Thursday September 24, 2015
When it comes to selling something online, there’s a huge choice of websites, apps and social media channels to choose from, but how do you pick the best place to sell your items?
eBay is an obvious choice for most people, being such a well-known website with a huge range of product categories to list your items for selling, from smaller items like used clothing and toys to big purchases like cars and even houses! eBay has it all! However, last month we blogged about 6 Alternatives to eBay and today we’re going to take a closer look at a platform aimed at selling craft and handmade items – Etsy.
We spoke to one Etsy seller in the UK, Jennifer from Wedding Buttonique, to find out why she chose Etsy to sell her handmade button bouquets and accessories and how her business has grown.
Why did you choose Etsy as the place to sell your products?
When I first started making my bridal wedding bouquets, just after my own wedding, I needed to find a way to sell them and get myself noticed. There was the obvious choice of eBay, as what can’t you buy or sell on there? But after doing a bit of searching online a craft site was the required outlet.
Etsy aims itself at the handmade, unique and vintage market. This suited my quirky bouquets with a style containing vintage buttons and brooches.
The site also allows the seller to set up a mini profile of: who you are, how you got there and why you do what you do. This was important to me as when I buy something handmade I like to see the person behind the work. Hand crafted items are much more personal than a factory-made mass-produced item and to me they are special.
How many products did you have in your Etsy shop when you first opened it, and how has this grown?
Wedding Buttonique started with three ready-made bouquets and a few button holes. Each bouquet was sold with an option that they could be made in any other colour or size. My first sale was to a lady in Seattle, USA who opted for black and red buttons. Posting it to the USA was so nerve racking as I had no idea how much packaging it would need, how long it would take and how I would send it: Royal Mail, Courier or via a company who will do it for me. Since then I am getting better at what is needed for postage! Now my shop has 26 items currently for sale with most of them having a further option on colour, size and vintage to make it individual to the bride.
What challenges did you face when first setting up and how did you overcome them?
Making wedding bouquets by hand has a varied amount of challenges. When you hand make items you can take many hours to get to any sort of finished product. My large full button and brooch bouquets can take between 50 to 70 hours each. With a shop to set up, manage and advertise there are hidden charges to consider. There are fees to pay when you list an item and fee when you make a sale. Items to buy before you start making, plus it is impossible to charge per hour for handmade items and this needs to be factored into your final selling price. Once you understand what you ‘lose’ before you sell an item then you can start to understand how to sell.
My Parcel Delivery’s Tip Tips for Etsy Selling
Here are 3 tips to help you get started setting up your Etsy shop and selling your handmade, vintage or craft items and be sure to check out our Guide to Selling on Etsy too.
- Tell your story
As Jennifer said, Etsy lets you set up an “about” page for your shop, and telling the story behind your handmade items could be the key to making your products stand out against the competition and get those sales coming in
- Don’t be afraid to open up shop with just a few items
Your Etsy shop doesn’t have to be full of products when you first open. If you’re making items to order you don’t want to find yourself inundated with orders that you can’t fulfil. So start off with a product range you know best, learn as you go and expand as and when you’re ready.
- Keep a track of your costs
Deciding how much to sell your items for can be a tricky question. It’s not just the cost of materials that matters, but also the time and skill that you’re putting in which can make all the difference.
Don’t forget to include your postage and packaging costs when pricing up your items. Check out our guide to packaging your items securely, and when you’ve calculated your parcel dimensions and weight it’s easy to get a quote for delivery costs.