Selling on Etsy ~ How To Write a Description that Rocks! ~ Free Download

 

Selling on Etsy Part 5. Write item listing descriptions that rock!! Stuck for ideas? Download our free worksheet!

This post may have affiliate links.
Welcome to Part 5 of my Selling On Etsy series! How to write a description that rocks! You may be here because you’re already a reader of my blog or maybe this is your first time here. If the former is true, you may want to skip the next few paragraphs (yawn, old news…). If the latter is true, let me introduce myself.

My name is Shannon and I have been an Etsy seller for almost 10 years. Currently we have 5 shops on Etsy, however all but 2 of those are on hold right now. Hubby was selling with me but his own carpentry business has picked up and he hasn’t had time to devote to online selling at all.
We sell mostly vintage on Etsy and some supplies. We don’t currently sell handmade…but a lot of the principles I cover in this series I *think* should be good for both.

If you’re here and new to Etsy or thinking about selling on Etsy you may want to check out Part One.
Selling on Etsy ~ Part One ~ Why Sell on Etsy ~ My Top 5 Reasons

If you have an Etsy shop and are struggling with it or just want to work it a bit harder, you may want to check out Part Two ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ Photography . And then be sure to follow my blog as I plan on continuing this series!

In the Part Three to this series, we shared with you my Number One Top Tip for Getting Your Items Found I also shared with you some hard numbers about our Etsy sales so you can see what kind of experience we have.

Part Four covered How to Write Titles that Sell and we said we would use some of that information to help us with our descriptions. Which brings us to this post!

Write a Killer Description

Whenever I talk to a new Etsy seller and they mention they are having a hard time making sales, the first thing I check with them (after finding out how many items they have listed and how often they list) is how they handle their descriptions. Let’s look at a fictional example. Here’s a teacup Newbie Seller has listed for sale.

teacupOften, their title looks like this: “Haviland Limoges Teacup and Saucer”

And then the description looks like this:

“pretty tea cup and saucer. Marked Haviland & Co. Limoges”

Often people feel that their pictures and title cover everything and they have nothing left to put in their description. Honestly, it can be hard. Sometimes we get writer’s (seller’s?) block and it’s difficult to add anything else to a description. Sometimes we’re just lazy. (*raises hand*)
Free Download-able Brainstorming Worksheet to get you past that Description Writing block when creating Etsy listings!
Let’s try working on that description. It really helps to think like a buyer. What would you like to know about this teacup if you were thinking of buying it? Size maybe? Condition? Any marks? Let’s see one example of fleshing out this description.

“Lovely example of a Haviland & Co tea cup and saucer!
This teacup set is marked Haviland France in green and Haviland & Co Limoges in red.
Both the cup and saucer are marked.

Dating from the early 1900s, this teacup set is in great shape!
There are no cracks or chips.

The saucer has a lightly scalloped rim and measures 5-3/8″ across.
Both pieces are rimmed in gold. The teacup handle is also gold.
Minimal wear to the gold. The teacup is 3-5/8″ across the mouth and 2″ high.

The design on the teacup and saucer is green, with a dark red chevron type accent.”

This is just one option as an example. While it may be a bit more “wordy”, it still has short paragraphs with only the basic information. I’ve also seen how successful sellers use more of a bullet point format. They restate their title as the first line of the description, including those keywords and keyword phrases we worked so hard on in Titles that Sell. Then after that introductory line or paragraph, they use bullet points.

Brand: Haviland Limoges
Item: Tea cup and saucer set
Color: Green and Red
Pattern: Unknown
Design: chevron 
Saucer Dimensions: 5-3/8″
Cup Dimensions: 3-5/8″ x 2″
Condition: No cracks or chips. Minimal wear to the gold rim. 

There is no one single correct format. The point is to have content. You want the most important information first (sound familiar? Yes, just like titles). Think of those mobile buyers who may only see the beginning of your title or skim through the details of your description.

