I am having a huge exploratory stage in my life right now. I’ve quit subbing as a teacher for at least the year. From where I see it, I have 5 official years to find a job in my field and after that I’m pretty SOL and would probably just need to settle for a sub licence. We’ll see, I have time and for now I’m finding out new things I like to do and am good at!
You probably know what this post is all about: Etsy. For those of you who don’t know what etsy is, I’ll tell you. Etsy is an online site where you can sell or purchase handmade items, materials/patterns, and vintage items. It’s actually really awesome and you can search around by going to the Etsy site.
Here’s how I got to actually selling on Etsy. I have been dabbling with knitting for a little over two years now. I would practice the basics, get frustrated, and quit for months on end. This past summer I decided I would knit a gift for a friend who was going to have her first child. I had never done a whole project before, but found some patterns and gave it a go. I found out I was really quite good at the craft and thought, “Hey, I could come up with some of my own patterns and sell them.” Please don’t ask me how I do it, because I am quite bewildered at my abilities as well!
Anyway, one thing ran to another and I decided the easiest way to send out feelers in the market, without putting down too much money like in a craft show, would be to try an online site. I had heard of and looked at Etsy a few times in the past. I knew you could sell there, so that’s when I started looking into it (which wasn’t very long since I already had my mind set on it). Right now I offer knit items, sewn items, and other crafts. So far, I’ve had no sales, but lots of positive feedback from viewers. Maybe you’ll be my first sale! Here are a few of my favorite items.
You can find my Etsy site at Miss Niss Craftworks
Below I am outlining some basic information about Etsy for seller and buyers alike as well as highlighting some of the interesting aspects of the website!
-Creating an account for Etsy is pretty simple. All the basics are there: Name, email, address, billing info, username, password, ect. Things you need to give in order to at the very least buy something from the site. With this you are simply a buyer. You also have an option to open a shop. This process involves you adding items to your shop, setting up payment method, your billing, and then finally opening. I wish I had some pictures to detail this process, but didn’t think of writing this article until much later.
-Your profile can be as simple as your gender and the day you joined. You can also write a short biography about yourself. Your profile page will list that information along with your favorite items, shops, circles, and treasuries.
-There are several options Etsy provides as payment. However, the shop owner will be the one to set which methods he or she accepts. The most common and easiest methods are Credit Card and Paypal. The credit card is basically the same as Paypal for the buyer. As a seller the credit card payment goes directly to your bank account while the Paypal goes to your Paypal account which you then have to transfer to your bank account. In both cases a transaction fee and percentage of your fee are taken from your sale. Note: these two fees are only pertinent to the seller.
Other methods of payment include personal check and money order.
Which will then take you to a page like the one below which will continue to narrow down your search and look through items available.
Etsy has featured items on it’s main page and in searches. Below is an example of what it would look like for what they call ‘hand picked items’ as well as offers of similar items based on what you previously looked at.
In the searches, those items are items in which a seller has paid for advertisement through Etsy. Depending on how much you budget per week for promoting in search ads on Etsy depends on the number of impressions you will get on your shop and items. I haven’t set this up, but below shows the steps in creating your shop’s promotion.
-Activity is traced on Etsy specific to your account and people in your circle can be found with the swirly icon (or first icon next to the Etsy) on the bar at the top of the screen. The number of updates or new items is shown in a little blue circle that shows up on the upper left of the icon. The activity updates much like facebook does. Whenever you favorite something or create a new treasury the activity button will notify you. Similarly, whenever someone in your circle updates or when someone favorites your shop or item it will appear as well.
-You can contact shop owners or your friends on Etsy through the messaging button located on the bar at the top of the screen. It’s shown as the envelope icon. Etsy will let you know if there is a message by creating a blue circle pop up with the number of messages you have in the circle. From there it’s like a mini email. You messages are shown, who they’re from, and a blurb of what’s in the message.
-I think the circles thing is a bit silly, but it’s mostly just who are your ‘friends.’ However, I’m not really sure that you have to wait for your friend request to be accepted. You simply can choose people to be in your circle — shop owners you like or other users.
-Etsy also allows you to ‘favorite’ items that you like. These items will be saved in the favorites area of your account. This is fun, because you get to share what you like with others as well as possibly keep an item in your peripheral in case you choose to buy it at a later date.
The favorites button is found on the top toggle bar and on the left hand site of a shop owner’s screen
Or you can find favorites here by simply clicking on the ‘favorites’ word
Like I mentioned before, all your favorites will be congregated in one place. Here’s an example of mine.
You can see there is a tab for Items, Shops, and Treasury list. The items and shops are self explanatory. The ‘items’ tab shows your favorite items and the ‘shops’ tab shows your favorite shops.
-The treasury on Etsy is a unique aspect of the website. It is a place where a member of the site can be a curator, much like Pinterest. However, you don’t have to be invited, you just need an account to Etsy. In the treasury you can find lists that other people have made or make your own. Each list is made of 16 items of the same genre. It’s actually asked that you only use a shop owner once in your treasury so that the treasury is not about just that shop owner but the actual items. Here’s an example of one of my treasuries.
-As a shop owner it is important for me to outline some basic policies for my shop. You can find a shop’s policies on the side bar at the near the bottom of the list. There should be ‘policies’ in blue that is clickable. Not all shop owners do, but it’s sort of a fail safe. If the seller deliberately tries to scam you or whatever may be the case you as the shop owner can always point out that you have policies. It actually protects you and the buyer. Here is a snippet of the policies I have for my shop.
Listing an Item
-Listing an item is actually super easy and clearly spelled out for you as a seller. Here is the information you need to give to list an item: Who made it, is it a finished item, when was it made, what category can the item be put in, picture, title for the item, a description of the item, price, quantity, and shipping. Additional options include variations (if you offer different colors, sizes, styles, ect.), shop section (you can create sections in your shop making it easier to for buyer to browse through category), recipient, occasion, style, and tags/materials (for search). To me, it is nice that the seller gets to decide price that will correspond to material cost and shipping that corresponds with the shipping method you use.
-Shop stats are for the seller. It compiles data about the views of your shop, when, and where viewers came from. I find it’s a nice way to see what activity attracts buyers to your shop and also what they are looking at. Here is an example of a day’s stats in my shop (very quiet that day).
-Along with the social network found on Etsy, facebook and twitter are also connected with the site. You can log those accounts into Etsy and share updates as a seller or buyer. You can automatically post on facebook or twitter new items that are in the shop. As a buyer you can share items and shops you like as well. It’s a nice aspect as a seller, I feel, since it allows you to connect to potential buyers that have not yet heard of Etsy or found you via Etsy.
You can find my shop’s facebook page at Miss Niss Craftworks Don’t forget to ‘Like’ the page, too!
Well, I think that’s probably about as much basic information about the Etsy website as I’m willing to disclose right now. Ha! Actually, it’s plenty to sink in. Enjoy the site and visit my shop as well! Send me a message on Etsy or Cents to Share. Remember, I am a new user as well, if you have any additional information or fixes to misconceptions I have please, please, please leave a comment below!