Tuesday, May 22, 2012

reflections on 3 years of Etsy sales


I’m a hobby Etsy seller. It’s not a full time job, nor will it ever be. It’s not my dream to quit my day job and run a crafty business. I sell online because it’s convenient, it gives me a venue to share some of the goods I make and allows me to make some money to fund my crafting addiction. All in all, it works for me. 

When I started selling online, I really got caught up on the posting every day and keeping up with the conversation feeds and facebook fanning other crafters. But here’s the thing… it’s kind of exhausting if it’s just a hobby.

That said one of the lovely things about selling online is that I have sold many of my goods to Americans and Canadians, but also to Spaniards, Australians, Norwegians, Brits, and the French. I’ve shipped to all of these countries now and that’s a pretty humbling thought.  I’ve also sold goodies to locals at a craft fair.

In fact, in the last month I have shipped to New Jersey, Arizona, Spain, Oregon, Alabama, Texas and California. My local post office is probably amused by my random assortment of packages traveling the globe!
All in all, is it a lucrative side business? For me, now but it probably could be if I really worked it now. In the first 2 years? No. The sales just weren’t there, nor did I know what my target clientele was.  And I think that was the catch for me. I needed to figure out what sold and what didn’t, and where it sells best.   

My bestselling item: 

hand stamped cherry blossoms stationary set
cherry blossom
 Item most featured in Etsy Treasuries:

Singing in the Rain Stationery set
Singing in the Rain
 Item that people come into my shop for:

hoot hoot hand stamped owl stationary
Hoot Hoot
Origami Ornament I sell the most often:

Double Happiness Love Cranes
Double Happiness
Is Etsy the best place to sell online? I don’t know. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I think that there are still tons of people who have never heard of Etsy yet. It isn't often a top list in google search when people are looking for items related to your products. I suspect that if you had the coding savvy and the built in audience, you'd probably do quite well selling on your own.

What have I learned from selling on Etsy? That the fanciest photos aren't necessarily the best photos. Simple and clean is better. Photographying glass sucks! There is just no great way of doing it and catching the details without glare. What sells and doesn't sell will surprise you. And one bad review will take you FOREVER to recover from but that it can be a great learning experience.

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