If you’re an artist, jeweler, soap maker, knitter, baker, or you simply have a house full of vintage items, then you might be in a perfect position to start your own business on Etsy.
If you’ve never heard of Etsy, you’re in for a treat. Etsy is a lovely online marketplace designed exclusively for people selling handmade and vintage items. The site allows people from all over the world to sell their homemade goods, and anyone, from stay at home moms to well-respected gallery artists, can create an account to sell their work.
Currently, Etsy has over 400,000 sellers, 7.7 million listed items for sale, and over 7 million customers. In 2010, the site sold more than $300 million worth of goods. Yowza.
I’ve long been in love with this site. I do well managing and budgeting my money, and I have zero interest in going to shopping malls. But Etsy? It’s my one serious weakness. I have over 500 items saved in my Favorites folder, and I even give myself a small Etsy budget every month just for splurging on handmade goods.
I’ve been buying quality clothing, jewelry, and contemporary fine art and paintings from the site for years. But I’ve recently started thinking about becoming an Etsy seller. I make homemade gourmet jam (one of my favorite home canning recipes), and I’d love to try selling it on the site come spring and summer.
If you make any kind of craft yourself, you might be interested in making extra mone on Etsy as well. So, let’s take a look together to see how to get started!
What You Can Sell on Etsy
The cool thing about Etsy is there are a ton of handmade things you can sell. Here are some examples:
- Crocheted items
- Soap, lotions and candles
- Handmade clothing
- Paintings, drawings, sculpture
- Handmade furniture
- Books and magazines
- Vintage items 20 years or older
- Bags and purses
- Baked goods such as cookies, cupcakes, bread, jam, etc.
- Yarn and other supplies catering to the handmade/crafting crowd
- Blown glass
- Handmade paper items
- Unique plants
As you can see, this covers a pretty wide range of items. The only thing you really can’t do on Etsy is sell brand new items, or any item made by someone else.
Sellers have online stores, just like you’ve seen on eBay. They photograph their items, list them on the site, and once an item sells, they ship it out. Shipping costs are always paid by the buyer.
How to Create an Etsy Seller Account
Setting up a Seller Account on Etsy is an easy, two-step process.
First, however, you’ll need to make sure you have a Paypal account, and a valid credit card. To get started, you have to enter your personal info here.
Next you need to enter your billing information. You will need a valid credit card so Etsy can verify your identity. However, once Etsy has done this, you’re good to go! You’re now an official Etsy seller.
Setting up your shop is going to take more time. You can create a customer banner for your Etsy store, and you’ll want to upload a picture or logo so customers can put a face or image with your shop.
You’ll also need to photograph all your items, and create a listing for each one. You’ll also need to insert “tags” (i.e. keywords), that will help customers find your items.
For instance, imagine you’ve just listed a turquoise necklace. You would use tags such as “necklace”, “turquoise necklace”, and “blue”, all which will help your item get noticed when customers search for those specifics.
You can find detailed instructions for setting up your Etsy shop here.
How Much Does It Cost?
Compared to online selling sites like eBay, the cost of selling on Etsy is very low.
For instance, Etsy charges just 20 cents for every item you list on their site and takes 3.5% of every sale. You’re billed at the end of each month for all of these fees. You can either pay with the credit card you used to sign up for your account, or through Paypal.
One of the most amazing aspects of Etsy is the amount of support and the sense of community you get through the site. Etsy has a lot of helpful tutorials to help sellers get more exposure and earn more money. The forums are extensive and Etsy’s thousands of sellers will help answer any question you have about setting up your shop.
All in all, I feel it’s a wonderful way to earn extra money, especially if you have the time to invest in the initial shop set up (which will likely take a few hours). After that, however, your store works for you 24/7!
Do any of you have an Etsy store? If so, what has been your experience with the site? Do you have any tips or suggestions to offer people who are thinking of selling on the site?
(photo credit: Shutterstock)