Are you looking to make some extra spending money, or even quit your day job and have your own little business from the comfort of your own home? Etsy could be your answer!
First of all, what is Etsy? I’ll tell you in their words from Etsy.com:
“Etsy is the world’s handmade marketplace.
Our mission is to empower people to change the way the global economy works. We see a world in which very-very small businesses have much-much more sway in shaping the economy, local living economies are thriving everywhere, and people value authorship and provenance as much as price and convenience. We are bringing heart to commerce and making the world more fair, more sustainable, and more fun.”
In layman’s terms, this is a site where you can open your own little online shop for free and sell either handmade items, vintage items, or crafting supplies. Anything that is 20 years old or older is considered vintage.
I have been an Etsy seller for almost 5 years now. I started out making my own jewelry. I actually fell into making handmade jewelry because I was a brand new stay-at-home mom with a baby. That Christmas, I wanted to find something that I could make for my female relatives that could save money and also be memorable. I found an online tutorial, went out and bought all of the supplies and set out to make the bracelets. It was so much harder than I ever imagined it would be. It required the use of jewelry making tools, the wire wrapping technique, and a LOT of patience. I was determined to stick to my commitment of making these bracelets and I did! Below is the very first bracelet I ever made:
This was a huge feat for me because I am not a naturally crafty or creative person. I was so excited, especially after the positive reaction that I received from my relatives, that I decided to start making more jewelry. I’ve always been so interested in rocks and gems. Out of all of the science classes I took in high school and college, the one I enjoyed the most was Geology. So I figured, this is for me and I’m going to go for it.
An acquaintance of mine told me about Etsy. I had never heard of it before and was a little bit skeptical. However, almost 5 years later, I am so glad I tried it. I created my own little sole proprietorship and named my company Nico Alexander Designs – based on my son’s name Dominic Alexander.
Once I started selling on Etsy, I decided to branch out and sell locally. I participated in craft shows as well as getting my jewelry in local shops such as Snallygaster in Middletown, MD, Le Savon in downtown Frederick, MD and a seasonal Christmas store in downtown Frederick, MD. All of this stemmed from setting up my shop on Etsy.
I created hundreds of jewelry designs and either sold them or gave them as gifts. Here is a small sample of my many designs that I created over the years:
I even made a necklace and earring set for the owner of Le Savon who was getting married.
I absolutely loved making jewelry. However, it was extremely competitive and took a huge amount of time, money, and work to market myself and get my name out there. My sales on Etsy were slowing down as well because there are so many handmade jewelry sellers on Etsy.
But this is where my story evolved into something new and exciting. The beauty of Etsy is that you can open more than one shop. After seeing that my few vintage costume jewelry pieces were selling a lot better on my Nico Alexander site than my own labor intensive handmade jewelry was, I decided to open up a 2nd shop called Lucy and Ethel Designs to sell strictly vintage costume jewelry. I also have a 3rd shop Frances and Harold which I opened up for a friend who asked me to sell his mother’s estate jewelry.
Lucy and Ethel Designs has become my best selling shop to date. I have made 99 sales and counting. The beauty of it is that I love going to yard sales, estate sales, and shopping on online auctions. So I’m having fun finding the pieces for dirt cheap prices and then selling them for a profit on Etsy.
Who can’t use extra spending money these days?
Here are some examples of my vintage pieces:
So if this doesn’t convince you to at least try it and see how you like it, let me give you a couple more reasons to motivate you. Here are some very interesting Etsy statistics as of September 2012:
- $76.8 million of goods (after refunds and cancellations) were sold by the Etsy community in September, 0.8% higher than August’s $76.2 million
- That represents 3,988,852 items sold for the month, 4.9% higher than August’s 3,802,480
- 2,530,651 items were listed in the month, 2.9% higher than August’s 2,459,069
- 866,750 new members joined the Etsy community in the month, up 14,879, or 1.7%, from August
- 1.42 billion page views were recorded on the site in September
Here are some more good reasons to try it out:
- Opening up an online shop is free.
- Each listing only costs .20 cents and stays on your shop for 4 months.
- Once your listing expires after 4 months, it only costs .20 cents to re-list that item.
- If you sell an item, Etsy only takes 3.5 % of the total cost of your sale before shipping costs.
- Etsy buyers can buy through PayPal and all major credit cards.
- Etsy is a worldwide marketplace. I have sold to customers in Hong Kong, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Russia, Canada, South Korea, Italy, Ireland, Malaysia, Singapore, and all over the United States.
- Etsy has a great online community which offers forums, teams, tutorials, and selling advice.
- Good quality and clear pictures are crucial to selling your product.
- Write up a great description.
- Use all 5 pictures per listing.
- Have as many items listed on your shop as possible. The more variety, the better.
- Try to pick a tight niche market.
- Make your prices competitive, but also don’t short-change yourself.
- Get a thorough knowledge of domestic and international shipping rates.
- List often.
- Provide good service with great communication and quick shipping.
- Have fun!