Author Topic: The Etsy Thread!  (Read 15547 times)

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
The Etsy Thread!
« on: September 29, 2015, 11:15:38 AM »
Spurred by another post, I thought it would be a good idea to have a large Etsy-related thread as I've seen lots of little threads come and go, and there can be a big learning curve.  There are several experienced, successful Etsy sellers on the forum, and I for one would be happy to volunteer my knowledge to help fellow mustachians!

I'm planning on doing a few posts about tips and recommendations, but feel free to ask any questions as well.  And anyone else please chime in!  I hope this thread can be a good resource for all!

Personally I don't feel comfortable sharing my shop link as it reveals my somewhat public persona, but feel free to post links to your shops here if you feel so inclined!

Personally, I sell jewelry, which is a challenging and saturated market.  I've had my shop for going on 4 years now, and in the last year it has become quite successful. So far I'm up to just a hair under 15K in profit for the year, which I've used to fully fund an IRA and purchase mutual funds, holding back about 5K in cash.  It's been really great for my FI goals, but it has been HARD WORK.  I generally devote around 30 hours per week to running the shop, including everything from actually making the jewelry to replying to messages, taking photographs, and running my social media feeds.  I think my most important Etsy tip is don't think you can just sit back and sell.  When you call this a side-hustle it is accurate- hustle is the key word!  I work harder on this than anything I've ever done in my life, but it is really rewarding to see something that I've built from the ground up turn into a successful business.

How about you?  Do you have an Etsy shop?  How is it going?  Have you thought of opening an Etsy shop?  What questions do you have?

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #1 on: September 29, 2015, 11:28:51 AM »
Well, I'm the polar opposite of you. I've had a shop going for a while, and now I'm hoping to sell off inventory and get out of the gig.

I have had my shop open for about a year and only sold one item. For less than list price. To my sister.

Now I don't have a load of time to dedicate to the shop, and my items (wooden toys) are pretty dime-a-dozen. I tried spamming facebook but that wasn't appreciated, and doing craft shows and local promotions ate in to time I just don't have available. Once I cost out my materials, my profit is less per hour than I can make delivering pizzas, and the competition from mass-producers overseas is fierce.

Most of that overseas competition is in eastern Europe and China. I get the cheap labout but I can't figure out how a toy sold for $2 can be shipped from the Czech republic to Toronto for less than it costs me to drive it across town.

I think for small, light items there is probably money to be made, but for items of substance, I can't make the formula work. Having said that, this past weekend my sister (who runs a very successful Etsy shop selling handmade dolls) and I went to a 'Made Here' Etsy sale, and in 4 hours I managed to sell off $150 of my stuff. I still have about $200 in inventory to get rid of.

I look forward to this conversation, should be fun to see how folks get a foothold.

Britan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 136
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #2 on: September 29, 2015, 02:51:38 PM »
Well I'll just post here so we can consolidate threads. :)

I'm hoping to sell artwork prints. I did a little research recently and discovered that some folks do print*ables* too, which eliminates the printing and shipping costs. The prices are lower ($2-5 each not $20+) but I could see this being an option as a start up, to see if I can get my promotion act together.

I'm working on some ... I'd say pop art-y vector type pictures, though as my own worst critic, they are never good enough to be considered "done" to me! Agh, will have to eventually call something done.

irishbear99

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 295
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2015, 03:19:49 PM »
How about you?  Do you have an Etsy shop?  How is it going?  Have you thought of opening an Etsy shop?  What questions do you have?

I make jewelry as well, and have been kicking around the idea of opening an Etsy shop for a couple of years now. The main thing that's holding me back is that my primary job is pretty demanding, and I often have to travel for extensive periods (up to four to six weeks) on very short notice. I'm just not sure I can consistently contribute the effort needed (you quote 30 hours a week!) to try to make my shop successful.

The other concern I have is I see so many people pricing their items super low - much, much lower than I know the materials cost, let alone labor costs. How do you even compete against people who just want to sell things and don't care what they make?

Mountainbug

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 66
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2015, 03:58:33 PM »
Interested to read your experiences, and I was wondering if anyone had any hours on the longevity of etsy?

richmadethis

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2015, 12:17:22 AM »
I have a small Etsy shop selling my original digital cross stitch patterns (if interested: https://www.etsy.com/nz/shop/Richearts). I haven't put much hustle into it, and it is digital downloads so it's pretty easy to maintain. Iv'e sold around 140 pattern this year, it has steadily grown, but still not exactly an earner! Also have to watch out for others stealing my designs. There are some really successful Etsy shops selling digital cross stitch patterns and heaps of other competition, so you have to have fresh ideas which is a fun design challenge.  I have plans to develop it further and offline (selling kits at craft shops etc...) eventually.

Tris Prior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3025
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2015, 06:49:32 AM »
I've been selling jewelry on Etsy for 6 years. This year has been absolutely horrid. I think it's mostly because I just plain do not have the time for a lot of promotion, between my day job getting way busier and my elderly mother needing more help. I think the fact that it seems like suddenly EVERYONE is doing my particular craft (chainmaille) - and selling it for cost - is not helping either.

I have lots to say about this but am at work so not much time.... one question I have, MissStache is this: As a fellow longtime seller, how do you keep coming up with new things to say on social media re your products? I have tried everything the articles say. I ask questions. I post links that I think might be interesting to my target demographic. I try and keep the shouting-about-products to a minimum.... but, well, I AM selling things so I figure I'm supposed to mention them at least sometimes. I get absolute crickets with everything I post. Very, very few responses; very little engagement. Clearly I am doing something wrong but am not certain what. At this point I sit down to promote a product and just have got nothing. I half-seriously told Boyfriend I was going to post, "Yep. These are earrings. They're shiny. It'd be cool if you bought them." haha.

(and if you're comfortable I'd love it if you PMed your shop name so I can see what you're doing differently from me. I'm at around 4k for the year, and that's gross, not net. :/ I do wonder if the reason that I'm not doing so well is that I am making a product that has fallen out of fashion and no one wants right now. Most jewelry I see at craft fairs, and on people, these days is very minimalist. Mine... let's just say that it is not, haha. ;)  )


MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2015, 07:54:49 AM »
Well, I'm the polar opposite of you. I've had a shop going for a while, and now I'm hoping to sell off inventory and get out of the gig.

