31 Days Blog to Biz / day 21 – And then there’s ETSY!

Have you always wanted to open your own Etsy shop?

I admit I have pondered the thought many times. However not knowing the first thing on how to run one doesn’t stop me from loving to shop in one! They are well set up, easy to purchase through and tons of fun!

Today I have two special guests that are going to talk about their online stores. One is a 2 year veteran and one just started her Etsy Oct 1st!

Gina aka The Shabby Creek Cottage runs an extremely successful Etsy called Shabby Creek Designs. She’s had her shop for 2 years and has reached many Etsy achievements. Her store is stocked with approx 100 lovely cottage styled collections that are custom made to order by herself and her team!

Marianne aka Songbird is brand new to Etsy, located in the Netherlands and has just opened up her new shop Oct 1st! Songbird’s Nest currently features 16 items (already!!) and they are all things vintage and lovely that she finds around her European markets.

Take it away, gals!

~ All Things Etsy ~

When did you first fire up an Etsy shop? 


Gina ~ I started my shop in October of 2009 (2 years ago this month!)

Marianne ~ That’s easy. October 1 2011.


What made you choose Etsy to sell your wonderful treasures? 


G ~ I tried a few other sites, but once I tried Etsy I was hooked. The community that is on Etsy itself is a wealth of knowledge and encouragement that can’t be beat. Plus with their search system, you have a HUGE customer base that already places value on handmade items.


M ~ Because Etsy makes it so easy. You don’t have to worry about the behind the counter kind of stuff, that is all arranged automatically. And also because Etsy is very well known in the circles where I think my potential customers are. So it will be easier for them to find me and for me to reach them.


Gina’s



Do you need lots of followers in order to have a successful store? 


G ~ No, not at all! There are many, many successful shops on Etsy that don’t even have a blog. I actually did it backwards compared to most sellers (most of them start a shop, then a blog to promote their shop.)


M ~ Ask me that in a year…. I really don’t know. I have only had one customer and I don’t think she’s ever read my blog before. She does know about it though…


Marianne’s


Is there a trick to being successful with Etsy in particular? 
If so, what is it? 


G ~ Create good products, take amazing photos, describe them well and list a LOT of items. The more you list, the more opportunities you have to sell something.


M ~ Success with Etsy for me at this point is simply that I have my store up and running. And for that I just had to get over myself and actually start working on my dream. You know even if my shop will turn out to be a total bust, I will still feel successful. Because I tried, because I took a deep breath and jumped. And no matter what comes next that feeling and confidence will never leave me.


Gina’s



Do you ever worry about running out of stock? 


G ~ Well since my items are made to order, I really don’t “run out of stock,” but occassionally the supply that I use becomes unavailable (like certain fabrics I use for pillow covers). I just keep an eye on the stock of that supply before relisting those particular products.


M ~ Not in any danger soon. I have been going to Flea Markets for years and I never could let those poor, old neglected beauties go to waste. I had to take them home with me. So I have a pretty big stock already, and there is always a Flea Market in the next town.


Most difficult thing about an online store: 


G ~ Shipping can take a lot of time – up to hours a day some days. You just have to factor it into your schedule.


M ~ You have to convince buyers with your written words and pictures alone. I know that if I could just have a conversation with someone and show them how they could use an item and how wonderful it is in real life,  I could really ‘sell’ it to them. Now I must rely on my description and their own imagination.


Marianne’s


The best part: 


G ~ Hmm…. probably that my pieces are in the daily lives of my customers – and tons of weddings. How cool is it that I get to be a part of someone’s big day? That amazes me nearly every day 🙂


M ~ I have potential customers all over the world. People living on the other side of the world who might never be able to visit the famous flea markets of Paris could do that vicariously through me and get a wonderful old world treasure from me. That idea is what I love most about having this shop. That I am able to share my vintage French inspired wealth with others.


What advice would you give a newbie? 


G ~ Advertise – and don’t think it will get you immediate sales. Advertising is about building brand recognition. I like to think about it like this – Pepsi does not advertise so you will drop what you’re doing and go that exact moment to go buy a Pepsi. They advertise so that when you are in a store and are looking at drinks, their brand will be easily recognizable and you will be more likely to buy a brand you recognize. I do not run an ad thinking that folks will buy from me instantly, but I hope that when they want something new for their home or a small gift for someone that they will think of my shop.

M ~ I am a newbie, so I am not sure I am qualified yet to give anybody any tips. I still can use all of them myself. But I guess my biggest one would be, don’t do what I did and procrastinate forever and think you have to figure it all out beforehand. Just jump in with both feed and start that shop already.


Anything else? 


G ~ When sales are slow and you feel like no one is buying, then use that time to create new items. You can’t sit still for too long, Etsy is constantly evolving and you have to evolve with it.


Thanks gals! This was invaluable!

Have you had thoughts on having your own store?

For those that have one, have any other tips?
If you have any questions, please ask in comments and come back for the answers there too!

