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VictoryChains

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

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Good info.....been thinking of trying to list some things on etsy but haven't gone into the details of doing it....so far I have had the most sales just by wearing it and having people ask about it....then I show them what I have made up and they usually buy something...not always.....I also work where there is free time and take it with me sometimes to work on, residents see me making it and often buy a piece. I sold 7 pair of Xmas earrings just by taking in the earrings I was making for my mom and sister and I. My mom lives there and others saw what I had and bought from that. One lady just visiting also bought some necklaces and other earrings. I made $200 this month just from taking earings to show my mother. Another lady admired my earrings at the gas station and wanted to see what else I made. I took them in the next day for her to see...she oohed and ahhed but didn't buy any but the gas jockey boy who was there bought 2 bracelets. Probably won't have that kind of luck again for months but once in a while you get the chance to at least get your money back so you can keep buying the supplies to do what you love. Oh yes, the show of appreciation doesn't hurt either!

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Well, I hooked my blog to my new website, so we'll see how things go. I still have a lot of work to do on my site - and I'm not really happy about how the shopping cart will only work through paypal - but I'm having moderate success already so yay. :)

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Another option out there if you don't want to use Etsy or aren't able to get your own website up is Handmade Artists. It has no listing fees, no commission fees, and costs $5 a month or $50 a year and has no limit on the number of listings you can have. Andrew (the person who started the site; they are also a member here) does what he can to help with promoting listings and will post new shop listings to Pinterest, 2-3 different Twitter pages, Facebook, and sometimes on a few other websites. It is a fairly new site and so doesn't yet have the same level of recognition and traffic as Etsy, but it is growing and doesn't have the issues that Etsy has.

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Another option out there if you don't want to use Etsy or aren't able to get your own website up is Handmade Artists. It has no listing fees, no commission fees, and costs $5 a month or $50 a year and has no limit on the number of listings you can have. Andrew (the person who started the site; they are also a member here) does what he can to help with promoting listings and will post new shop listings to Pinterest, 2-3 different Twitter pages, Facebook, and sometimes on a few other websites. It is a fairly new site and so doesn't yet have the same level of recognition and traffic as Etsy, but it is growing and doesn't have the issues that Etsy has.

Thanks for the love :D

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I happened to be on Regretsy today (I found a listing on ebay that counted as "Not even remotely Steampunk" and wanted to share) and I stumbled upon this forum topic: http://forums.regretsy.com/topic.php?id=38336 You have to be a member to read the forums, but it's an entertaining and informative sort of place. This thread in particular is a lot of people sharing why Etsy is not cool these days.

This is my favourite quote from one of the comments:

"The anger grew. What the hell was I up against? I just wanted to sell my jewelry, and suddenly I was battling a seven-headed hydra spewing hot glue and stupidity."

Now that all my etsy listing have expired, I'm thinking about moving on.

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My suggestion is going to sound very strange but it's what has brought me the most success.

When I had just an etsy shop, I made like 2 sales a month. Eventually I noticed that a lot of shop owners had blogs. So I started one. It's MUCH easier to promote a blog/website than it is to promote an etsy shop on it's own. The blogging community provides simple advertising oppurtunities and a practically unlimited audience. It also provides a "base" to network from. It's just plain convenient and you can advertise your product from there. It also allows you to connect with customers and it gives you a place to share the work that you put into crafts. If you have a blog/website to work from, you can choose from many more shop platforms and change if and when you want to. I personally like Storenvy a lot. Mostly because you can customize your shop more than you can on etsy.

Hope this helped!

I looked at Storenvy. I see where it is free. I'm a little skeptical of the 'free.' Do you pay for the custom domain, and/or do you think it is worth it? I'm planning on opening an online store and was originally looking at Etsy, but the amount of people 'selling' kind of has me put off.

 

Thanks.

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I have an Etsy store, but with the new year I've been looking into buying other advertising to get more people (other than people on Etsy) to come to it.  So far, I have had more views, and getting more exposure from different places. 