I have had my shop open for about a year and only sold one item. For less than list price. To my sister.

Now I don't have a load of time to dedicate to the shop, and my items (wooden toys) are pretty dime-a-dozen. I tried spamming facebook but that wasn't appreciated, and doing craft shows and local promotions ate in to time I just don't have available. Once I cost out my materials, my profit is less per hour than I can make delivering pizzas, and the competition from mass-producers overseas is fierce.

Most of that overseas competition is in eastern Europe and China. I get the cheap labout but I can't figure out how a toy sold for $2 can be shipped from the Czech republic to Toronto for less than it costs me to drive it across town.

I think for small, light items there is probably money to be made, but for items of substance, I can't make the formula work. Having said that, this past weekend my sister (who runs a very successful Etsy shop selling handmade dolls) and I went to a 'Made Here' Etsy sale, and in 4 hours I managed to sell off $150 of my stuff. I still have about $200 in inventory to get rid of.

I look forward to this conversation, should be fun to see how folks get a foothold.

I'm sorry to say that I think your experience is pretty common.  A LOT of people are struggling with the overseas factory competition, and I've also been surprised at the shipping prices.  Shipping to and from Canada is CRAZY these days, too, which makes it challenging from you.

I think there has been a weird shift in Etsy of late, which is that people are now looking to get a bargain.  That wasn't ever the case before, when it was a smaller marketplace and a smaller customer base.  The people shopping there valued handmade and were willing to pay for it.  Now a lot of the shoppers are different.  Whenever I hear someone complaining that Etsy is too expensive, I want to remind them that if they want cheap stuff they can go to WalMart. 

I think the most successful shops still operate like this is the case.  They talk a lot about their process, they have pictures of their workshops, and they market and price their items like they are hand-crafted works of art.  If you are making something handmade, then you have to pretend like the re-sellers and factory-made sellers aren't competing with you, but competing against each other at a lower level. 

I'm not sure if that is the case with the toy market, but it may be worth thinking about!


MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2015, 07:57:46 AM »
Well I'll just post here so we can consolidate threads. :)

I'm hoping to sell artwork prints. I did a little research recently and discovered that some folks do print*ables* too, which eliminates the printing and shipping costs. The prices are lower ($2-5 each not $20+) but I could see this being an option as a start up, to see if I can get my promotion act together.

I'm working on some ... I'd say pop art-y vector type pictures, though as my own worst critic, they are never good enough to be considered "done" to me! Agh, will have to eventually call something done.

It would be soooo challenging for me to sell art, because I know I'd struggle with the same issues as you...not thinking something is good enough or "done".  I think you just have to take the leap at some point :)

Printables are a good idea since they generate passive income for you, just be careful that you are extremely clear and explicit that they are getting something that *they* have to print and nothing is coming in the mail for them!  I know there is some confusion with that!

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2015, 08:01:04 AM »
How about you?  Do you have an Etsy shop?  How is it going?  Have you thought of opening an Etsy shop?  What questions do you have?

I make jewelry as well, and have been kicking around the idea of opening an Etsy shop for a couple of years now. The main thing that's holding me back is that my primary job is pretty demanding, and I often have to travel for extensive periods (up to four to six weeks) on very short notice. I'm just not sure I can consistently contribute the effort needed (you quote 30 hours a week!) to try to make my shop successful.


I can see how that would be a big challenge, as you'd have to put your shop in vacation mode on a regular basis which can be off-putting to some customers.  You'd need to ensure that you could fill your orders quickly if you got notice that you had to leave town.  One way to do that would be to build a big inventory up front instead of offering stuff made-to-order, so you could get it out the door rapidly if you had to pull up stakes.  It certainly isn't impossible, but it adds some complexity. 

I'm going to address pricing in another post!

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2015, 08:03:19 AM »
I have a small Etsy shop selling my original digital cross stitch patterns (if interested: https://www.etsy.com/nz/shop/Richearts). I haven't put much hustle into it, and it is digital downloads so it's pretty easy to maintain. Iv'e sold around 140 pattern this year, it has steadily grown, but still not exactly an earner! Also have to watch out for others stealing my designs. There are some really successful Etsy shops selling digital cross stitch patterns and heaps of other competition, so you have to have fresh ideas which is a fun design challenge.  I have plans to develop it further and offline (selling kits at craft shops etc...) eventually.

I LOVE the idea of offering digital items, since it is a great way to have passive income.  I've been trying to come up with ideas for something like this to offer in my shop, but so far have come up blank.  My sister is an avid-purchaser of digital sewing and knitting downloads and it seems like it is a great market.  I think kits are a great idea, too, since trying to source all the materials can be a big pain to deal with!

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #11 on: September 30, 2015, 08:23:04 AM »
PRICING!  I think this is, bar none, the most difficult thing to get right when it comes to Etsy.

Here's basically a cut-and-paste from an earlier Etsy thread in response to a question about pricing crochet work:  http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mustachian-marketplace/sharing-an-etsy-code/msg783767/#msg783767

"Pricing:  OY!  The Bane of Etsy!  So many well-intentioned crafters!  So many people who don't value their work (or think that others don't value it!), so many re-sellers from China dragging down the prices.   I really struggled with this at first and severely under priced myself.  When I finally decided that HEY, this is working and I think I can actually turn this into something big I sat down and figured out how much I was really making (not much) and how much I wanted to charge per hour.  I make about $30/hour at my real job, and I wanted to make more than that, so I charge my labor at $35/hour.  Now pricing for jewelry and pricing for a labor-intensive craft like crochet is VERY different, because I don't think the market could support those kind of rates for your work, so you really have to figure out what works for you.  I will tell you that I have a 100% markup on ALL of my materials (and I'm marking up less than some of my competitors!), so don't underprice yourself there.  My I-want-to-stand-on-a-mountaintop-and-yell-this-mantra to all Etsy sellers is "DON'T BE AFRAID TO CHARGE WHAT YOU ARE WORTH!".  When I raised my prices I actually started selling more...true story!

