I love making jewelry & not listing it... I have at least 30 items to list on Etsy. It's not my favorite thing to do ( I have to sit still : ) and one reason why I'm looking forward to offline sales.
The following article is a repost from Huffington. I have been selling on Etsy for almost a year now. I often see many sellers that offer items that aren't handmade or vintage i.e. jewelry or other items they purchase and resell. I saw a listing where someone was selling grow light for plants on Etsy! That's geared more for eBay, not Etsy. I guess some shop owners just don't care. It's not really fair to those that have standards and follow the guidelines.
Etsy is huge and like many businesses in this country work understaffed. There are too many items to check and see if it falls within the specifications of whether it is handmade or vintage. Just recently Etsy announced that it will allow third party manufactured items to be included? That stinks. I'm happy my goal is to be a success offline.
I'm a conscious consumer. I shop second-hand, I limit my consumption of "stuff," and I try to keep my purchases local. I believe in voting with my dollars, and I've gone so far as to dedicate my career to figuring out what that means.
On occasion, though, when I'm hankering for a new piece of jewelry or a unique gift I can't find in my local thrift shop, I'll look to Etsy. If I'm going to dish out the cash on a new item, I know that my purchase has more impact if it goes to the local makers who are working on their craft.
As someone who is directly involved in the maker movement, I'm somewhat embarrassed to say I didn't pay much attention when Etsychanged its policies last fall. For those of you who don't know what I'm talking about, CEO Chad Dickerson announced that Etsy sellers could use outside manufacturers to produce their designs. In other words, items sold on Etsy no longer had to be handmade.
It wasn't until a few months ago, when looking on Etsy for a new watch that I realized the implications of this change.
I had a specific brown, repurposed leather, wrap-watch in mind. I knew the one I wanted was handmade by a seller in Ohio, but I didn't know his name. Typing in a simple search for "wrap watch" into Etsy, I proceeded to spend nearly an hour sifting through 50+ pages of three-dollar "wrap watches" from China.
My eyes scanned over page after page of items I would have expected to find in the kiosks of Daytona Beach, not on a website for handmade goods. I sat at my computer with my jaw on the keyboard, wondering what had just happened. When I eventually found what I was looking for I purchased the handmade watch, for significantly more than three dollars, and moved on. I didn't think much more about the experience after that.
A few months later, I met an Etsy seller through Factory45, the accelerator program I run for designers and makers. Among other reasons, she applied to my program looking for business guidance on restoring her Etsy shop sales.
She recently told me, "Last year my Etsy sales tripled in the spring and then again in the fall, so I figured things were still looking good. But in May, my views dropped off to about one-third of what they were in the previous months and as compared to last year. I thought they just dipped because of the holiday weekend and the nice weather, but in June they did not pick back up."
She went on to explain that several message boards had popped up about similar drops in traffic for other Etsy sellers. When I went on the site to see for myself I found threads with titles like, "Are most of you feeling the low traffic, views and sales?" "Can Etsy stop letting Chinese factories sell here?" and "Your Stuff: Made in China?" with diplomatic responses from Etsy administrators encouraging the sellers "to take advantage of the downtime." (Interesting advice when downtime could mean the difference between paying and not paying your rent.)
Aside from the issue that independent designers are now competing with full-scale production operations, there is the issue of sheer volume -- Etsy now has over 1 million shops. When a seller is competing in a sea of 999,999 other shops, the odds aren't good.
Now that Etsy shoppers have the option of buying from middlemen selling three dollar watches, finding that handmade wrap watch you're looking for will undoubtedly be more difficult. From the seller's perspective, no matter how many times they change their "tags," SEO or refresh their storefront, the traffic just isn't going to come like it used to.
So what actually happened?
In the fall of 2013, Etsy shifted their loyalty from the maker to the shareholder as it made plans to further scale its business model. How did this change things?
Because Etsy's policy changes happened at the maker's expense, many of the people who were once making a living off of their shops are now seeing a fraction of the sales. The difference between Etsy, and let's say, Wal-Mart just got a whole lot smaller. At the core, Etsy changed its mission. No longer is it a website for makers of one-of-a-kind, original goods. Instead, it has become yet another website for the mass-produced and cheaply made goods that satisfy our insatiable culture of mindless consumption.
So what's a seller to do?
If you're an independent designer or maker with an Etsy shop, there are a few ways to try and get your traffic back up.
- Create a small network of fellow sellers. Etsy offers the "team" feature but going beyond that, find five other sellers who have a similar target market and non-competing products. Work together to promote each other's shops using your individual social media outlets and outside networks.
- Narrow down your niche and create very specific tags. "Screen printed t-shirt" just isn't going to cut it anymore. The competition is too high. Use tags and keywords you know would appeal to your target market and get specific.
- Guest post on the Etsy blog. The blog run by Etsy is "consumer facing," meaning the content is written for shoppers. It's an entire platform where your potential customers could be hanging out. Come up with a few article ideas that would appeal to Etsy shoppers and pitch the editorial team.
- Move marketing efforts away from Etsy to Pinterest, Instagram and a personal blog. Etsy ads are not going to be as effective as they used to be, so save your money. Focus your marketing efforts on creating compelling content through your social media outlets. Host contests on Pinterest, run giveaways on Instagram and write about the "behind-the-scenes" of your business on your blog.
As someone who supports the manufacturing movement in the USA, I believe that Etsy sellers should be able to scale production when their sales numbers get too high to manage on their own. My issue with Etsy lies in the lack of a discerning gatekeeper.