All 31 Day posts to date are HERE.
Visit Day One for each listing HERE.


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  1. Etsy’s been very good to us…I was shocked that furniture sold so well. Etsy’s a great community full of shoppers looking for the unique, creative, and wonderful. Can’t ask for better than that!

  2. What a great post, Donna! I started and Etsy shop 1 1/2 years ago, and I am loving every minute of it! There are some super talented people, and the array of items for sale on Etsy is amazing!

  3. I’ve had my Etsy shop for almost a year now, and nothing in it. Sad, right. But I wasn’t ready and just wanted to get the shop set up. I JUST made my banner this week and have a few things I’m almost ready to list. This post was great motivation…Thank you!!

  4. That was wonderful advice on getting the word out about your brand… so true, thats such an important and great piece of advice, people will identify with you and over time trust and feel safe with you, customers are somthing you need to earn as a crafter.

  5. Wow you really give your readers what they want! I set my shop up over a month ago, and it still sitting empty :(, well tomorrow (I guess it’s really today) I’m going to list something! I’ve been selling on ebay for a couple of years now, and have really wanted my own shop. Now is the time! Thanks

  6. Hi Finding Secret Treasures,
    Although I don’t ship huge pieces, I do know that Greyhound is a great option. You pack it up, take it to your local depot and then your customer picks it up at theirs. It’s much cheaper than other methods. Hope this helps!

    Gina @ The Shabby Creek Cottage

  7. I did the Etsy shop first and then the blog and although either can stand alone, they integrate well. It’s easy to talk about vintage goodies for the home when you’re discussing decor and junking and thrifting. As for branding, absolutely everything I do in the social networking area is under the same name RhettDidntGiveADamn – from Tumblr to Pinterest to Facebook (of course, twitter would only let me have RhettDidnt) – but consistency is key I think. I’m coming up on 9 months with Etsy and have loved every minute of it. I’ve made it a full time job since I don’t work outside of the home and it’s been a lot of work but I feel like I’m getting my footing. xo

    Thanks for this series Donna!

  8. Ohh I want to know that too… how DO you ship items like furniture? Do people really buy furniture off etsy? I’d love to start a shop & build shelfs or tables or list renewed furniture, but I have NO idea how to ship it.

  9. I have never had anymore fun with anything than I do with my Etsy shop. I use my name ImSoVintage everywhere. Like everything else, a shop on Etsy takes a lot of work, but if you love what you sell, and I do, then there are millions of customers out there who will also love it.

    About the shipping of furniture. I haven’t ventured there, but I know a lot of people ship with Greyhound.

    Great series, Donna.
    Laura

  10. This is good & practical information! I just opened an Etsy account, but not selling yet. One of my friends tries to convince me to sell there. I just might…some day. I guess I just need to take the leap!

  11. I have a shop too, but got depressed after several listings and nothing sold. Then I was told in my blog with the same name as shop, to quit using two words in the name as this lady used those two words in her shop’s name. Sheesh! So I now have another shop, but have so far listed nothing. I’ve been creating like crazy, but am very intimidated. I have a hard time figuring pricing too. I have sold 2 items from my blog and that felt great! Right now I keep procrastinating and that is NOT a good thing.

    Thank you once again for an encouraging post to get off our behind and jump in with both feet to accomplish dreams.

    FlowerLady

  12. Thanks so much for this!!! I just opened an etsy shop this week and I’m still a little nervous about it. Your posts this month are hitting it out of the ballpark. You have inspired and stretched me even more than usual!

  13. I decided to start an Etsy store a few months ago and it has been great! I get to sell what I like and buy what I like to sell to like minded people. The more you list the more often it circulates in front of people, so I am figuring out that maybe I should stagger when I list products. Also, join as many “circles” as you can, because that is what puts you in front of others as well.

  14. I have been contemplating starting an Etsy shop but just haven’t gotten the courage to take the leap. I guess one of my biggest concerns is about making a profit and if my “product” will even sell. You see I make bags… you know the type shopping bags, tote bags, etc. I’ve always loved repurposing things so whenever I get my hands on fabric that is just lying around I make a bag. I’ve never sold a bag I’ve made… I just give them away to friends and family. ha ha How does one go about advertising? Yes I do have a blog but post infrequently. Thank you for all the information!

  15. I have two successful shops on etsy. I don’t sell thousands of items, but I typically do sell at least one or two items a week. I also get a lot of custom orders from having an online storefront. I think shipping is the biggest problem for me. I usually under or over estimate the shipping because sending it to different parts of the country is almost impossible to get a correct price. I have a scale, but that doesn’t always help. I don’t ship huge items, but I will get a price quote for someone if they really wants me to ship a piece of furniture. It’s usually just local pick up.

  16. Hi, I am really interested on how you deal with taxes with an online store? Since you are making an income how does the tax end of things work?

    Thank you,

    Jennifer

    My shops soon to be open on etsy: thepricklypoppy
    antiquitygrace

  17. @Christina at I Gotta Create!
    Thank you so much!

