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To Etsy, or not to Etsy, that is the question


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#1 VictoryChains

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:31 PM

I'm new, as many people are, and am currently waiting for my rings to get in. I ordered them last Thursday, unfortunately the site says they are still packing/making my product. So sad. I'm so ready to start. Anyway.

I read a few days ago, that Etsy and eBay weren't the best way to really sell anything. And I can see how that would be true.

But I just wanted to see what some other people thought. And their experiences of Etsy versus shows and having multiple people vending their items and so forth.

#2 calisandra

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:38 PM

some people love Etsy, haven't tried it so I can't say if it works, I like selling to people in person so I do shows mostly. I do have a storefront on Facebook/Lish but haven't sold much there either. didn't want to pay to sell stuff on Etsy. Ebay was great for me when i was trying to sell the Warhammer 40K orcs I had propainted but not so much for jewelry, or chain mail shirts, too many drop shippers listing stuff made in China and India.

#3 Jax25

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 01:24 PM

I've had an Etsy account for...oh...about three years. I've sold 14 things in that 3 years. Now if you are the sort of person that drives clients TO the site, then you could probably do all right with it. If you're just hoping for people to come buy your stuff, you're not going to sell much.

I agree with calisandra about Ebay. I never sold a single thing there chainmail-wise so I stopped trying. I've noticed that people tend to sell their mail dirt cheap there.

#4 Milquetoast

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Posted 25 September 2012 - 02:35 PM

Contact local consignment shops-- preferably one that's downtown or in a shopping district or some such-- partially because they'll get more traffic, because some consignment shops tend to be little more than thrift stores and a nice shop will get people who are in there looking for things like unique jewellery. Make sure to browse and see that your items fit with their style, and that you're getting a good deal from it (some shops take 50% or more of the sale). Only if you're very lucky somehow will stuff fly off the shelves, but I, personally, sell enough to fund an order from TRL every once in a while. Don't make a lot, but between that and selling things to people like classmates who just happen to see it and want a piece, I make enough that the hobby feeds itself.

#5 VictoryChains

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 07:39 AM

Thanks so much for the advice guys! I'm waiting for my shipment to arrive so I can get a few things made. And I might be crazy for wanting to start up a business selling chainmaille, but I want to try anyway.

#6 mrbuds

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 03:38 PM

you can sale them on online auctions. stay away for the ones that dose not have reserves though, because you will be taken. out bid i hear is pretty good,

#7 MadDragonChain

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:47 AM

With Facebook allowing on site retail, I have to say no to Etsy. I am currently starting a facebook store through payvment. There are hiccups, as with any early adaption, but it's doing well so far.

#8 SplitInfinity

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 02:08 PM

I've been doing Etsy sales for about a year and while not a huge money maker, I have gotten about 40 orders (and I was really new last Christmas, so I imagine it will be a better money maker for me being all set up and inventoried this year). It's a great way to draw traffic and Etsy's pretty proactive about working to bring in customers. They recently added a direct payment option (so customers can pay by credit card on the site and not have to create a PayPal account) and they're adding Etsy-wide gift certificates soon. You have to take great pictures and you do have to play some of the social games (adding people to your Circle, making treasuries) to get traffic, but money-wise, it's a pretty small investment and a large potential audience / customer base. I don't think there's a lot of harm in giving it a shot, assuming you've got the time to get it set up.

#9 aligoth

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 12:31 PM

When you price your things on etsy, do you price them competitively compared to the other store fronts, or do you primarily just put it at whatever you feel is fair?

#10 PlutoniumX

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:25 PM

I price what I price, regardless of location. There are incredibly high priced and low priced chainmaillers on Etsy. You just have to decide where you want to be. So for me, I price the way I always have and it works out.

Taking good pictures is very important in online sales.

#11 Jax25

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Posted 30 October 2012 - 01:05 PM

With Facebook allowing on site retail, I have to say no to Etsy. I am currently starting a facebook store through payvment. There are hiccups, as with any early adaption, but it's doing well so far.


Except that you now have to pay Facebook to promote your page, otherwise only a tiny percentage of people see it. I hate FB so much.

#12 WireflyJewelry

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 10:06 AM

Do not price competitively with Etsy. You will not make any money. Know the cost of your goods and the cost of your time, and price accordingly.

#13 calisandra

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Posted 15 November 2012 - 06:23 PM

Except that you now have to pay Facebook to promote your page, otherwise only a tiny percentage of people see it. I hate FB so much.


you always did have to pay for adds to promote your page, if you do FB by the Payvment storefront on LISH you can promote products and sales (and therefore your page) on FB, on your personal page and on Twitter and I think Google a few others for free. there are some pay features if you want them but otherwise its free. you still have to pay Paypal fees but don't have to pay FB or Payvment. how do you promote an Etsy account? I always wondered about that

#14 Jax25

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Posted 16 November 2012 - 12:19 PM

you always did have to pay for adds to promote your page, if you do FB by the Payvment storefront on LISH you can promote products and sales (and therefore your page) on FB, on your personal page and on Twitter and I think Google a few others for free. there are some pay features if you want them but otherwise its free. you still have to pay Paypal fees but don't have to pay FB or Payvment. how do you promote an Etsy account? I always wondered about that