It comes down to this: the world doesn't need another eBay. It needs the old Etsy.
Get more business strategy for your Etsy store or small business from Factory45 here.
Follow Shannon Whitehead on Twitter:www.twitter.com/shannlw
I've been working on some cool new jars & will be listing them within the next week.
I decided to use a jewelery organizer for my decals, slaps. It works great! I love it! It's important to keep your craft items organized that's for sure.
Oracal 651 is a performance grade vinyl well suited for indoor and outdoor applications. It was originally designed for fleet vehicle graphics making it a perfect choice for cars.
The solvent based permanent adhesive makes it a great choice for wet area applications such as boats or other outdoor places. It can still be used indoors on walls but has a much higher potential to cause damage when removed.
Oracal 651 Specs
- Finish - Gloss
- Adhesive - Solvent based permanent
- Indoor durability - 10years +
- Outdoor Durability - 6 years +
- Thickness - 2.5 mils
- Waterproof - Yes
Oracal 651 Uses
- Interior and exterior signs
- Car Decals
- Dishes (handwash recommended, may be top rack safe)
- General purpose
I began this website in December of 2013. I had one previously hosted at Google. I know that many of you that visit this site frequently (Thank you!) have witnessed a lot of changes and I'd like to announce that another one is about to take place soon. I am closing my online store and importing my Esty Store to this site. I'm not really fond of the way Stripe holds your money hostage and my NEW business investor & partner made stipulations in order for me to receive funding for my logo shirts. It all revolved about banking, Paypal & Stripe which I am forced to use to have my online store. It was all fixed last night. I wasn't happy at first but later realized how much sense it made. It will be a lot of work moving everything but you have to do.... what you have to do! It doesn't cost me anything to import my Esty store but I do pay to have an online store on this site so in the end it will save me money. On top of importing the store the website is about to get a makeover with a sleeker look & each page will be capable of having it OWN header. I'm not looking forward to doing the upgrade but it will look much better when it's complete. It will take awhile to achieve the vision I have for my site because I do this alone (manage the site) on top of a million other things everyday. I do the best I can & I'm okay with that...I know that all good things take time. It's not like I hired a group of Pros to manage my site, all the SEO stuff and post articles for me. Running a website takes A LOT of time & I'm spread thin so thanks for sticking with and being a part of this adventure! I know you will like the changes...
It's happening! I am meeting with my friend that owns a screen printing company & his partner (who designed my awesome logo) to decide on the color, type of shirts so I can get them produced at last! After conferring with my better half it has been decided that the Green Thumb Girls with remain. Girls That Grow will be added to the back of the shirt. They will be tee-shirts, not tanks for now. I am just using this tank below as an example. I'm not sure if I want the logo big on the front as shown or smaller and on the upper corner of the shirt... decisions... decisions!
I plan on having the following items as well in the near future & then some...
A brand-new, unused, unopened, undamaged item in its original packaging (where packaging is applicable). Packaging should be the same as what is found in a retail store, unless the item is handmade or was packaged by the manufacturer in non-retail packaging, such as an unprinted box or plastic bag. See the seller's listing for full details.
An item that has been used previously. The item may have some signs of cosmetic wear, but is fully operational and functions as intended. This item may be a floor model or store return that has been used. See the seller's listing for full details and description of any imperfections.
@GreenThumbGirls: I told ya I was going for the #bling
Check out this lid of a stash jar I made tonite 😆👍💕 #StonerGirls
This was my 1st one I made
I'm re-opening my Etsy Store and will be also selling my goods on eBay & Amazon. Why limit yourself to just one site? Also people are more comfortable, in my opinion, buying through a well known site. I should have everything listed in the next two days and will post links on my social networks.
I love these jars! They're so gorgeous just as they are- I might not customize them. They're big jars & can hold an Oz. or more. I've always had a penchant for colbalt glass and jumped at the opportunity of getting these.
As many of you know I am going to have my logo on shirts, tanks, etc but what you don't know is that I plan on a line of STONER GIRL shirts! I have some ideas and I'll probably work with the designer who created my awesome logo. They won't just say stoner girl on them... I have something special planned. I'm shooting for April 20 for their debut!
I have been working diligently on getting all of my hand-made soaps listed in the Shoppe. It is not a fast process & it's not complete because I have all of my non-cannabis leaf type soaps to list.
The process goes like this....
- Take Photos of Items
- Weigh & measure each item
- Decide what box it needs to go in
- Upload pics to Macbook
- Flag & Edit if needed
- Upload pics into appropriate places
- Configure necessary tabs for listing
- Describe item
- Take a big bong hit or 2 or 3
- Save & Publish
Its time consuming more than frustrating. I'm not used to sitting and staring at a computer screen as much as I used to be. I have a lot less computer projects at work at the moment so I have been utilizing my iPhone more than my MB.
The store goes live! Look for specials!
I have 3 huge vintage jars by Per Alimente of Italy I will be listing soon. Take a peek!
Lots of soap!
My business advisor and I did a test run buying an item and we flipped out at the shipping costs.We have it figured out and everything seems to be ok now but we're going to double check when he gets out of a meeting later.
Sorry for the shipping sticker shock to those wanting to make a purchase! My decals & stickers have free shipping but as it was, a buyer was going to get charged $5.80 for one sticker! Glad the glitch was caught sooner than later....