The Challenges of Selling on Esty

I’ve tried my hand at selling on Esty before.  Earlier this year I attempted to sell some vintage costume jewelry and a few other vintage items I’ve collected over the years.  Needless to say my efforts didn’t prove very fruitful.  I ended up selling one item.  The sale of that one item paid for my for my listing and selling fees which were very reasonable. I quickly determined that selling on Esty was not a get rich quick endeavor.  Eventually my listings expired and I threw in the towel and carried my treasures back up to the attic.  At that time, I found my biggest problem was driving traffic to my Esty site.

I recently decided to give selling on Esty another try.  You know the old saying “If at first you don’t succeed, try-try again.” This time I decided to mix thing up a bit.  I opted to sell some of my handmade embossed Christmas cards, homemade dog treats, and some vintage buttons.

dog treats 016

dog treats 019

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another card 011

another card 008

Aside from the same old problem of driving traffic to my site, I’ve found that one of the hardest things about selling something homemade or otherwise, is pricing your items fairly.  I always cringe when it comes to this part of the selling process. I think a fair price for a handmade or homemade item should accurately reflect the labor you put into making that item, along with the cost of materials you purchased.  Vintage items are slightly different however, they are often priced according to the current market trends.  Of course you can ask yourself the ultimate question “Would I spend that kind of money on that item?” But that’s not really a perfect way of deciding on your price.  Everyone’s idea of cheap versus pricey varies, and also depends on how capable you are of producing that item yourself, or finding it elsewhere. 

I recently read that a lot of people who sell on Esty are already very crafty themselves – very obvious. It’s quite likely that most Esty users are sellers, not buyers. 

The trick is getting buyers who aren’t Esty sellers to your site is just that – tricky.  That’s hard to believe especially after reading that in February 2011, Esty sold 1.85 million worth of merchandise in just that month alone.  So what is the trick?  I suspect that advertising your shop outside of Esty, using upgraded selling features that are considerably more costly than the typical listing fee, proper tagging, and building your circles of friends through Esty are just a few ways to draw attention to your site.  Many tips on selling can be found in the sellers handbook which offers a wealth of information but it is quite voluminous.

The bottom line, running a business on-line or elsewhere takes time.  You need to be creative, be able to think outside the box, and devote yourself in both times of success and failure.  There are no easy answers, or rarely get rich quick opportunities.  Hard work, persistence and patience are the key.

The question I ask myself?  Do I have the patience it takes to build my small Esty shop?  Time will tell.

Do you sell on Esty?  What’s your opinion?  Please chime in….

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7 thoughts on “The Challenges of Selling on Esty

  1. I started my shop on Etsy back in May, but didn’t start listing my items until the end of October (mostly because of other distractions). Since then I’ve had a fair amount of sales, but found that my traffic increased noticeably after renting a table at a local craft fair/market. I didn’t make a ton of sales at the market, but I did give out a lot of (homemade) business cards. I also started a Facebook page for my shop and joined several “teams” on Etsy. Hope this helps! I’m finding that it does take time to generate a following, but I am learning a lot and having fun while doing it. 🙂

  2. I have an Etsy seller account and I have not done any traffic driving…so zero sales. Like you said the people on etsy are sellers. Even if you are shopping and someone ask for buttons there is too much competition.

    If you are really serious about making a site to sell your things then I recommend buying a domain and build it around OSCommerce or Zencart. They are a bitch to set until you get it but no competition when some one lands and browses on your site. I had a lot more luck making sales that way.

  3. I have some cake pans that I want.ed to sell on Etsy and wondered bow easy or hard it would be. Thank you for the insight. Maybe I’ll hold on to them a bit longer.

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