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Etsy Shop Basics

Learn the Ins and Outs of Etsy

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I first opened an Etsy shop for a craft business I started about seven years ago. I tied the business to an Etsy shop shortly after Etsy was up and running several years later. At the time, Etsy was a cutting edge, alternative online marketplace that was getting a lot of attention from crafters in online forums. Since then they have really grown into a recognizable brand and partner with arts/crafts organizations such as the Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG).

Learn the steps to start a shop on Etsy, from picking an Etsy username to finding out about the listing fees and the Etsy community of crafters.

Picking an Etsy Username

Getting started on Etsy is a snap. All you have to do is pick out a unique identifier for your store and a password. There is no fee to start an Etsy shop; however, you will need to provide credit card or PayPal information at the time you register. This is used to cover the Etsy listing fees that you’ll have when you set up your shop.

Etsy Listing Fees

There is a .20 charge to list each individual item. However, multiples of the same item are also charged the .20 listing fee. So, if you list a pottery lasagna baking pan and you have five of the same pan available in your Etsy shop the fee is .20 x five or $1. The listing fee expires after four months. To keep your listing for the lasagna pan live, you’ll need to pay the listing fee again after that time. Additionally, you’re charged a 3.5% transaction fee on each sale.

I’ve noticed while trolling through the various shops that while each shop may list many items for sale, each individual item has an availability of one. Maybe due to the handcrafted, unique nature of the good for sale – may be because of the multiple on the listing fee.

Selling Handcrafted Items on Etsy

Etsy is very big on the handcrafted, original nature of any contemporaneous art or craft sold on the site. The good for sale must be handmade by you. It can’t be a knock–off of another designer’s work. Several craftspeople can get together and sell through one Etsy shop under certain circumstances, with proper disclosure and as long as each craftsperson personally handcrafts the items.

As there is no fee to open a shop, I’m unclear as to any big advantage of having an Etsy cooperative shop. I suppose one advantage would be to spread the shop maintenance work between owners and the fact that the shop is potentially refreshed with new items more frequently.

Selling Supplies On Etsy

If you want to sell beads, buttons, fabrics, patterns – the list goes on – Etsy has a place for that too. Of particular interest to me is the fact that sometimes I have to buy in more bulk than I really need. Etsy is a good place to market unneeded, unused arts/crafts components to get back some of your cost of goods sold.

I have found some great tools and supplies on Etsy. I particularly like the handcrafted jewelry making tools that have occasionally been listed.

Providing Custom Arts/Crafts Work on Etsy

Etsy has a section that brings buyers and crafters together for just about any type of handcrafted custom order. Maybe a buyer needs custom made drawstring purses for their wedding party. They'll post the project on Etsy and Etsy shop owners bid on the opportunity to make the goods.

Etsy’s Community

Etsy has a well developed community section that includes links to online classes, forums and tips on how to promote your Etsy shop. What I like about the forum is that you can see the good and the bad feedback that Etsians are posting about their experience with this marketplace. Definitely something to check out prior to making the time commitment leap to setting up an Etsy shop.

Leaping Into an Etsy Shop

Like all things in life, it’s always better to look before you leap. Really take a run around the entire Etsy site. In particular check out other Etsy shops selling items that are similar in nature to your own. Check out how long they have been in business – a stat available on each page of the shop.

While there is no charge to open an Etsy shop, it requires a significant amount of time in addition to the listing fees. Before you start, make sure this is a wise use of your arts/crafts time.

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