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I have an Etsy store, but with the new year I've been looking into buying other advertising to get more people (other than people on Etsy) to come to it.  So far, I have had more views, and getting more exposure from different places. 

Where do you usually get your exposure from? After an initial wave, my views have kinda petered out. Do you find that adding products regularly ups your views?

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My feelings about selling: 

 

I've only ever sold in person, at weekly markets. Is this more of an Australian thing? They're really common here but I don't seem to hear people online talking about them much. Some of them have more of a focus on crafts than others, some you have to book or get approved for, others you turn up on the day. The fee is usually fairly low. There's the initial outlay for making up a stall/booth, it's a lot of work setting up and taking down, and early mornings, however. But lots of buyers. Putting yourself out there is a great way to make money! Many people, at least where I live, have never seen chainmaille before, and find it a lovely novelty. I understand the US has many special "craft shows" - the equivalent here has certainly made me good money, and I only wish I'd had more stock to move. (If lots of people in your area make chainmaille, that approach might be less successful as the market is divided.)

 

Regarding shops, I suppose at some point I'll look at ones that might do commissions but I'm cautious, I'd really want somewhere that didn't take much, and had a good policy regarding damage and shoplifting. Ideally I'd want somewhere that would buy stock outright, but it would have to be worth my time once their cut has been taken.

 

I need to do a website so that I can show people who might hear about me via business cards or word of mouth. (I need to put up a few ads around town on message boards when I do.) An Etsy store would probably do for this purpose but not ideal. Etsy frame within a branded personal site is one way some people do it.

 

Regarding my feelings on chainmaille and online sales, the problem is that a lot of chainmaille looks kind of the same, especially in a photo. And chainmaillers tend to be geeks, who spend a lot of time online. With many amateurs who undercharge. Result is that (as I see it) the online marketplace, including Etsy, is flooded with chainmaille, and it's hard to get an edge. Branding and promotion (blogs, referrals, natty logo, range of products that gives a certain "feel", etc) and excellent photos would be the main way to differentiate here. (Don't bother with cheap pricing - it makes your handmade goods look cheap as well as giving you business fatigue after a while.)

Edited by calyx

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I need to do a website so that I can show people who might hear about me via business cards or word of mouth. (I need to put up a few ads around town on message boards when I do.) An Etsy store would probably do for this purpose but not ideal. Etsy frame within a branded personal site is one way some people do it.

 

You might want to try Weebly for that.  I've had a pretty good experience with them so far (except for having some error issues when i try to upload photos on my home computer).  Their sites are good for free sites and interface is easy to use.  It even lets you set up a basic storefront and will either host a blog for you or let you link to one you have on another site - like blogspot for instance.  It's a bit more work than just slapping things up on Etsy but then, to me, it looks more professional too....and you don't have to worry about the listing fees and ongoing jockeying for audience among all of the rest of the rabble. :P

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Another web service you might consider if you want your own website, rather than a store on an online marketplace like Etsy, Artfire, etc., is Indiemade. I just got my site through them up and running over the weekend and I love it. (Really excited about that! I've had two sales already.) It has a very easy to use interface and is reasonably priced. Also, the lady who runs Indiemade designed the website features specifically for artists, crafters, etc. so it has all the features that would be needed.

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Yes (although the first month is free), but the quality of what you get is worth it. It is very thorough regarding the features that you'd need (including an overly thorough section for adding shipping costs, something I know not all web services have). I'm happy with what I chose, ya it has a fee, but it's not one that's going to break the bank.

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I have started using Project Wonderful for advertising on other sites.  It's easy to use and I have gotten views on Etsy by people clicking on my ads.  I also put a post on my local meetup site (where I sold 3 items to a local).  Otherwise, I have found that periodically adding new items adds to my views.