I absolutely consider the pricing on my competition, but don't get stuck in a price-war with someone.  It is bad for both of you.  That's how I started out doing it and I regretted it.  Don't be in a bubble, but think about YOUR needs and what works for YOU.  It isn't worth it to sell 5x more than that other person if you are making less money.  If you can sell 1 of those things and make the same amount as if you sold 5, then just sell 1!  Your hands will thank you!  Getting my pricing was the hardest thing I've done related to my shop, so don't let me make it sound like it was easy. This has been a 4+ year journey for me, and I've only this year really gotten into my groove!"

****

I sell pretty expensive jewelry.  My necklaces, my best seller and what I am known for, range from $70-$180.  I sell a lot of them.  An astonishing amount of them.  I have competitors who sell very similar necklaces for less, and I outsell them.  There is one person who sells similar necklaces for much, much more and people still buy from her!  Don't automatically assume that a lower price equals more sales. 

I THINK my success comes from several factors:

1.  I have great photos.  It took me a long time to get to the point where I take good photos, but it really helped my shop.  I think that's what really kickstarted things for me.  You can have the most beautiful, well-priced item in the world and if you had bad photos it won't sell. 

2.  My descriptions are long.  Super long and rambly (a lot like my posts, ha!).  But I talk a lot about the items: what they are made from, what the quality is like, all important measurements, my inspiration for the piece, I use adjectives like elegant, luxurious, playful, lively, sparkling, classic.   When someone reads my descriptions, I think they get a feel for my items and, more importantly, a feel for ME.  They know I'm a person, they know what I look like (I use myself as a model), they know how I talk.  It really drives the point home that you are purchasing a quality, handmade item from a real person who is totally grateful for their business. 

3.  Social Media.  This has been a boon for me, and I'll talk more about that in another post. 

Because I have done these things and because I have a solid customer base and a good product, I can charge more than my competition.   I also KNOW I have a quality product- better than or equal to my competition, and I'm not afraid to talk about it.  I'm also not afraid to charge for it. 

ambimammular

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 418
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Indiana
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #12 on: September 30, 2015, 08:27:42 AM »
I love the crocheting, but hate the promotion part of the business. One of the mistakes I made was taking the shop down when I was out of town. It killed any momentum I had built up. I also used to sell each fruit or vegetable separately, but the bundled packages were the ones that got the most interest.

Nothing much has been happening for me on Etsy. I did much better at our local farmers' market over the summer. But even there, they weren't my target audience. I think my stuff would do best in a downtown boutique or a children's section of a gift shop. But I'm not clear on how to get it there. And frankly, adding the boutique's cut would price the items too high for most spenders. My next step will be to start a Facebook page for the shop, but, once again, I'll end up spending more of my time promoting than crocheting.
   
I'd be grateful for any critiques you can throw my way! Should I put back the individual listings? Double the prices and try selling them at a boutique? Has anyone done this? https://www.etsy.com/shop/APicnicLunch

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2015, 09:00:16 AM »
Pricing is tough - and I know my buyers basically thing they can make what I make in 15 minutes. I hear it often at in-person craft shows. "Oh grandpa used to make these on his table saw. All you do is buy a 2X4 and..."

Which is where it falls apart, because if you are building childrens' toys out of construction lumber, it will check and split in a few months. If you are buying high grade wood, seasoning it until its stabilized, then planing it and machining it square and true, you've already got about 4X what grandpa did invested in the finished item. But to the buyer, when they see pine, they think 2X4.

I try to play up the personal side of it with words like 'heritage' and 'old-timey' and so on, but folks see it and think "Anyone can do that!" and they're right, but they won't do it, and if they do try, they'll find they need some pretty good tools and jigs to make it look simple. If you own a planer, shaper, sander, tablesaw, drill press, etc. sure, go build your own toys, but if you own that stuff, you didn't come to the craft show to buy anything, you came for ideas - which I'm cool with.

The most interesting thing I've found (and need to adapt to) is that if I sell my toys in pieces as  a sort of Ikea kit, 2 things happen. First, buyers buy an experience - they say "this perfect for *insert someone else' name here* to make with *insert child's name here*. I see a lot of kits sold at craft fairs to be assembled by husbands, grandparents, aunts and uncles for children and relations. Never, ever by the buyer. FWIW, at craft shows, I sell the kits side-by-side with the finished trains, and for the same price. I always sell out of kits first. Puzzling.

I have also gotten a lot of requests for kits from museums, daycares, and summer camps, but inevitably they want the kit for less than the materials cost. The argument is that they should save bundles since the labour savings are so great. What they miss is that the labour is in setting up the machines to make the various cuts, bores, etc. and even when they knock that part out of the equation, I still have money in the materials. Wheels aren't free, neither is dowel, neither is wood. When I give my lowest production cost I usually lose the deal.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm not much of a business person. So I approach etsy now as a seasonal hobby. When the weather is bad, I'll put some time into it, but its only a thing I do when I feel like it, and will never be an income stream. I can't compete with this: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/228214632/unique-vintage-handmade-wooden-folk-art

RunHappy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 561
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #14 on: September 30, 2015, 09:10:34 AM »
I've had an Etsy shop for a while but I have only sold 2 crochet custom items through it.  I have a couple more sales "pending" because someone contacted me several times and asked if I could make something, but they haven't paid yet.  I told them I needed payment before starting work on the custom items and they keep telling me "it is coming".

I would like to do more with it, but the bottom line is time.  It seems to really make Etsy work you need to put full time hours into it.  Also I do not produce a lot of crochet items to keep in stock, as I prefer to do custom work instead of just turning out a bunch of hats or scarves.

Here is my shop:  https://www.etsy.com/shop/cyntheology

Tris Prior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3025
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2015, 10:41:55 AM »
I have my stuff in a few stores - the general rule is you are not supposed to increase your prices for the stores. (At least one of them that I'm in states in the contract specifically that I may not sell them for less elsewhere.) You're supposed to price your stuff high enough everywhere you sell it - Etsy, website, craft fairs -  that it can withstand that 50% (or whatever) cut that the store takes for consignment. Which I find is tough in practice, because people just plain will not pay that, in my experience. :/

So, I tend to offer only the items that are quick and easy to make. A lot of my stuff, I will not consign because it's too complex or time-consuming to make the 50% cut worth my time. I mostly give earrings, holiday ornaments, other small stuff to stores.

Tris Prior

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3025
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2015, 10:53:16 AM »
ambimammular , yes, I would put back the individual listings. It's only going to cost you, what, 20 cents a pop, and some people are going to only want one fruit or veggie. Or, they don't want to pay for a set. It's good to have different price points.

