By Amy Spock
Hello there! Welcome to the world of Etsy!
For those unfamiliar, Etsy is an online merchant showcase where everything is either handmade, a supply for making something handmade, or vintage. It is a wonderfully eclectic group of people dedicated not only to their craft and your enjoyment of it, but to customer service. Through teaming and conversations, merchants support one another in the sale and promotion of their goods. Does this sound like you? Read on…
I started beading a number of years ago (no exact number as a true lady never reveals her age), and quickly found that I could only decorate a tree with so many ornaments and myself with so much jewelry. At the encouragement of my friends and family, I went about selling at craft fairs and the major on-line auction site. I found that the fees greatly impacted my bottom line. I was able to sell a few items here and there, but nothing major. I kept telling myself that this effort was more about meeting people and clearing out some inventory than anything else. Then, one sleepless evening, I found Etsy.
Please don't let me steer you wrong. I am a newbie on Etsy, and have only made sales to co-workers from my Etsy site. However, I am so excited about the site that I want to share its possibilities with you. So, BEFORE you set up an Etsy account, here are a few items to consider:
1) Setting up a store is very easy. You can choose PayPal or direct payments through Etsy (or both). I highly recommend both, so set up your PayPal to accept payments (free to set up, marginal fee for each sale you make).
2) Think of a catchy store name that hints at your offerings.
3) Set up a light box with a light background and get some great shots of your merchandise.
4) Write descriptions of yourself, your shop, and each item you are listing (Etsy recommends at least 7 items to start).
5) Look at other shops and Etsy policies to get examples of shop policies-return policies, shipping policies, coupon code policies, etc. and write your own.
6) Log onto Etsy.com and start a store with the above information. Each item costs $.20 to list, and you will pay commission to Etsy on each sale (please read these policies carefully).
7) Join some teams to help you through this process. Teams have great suggestions on marketing, pricing, taking great pictures, and any number of things you'll have questions about. There are local and global teams to participate in. Find some teams with interests or locations similar to yours to really harness the power of teams.
8) Look at all of Etsy's supports, blogs, and featured shop articles. Fantastic tips there!
9) Start small and grow. I started my store with 7 items, and I am up to 32. I have three shop sections now-beaded ornaments, quilting supplies, and custom embroidery. The sections are easy to set up, and Etsy is very user friendly.
10) Use Facebook and Twitter to promote your site to friends and family. It's not begging, it's advertising!!!
In all, I have found Etsy to be an incredibly easy, fun experience. I can't wait to grow my little business, and I am confident that Etsy is the place to do it.
Visit my Etsy store at http://www.etsy.com/shop/BeadsandThreadsbyAmy. Keep up with me and my teams as we boldly go forward! To infinity and beyond!
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