I knew about ads...but I keep seeing and hearing about how you now have to pay to get things to show to more than a small percentage of your followers. That's why a lot of small businesses, musicians, etc. are up in arms...because you have to pay for EVERY post that you want more than that small percentage to see. I can't say that I use FB much for my maille...as I'm not actually trying to sell much these days due to some long running personal projects taking up most of my mailing time. Still. I hate FB with a passion and I wish people would stop using it. Until they get viable competition though, I'm afraid that's not going to happen. As for how you promote an Etsy shop, they have built in modules for FB and Twitter...not sure about the others because, again, I haven't been promoting myself. :P

#15 MadDragonChain

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Posted 20 November 2012 - 10:51 AM

I knew about ads...but I keep seeing and hearing about how you now have to pay to get things to show to more than a small percentage of your followers. That's why a lot of small businesses, musicians, etc. are up in arms...because you have to pay for EVERY post that you want more than that small percentage to see. I can't say that I use FB much for my maille...as I'm not actually trying to sell much these days due to some long running personal projects taking up most of my mailing time. Still. I hate FB with a passion and I wish people would stop using it. Until they get viable competition though, I'm afraid that's not going to happen. As for how you promote an Etsy shop, they have built in modules for FB and Twitter...not sure about the others because, again, I haven't been promoting myself. :P


Nah, that's not how it works. You can CHOOSE to push your posts to the top of your followers timeline (aka sponsored). But your time line posts are not something you pay for. I use Payvment, put a sale item once a week or 2, and about 4 days later, I share the post on my personal timeline to my friends and family. That way, I pay nothing unless I choose, my followers get first chance at discounted items, then my friends.
I also post events for up coming shows, and make sure people have the ability to ask any questions they have. It's always helpful to allow your followers share in your success, like when you come up with a ew design, or when you have a great show.
Etsy is so over crowded, and has so much mock artisans, that it's worse than FB for crafters, IMHO.

#16 Jadelyn

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 05:27 PM

Nah, that's not how it works. You can CHOOSE to push your posts to the top of your followers timeline (aka sponsored). But your time line posts are not something you pay for. I use Payvment, put a sale item once a week or 2, and about 4 days later, I share the post on my personal timeline to my friends and family. That way, I pay nothing unless I choose, my followers get first chance at discounted items, then my friends.
I also post events for up coming shows, and make sure people have the ability to ask any questions they have. It's always helpful to allow your followers share in your success, like when you come up with a ew design, or when you have a great show.
Etsy is so over crowded, and has so much mock artisans, that it's worse than FB for crafters, IMHO.


Actually, that is how it works. Facebook will only guarantee that your posts reach 15-20% of your fans' timelines - that's "show up at all", not "show up at the top". People with thousands of fans are suddenly seeing the traffic to their page drop to as little as a third of what it used to be, since the things they post are not even showing up for the vast majority of their followers, unless you're willing to pay Facebook to deliver your content to people who've already opted-in to see it. This article at Dangerous Minds explains it very well, and is thoroughly sourced, if you want to read more about it.

On-topic, I have an Etsy shop, though I haven't sold anything through it (which is due more to my lackadaisical attitude toward it up until recently than anything related to Etsy itself). The fees can get a bit steep if you sell high-dollar items or move a lot of inventory through there, but if you actively engage in promotion via social media, join trade teams, etc. you can do pretty well. I have a friend, Kelly of Whimsy Beading, who's had a popular shop with strong sales for a few years now, all done through Etsy. I think Etsy's a good venue for those of us who lack the time, transportation, money for booth fees, or just the social inclination to sell at shows. (Honestly, you could not pay me enough to go to a big crowded place and have to sit and talk with people for hours and try to sell that way, nuh-uh, never.)

The other thing I like about Etsy is that it has a built-in preexisting traffic source, as opposed to making your own ecommerce site and then trying to build an audience from scratch. I can post my items on other sites - my blog, Facebook, etc - to drive traffic if I want to, but even if I don't, my stuff gets seen when people search for the appropriate terms, without my having to do a thing. Is Etsy perfect? Nah. But for someone just starting out, I think it's pretty decent.

#17 Lysenis

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 10:01 PM

After reading that Jadelyn I think I may try it out. I need to expousre and this is a great way to do it.

Hmmm I will use this as a test and post my findings.

#18 Lynxette

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 05:48 AM

Anybody tried Shopify?

I currently have a Multiply store (not chainmail related) and sales are slow no matter how good at SEO it is. :hope:

#19 Jax25

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 08:51 AM

I hadn't even heard of shopify. I used to use Artfire...back when they actually had free accounts and you didn't have to pay a monthly fee. I never really sold much there, either.

Other than that, I pretty much agree with what Jadelyn was saying about Etsy. The biggest challenge of Etsy is just getting people to buy your things out of the sea of other maillers on there. You'll get some traffic, that's sure. I still get traffic even though I've let my store dwindle to almost nothing.

#20 Nyx

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Posted 05 December 2012 - 11:54 PM

You'll get some traffic, that's sure. I still get traffic even though I've let my store dwindle to almost nothing.


Do you have a significant inventory, Jax? Or does the dwindle comment answer that question already? LoL I set up my Etsy shop just before Thanksgiving and after my initial wave of friends checking the place out, I haven't gotten much in the way of traffic. I'm hoping it'll pick up once I put more inventory, but I'm a worrier anyway :-p




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