If you are really stuck, please feel free to click on the image up above or CLICK HERE for a free download-able brainstorming worksheet to get you past that writer’s block!

Summary:

  • Start the item description with a strong statement of what the item is. Use your best keywords and keyword phrases.
  • In either bullet points or short paragraphs add extra details.
  • Include information like condition, size, capacity, color, pattern names, maker, brand, artist, etc…
  • What are some other possible uses for the item? For example, a small dish could be a paperclip holder on a desk or a jewelry holder on a nightstand.

A long time ago, I heard the advice to take pictures like there’s no description and describe the item like there’s no pictures. For the most part, I agree with that. I do think you need balance. You can’t spend half an hour on each description or you’ll never get anything listed. Like with most things, the more practice you get, the faster you’ll get. Choose a format and stick with it. It’ll get easier, I promise.

One more PRO TIP: 

Did you know that if you include Etsy links in your description area they will be clickable? Use this feature to direct people to other places in your shop. At the end of flatware listings I say “More vintage flatware here” and then I put a link to the Vintage Flatware section of my shop. See an example here.
Other sellers put links to their About Me page or to their Shop storefront.
Anything to keep your potential buyer bopping around in your shop is a good thing!

I hope this helps with your description writing! Do you have any other suggestions? Feel free to comment below.

And for more tips and tricks for selling on Etsy make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

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Friday Finds ~ To the (Vintage) Hunter Goes the Spoils

Happy vintage thrifted finds! We love hunting down vintage items at thrift stores and sharing our finds with you! To the Vintage Hunter Goes the Spoils!

(This post has affiliate links. Just letting you know!)

Well, I had a hoot last Saturday afternoon at the thrift shops. The week had been kind of long. Hubby had worked somewhat long hours, I was having technical difficulties with this blog and things just hadn’t gone smoothly overall.
So it was nice on Saturday afternoon when Hubby said…”Go! Go shopping…stay however long you want.” There are a couple thrift stores I usually hit weekly, but they are about 30 minutes away and I normally go in the evenings when time is limited. So the prospect of unrushed thrifting was exciting!
However, I’m a mom and a girl and so of course there’s always a measure of guilt involved. For some strange reason. If I’m away too long from my boys I get this nagging feeling that something is not right and that I’m falling down on my duty. I get that feeling when the boys are with my mother-in-law and even when they are with their father. Why? They are his kids too!! Can’t explain it.
But anywho, it was relaxing to stroll and really examine everything I wanted to look at. And I found some good stuff!! Which made it even more fun!
Friday Finds. Spoils of Thrift. Vintage finds from the thrift store! So let me just quickly cover a couple of the items that may or may not be vintage: The Oneida baby flatware in the back…Chateau pattern, NIB. Then you can’t really see it but I found a Denby bowl..in the Harlequin pattern. One of the top selling patterns for Denby so worth checking out. (Click here to see what it looks like) Technically it could be vintage but they made it up until 2004 so there’s really no way to know. It’ll go on Ebay.
Up front, the 3 brown dishes are by Heath Ceramics. Love Heath! I’ve found Heath pieces a few times before. These are also somewhat borderline as they began making this Mojave pattern in 1990 and the pattern is discontinued. But I’ve already put them on Ebay where they will probably move fairly quickly. (UPDATE: they didn’t even last a full day. SOLD!)
The other item that I’m uncertain of its age is that grey plate to the front left. It’s by Porsgrund Norway, but to me the mark looks a bit newer. So I’ll try Ebay as well on that one.
Oh I almost forgot! This awesome set you may have seen if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Creamuh and Shuguh by Fishs EddyThey are from the “Brooklynese” pattern by Fishs Eddy. I die! I can just hear it! “Yo! Pass me da shuguh!” As a transplanted New Yorker I couldn’t pass them up.

