Since you're here, it's safe to assume you either have a product you want to sell or a product idea you want to pursue.
But why Etsy?
That, my friend, is a fantastic question! There are a lot of ecommerce options out there, right? Why should you start on Etsy?
Allow me to answer by sharing my story.
Hi! I'm Melissa Kaiserman, owner of ATime4Everything on Etsy - a shop with over 15,000 sales. In 2010, I was a stay-at-home mom of four, ages 9 to 2. I was tired of digging around for white paper envelopes in my purse, so I made myself a cash envelope system wallet from laminated cotton. It was the first time I had ever put in a zipper, and by the time I finished I wanted it to be the last.
I made the mistake (?) of showing it to friends and to my blog readers, after which a bit of begging ensued. Long story short, I agreed to make about a dozen and then a few months later decided to sell some more from my blog as I had the time to make them, using PayPal "buy buttons" which were a pain to code.
This whole time, I had a friend who kept gently nudging me toward selling the wallets on Etsy. And I kept gently ignoring her. I had four young kids and was homeschooling the two oldest. In my mind, I didn't have time to figure out how to sell there. (Apparently I thought it was easier to wrestle with html.)
I did, however, do bits of research over the course of a few months just to get an idea of how Etsy worked. You know, just in case.
In October 2011, I finally gave in after attending a craft retreat where I was able to make up a bunch of inventory. The day after I got home, I started listing items.
Fortunately I already had many ducks in a row (business license, sales tax permit, etc.) since I had been selling from my blog, so I didn't make the HUGE mistake of jumping in without taking care of super important details. And I had that little bit of research under my belt.
During my first two weeks on Etsy, I had more sales than I'd had in the previous nine months selling from my blog. So yeah, there was a little bit of regret about dragging my feet and letting fear of the unknown hold me back.
Here are some things I learned right away:
- Setting up a shop on Etsy and listing items wasn't as scary as I thought it would be, but it did require having some things ready in advance.
- It was much nicer having all of my sales listed in one place instead of dealing with PayPal emails that I could easily overlook.
- While sales certainly weren't guaranteed, it was far easier to get traffic to my shop on Etsy than to my shop on my blog. We're talking exponentially easier. People who are familiar with Etsy often go straight there to search for handmade items.
- As a mom with four young kids, Etsy was the PERFECT solution for me to have a handmade business without a ton of overwhelm. In fact, it still is five years later!
In various spots of the online world you'll hear people saying, "Oh, you need to get off Etsy or at least have another shop in addition to it! No one will take you seriously. You can't run a successful business on Etsy! It's great for beginners, but not for people who want to grow."
Eh, blanket statements. I am proof that it's possible to have a successful business only on Etsy, and I know many others who have done the same.
Some people are in a season of life where they have the margin and aptitude to set up shop on a platform that requires being a bit more tech-savvy and putting in more work to drive traffic since nobody's going there to search. Or to pay someone else hundreds or thousands of dollars to do it. That's awesome!
But I know a lot of you aren't. Whether it's because you have kids at home, are working full-time, are caring for an ailing parent, or are in the midst of other circumstances that are putting a high demand on your time and resources, you just aren't going to go for it.
In fact, you might be thinking you don't even have the margin to go for setting up a shop on Etsy. I totally get it.