There are more and more options available for people looking to make extra money from home, and those who are transitioning to full time work from home. For many people who make handcrafted or custom goods, or who sell vintage items, setting up an Etsy store might be for you.
Etsy is a global marketplace for unique and creative goods. Via Etsy, millions of people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods. From the seller’s perspective, Etsy offers a range of services and tools that help creative entrepreneurs start, manage and scale their businesses.
What can you sell on Etsy?
These are the categories available on Etsy:
Jewellery and accessories
- Accessories – hats and caps, hair accessories, sunglasses and eye wear, scarves and wraps, belts and braces, key chains and lanyards
- Bags and purses – backpacks, handbags, diaper bags, luggage and duffel bags, phone cases
- Necklaces – pendants, chokers, charm necklaces, crystal necklaces, monogram and name necklaces, beaded necklaces, chains, bib necklaces, tassel necklaces
- Rings – stackable rings, statement rings, bands, signet rings, multi stone rings, solitaire rings, midi rings, wedding and engagement rings
- Earrings – dangle and drop earrings, stud earrings, hoop earrings, chandelier earrings, ear jackets and climbers, cluster earrings, cuff and wrap earrings, clip on earrings
- Bracelets – beaded bracelets, bangles, charm bracelets, woven and braided bracelets, cuff bracelets, chain and link bracelets
- Body jewellery – anklets, hair jewellery, nose rings and studs, arm bands, belly rings, shoulder jewellery, toe rings, lip rings
Clothing and shoes
- Womens – dresses, tops and tees, skirts, trousers and capris, jumpers, shorts, swimwear, sandals
- Mens – shorts, jumpers, shorts, shoes
- Kids and baby – baby girls’ clothing, girls dresses, skirts, tops, jumpers, jackets and coats, baby boys’ clothing, boys tops, jackets and coats, jumpers, girls’ shoes, boys’ shoes
- Bags and purses
Home and living
- Home – wall decor, decorative cushions, picture frames and displays, candles and holders, clocks, vases, wreaths and door hangers, rugs, furniture, bedding, bathroom, outdoor and gardening, storage and organisation, office, lighting, kitchen and dining, food and drink, spirituality and religion
- Bath and beauty – bath accessories, makeup and cosmetics, skin care, hair care, essential oils, fragrances, soaps and bath bombs
- Pet supplies – pet collars and leashes, pet furniture, pet clothing and shoes, pet bedding, pet carriers and houses
Wedding and party
- Party supplies – party decor, baking and cake decoration
- Invitations and paper – wedding invitations, wedding invitation kits, wedding templates, save the dates, stationery, greeting cards, gift wrapping
- Wedding decorations – centrepieces, cake toppers, cake servers and knives, table decor, candles and holders, baskets and boxes, ring bearer pillows, plants
- Wedding gifts – bridesmaids gifts, wedding favours, gifts for the couple, groomsmen gifts, guest books, portraits and frames, albums and scrapbooks
- Wedding accessories – something blue, bouquets and corsages, veils, bags and purses, cover-ups and scarves, barrettes and clips, decorative combs, fascinators and mini hats, hair jewellery, hair pins, tiaras, cummerbunds, neck ties, umbrellas, hats
- Wedding clothing – bridal gowns and separates, bridesmaid dresses, flower girl dresses, mother of the bride dresses, lingerie and garters, suits
- Wedding jewellery – earrings, engagement rings, wedding bands, bridal sets, necklaces, bracelets, jewellery sets
Toys and entertainment
- Toys – baby and toddler toys, dolls and action figures, stuffed animals, games and puzzles, learning and school, kids crafts
- Books – blank books, calendars and planners, book accessories, children’s books, art and photography books, comics and graphic novels, craft and hobby books, literature and fiction, poetry, guides and how tos, magazines
- Movies and music – musical instruments, instrument straps, recorded audio, sheet music
- Electronics and accessories – cell phone accessories, gadgets, video games, decals and skins, cameras, computers and peripherals
Art and collectibles
- Art – prints, photography, sculpture, glass art, drawing and illustration, mixed media and collage, fiber arts, dolls and miniatures
- Painting – oil, watercolour, acrylic
- Collectibles – figurines and knick-knacks, memorabilia, coins and money
Craft supplies and tools
- Home and hobby – woodworking and carpentry, home improvement, electronics and circuitry, framing, doll and model making, candle making, food and fermenting, gardening and plants, floral arranging
- Jewellery and beauty – beads, cabochons, charms, jewellery findings, pendants, makeup and face painting
- Sewing and fiber – knitting, crochet, sewing, quilting, embroidery, cross stitch
- Papercraft – card making and stationery, scrapbooking, bookbinding, stamping, origami, party and gifting
- Visual arts – painting, printing and printmaking, drawing and drafting, photography, collage, calligraphy and pens
- Sculpting and forming – ceramics and pottery, metalworking, carving and whittling, sculpting and forming
Vintage items must be at least 20 years old. Read more about selling vintage items on Etsy here.