Also - the one thing that I've found really helps boost sales for me on Etsy is having lots of listings. The more the better, because it gives shoppers more points of entry into your shop. I'm pushing 200 items.... well, I was until my huge craft fair that just happened this weekend. Need to replenish. I'm not saying you need that many! But you've only got 3 items right now so that gives shoppers fewer ways to find you in search.

Oh! Also, I just noticed that your tags are all single words. It's better to use tags that are phrases that someone would type into search to find your item - this will help you rank higher in Etsy search. Like, say "crocheted veggie" instead of just "crochet" and "veggie."

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2015, 11:24:21 AM »
Another question for the folks who are making Etsy work... is it better to have a few select items in your shop, or do you keep them packed with stuff all the time? I could get way ahead on production, but I end up holding piles of stuff waiting for it to sell.

cheddarpie

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 249
  • Age: 41
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2015, 07:49:59 PM »
I'm replying to follow -- I'm in the process of opening a shop and appreciate all this insight! I'm planning on mostly art prints with a few other special items. It's been a goal for about 5 years (when Etsy was different ... alas) but I'm excited to finally get my butt in gear to make it happen. Thanks, all!

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 14046
  • Age: 62
  • Location: NorCal
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2015, 08:01:02 PM »
Oh thank goodness. I have no Etsy shop. I'm not sure I've ever even been on Etsy, because my impression is that it doesn't jibe with my mustachian lifestyle. When I saw this subject, I feared it was going to be about how to shop Etsy. So happy that it's about how to create a side gig to sell stuff you've made your very own self to muggles. Yes!

ambimammular

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 418
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Indiana
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #20 on: September 30, 2015, 10:10:18 PM »

@Tris Prior -Thanks for the feedback! I've already gone back and improved the tags and put back all my individual fruit and veggie listings. More pictures is next on the to do list.

I think the best change was to my shop announcement. It's way more inviting and engaging, I know I wouldn't have gone back to give it a second glance if not for this thread.

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2015, 08:09:55 AM »
ABOUT KEEPING YOUR SHOP STOCKED:

More is better! I totally agree with Tris Prior on this! Really, keep your stock full and updated.  I've heard lots of people on the Etsy forums talk about there being a "magic" number when their shop really started to take off, and the general consensus seems to be about 100 items.  As of this moment I have 329 active listings, however to be fair I do sell some supply-type stuff like ribbons and paper flowers, but the vast majority is my jewelry.  There are a few really good reasons for this:

1.  Your shoppers have more chances to find you.  Each item represents a potential point of entry into your shop from a search or a link, so the more chances you have the better.  You are competing with hundreds (and often hundreds of thousands) of other sellers, so you want to make sure you are giving yourself more opportunities to catch someone's eye. 

2.  Your shoppers have more chances to find something they WANT.  They may click on an link to your shop (I'll say a scarf for an example) that takes them to a navy blue scarf.  But they don't want a navy scarf, they want sky blue.  You don't have a sky blue scarf in your shop, so they don't buy from you.  And I bet you could have made a sky blue scarf, but most customers don't want to send you a message and ask if you could make one, they will just go to another shop that has one listed.  The more you can keep them clicking in YOUR shop, the better.  And that means lots of listings.     

3.  It makes you look professional.  Etsy shoppers have a weird mix of wants.  They want to know something is handmade by a person, but they also want a typical online shopping experience.  They want to trust that you are offering a good product and you know what you are doing.  They want to know you are experienced enough to fill their order professionally.  A shop with just a few items can say several things:  "I'm brand new and I don't know what I'm doing yet."  "I've been doing this for a long time, but I don't care enough to stock my shop"  "I'm letting my shop die, so I don't care if I make sales"  "I can't keep up or dedicate time to this shop"  Now those may not be true statements, but an active, engaged shop has a lot of items. 

4.  It shows your breadth of skill.  Each item is a chance for you to show off.  Let's go back to the scarf.  Your customer may only be looking for that blue scarf, but it makes them feel confident to click around on those green and yellow and pink scarfs to see how good you are.  Each opportunity they have to view your work makes you look better and makes the customer more confident in you as an artisan.  And guess what, maybe in that clicking around they find an orange scarf that Aunt Martha would love!

5.  Repeat customers.  I love my repeat customers. I have a lot of them, and they are so affirming and rewarding! It means that they love what you are doing and they love your product.  But you can only have repeat customers if you are offering lots of variety.  Maybe that person who bought a blue scarf realizes three months later that they also want a hat and hey!  They remember seeing hats when they were clicking though all of your listings earlier!  Now they can get a matching hat and maybe a new scarf while they are at it.  Creating more things for them to purchase gives them a reason to come back in and check with you, and it also...

 6.  Creates opportunities for you to share.  I will talk more later about social media, but every new item I list gets a share somewhere- facebook, instagram, my blog...somewhere!  It gives you new things to talk about, which ups engagement and tempts your customers to check back in and see what else is new. 

Wow I'm wordy!  Hope this was helpful :)

Now, stop reading and go list some stuff!

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2015, 08:14:35 AM »
Another question for the folks who are making Etsy work... is it better to have a few select items in your shop, or do you keep them packed with stuff all the time? I could get way ahead on production, but I end up holding piles of stuff waiting for it to sell.

You would not believe my workroom.  I have hundreds of items just sitting and waiting. Some of them are thing that I haven't gotten around to listing, some of them are leftovers from mistakes I made (someone wanted gold plate and I accidentally made them in silver), some of them are test pieces and prototypes, some of them are multiples I made up when I had some downtime or was finishing off a last batch of supplies.  I know that eventually someone will buy it and that means I can just ship it right out to them, which is great because so much of my stuff is made-to-order.  It's a treat when I already have something ready!  I LOVE having a big pile of stock to pull from- it makes my life easier!

Laurel

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 40
  • Location: Lake Michigan
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2015, 08:30:17 AM »
Anyone else sell vintage stuff? I had a shop for a few months and sold maybe 15 items, but then I let everything expire since we were moving and I had no time to babysit it...and 1.5 years later, I haven't gotten back into it. My big difficulty: figuring how much to charger for shipping. Since all of my items are unique sizes and weights, I didn't really have a great system for shipping prices and usually guesstimated (which usually worked in my favor but not always).