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Other ways to advertise is through your blog, twitter, pinterest, facebook page, facebook ads, putting your store/website link in your forum signatures, putting your store/website link in your e-mail signature, word-of-mouth, tumbler, stumble-upon, plurk, putting your store/website link in your Deviant Art gallery entries if you have a DA account, and just about every other kind online social media.

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Yeah, I have added a Facebook page for WXdruid Chainmail (stupid facebook wouldn't let me use all lower case) and I have a Pinterest account as well. I'm also working on finding more craft shows that I can get a spot at.

The forums did some strange things, so I deleted the extra posts...

Edited by wxdruid

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Thanks for those suggestions! I have hosting and domain sorted out, and know how to build front and back ends (and was considering using an opensource shopping cart) but what I lack is time, so some a la carte templates would be a great place to start. Doesn't have to be perfect or unique, just a virtual catalogue, at least to begin with.

 

I've read of cautions over trying to spread out promotion over too many social media platforms and not paying enough attention to any one; when I eventually do chase an online-sourced market, I think I will have to pick one or two and then engage heavily with those.

 

One of my problems is being too diffuse... I also make radically (I mean RADICALLY) different jewellery, from seeds I go find from the rainforest and beach, and have had to alternate market stalls/branding as the stuff looks horrible together. I can't seem to give up either, but I don't know how I can combine promotions, except as a blog I once made that I need to get back into updating which has all my various crafty projects on it. And then there's jewellery I want to make which is mostly metal but more of a crunchy hippie feel *lolsob*

Edited by calyx

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I've read that as well. It's because if you divide yourself between so many different social media platforms it can be difficult to properly keep up will all of them.  Right now, of the social media platforms, I'm using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Polyvore along with a blog and my DA gallery.  Not sure I could keep up with much more than that.  How many to use is different for each person, I'd say start of with two or three, see how it goes and add more later and as you feel comfortable with doing so. (You can always add more, but it is more difficult to drop one once you've started it as neglecting a page may cause people to question the legitimacy of your business or wonder if it is even still going.)

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I've read that as well. It's because if you divide yourself between so many different social media platforms it can be difficult to properly keep up will all of them.  Right now, of the social media platforms, I'm using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Polyvore along with a blog and my DA gallery.  Not sure I could keep up with much more than that.  How many to use is different for each person, I'd say start of with two or three, see how it goes and add more later and as you feel comfortable with doing so. (You can always add more, but it is more difficult to drop one once you've started it as neglecting a page may cause people to question the legitimacy of your business or wonder if it is even still going.)

Another issue with this is that you end up competing with other CM Artisians. . . while this is ok you have to be incredibly unique in order to make those sales.

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Another issue with this is that you end up competing with other CM Artisians. . . while this is ok you have to be incredibly unique in order to make those sales.

 

Yes, but that will happen anywhere, both online and offline.  Also, one would hope that you are already trying to be unique and not just the same as everyone else.

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/le sigh. . . Etsy you had promise years ago but why did you have to become another corporate vampire? Why. . .

That is one reason why we left Etsy in 2009 and started Handmade Artists', that way handmade could be front and center, instead of swallowed up with mass produced. Since I'm a chainmailler and upon many requests from others we actually have a chainmaille category on the front page LOL. Anyway there are not that many subcategories under it though as we do not have many chainmaillers on the site yet..

 

I try to. It is hard to be individualistic when you are just beginning.

The fact that you're a chainmailler does make you unique, there are tons of jewelry makers online, but chainmaille in my opinion even though one of the older arts does not flood the market. There are quite a bit of maillers out there but by no means do they match the bead stringers.

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I will be working with Handmade Artists' after Comic Con at the end of this month. The reason for this is because I am new (started in december 2012) and I am JUST getting into making my own rings.

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I try to. It is hard to be individualistic when you are just beginning.

 

No worries, you'll get to where it comes easily to you.  It's the same with anyone when they are first starting (in any art/craft) the more you make, the more you'll develop your own style; the more you develop your own style, the more you stand out from others using the same technique(s).

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