrible starting out. Believe it or not, that is how a lot of people start. With anything, you get better the more you do something. So I would read on camera angles, look at examples and just practice. In looking at other shops, I saw that a lot of white backgrounds to make items pop more. However, my white sheet just made my items look cheap. Playing around with your pictures and style is completely natural. It will definitely develop over time. Your pictures create your shop and the feeling that it gives the shopper.
4. How did you know what people wanted?: Knowing my personal market took a lot of experience. I would buy things because I saw they sold for others and they would just sit and sit in my store. I found that when I bought the things that I liked, it added to the feeling in my store. People that were drawn to certain items were then able to find others in a similar style. Not only that, but if I bought something that didn’t sell right away it wasn’t an issue, because I loved the things that I sold. When it comes to making things, choose the things that appeal to you and your friends the most. This will also sell the best for you.
5. I can’t be like ____ (fill-in-the-blank) shop, how are you?: I didn’t know that I was like ____ shop. I just found that these certain picture styles worked the best for me. Photographing, describing, prices have been a learning process, but my store is a collection of things that I love and that works the best for me. I am proud of it of my shop and that should be the goal.
Anyone who approaches me with an idea to sell on Etsy, is always met with a “yes, do it!” Items will come, skills will develop and your passions will be displayed. It is definitely worth trying, but you have to just jump in and start. Don’t give up, keep playing with different items, styles, and pictures until you are pleased with what you are doing.
I hope these ideas were a little helpful and I would love to hear if you take the leap. It is so much fun!