When I did have the shop open, I had a lot of fun collecting items--I love thrifting and stocked my shop with things that I would love to have in my own home, so I wouldn't be sad if they didn't sell. And I was careful not to spend more than $1 or $2 for each item and usually sold things for $15-$20. Love that profit margin. :) But I hated taking photos and listing stuff. Not sure if I want to resurrect the shop or not.

JPinDC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
  • Age: 33
  • Location: DMV
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2015, 08:35:17 AM »
I have a small Etsy shop selling my original digital cross stitch patterns (if interested: https://www.etsy.com/nz/shop/Richearts). I haven't put much hustle into it, and it is digital downloads so it's pretty easy to maintain. Iv'e sold around 140 pattern this year, it has steadily grown, but still not exactly an earner! Also have to watch out for others stealing my designs. There are some really successful Etsy shops selling digital cross stitch patterns and heaps of other competition, so you have to have fresh ideas which is a fun design challenge.  I have plans to develop it further and offline (selling kits at craft shops etc...) eventually.

I love your patterns! I've never cross-stitched before, but I want to learn just to make that happy sloth :)

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2015, 08:40:39 AM »
Interesting - this could be a strategy changer for me.

I have made my toys, then put an option in the buying box for finish (I offer Natural, shellacked, or Boiled Linseed Oil).  Right now I have about 10 copies of each item available and waiting for buyers.

Using your ideas, I should have at least 4 listings out of each toy on there right now. One for each available finish, plus one for "DIY kit form" Instantly my shop would look 4 times fuller, and the shopper wouldn't have as many boxes to tick off in their order. It would make no difference to my stockpile, since I already wait for the orders before applying finishes/final assembly.

I have been asked about doing custom paint, but I won't. Its a pain to get into interpreting what a customer expects when they say "make it look like the one from Harry Potter" since my toys look nothing like anything from Harry Potter. Being not an artist, I am not willing to even begin down the custom path. My sister has custom listings on her site, but she offers the customer a checklist of materials and then assembles dolls using the selections the customer made. This results in some pretty funky dolls who are dearly loved by the girls who get them.

Shinplaster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: up in Canada complaining about the weather
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2015, 10:43:01 AM »
Prospector - would you be able to post a link to your trains?   They sound lovely, and the kind of thing we like to give as gifts.  Plus we are in Ontario too, so the US dollar and shipping costs might not be so horrendous.

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #27 on: October 02, 2015, 11:34:05 AM »
Not sure if this will result in backlash, but what the heck...

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/WhittleBits

asiljoy

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 407
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #28 on: October 02, 2015, 11:59:37 AM »
I love the crocheting, but hate the promotion part of the business. One of the mistakes I made was taking the shop down when I was out of town. It killed any momentum I had built up. I also used to sell each fruit or vegetable separately, but the bundled packages were the ones that got the most interest.

Nothing much has been happening for me on Etsy. I did much better at our local farmers' market over the summer. But even there, they weren't my target audience. I think my stuff would do best in a downtown boutique or a children's section of a gift shop. But I'm not clear on how to get it there. And frankly, adding the boutique's cut would price the items too high for most spenders. My next step will be to start a Facebook page for the shop, but, once again, I'll end up spending more of my time promoting than crocheting.
   
I'd be grateful for any critiques you can throw my way! Should I put back the individual listings? Double the prices and try selling them at a boutique? Has anyone done this? https://www.etsy.com/shop/APicnicLunch

Your stuff is adorable! But I'm having a hard time figuring out how people would find you on Etsy. Do people really search for crochet fruit? Or even crochet toys? Maybe it might be worth your while to come up with an item that is put together and labeled something like "Baby Shower Gift Toy Basket"?

Apples

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 997
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #29 on: October 02, 2015, 12:11:15 PM »
Not sure if this will result in backlash, but what the heck...

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/WhittleBits

Prospector, I've only ever bought two things on Etsy, and I'm not in the market for kids' toys, so take this with a whole mountain of salt.  But I think it would be a great idea for you to add the finishes as separate options.  The main reason is that as a shopper, I don't know what the different finishes look like.  In a quick glance, everything looks like the same finish except for one train up in your banner area (sorry, I'm not sure what that picture at the top is called).  So I'm not sure if I want unfinished or Linseed Oil, because idk what linseed oil and unfinished look like.  But I absolutely love your description under each item-so fun!

tardis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2193
  • Location: Canada
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #30 on: October 02, 2015, 12:18:55 PM »
Prospector: The two things I immediately think you need to work I can see when I arrive at your store is a) photos and b) number of listings.  Photos are the high end packaging and display of the online world.  When you squint and look at the thumbnail, what do you seen?  The outline of the train should be clear and high contrast is eye catching.  You have multiple pictures in the listing itself, but they show very similar angles and aspects of the toy.  Does the photo faithfully present the texture, finish and colour?  Take a photo with a coin or ruler for scale, as well as a (good) pictures of how it works- I know it seems obvious, but showing the "action" part is important.  Like you mentioned, people like the thought of an experience and not just an object.  Show it combined with other items you sell, and make sure to mention you sell those too.  I also think your prices are too low.  People often equate price to quality.  Also, when you see a $25 item with $15 shipping, the idea that you pay more than half of the price for shipping is hard.  There's no reason you can't sell at train for $45 and list the shipping as $7 or something.  You end up with a gross of $12 more, but it seems much more palatable.

Instead of painting, could you make a bunch of parts and use stains?  Then you can do a blue car, a red car, etc with a "natural" look.

I think I'm going to put together a "How to take good pictures for Etsy/online with a point and shoot, natural light and a piece of paper" and then a "Photo editing for Etsy/online".  I see a lot of amazing work that has photos which aren't doing it justice, and it's a tutorial I've been thinking of making for a while.  Any interest?

tardis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2193
  • Location: Canada
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #31 on: October 02, 2015, 12:26:47 PM »
asiljoy:  Have you thought about selling the pattern for the veggies as well as the final versions?  Then you have two markets- one for people who want to do the project themselves, and others who just want the toy as a gift etc.  PDF downloads are pretty passive now that Etsy supports downloads.

screwit

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 191
  • Location: Germany
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #32 on: October 02, 2015, 12:41:12 PM »
I have a shop also with downloadable cross stitch designs but only ever sold a few. I assume the style focus I had just never had an audience. I've been looking at relaunching and doing more, different designs but not sure if I have the energy. I also have absolutely no patience for the social media hustle - especially Twitter. I'm in Europe so I'm in the wrong time zone for most English language Twitter and I am really bad at entering into and maintaining conversations on social media.

