Sunday, December 28, 2008

Selling Venues - Etsy



Now I might be naive, but I'm pretty sure most of my readers are familiar with Etsy.  Why? Because that's where I'm currently based and where most of my contacts have come from! I'm going to give a brief overview of how the site works anyway for those of you who've never explored it :) So if your one of my etsy friends, feel free to skip the next paragraph!

Etsy.com is a selling and buying venue for handmade items, supplies, and vintage items. There are many different ways you can search for what your looking for, forums for your questions, chat, blog updates from the staff, and options for requesting custom items. Most people use Paypal for payment, but you have the choice to use other options such as RME. There are "teams" on etsy that you can join.  These teams offer a lot of support and help with navigation and useful tips! I know this is a very short overview - so let me know if you have any questions!

(etsy people start reading again!)

A couple of days ago I started a thread in the etsy forums to get some feedback on people's selling experience. I did get some valuable feedback on other sites that I'll be sharing in later posts - but I got a wealth of replies about etsy itself! No surprises considering it was ON etsy right?

The questions I put out there were:
~ How long have you been selling with this site?
~ On a scale of 1-10, (1 being hardest and 10 being easiest) how hard/easy is it to navigate and use the site?
~ Have you had success selling on this site?
~ Are there any key features that find especially helpful on this site?
~ What's the community of artists like?

I got responses back from people with a wide range of experience. We had one respondant who'd only been on the site for 3 weeks, and we had one person who'd been on the site for just over 2 years! With the exception of three people and some of the newbies, everyone reported having been successful. 

Let's stop and take a look at a the term for a success for a minute. I didn't give any qualifications for that term in my questions did I? That's because success is a very subjective term. If I wanted to, I could set up some sort of arbitrary parameters that I consider the definition of success, but it wouldn't really apply to everyone. Some people are on here selling part time for fun, other people spend a great deal of time and money and their livelihood depends on it, many are inbetween, so success is going to mean something different to each of these people! Because of this, when I say the majority of people reported being successful, keep in mind that I mean that by their definitions. Also please realize that while some of the newbies (4 months and under) I catagorized under "just starting," and they reported no success yet, there were other newbies who reported wild success already!

The average rating of ease of use on Etsy was 7.6, with a range from 3-10. Many people said that it was easy to use in comparison to other sites, while others said that it was difficult to figure out initially. My personal experience with the site is that it can take awhile to learn where everything is, but that over all most functions are relatively easy to learn how to use.  Plus, when you get confused about anything there are a lot of helpful people to help you figure things out! I'd say a 7 or so rating is pretty accurate :)

Out of the features that people like; the one's mentioned the most were the conversation function, the forums, and the treasuries.  People also reported that the community in general is friendly and helpful. Granted, people aren't as likely to air their grievences in a forum, but it was still overwhelmingly positive :)

My personal experience has been that this is a really friendly community, and that you'll get out of it what your willing to put into it. Some products are harder to sell here than others, and jewelry in specific is a very saturated market. Which can be frustrating for me, because that's what I make! So putting a lot of "effort" into it doesn't necessarily mean you'll make sales, but it does increase the liklihood! That's probably true for most selling venues :)

As for success? I haven't been as successful on-line as I'd like to be, but I have definitely developed some incredible friendships and opportunities through etsy! I am looking to expand into some other venues though, and that's why I'm doing this research :)

If you sell in a venue other than etsy I would still love your response to these questions for each site you sell at! Thank you!

~ How long have you been selling with this site?

~ On a scale of 1-10, (1 being hardest and 10 being easiest) how hard/easy is it to navigate and use the site?

~ Have you had success selling on this site?

~ Are there any key features that find especially helpful on this site?

~ What's the community of artists like?

4 comments:

storybeader said...

I don't think I'd call my sales on Etsy successful, but the friends I've made and the knowledge I've gained make up for the loss in sales!

And the whole reason I got interested in starting a blog was after seeing the etsybloggers. My blog is just as important to me now, as my artwork. Great post!

Christie Cottage said...

Great read. I am interested in seeing all the folow-ups to this story.

You can find me on etsy too!
christiecottage.etsy.com

Michelle said...

I ran into your website today, and saw that you had signed up on Bonanzle. I do a lot of shopping there, and if you set up a booth, I'd like to be sure to add it to my list of favorites there. Will you be providing a link to your Bonanzle booth from your website?
Take care, Shelly

Rose Works Jewelry said...

Shelly,
I haven't decided if I'm going to open a shop on bonanzle yet - but if I do I'll try and let you know! I couldn't find a way to contact you though...