The following guest post was written by Jen at the blog The Laundry Is Never Finished. Having connected over Madeline Peyroux, we have now bonded over (among other things) Etsy, the hip place for homemade goods online. Check out her Etsy store, Bliss Home Goods. Have no idea what Etsy even is? Read on, my friends. Jen is going to school us (you know, in a good way) on this cool way to make money on your handiwork.
Etsy. An amazing, much needed, incredible idea; brainchild of some very far-sighted individuals who thought up a good thing and ran with it. And aren't we all glad?
If you haven't stumbled upon this shopping experience, be forewarned that it is incredibly addicting, while a bit overwhelming. It is a collection of 3 particular types of items; handmade, vintage, and supplies, all sold by your average joe (which is the amazing part). I can't even remember how I found Etsy last year but it was love at first sight and made me realize that not only could I shop for well made, completely unique objects, but that I could have a store of my own; a dream that I have had for a long time.
To give you a quick run down of Etsy as a "shopper", there are multitudes of ways to browse, or even pinpoint just the right thing. You can search treasuries (a group of favorites), showcases (seller's favorites), or even stare at your screen while new items pop up as they are added. You can also type in what it is you are looking for, such as "necklace" (although that might yield 232,549 results…seriously), or you could type in "blue glass necklace", which might whiddle you down to 10,700 results. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I don't want to bore you with all the techicalities, so I'll leave you with this paragraph and let you go experience the magic on your own. Oh! But I will tell you with what I think is the most important advice that I missed out on at first; go ahead and register as a user, then while you are browsing, be sure to "heart" those items or sellers that you really admire. It'll add them to your list, so you don't have to go search for them later on. (Trust me…this is a big deal. There are such vast amounts of sellers that if you don't mark them right away you will very likely lose them!)
As for those that might be interested in Etsy as a seller's venue…this is what I've learned.
Although Etsy is an amazing platform for your business, and it is online, and it doesn't require much creative/website upkeep on your end (minus making a fancy little banner for your store), it is still a full-fledged, take-up-your-time business. You almost have to work at it a bit harder than if you owned a storefront, because you quickly, and I mean QUICKLY, get lost in this amazing wonderland. Just because you check your store 10 times a day doesn't mean that others do. I've learned from Etsians that it pays to add your items multiple times a day, every day (20 cents per add). The first painting I sold was purchased minutes after I added it, from someone across the country, who just happened to be sitting at her computer and saw it pop up. I've learned that networking and PR is HUGE, and will probably take up 95% of your time when you begin your business. I've also learned not to get too discouraged…if you like what you do-someone else will like it too! I think that is the most important part. Believe in what you do, and love it. If you don't love it, it's not worth it.
I'm still a relative newbie to Etsy, and while I'm in the midst of a full-fledged house renovation and have put my biz on the backburner for awhile, I can't wait to jump back in and go full force ahead. It truly is a unique opportunity unlike anything that has popped up before, and has literally made dreams come true for multitudes of people. Although this is an exeptionally streamlined rundown on the Etsy scene, you can find masses of information on the website itself, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you may have.
Have fun shopping!