But back to the shop itself, I'm just not sure if it's worth the effort. My husband and I both deliberately work only 75% (30 hr/wk) at our day jobs so that we have time for our young kids. Years ago I had hoped to be able to make enough from embroidery to leave my dayjob. But that looks like it would never happen (I also have a fairly high earning job and my husband earns double what I do), so it's hard to justify the loss of time to this undertaking.

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #33 on: October 02, 2015, 01:02:13 PM »
Prospector: The two things I immediately think you need to work I can see when I arrive at your store is a) photos and b) number of listings.  Photos are the high end packaging and display of the online world.  When you squint and look at the thumbnail, what do you seen?  The outline of the train should be clear and high contrast is eye catching.  You have multiple pictures in the listing itself, but they show very similar angles and aspects of the toy.  Does the photo faithfully present the texture, finish and colour?  Take a photo with a coin or ruler for scale, as well as a (good) pictures of how it works- I know it seems obvious, but showing the "action" part is important.  Like you mentioned, people like the thought of an experience and not just an object.  Show it combined with other items you sell, and make sure to mention you sell those too.  I also think your prices are too low.  People often equate price to quality.  Also, when you see a $25 item with $15 shipping, the idea that you pay more than half of the price for shipping is hard.  There's no reason you can't sell at train for $45 and list the shipping as $7 or something.  You end up with a gross of $12 more, but it seems much more palatable.

Instead of painting, could you make a bunch of parts and use stains?  Then you can do a blue car, a red car, etc with a "natural" look.

I think I'm going to put together a "How to take good pictures for Etsy/online with a point and shoot, natural light and a piece of paper" and then a "Photo editing for Etsy/online".  I see a lot of amazing work that has photos which aren't doing it justice, and it's a tutorial I've been thinking of making for a while.  Any interest?

I'd love to see the photo tutorial. Honestly I thought the photos were the best part of my listing. Using things like an apple or Joe (who always photos well) were intentional to give a sense of scale. I actually bought a new fancy-pants camera last summer for my blog and Etsy, and the image quality is worlds ahead of where I was. I'm not sure how you would show motion and use of a toy train.

The ad for tenders is misleading since it shows 2 cars but the price is just for one. That pic I should replace for sure. Luckily no one asks about my stuff, so it hasn't come up yet, but that could lead to a bad review.

The idea of painting the cars is good, except that I suffer from a love for wood grain, and would consider it heresy to hide the natural wood. Seriously, its a hangup you will find endemic to people who do woodworking. BUT... I will try going high-gloss on a few cars and see how they turn out. If they're gross, I blame you.

At one time I had a whole lineup of cars for trains, but over time I've given away many since they just weren't selling. Tankers, cargo cars, etc. I have too much money into Etsy to keep building inventory without sales, but then I have too little inventory now to generate sales. Its a wicked beast. I have a handful of coin banks on the go right now for Christmas gifts I may put a couple of them up just to see if they generate any interest. The tools have mostly been quiet over the summer though while I worked on house and car projects.

ETA - OK, I tried your price adjustment...
« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 01:13:54 PM by Prospector »

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #34 on: October 02, 2015, 01:05:53 PM »
Not sure if this will result in backlash, but what the heck...

https://www.etsy.com/ca/shop/WhittleBits

Prospector, I've only ever bought two things on Etsy, and I'm not in the market for kids' toys, so take this with a whole mountain of salt.  But I think it would be a great idea for you to add the finishes as separate options.  The main reason is that as a shopper, I don't know what the different finishes look like.  In a quick glance, everything looks like the same finish except for one train up in your banner area (sorry, I'm not sure what that picture at the top is called).  So I'm not sure if I want unfinished or Linseed Oil, because idk what linseed oil and unfinished look like.  But I absolutely love your description under each item-so fun!

I appreciate the feedback. Linseed oil looks the same as unfinished. Well, it gives a light tint to the wood, but without an unfinished piece beside it, you wouldn't know the difference. Shellac you would see the difference, but I hate shellacking. Its gross and sticky stuff.

In the banner pic all the trains are unfinished except the one I had as a kid - its linseed oil that has darkened over the last 40 years or so.

MBot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 506
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #35 on: October 02, 2015, 01:28:12 PM »
This is a great thread! Thanks so much to MissStache for her comments on shop stock especially.

Shinplaster

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1491
  • Location: up in Canada complaining about the weather
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #36 on: October 02, 2015, 01:42:57 PM »
Those are great!   I second the suggestion to try different stains instead of paint.  Paint chips off, wears, etc., and you'd also have to guarantee it's non-toxic.   Stain keeps the wood grain, but offers "colour" options maybe?  The one at the back that has darkened naturally is gorgeous, and is exactly what I would want to order if it was offered.   Is there a reason you use linseed oil instead of say, tung oil?  I have not done a lot of woodworking, so I'm wondering if linseed has an advantage?   I don't like shellac either - nasty stuff!

I also agree that more photos would be better.  A shot of all the cars attached, shots of the engine attached to different cars, etc.   And just for the shop photos, actually have items in the cargo bins, etc.?   I see there are spots for Fisher Price people - could you add one in without copywrite issues with FP?   With the disclaimer of course that the figure is not included.  Most people can't visualize, so do it for them.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2015, 03:35:15 PM by Shinplaster »

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #37 on: October 02, 2015, 02:23:16 PM »
Those are great!   I second the suggestion to try different stains instead of paint.  Paint chips off, wears, etc., and you'd also have to guarantee it's non-toxic.   Stain keeps the wood grain, but offers "colour" options maybe?  The one at the back that has darkened naturally is gorgeous, and is exactly what I would want to order if it was offered.   Is there a reason you use linseed oil instead of say, tung oil?  I have not done a lot of woodworking, so I'm wondering if linseed has an advantage?   I don't like shellac either - nasty stuff!

