Running an Etsy Shop

by Mandy Crandell

A huge wave of handmade hit, and I got caught up in it. About 4 years ago, I heard about Etsy and decided to dive in.  For those who aren’t familiar with it, Etsy is an online marketplace for people to sell handmade or vintage items.

I thought it would be a great place to make some extra money. All I had to do was make some stuff, and people would buy it up.  What I didn’t know then was that I was so very wrong.

The beginning was a struggle.  At the time, I was living in Wisconsin sewing strange little creatures through the long winter.  I took photos of my creations and listed them in my Etsy shop just to watch the listings expire.  My friends really seemed to like my work, but why didn’t anyone else?

That’s when I decided to really look into what Etsy was all about. I read every tip and guide on selling. I made changes to my shop banner, policies, photos, and descriptions.  I took part in Etsy Forums and even started a blog. When I moved back to Indiana, I began networking and got my items into a few local shops.  Slowly, I saw a little business.  What else was I missing, though?  Advertising.  I have never been good at marketing myself, but I had to learn how.

Starting a blog was probably the best thing that I did.  It allowed me to show my work to others, and they also got to know me in the process.  Having a Facebook page has also helped.  I’m even on Twitter now, and that’s something I never thought I’d say.  Honestly, Twitter has been such an amazing tool for me as a small business owner.  The combination of all of these things turned my little idea into a real business.

But don’t be fooled.  It never gets easy owning a small business whether it’s through an online marketplace or a physical storefront.  Some (many) days you will want to give up.  I’ve already thought about closing my shop twice today.

So, is Etsy worth all of this?  For me, yes. Etsy is a great place to start a business.  It only costs 20 cents to list an item that will be on display for 3 months.  If no one buys it, you’re only out a little.  This gives you a chance to see what really works for your shop and allows you to test new ideas. You have to be willing to put forth the effort, though.  Try it for yourself and see if it works for you.  Like anything else, you get out of it what you put into it.

Mandy Crandell is the owner, jewelry designer, photographer, and blogger behind SOMETHiNG MONUMENTAL.  On her blog, she shares photography-related tips, tutorials, and reviews as well as DIY craft projects.  Her obsessions include roadside attractions, dinosaurs, Tim Burton, instant film, dancing, cartoons, and the 90s.

Etsy: somethingmonumental.etsy.com

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Mandy is offering a super awesome discount to the readers of our blog and members of Pattern at her ETSY Store. The code is PATTERN40 and means that you get a whopping 40% off your purchase. Thanks Mandy!

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2 Comments

  • Mandy, I know what you mean…some days I’m very positive about my business, some days I think “why bother!” It’s not easy! I am thankful I don’t have a retail shop to run, or employees on my conscience. But I plug along, slowly growing, trying to keep a positive outlook. When strangers see my merchandise and get excited, it really makes me think it’s worthwhile. Seeing awful merchandise by the hundreds in department stores is very depressing, though. It’s a lesson: a good product doesn’t guarantee success.

  • Mandy, I know what you mean…some days I’m very positive about my business, some days I think “why bother!” It’s not easy! I am thankful I don’t have a retail shop to run, or employees on my conscience. But I plug along, slowly growing, trying to keep a positive outlook. When strangers see my merchandise and get excited, it really makes me think it’s worthwhile. Seeing awful merchandise by the hundreds in department stores is very depressing, though. It’s a lesson: a good product doesn’t guarantee success.

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