Now for the really fun stuff! My favorite vintage item probably are these two bathroom vanity items by Fitz and Floyd:

Hooty Owl Soap Dish and Tumbler by Fitz and Floyd

Hooty Owl Soap Dish and Tumbler on Etsy

The line is called “Hooty” and I have the drinking tumbler and the soap dish. There is also a toothbrush holder out there that is amazingly cute. Wish I had found the whole set.
Fitz and Floyd is known for their quirky merchandise and have quite a strong following. These pieces are marked 1978 – right at the height of the owl craze!

I also love this mini cat planter. It’s by David Stewart for Lion’s Valley.

David Stewart for Lion's Valley small Cat planter

David Stewart Mini Kitty Cat Planter

I have sold a larger one in the past and neither of them were marked. I think they originally had stickers. It’s one of those items that I learned from reading other vintage blogs, watching my favorite Etsy sellers and their wares and doing some research. It’s another way to justify all that time on Pinterest. 🙂

Eva Zeisel Hallcraft Fantasy bread and butter plate

Hallcraft Eva Zeisel “Fantasy” small plate

This is another fun find. It’s just a small plate but it’s by Hallcraft (Hall China Co.) and is designed by Eva Zeisel. The pattern is called Fantasy and is one of the more popular patterns as well. That atomic abstract design in the middle plus the freeform nature of the pieces make the whole line a show stopper! The pattern was produced from 1952-1957.
This little plate alone is not worth a bunch, but now I know to definitely keep my eye out for this pattern in the wild.

Okay moving quickly through some of the other pieces:

V Pinto Vietri coffee mugsThese Italian pottery coffee mugs have me a bit stumped but I loved the images on them. I have found similar type items but not the exact pattern yet. They are marked “Pinto V. Vietri”. I believe V. Pinto was the artist? and Vietri was the region of Italy? I’m just talking off the top of my head. I either will do more research…or let it go and list it with great keywords.

Vintage NOS pillowcasesI found a few pairs of NOS (New Old Stock) pillowcases. Vintage sheets and linens are such a thing right now. I personally am using vintage pillowcases at home because the feel of the material is so much nicer than that shiny weird stuff that new sheets are made of.

I also snagged a vintage Starbucks travel mug and someone gave up their Kliban cat mug collection.

And last but not least, I finally thrifted a Lane cedar chest.

Kind of.

dsc_0077It’s a small salesman’s sample. ((See comments below for another story about these small trunks!)) There’s no key and the resale on these is actually quite low. I got it for myself. Just because. Maybe I’ll keep stuff in it next to my bed.
At least it was easy to bring home. 🙂

So that’s kept me busy this week. How about you? Any good thrifted vintage finds lately?

 

How To Become An Etsy Affiliate

Etsy Sellers: How to Become an Etsy Affiliate

This post contains affiliate links. Of course it does.

I remember reading a few blog posts in the last year or so that mentioned the possibility of being an Etsy Affiliate. My ears (or rather, eyes) perked right up! Etsy affiliate? Really? I would love that. I’m on Etsy every day. I’m already an Amazon affiliate and technically am also in Ebay’s affiliate program. But Etsy? Promote vintage?!? Sign me up!!

So I was disappointed to read in the blog posts that Etsy sellers were not eligible. Talk about being shot down!!

Well guess what? The policy has changed and they now accept Etsy sellers as affiliates!! 

“Affiliate marketing: a marketing arrangement by which an online retailer pays a commission to an external website for traffic or sales generated from its referrals” -oxford dictionary

This totally makes sense!! Etsy sellers are on Etsy daily. They talk about Etsy to others. They are already motivated to share Etsy with the world. They’d make the best affiliates, IMHO.

Here’s how it works. You, as an Etsy affiliate, share a specially created link to an Etsy item with your blog readers or social media followers. Your audience clicks the link and goes to Etsy. If they buy the item that is promoted, you will receive a small commission of the sale (generally about 4%). Even if they don’t buy the item, due to the magic of ‘cookies’, any purchase they do make during the next 30 days is also eligible for commission.  Sweet!