I also agree that more photos would be better.  A shot of all the cars attached, shots of the engine attached to different cars, etc.   And just for the shop photos, actually have items in the cargo bins, etc.?   I see there are spots for Fisher Price people - could you add one in without copyright issues with FP?   With the disclaimer of course that the figure is not included.  Most people can't visualize, so do it for them.

Thanks again for the feedback. Wood finishes are one of those things that people debate and debate and debate. On woodworking forums, the finish choices are debated as vigorously as trucks vs cars are here. Its great fun. I like linseed oil, its kidsafe, and it looks good, so I use it. Tung oil I am sure is equally good, but its more expensive and more finicky, so I don't.

Coloured stains might be hard to source in a toy-safe formulation. I'll hunt around and see what I can find.

tardis

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2193
  • Location: Canada
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #38 on: October 02, 2015, 03:10:05 PM »
Prospector:  Thanks for taking the feedback so well.  I just reread what I wrote and I definitely could have done better.  :)  I know Lee Valley has some awesome bright analine water based dyes.  I expect they are kid safe, but I'm sure they could double check for you.  Joe definitely photographs well and has a great smile!  When I said "action" shots, I was thinking of those images where there's this hand coming from out of the frame and pushing or connecting or what have you, so the focus is still on the toy, but also how it works.  Something like this maybe?  http://www.babesandkidsreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/thomas2.jpg

Quote
At one time I had a whole lineup of cars for trains, but over time I've given away many since they just weren't selling. Tankers, cargo cars, etc. I have too much money into Etsy to keep building inventory without sales, but then I have too little inventory now to generate sales. Its a wicked beast. I have a handful of coin banks on the go right now for Christmas gifts I may put a couple of them up just to see if they generate any interest. The tools have mostly been quiet over the summer though while I worked on house and car projects.

It's one of those chicken and egg things, isn't it?  I just got my shop back and running after being away for almost 2 years, and loading all 130 or so listings at once was a bit scary- almost $30 in fees and no guarantee of a return!  Happily the fallen Canadian dollar and a few other situational things are working out in my favor and it's worked out.  If this is something you are interested in pursuing, I would go all out for a planned set of time and see how it goes.  Worst case you're out $50 for the year.  Best case, you earn $500.  Either way, you will have learned a lot.

asiljoy:  If you do make patterns, maybe try selling through Ravelry?  I've seen dissected bat patterns, and humping deer patterns on top of the more conventional "pretty" knitting and crochet patterns, and I expect your veggies will go over well.

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #39 on: October 02, 2015, 03:28:27 PM »
Worst case you're out $50 for the year.  Best case, you earn $500. 

Well... So far I've put about $800 in materials into this venture and made $300. But I know what you mean. The listing fees are the least of my worries. Its the time and materials that's a killer. Anyone have thoughts on materials - going up to coloured stains would mean upcharging for the finish. Another option that's been suggested in the past is to do a variety of woods - Oak, Maple, Pine, etc. and upcharge the hardwoods. Trouble is that then you are into buying/inventorying the different lumber.

Either way, you will have learned a lot.

So far I've learned that online business may not be for me! :) The toys are well received by kids, but I don't think its a strong market. People are buying plastic for kids, and online most folks are buying for themselves. Same at the craft shows - if you watch what folks are walking out with, it tends to be things they can wear or for their own pleasure. If they are buying for kids its $1-$2 stuff. Which enters another whole issue for me at craft shows - I don't bring any of that cheap & fast stuff, and you can turn it over a lot faster than asking for a $30 commitment.

ambimammular

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 418
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Indiana
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #40 on: October 02, 2015, 05:27:25 PM »
Asiljoy- Thanks for the compliments! You're right, I think my veggies are more the quirky thing you come across in a downtown shop, than the direct search kind of thing. A lot of people suggest baby shower, but I've always thought the 3-7 year-olds would be the ones who would actually use them.

But it is the gift givers that I need to target, not the kidlets. I'll have to get a strategy going.

Tardis -I'm guessing it's me you meant by the veggie patterns. :) Patterns are my weakness, I can't follow them and don't know the names for the stitches other than single and double. All my fruits and veggies are freestyle. I usually just size them against another already completed one to strive for consistency.

I take that back, my peas and apples (at least the bottom puckered part) are a strict number of stitches. Could I translate that into crochet code...oh...perhaps?

I think I should find a pattern following friend to see if I'm translating things correctly. I'll have to check out Ravelry.

okits

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10568
  • Location: Canada
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #41 on: October 04, 2015, 12:41:27 AM »
Pricing is tough - and I know my buyers basically thing they can make what I make in 15 minutes. I hear it often at in-person craft shows. "Oh grandpa used to make these on his table saw. All you do is buy a 2X4 and..."

Which is where it falls apart, because if you are building childrens' toys out of construction lumber, it will check and split in a few months. If you are buying high grade wood, seasoning it until its stabilized, then planing it and machining it square and true, you've already got about 4X what grandpa did invested in the finished item. But to the buyer, when they see pine, they think 2X4.

I try to play up the personal side of it with words like 'heritage' and 'old-timey' and so on, but folks see it and think "Anyone can do that!" and they're right, but they won't do it, and if they do try, they'll find they need some pretty good tools and jigs to make it look simple. If you own a planer, shaper, sander, tablesaw, drill press, etc. sure, go build your own toys, but if you own that stuff, you didn't come to the craft show to buy anything, you came for ideas - which I'm cool with.

The most interesting thing I've found (and need to adapt to) is that if I sell my toys in pieces as  a sort of Ikea kit, 2 things happen. First, buyers buy an experience - they say "this perfect for *insert someone else' name here* to make with *insert child's name here*. I see a lot of kits sold at craft fairs to be assembled by husbands, grandparents, aunts and uncles for children and relations. Never, ever by the buyer. FWIW, at craft shows, I sell the kits side-by-side with the finished trains, and for the same price. I always sell out of kits first. Puzzling.

I have also gotten a lot of requests for kits from museums, daycares, and summer camps, but inevitably they want the kit for less than the materials cost. The argument is that they should save bundles since the labour savings are so great. What they miss is that the labour is in setting up the machines to make the various cuts, bores, etc. and even when they knock that part out of the equation, I still have money in the materials. Wheels aren't free, neither is dowel, neither is wood. When I give my lowest production cost I usually lose the deal.

