Etsy is awesome.
What's that, you say? You don't know what Etsy is? Well, I'm more than happy to introduce you. It's "your place to buy & sell all things handmade."
I absolutely adore Etsy. In fact, I "window shop" on Etsy at least once a week.
For example, I just took a peek around Etsy and found these wonderful things (click on each picture to see larger image):
Perhaps you have a great talent that you would like to share with the world (Do you make Soap? Cards? Cookies? Tutus? Paintings?).
Perhaps you would like to make some money doing what you love.
I recently had the privilege of interviewing Danielle Maveal - an Etsy associate - about how to start up an Etsy shop and I thought you might be interested in our discussion...
Q. I have a great product that I make (candles, clothes, jewelry, artwork, etc.) and would like to sell. What are the advantages of starting up a shop at Etsy as opposed to starting my own store/website?
A. Setting up your Etsy account and shop is free! The low overhead cost is probably one of the most enticing advantages to selling on Etsy. You can set up your account, put up a banner and avatar, and get the feel for Etsy and the community without having to put a single dollar in. Once you set up an account, you can hang out in Etsy's Virtual Labs (our online classrooms) or converse with other community members on the forums. So, you really can get a good feel for Etsy and once you're ready to start your shop, you can fill it up with products for under a few dollars, since it only cost $0.20 to list an item.
Another great thing about having an Etsy shop vs setting up your own web-based shop is not having to worry about being the sole traffic driver to your own website. Think of Etsy like a 24 hour, global craft fair, with tons of shoppers looking for the most unique handmade and vintage items.
Q. Okay, you convinced me. Where do I go to get started?
A. Etsy can walk you through the shop set up process. First thing you need to do is think of your Etsy shop name (your username and shop name are the same). Once you have that decided, check out our Sell section. It will walk you through each step of setting up your shop. If you happen to hit a bump in the road, we have FAQs and Help Guides to get you back on track!
Q. How easy is it start an Etsy store? Do I need web design experience?
A. The great thing about starting a shop on Etsy is that you do not need web design experience! This gives you more time to focus on your products. I'd say you could start and stock an Etsy shop in an afternoon. How easy is that?
Q. Does Etsy take a "cut" of my profits? Is there a monthly fee? What kind of expenses am I looking at?
A. There is no monthly fee. Here's how it works: for each item you list $0.20 is added to your monthly Etsy bill. When you sell an item your bill is charged 3.5%. So if you sell a $50 item on Etsy, your bill will be charged $1.75.
Q. Do I have to have a business license or pay taxes as an Etsy shop owner?
A. This is a question I get asked often. Think of Etsy as a space for rent - we give you the platform to sell your goods and you are responsible to follow your own state laws and regulations. It's hard for me to give advice in this area since every state and country has different requirements when it comes to licenses and taxes. My advice is to give your local small business center a call and ask a few questions.
Q. How do I get my shop featured on Etsy's home page?
A. My biggest tip here is to have great photos. You also want to make sure you are getting found - not only by the Etsy Admin who select the images featured on Etsy's homepage...but by buyers as well. You can do this by listing new work often and keeping your shop fresh! I also want to give you a bit of information about the way search works on Etsy. Search is directly related to the keywords you attach to your items in the listing process, these keywords are called "tags." Using the right tags can help bring more traffic to your Etsy items. Make sure you are using every single one (we give you space for 14) and include specific colors, styles, and motifs found in your work. This article on tagging is the very best resource on that subject.
BEST WISHES...and happy Etsying!
YOUR TURN: Do you have an Etsy shop? If so, leave the link. If not, do you shop at Etsy? What are your favorite stores?