Handmade is all the rage - so much so that the handmade market is really, really saturated. Etsy is my number one marketplace for selling handmade goods (read why I chose to open up shop back on Etsy here). And a lot of people looking to buy handmade find Etsy to be their number one market place, too. Etsy has it's own built in advertisement - with the ability of shops to place relevant ads in the searches of buyers to the built in ability to maximize your own shop's SEO - you can get a lot of bang, for very little buck.
(this post contains affiliate links, please read my full disclosure here.)
The listing fee is .20 cents, the selling fee is 3.5% of the sale, and with Etsy's direct check out option + the use of paypal it is easy to set up shop. These fees are small potatoes for someone just starting out with a handmade business. For those who can't invest hundreds (or more) from the get go to build your own site (plus spend the time to manage the back end, like ensuring everyone's credit card safety), Etsy's fees are affordable and totally doable. You're out max .20 cents if you don't sell an item as the item is listed for 4 months and you can set the listing to automatically renew once expired (or once sold). This can help you evaluate what has sold and what hasn't...and help you develop the why behind it.
It seems like every Tom, Dick, and Harry are opening shops to sell loads of things - we even opened a vintage shop and had a blast, but have since shuttered the doors - so don't be afraid to look for what you're shopping for on Etsy. And if you are a Tom, Dick, or Harry looking to open up shop, here are 3 things to think about before you start listing:
Am I offering something unique?
Search Etsy right now for the item you are thinking of listing. Do you see that there are 300+ pages of that item? If so, rethink what you're offering. With vintage items as long as you use your keywords, tags, and descriptions properly you may find that you do well with your shop. Everyone is always looking for something vintage to add flair to their home or wardrobe. Be sure to do your research, too as you may find that something isn't as rare or valuable as you'd think.
Are you thinking of selling crocheted hats? Do you know how many crocheted hats there are on Etsy? If you're not offering a unique product, make sure you are offering a unique take. How does your product differ from the hundreds of thousands of similar products listed on Etsy? If you can't find a distinct difference, I'm sorry but your product may get lost in the crowd.
Like I mentioned above - everyone is selling something on Etsy so it is hard to stand out in a crowd. Find a niche, that is your best bet to success.
Do I have the time for this?
An Etsy shop isn't just make it, list it, rake in the dough. There's more time to it. Do you have time to create new stock for demand? Are you going to follow a ready-to-ship or custom order model? When and how will you promote your shop? Are you willing to network with others? How often are you willing to drive to the post office? How much time will you have to respond to customer's questions?
These are all questions that led me to the shop model I have - digital downloads, with minimal customization (if I have time). I didn't like dealing with the post office (I live sort of rural so I get worried my pick up won't happen). I don't like that a package could go missing and I'd have to refund/deal with a claim. I struggled to meet shipping deadlines because of life and life changes. Custom orders would mean I'm tied to the computer either designing or responding to conversations on Etsy.
So consider the time it might take you to spend to have a successful shop. If you're worried you may not have enough time, consider these 3 time saving apps - if you still feel you man not be able to take this on the go (especially if you already have a 9-5 job) the reconsider your shop or your business model.
What is my end goal?
Are you in it to make it big? Or are you in it because you want to make a little money? Are you in it because you figured 'why not'? If you answer yes to any or all of these questions, that is fine! It is wonderful to decide on something and jump in feet first. If you've made it to this last point here and are still considering opening shop that means you're ready for whatever happens. You've accepted all the info above and still want to give it a shot. Good for you.
Consider why you're doing this - consider why you love making what you make. I loved having our vintage shop because we both loved the thrill of the hunt. It was a fun time for us to spend together and we got to branch out and purchase things we'd never purchased before. I love having my digital shop because I didn't see too many affordable printable sticker sets with the items I needed on them. That's really the reason I started all my endeavors - I couldn't find blogs I wanted to read, or videos I wanted to watch, or planner things I wanted to have.....so I made them myself. And if that is your reason, that is just as good as one.
It is important to define this reason now because when you get busy, or slow, or have too much work to do, or feel like a failure....this reason will be the reason you continue on. What makes this endeavor worth it to you? What is your end goal? And keep that close to your heart.
If you're still with me, consider signing up for Etsy to see what the hype is all about. It's my number one platform for buying and selling handmade.
Have you had a shop before? Any tips to offer?