Now you know WHAT you can sell on Etsy, WHO can sell on Etsy?
Etsy is predominantly for people who hand make their own products. There are rules for sellers on Etsy. It’s important for anyone planning to sell on Etsy that you are familiar with the rules (they are available here). Within the rules you’ll find detail regarding items being handmade, and what that means.
If the stuff you want to sell has not been made by you, nor is vintage, then your best bet is to sell it on eBay, or set up an eBay store.
Set Up an Etsy Store
So you’ve decided that an Etsy store might be for you. How do you go about setting up an Etsy store?
To get started you will need to:
- Set up some basic shop preferences.
- Name your shop. If your first preference it taken, Etsy helps you by generating some names that are available. Get going until you get one that works for you.
- Start to stock your shop. This may take you some time. You’ll need to upload photos of your items, and provide descriptions and information about your items as follows:
- Title – Include keywords that buyers would use to search for your item.
- About this listing – Who made it? What is it? When was it made?
- Category – A two- or three-word description of your item to get category suggestions that will help more shoppers find it.
- Renewal options – Each renewal lasts for four months or until the listing sells out.
- Type – Physical or digital.
- Description – Write a brief overview that describes your item’s finest features. List details like dimensions and key features in easy-to-read bullet points. Tell buyers a bit about your process or the story behind this item.
- Price – Set the price for your work. Factor in the costs of materials and labour, plus any related business expenses. Consider the total price buyers will pay too, including delivery.
- Quantity – for quantities greater than one, this listing will renew automatically until it sells out. You’ll be charged a $0.20 USD listing fee each time.
- Variations – Add any available options like color or size. Buyers will choose from these during checkout.
- Shipping options – This includes origin of the shipping, processing time, carrier, and what you’ll charge.
4. Set up how you’ll get paid. This includes setting up your banking details and address.
5. Set up billing. This step includes linking to your PayPal account.
The pros and cons of an etsy shop
There are plenty of resources available on Etsy:
- There is a help centre, together with a forum so you can ask questions.
- You don’t need to be the slightest bit technical to successfully set up your own Etsy shop. The platform itself is easy to use and straight forward. It’s well laid out so you won’t get lost in it.
- Etsy already has traffic and active buyers searching the market place.
- Etsy is a very cheap and convenient way to get your products to market without too much overhead or hassle.
- You can use Etsy as a testing ground to see what people’s responses are to particular prototype products.
- It can be a simple way to test the waters and see whether handmade goods are your passion
- If you sell your handmade work or vintage paraphernalia through markets and stalls, setting up an Etsy shop may be an excellent addition to your sales strategy. Likewise, if you are transitioning out of markets and stalls, setting up an Etsy shop may help you make move the last of your products.
- The price-point of products on Etsy is typically quite low, so you do need to sell a lot of products to make decent money.
- Etsy is very competitive marketplace with lots of sellers competing with the same products, driving prices down.
- Handmaking products is extremely labour-intensive, and you’ll have to sell a lot of them to make it worth your while. You’ll need to weigh up whether the time taken to make them is worth it.
- Your Etsy shop is limited to Etsy clients. If someone does a Google search for your product rather than go direct to Etsy to search, let’s say it’s a leather cat collar, your item may appear at the bottom of the Google listing (unless you’ve got a really popular Etsy shop). Most people’s natural inclination is to key in search times and see what Google offers them.
- There are Etsy fees of course. There are listing fees of $0.20, plus 3.5% of the sale. There are also PaylPal fees if you’re using PayPal.
- Discerning buyers might find an Etsy shop less professional than an online shop with it’s own domain and brand. Your brand can’t shine through on a platform like Etsy.
- There is no opportunity for you to collect buyer email addresses to add to your email list, so you can’t ‘build’ a customer base through email marketing.
Is selling on Etsy worth it?
Depending on your goals and what you want to get out of it, Etsy might be just the thing you need. Particularly if you’re starting out and what to test the handmade market, or if you want to add another string to your bow. If your goal is to gain experience in setting up your own store and selling your own products, then Etsy may help you reach your goals.
If your goals are more substantial and you want to ramp up your revenue and manage your store more like your own business, with branding and targeted marketing efforts, then Etsy may leave you disappointed.
An alternative to selling on Etsy
If your goal is your own professional online store, it’s very easy to set up your own website. This approach allows you to:
- Develop and reinforce your brand
- Market directly to your own website
- Communicate directly with your customers
- Drive traffic to your website via free methods (such as keywords and Search Engine Optimisation) and paid methods such as advertising
- Forget about the cost of listing items
Setting up your own website is easier than you think. In fact, you can set up your own website in under five minutes in a few easy steps. You’ll need to upload an eCommerce plugin such as WooCommerce.
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