I've come to the conclusion that I'm not much of a business person. So I approach etsy now as a seasonal hobby. When the weather is bad, I'll put some time into it, but its only a thing I do when I feel like it, and will never be an income stream. I can't compete with this: https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/228214632/unique-vintage-handmade-wooden-folk-art

The toys made out of construction lumber, do they check and split due to wear or just age?  If it's wear, you could offer a lower-priced version with the cheap, untreated wood as a "model train for display", which opens the door to educating your customer on what's been done to the toy version to make it a great toy, sturdy to play with, and worth the price.

The quality and solidity are big selling points. Most wood toys I see at big box stores are a thin, flimsy panel (maybe glued onto something else), have rough edges, don't align properly, etc.  I read recently that a wooden puzzle my kid plays with has traces of formaldehyde.  Of course, she chews on the pieces a little and so typical parental response: "WHAT?!?"  If you can offer reassurances that your toys have fewer chemically things/more natural, etc. I think people would pay for that.

Last thought: is it a lot of effort to carve a name into the side?  Personalization makes everything seem more special.

Valetta

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 72
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #42 on: October 04, 2015, 07:40:22 AM »
Great thread. Posting to follow.

My husband and I both have been kicking around ideas for Etsy shops - in particular he makes soap. It's awesome soap, I give it away as gifts and people ask for more when they run out. And people have offered to pay for it. We both have intense jobs though so I'm not sure if we would be up for all the work that goes into marketing, promoting, filling orders, etc.

Etsy also has a ton of competition. It's hard to know how much you should pay attention to the competition and try to do something unique, or just do what you do best and go with it. I really admire all the people that have found success with it. Thanks so much for sharing all your experience and wisdom!

RunHappy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 561
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #43 on: October 04, 2015, 07:42:41 AM »
This has been a great thread with a lot of great advice!  It has me rethinking what to do about my Etsy store. 

JPinDC

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 169
  • Age: 33
  • Location: DMV
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #44 on: October 05, 2015, 10:36:17 AM »
@Prospector, I really liked this story from your listings:

Quote
When I was very small, my granddad gave me a wooden train. I got it one car at a time over the course of a year or so. First came an engine, then a tender and caboose. Then came other cars - a tanker and car carrier and so on. Every month a package came for me, and that was super exciting when I was 5.

Could you offer the option to buy a full train set? I think I'd be more inclined to buy the whole train as a gift than just one or two cars, which I don't know would feel substantial enough. Also, you could consider offering something like a "subscription" train set where you would send one car each month until it's complete (as your granddad did) and bundle that as a package with all the shipping included.

Le Poisson

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13652
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #45 on: October 05, 2015, 10:51:41 AM »
@Prospector, I really liked this story from your listings:

Quote
When I was very small, my granddad gave me a wooden train. I got it one car at a time over the course of a year or so. First came an engine, then a tender and caboose. Then came other cars - a tanker and car carrier and so on. Every month a package came for me, and that was super exciting when I was 5.

Could you offer the option to buy a full train set? I think I'd be more inclined to buy the whole train as a gift than just one or two cars, which I don't know would feel substantial enough. Also, you could consider offering something like a "subscription" train set where you would send one car each month until it's complete (as your granddad did) and bundle that as a package with all the shipping included.

Thanks JP - when I first started with Etsy, I did this. Sadly, uptake was poor. Also, full train = +/- $200 which was not well recieved. That lead me to individual car listings (which have been equally not well recieved, but doesn't limit my inventory). Etsy doesn't do subscriptions, which is unfortunate, but I tried train car of the month (you see December mentioned in my Engine listing)  and that also didn't work.

I think the key is to get people who are interested in heritage/wooden toys to find you, and buy anything, then spread word of mouth. Once that happens, you get traction and the marketing kicks in.  Right now I'll just focus on filling my shop up then we'll see if we can get the wheels rolling. So to speak...

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #46 on: October 06, 2015, 07:52:00 AM »


Thanks JP - when I first started with Etsy, I did this. Sadly, uptake was poor. Also, full train = +/- $200 which was not well recieved. That lead me to individual car listings (which have been equally not well recieved, but doesn't limit my inventory).

Prospector, I still haven't had a chance to actually check your shop (Etsy is blocked for me at work...but this forum isn't- ha!), but you may want to consider putting a full train back up.  I think it is a good idea to have items at ALL price points, because you never know what someone's budget is.  Someone with a lot of money to burn may not think to just order several different pieces when they can just order something in one fell swoop. 

It is also good to have a a few showoff pieces in your shop- things that are the most impressive you can do to show how awesome you are.  For me it was a very special necklace that cost $250.  I never though anyone would buy one, but it turns out I've sold 3 in about a year, which is pretty damn good!  You certainly aren't going to reach most buyers with something at that high of a price-point, but you may reach one occasionally!  And even if no one ever buys it you're out what?  A few cents?

And it may inspire someone to buy several pieces at once.  They may not purchase the full train, but maybe they could buy half a train (and come back for the rest later!).

MissStache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 710
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Washington, DC
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #47 on: October 06, 2015, 07:56:02 AM »
asiljoy:  Have you thought about selling the pattern for the veggies as well as the final versions?  Then you have two markets- one for people who want to do the project themselves, and others who just want the toy as a gift etc.  PDF downloads are pretty passive now that Etsy supports downloads.

I think this is a great idea!  I have several friends who are voracious etsy-pattern buyers!  The love making their own stuff, but don't have the patience to sit down and figure out how to make it.  Plus, totally passive income!  You've already done the work, so you can just sit back and let the pattern earn you some cash!

rachael talcott

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 291
  • Age: 46
  • Location: TN
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #48 on: December 18, 2016, 11:41:29 AM »
MissStache, I'd be interested in an update on your etsy business, now that a year has passed.  Are you still making 15K/yr profit?  Better?

My side hustle is rental property, but I'd like to branch out.   

westtoeast

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 354
  • Location: East Coast City
Re: The Etsy Thread!
« Reply #49 on: December 18, 2016, 03:06:48 PM »
Since this thread is active again I'm posting to follow. Hoping to get on Etsy with greeting cards w/ my paintings printed on them. My concern is that I'm not active on social media and don't have much of a presence there, so I don't know how I would market.