Many artists and crafters have had great success on Etsy. Still others found that getting sales can be a struggle. So is selling on Etsy right for you?
The answer really is...it depends. Before deciding to open up a shop and list your first item, here are some things you may want to consider.
1. What to sell???
In order to sell on Etsy, you have to have a product. Etsy allows you to sell handmade articles, vintage items and craft supplies. If you decide to create something to sell, it needs to be a craft that you not only have experience with, but love to make. Learning a new craft for the sole purpose of selling it on Etsy is a bad idea. Customers ordering from Etsy are expecting a high quality item. Sending them something you threw together not only looks bad on you, but could turn the customer off buying from Etsy all together.
2. How much time are you willing to spend on your store?
Being a successful Etsy seller is not a matter of snapping a quick picture of your work, listing it and watching it sell and fly out the door. Running a store is alot of work, and it requires time and commitment. You will need to have the time to create a steady amount of product. People like to browse through stores with a variety of choices. Before opening you should have at least 10 - 20 items to list. Adding new product regularly will attract more visitors to your store and keep them coming back. You also need to be able to replace items as they sell. If you only have the time to create a few items every once in a while, you might wish to look at other venues.
Also, you need to set aside a fair amount of time promoting your store, participating in Etsy forums, answering conversations from customers, packaging your items and preparing them for shipping.
3. How much are you willing to spend on your store?
Listing on Etsy is very inexpensive. The listing fee is $.20 USD. Etsy also keeps a percentage of all sales, and if your customers pay by paypal, they take a cut aswell. Your store address (username.etsy.com) is free.
Some people also set aside an advertising budget. There are hundreds of free ways to advertise your store, but paying for adspace on blogs and other websites can be a quick way to get alot of vistors.
You also need to keep the cost of materials, packaging and shipping supplies in mind. These are all small business expenses that can add up.
In all, Etsy can be a great place to sell if your looking to turn your hobby into a business or if your looking to get more exposure for your existing craft business. It can be a great way to offer your customers the ability to purchase your items online. It's inexpensive and it's easier to setup then a standard website. If you already have a product to sell, you're willing to put time into running and promoting your store, and your willing to put out at least a few dollars for startup expenses, Etsy may just be the perfect solution for you.