    @Peggy
    There is only one way to find out. Just take a deep breath and jump in. I am sure your bags will be a wonderful addition to Etsy.

    @Jennifer
    Can’t help you on that. I have international tax laws to figure out myself. But I am sure you can find everything you need to know on that subject in the Etsy forums.

  18. Etsy has changed my life. Although I am currently working on building my brand outside of Etsy so I can have more control over changes, my site etc.. it really is the best place to start! Easy to set up, cheap, and exposure. I didn’t know it would rock my life like it has though.. so my advice would be to treat it as a business right off the bat!! Remember you will only grow as far as you dream!

    Good luck everyone!!
    xo.Heather from Post Road Vintage

  19. Thanks. Etsy makes it so easy to set up your shop, they have covered every angle. I opened my Etsy shop (2becherished) Sept/11. My passion is knitting and what a great way to present my product to the public. I’m very excited as my first sale has gone to Florida, a new born is coming home from the hospital in a dress I made – how great is that! My advice is to just go for it!
    Lynn @ 2becherished

  20. I have sold a couple of things in my etsy shop called FYHeartWoodworking. What I’d like to ask Gina, or anyone else with a successful shop is… do you use etsy ads or promotions, which cost money to put your products in better locations at etsy? I have not done this, but wonder if that might create more views and sales?

  21. Hi Julie,
    I have used Etsy ads, but I didn’t see very good results – others use them and love them, so it’s one of those things you have to try and see for yourself.

    Hi Jennifer,
    I have three words about taxes: Hire an accountant. Seriously, it’s the best money you can spend on your business!

  22. i was songbird’s…marianne’s first customer. Of course I read her blog!! That is where I found out about her shop and loved my French packet of papers. She is so sweet. And Gina was so kind to visit my blog and give me encouragement! You are all awesome. Di @ cottage-wishes

  23. Oh it’s me again…I have a shop at etsy also. I am not that good at the computer stuff but I did it and posted over 47 items, including my daughters handmade items. Should I change my name to my blog name? My shop name is Diabiana.
    I thought I was picking my password~!
    Dicottage-wishes

  24. What a great post! Thank you! I have an old etsy shop that I started before I began blogging. I have been thinking about how to get the shop going. I didn’t know (until I read some comments from this post) that I could change the name. Oh how I am so ready to get up and running. It’s so hard to take that first step and reading this post has really helped. Thanks Donna!

  25. Thank you so much for doing this post! It is exactly what I needed to read at this exact moment! We are set to open our etsy shop in the next week or two. I love hearing from voices of experience!

    Jill of oursevendwarfs.com

  26. Intriguing, interesting, and oh so informative, Donna! Thanks for this great post. I’ve often thought of opening an Etsy shop – since I purchase so much off of it! – and now I have alot of my questions answered! 🙂

    xoxo laurie

  27. Great post. I’ve wondered about selling on Etsy. Nice to have differnts point of views, a seasoned and fairly new seller.

    The only thing I’d add is if someone sends a personal e-mail either to Etsy or blog, have the courtesy to send a note back. Doesn’t take much time and you might hook a potential customer. Personally, when I don’t get a response, I rarely return to the site and I definitely would not make a purchase.

    Jules

  28. Wonderful post and great comments. I set up a vintage shop in July on Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/itsstilllife and have been averaging a little over a sale a week. It was so scarey to put my items out there. It felt like if no one bought then it was something personal about me. But then I stuffed that thought down and just did it. Even if I didn’t sell, it wasn’t personal. I have to admit, it is a little rush when someone buys. It does take a lot of time.
    Karen G @ It’s Still Life

  29. Wow, such great information from everyone! I started adding items into my shop over the summer and I’ve had a handful of things sell so far. My problem is I worry way to much about what people think and when things don’t sell I start to get depressed 😉 Also, trying to come up with original items is so difficult! As soon as I think I have a great idea, I do some research and find it already there! I’ll continue to create though because it’s what I love to do and hopefully I’ll find customers that love it too!

    Thanks Donna for the great post as usual!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/osopurdy

  30. Hi! I have had an Etsy shop for a couple of years now and I LOVE it! It is so much fun connecting with people from all over the USA! I make personalized ceramic items for baptisms and baby gifts, Personalized Christmas ornaments, faceless angel paintings and other hand painted ceramic items. It is very important that you use all of your tags when listing items. I renamed, retagged, and relished my items back in the fall and it has made a huge difference in my sales! I sold six times this January what I sold last January! Good luck to all of you who are just getting started. It is a blast! Check out my shop at http://www.nataliejcollection.etsy.com!

  31. My daughter and I just opened a shop, Worn and Wonderful, on Etsy June 16. We have had so much fun creating vintage jewelry items together! We’ve already sold 2 pieces and appreciate all the helpful tips and info you all gave.
    I am also an antiques dealer and am thinking of expanding to include more antique and vintage items. Debbe and Emma