Do people often say about your crafts, "You should sell these on Etsy!" or "Are you on Etsy yet?" If the answer is yes, then it's time to get going and set up shop! It's easier than you think.
1. Decide what to sell. There are a few different schools of thought:
• Make what's hot now;
• Find a niche market;
• Make what you love to make.
Like any business, there are pros and cons with any of these options, so decide what will work best for you. You might need to experiment with all of these to decide which works best for you. You can use a combination of different approaches to distinguish your products from the rest. Keep in mind that the Etsy community is global and is a virtual handmade market with buyers and sellers from more than 150 countries.
2. Figure out your pricing structure. A very simple rule of thumb is this: your materials + time = your cost. Double this for a wholesale price; double wholesale for a retail figure.
• Don't to get too greedy, but don't sell yourself short, either.
Etsy is a community of artists, not a market for mass production or an opportunity
to gouge the buyer's bank account.
• Check what others are charging for similar products, or whether others are selling similar products at all. You will probably want to be in the same general price range, unless you can differentiate your offerings from similar items.
3. Calculate shipping expenses including all packaging materials. Try actually packaging an item and visiting your local shipping offices (post office, UPS, DHL, FedEx). Find which will work best for you and come up with a practical shipping rate to post with each item. If you will be shipping internationally, decide how you will handle shipping prices. It seems to work best to have a standard rate. Some people will end up paying more than actual shipping and some less, but it will even out in the end. Etsy will let you list a standard rate and discounted rate. This would apply if a customer purchases more than one item from you and you are able to package them together. Discounted shipping is optional.
4. Make enough stock to facilitate a reasonable storefront. Six to nine items would be great for starters.
5. Take some quality photographs of these items. Think visually. Buyers across the globe can't get up close and personal with your product. They need to have a really good representation of what you're selling.
• Use good lighting (natural is best) and a quality camera. You
can post five images with each listing, so get a good variety of shots.
• If it is a wearable item, have at least one view of it being worn. You can use a dress form or mannequin if you do not have a model.
• Show the item in use. For example, if you are selling a basket to hold fruit, show the basket with fruit in it.
• Include an image to show scale. Place it to another common item: coin, adult hand, etc.
• Show more than one side of the item or maybe a close up of smaller details. Get these images downloaded and edited so they'll be ready for listing.
6. Register for an Etsy account. The actual steps for this are quite simple. Go to Etsy.com, click register, and fill in blanks. The tricky part is coming up with a suitable user name for the long haul. This will become your identity on Etsy. It will also be part of your URL (http://username.etsy.com) and your brand. Choose carefully: it cannot be changed later. Remember:
• It should be easy to spell (you won't want to explain it to everyone).
• It should be unique and memorable.
• You may not always sell the same type of item or craft ("yarnworks" won't make sense later if you stop knitting and make jewelry instead)
• You can capitalize the first letter of each word if you want. It won't affect the url or your login, but makes it look nicer when people come to your page.
7. Convert your Etsy "buyer" account to a "seller" account. Etsy automatically sets everyone up as a buyer and converting to a seller seems to trip people up a bit. Just log into your account, click the SELL tab at the top of the page and then GET STARTED on the following page. You will just need to enter in a valid credit card to complete the process.
8. Set up the technical side of your Etsy shop.
• Log in and click YOUR ETSY at the top center of your screen.
• Find SHOP SETUP in the left sidebar and start filling in the information for the first five headings, starting with Appearance. You can skip Sections for now if it doesn't apply.
• For ease, safety and quick payment, Paypal is the best route for payment methods. You will need to register for your own Paypal account first, but it accommodates instant payments instead of waiting for checks in the mail to clear your account. It will allow your customers to pay with funds from their bank account, credit card or with an e-check.
9. List your first item. Log in to your account, click on YOUR ETSY and find the link on the left sidebar that says "Add New Item".
• Choose a title that is short and to the point. This is
what people will see in your shop and under the item's photo if you are
featured on Etsy's homepage or in a treasury. You can edit it later if you need to.
• Write your description and list the materials used. Be descriptive. Tell us why we should buy your product.
• On the next page, use all 14 tagging options. Do some research on similar products and see what other people are using, too. Tags are the search terms that will help somebody find your product.
• Continue through the next couple of pages, preview the listing and then click Finish if no other changes need to be made. You can go back and edit any part of the listing later.
10. Give good customer service with every sale you make. Contact the buyer quickly and thank them for their purchase. Keep them informed on shipping dates and estimated delivery time. Remind them nicely to come back and submit feedback for you and do the same for them in return. Verify the shipping address with the Paypal notification you will receive via email. Clear up any discrepancies. Package items carefully and ship promptly. Include a business card and copy of the receipt unless instructed otherwise. If you'd like to set up a mailing list, ask them if they'd like to be on it.
11. Keep the faith. Buy, live and sell handmade and encourage others to do the same.
• Items are listed for 3 months. If you have 20 items to sell, try listing five or so to start and then add one new item every couple of days. Search results are displayed newest to oldest and this will help you to stay towards the front of the pack. You can also renew a listing for an additional 20 cents to bump it back to the front and you can renew an expired listing if it hasn't sold.• Etsy does take some legwork on your part to get people into your store. Here are some tips for increasing traffic.
• Tell everyone you know. Word of mouth may be your best advertisement.
• Hand out business cards where/if appropriate.
• Be an active Etsian: read current threads and post in the community forums, visit the Treasury and post comments or compliments, create your own treasuries to start making some good Etsy contacts.
• Support the community and be an active Etsy shopper as well. What goes around tends to come around—seriously.
• Get press and attention anywhere you can. Blogging and guest blogging are great. You can offer to be interviewed or even donate an item for a contest or giveaway. Get your name out there any way you can.
• Don't forget that you can buy and sell supplies and patterns on Etsy, as well as crafts. Some items, such as hand-spun yarn or handmade beads, may be both supplies and crafts.
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