Opening an Etsy shop can feel very scary. If you have been on the fence about it, trust me I know how you’re feeling! I waited FOUR YEARS before I finally took the plunge and opened my Etsy shop. I was worried maybe my products weren’t good enough, or my niche wasn’t small enough (back then I was making about every type of crochet piece possible, baby clothes, character hats, scarves, mermaid tail blankets, baby blankets, amigurumi, scoodies, ponchos, I mean I was all over the place). There’s always going to be those pesky “what if’s” in the back of your mind but in this post, I am going to give you 6 reasons why you SHOULD open an Etsy shop.
If you like to listen more than reading you can watch my Instagram Live replay here. I go through the 6 reasons why I like being an Etsy seller pretty fast, then there is a Q&A session for the remainder of the time.
1. Opening an Etsy shop is free.
That’s right. Free. You could open one after reading this post and you won’t be charged a dime. When you start listing products, however, there is a $0.20 listing fee; but, if you follow this link when you go to open your shop, you will get 40 free listings to help you get started. This gives new shop owners peace of mind, you are able to start growing your business without affecting you or your family financially. It’s a win-win!
2. Etsy is very user-friendly.
Navigating around your Shop Manager in Etsy is pretty simple for the most part. You don’t have to be tech-savvy or know anything about coding or HTML mumbo jumbo. Making new product listings are super simple too, you just fill in the available fields and choose from a couple drop down menus. I personally have had any serious issues navigating Etsy as a seller. Sometimes I may forget where something is but a simple google or youtube search and I can find it again.
3. Etsy is well established.
Etsy has been around since 2005. If anyone knows anything about buying/selling handmade goods they have probably heard of (or even shopped on) Etsy. Your target audience, people who like to buy handmade (or vintage) things, is already shopping on Etsy.com on a daily basis! If you were to build and start your own site, you would be solely responsible for driving traffic to your site. Don’t get me wrong, I still market and advertise for my Etsy shop all the time, that’s just part of being a business owner, but Etsy is also marketing and advertising to customers on my behalf.
4. Etsy shoppers have a sense of security.
When you are shopping on Etsy, you know there is an “Etsy Overlord” who has your back if for some reason your Etsy shop owner is anything less than professional. Customers know if they don’t receive their items or if they are unhappy with their shopping experience in general, they can report it to Etsy. As a buyer I really appreciate that feature, I know I’m not going to just be left in the dust if I have a bad experience with an individual Etsy seller. If I were to shop at someone’s own e-commerce site, and I was unhappy with my experience/product/professionalism of the owner, the only option I would have for reconciliation would be to go through legal channels. Also, referring back to reason number 1, customers feel secure when shopping on Etsy because Etsy is so well known and established, they don’t have to second guess if the site is “legit”.
5. Etsy’s affiliate program
Etsy has an affiliate program, which means if an Etsy affiliate (influencer) links something to YOUR shop on THEIR social media platforms, and someone who follows that link buys something from your shop, the affiliate gets paid a commission percentage. This doesn’t affect your profits one bit, the commision is paid by Etsy. Influencers are looking through Etsy for best selling or trendy items so they can post affiliate links and make money! Imagine, these people could have thousands or millions of followers and they are sharing your product on their platforms! This actually happened to me last winter. A big Facebook group created a slideshow using pictures of messy bun beanies from my shop, posted it on their page with an affiliate link, and my shop BLEW UP! I got 1000 orders in one month! It was a rollercoaster ride that’s for sure, the slideshow they created was viewed more than 2 million times! So just by being on Etsy, there is a chance you will be featured by a big-time influencer!
6. It’s just easier
Selling on Etsy vs. just selling through social media and to local friends and family is so much easier on my opinion. When I was trying to just sell my items before I got on Etsy, everything was a mess. A customer would order something (usually totally custom), then it would be super awkward when I had to tell them I need to be paid up front (which would sometimes be a mailed check so I had to wait for that to come in before I could even start), then there’s always the chance of miscommunication and I’d end up making the piece in the wrong color, THEN I have to try to get a hold of the customer again to let them know their order is ready. I would be scrolling through my Facebook messages trying to figure out who ordered what, and it was so hectic and unorganized! When I first opened my Etsy shop, from day one, I directed all my sales to my shop. My intention was to build up my Etsy stats so I would be more reputable to buyers, but it did so much more than just that for me. I was able to keep my orders organized based on when they were placed (with all the customers information), the customer could read exactly what I was going to make for them which cut out the miscommunication problem, I got paid up front without awkwardly asking to be paid because that is the only way they can check out, plus the option to take credit cards was a nice change of pace too. You just look much more professional (and like you know what you’re doing) when you sell on Etsy vs. just trying to do it on your own.
Being successful on Etsy is not a walk in the park. It takes a lot of research and a lot of boss lady hours to make your Etsy shop thrive, but that’s how all small businesses are, they take work to be successful! There is so much about Etsy that you can research, how to take good listing photos, how to create listings that can be found when searched, how to phrase your titles/descriptions/keywords, it’s a lot, but it’s so worth it. If you can get your Etsy shop where it needs to be, Etsy can be an amazing tool for your business and it will start working for you! All I did to get featured on that Facebook page was have a good and trendy product, have great pics (it’s easy when your models are so pretty), and have searchable listings. I wasn’t even following that page until I searched my Etsy analytics to see where all my new sales were coming from!
A lot of people actually recommend having your own site, like a Shopify store or something, and being in a marketplace like Etsy. That is going to help you reach more people. You could focus your energy into marking and advertising for your site and let Etsy kind of do its own thing in the background for you. Even if one day I find my business has grown so much and I can easily open my own e-commerce site and have a decent amount of traffic, I will still have my Etsy shop open too. It’s just good business sense because so many people in my target audience are already shopping there.
I hope you found this post informative but also inspiring. I love watching handmade businesses flourish and grow into something amazing. I love watching other makers work their way up, doing the thing they love most, and absolutely killing it in the handmade world! When one of us does well we all do well because we are all makers, we all are selling to people who like to buy handmade things and we are all unique! Community over Competition you guys, it’s the only way to be. Please don’t hesitate to ask me any questions in the comments, I will do my very best to answer them! Also be sure to follow me on Pinterest, anytime I learn something new, that’s helpful to my Etsy shop or just my business in general, I always pin it so I can find it again if I need to but also so I have a place to direct others who may need some help.
Also If you want to start researching being an Etsy seller more I HIGHLY recommend The Merriweather Council. She is a bounty of Etsy information, she has classes, and facebook groups, and PODCASTS! All sorts of stuff to help you learn how to be successful on Etsy!
Good luck to those of you who have chosen to open Etsy shops, you’re going to be amazing!