Now, you can’t be all sneaky about it. You’ll want to research it more, but basically the FTC has requirements about disclosure. You must let your audience know that a link is an affiliate. Or that the links in a blog post may benefit you monetarily. Same with social media posts. Add the hashtags #affiliate or #ad to disclose. (Side tip: Excellent explanation here on the Budget Girl’s blog–I think I have some updating to do too!)

The one other restriction for Etsy sellers is that you won’t earn commissions for referring your own items. Of course. Makes sense. But you can promote Etsy in general or other favorite shops/items.

HOT TIP: One thing I learned from another Etsy affiliate (who contacted Etsy) is that you can still make the links to your own items affiliate links, you just won’t earn if your items are purchased. But the 30 day cookie period still applies to those clicks. 

I recently applied to be an Etsy affiliate and was accepted. I’ve already made a few commissions in the short time I’ve been experimenting with it. I’m definitely not getting rich on this, but anything that helps me continue to talk to you about vintage and share Etsy news is a win-win. I can justify more time spent on my blog! Yay!

So how do you apply to be an affiliate? Here are the steps.

  1. Set up a publisher account at Affiliate Window. They are the program running the affiliate marketing for Etsy. Click here to sign up. <—-(affiliate link 😉 ) You should be contacted fairly quickly whether you are approved or not. I think it was the next day for me. Choose Etsy as the program you want to join.  (oops almost forgot to mention there is a $5 security measure payment during sign-up. It gets credited back right after approval)
  2. Contact Etsy at selleraffiliate@etsy.com (copy and paste it into your email address bar). Let them know you’ve applied to be an Etsy affiliate and disclose all your Etsy shops to them. Even ones that you have some connection with, like a spouse. More info is provided during the application process. This helps them know which items they should NOT give you commission for.
  3. Wait for approval from Etsy.
  4. Finish setting up all the housekeeping details like how you want to be paid, etc on Affiliate Window.
  5. Start promoting!

Fullscreen capture 8252016 100045 PM

So I went ahead and sent the email to Etsy about my shops while I was waiting on approval from AW. I got a reply right away from a contact at Etsy that she would look for my application and approve it right away when it crossed her desk.
What happened was I got approved at Affiliate Window first. I got the email and thought that was it, but it was just for being an affiliate for AW. It took a little bit longer (like a day) for the process to go through Etsy as well.

But I have to say, Etsy has been great. They contacted me quickly after approval to let me know who to contact if I had any questions. They also sent a fairly comprehensive guide on how to be an Etsy affiliate.

I’m so glad I read the guide/welcome packet! I never do! lol. But from that I learned that they have a linking tool browser extension!! Basically, what that means is that I can just be open to the page I want to link on Etsy, click the extension, it makes me the coded affiliate link in a little pop up that I can copy and paste and I’m done! Love it!! This is what it looks like:

Affiliate Window Browser Extension

Really, nothing could be easier. It’s a fun way to earn a couple extra bucks for talking about vintage! (or handmade or supplies). What do you think? Are you ready to become an Etsy affiliate too?

Feel free to shoot me any questions below!

Keep up with all of our Etsy selling tips by signing up for our newsletter below!



Oneida Flatware and the Betty Crocker Catalog ~ A Vintage Glimpse

One of the reasons I’ve said that buying and selling stainless flatware can be profitable is because of the memories and emotions involved. People want items they remember from their childhood or want to recapture the feelings they had while eating at Grandma’s house. A big contributor to this later effect was the popularity of collecting Oneida flatware from the Betty Crocker Catalog.

 

Oneida Flatware

One of the longest running coupon redemption programs, the Betty Crocker program began slowly in the late 1920s, with first a spoon, then coupons, being inserted into bags of General Mills flour. After awhile, coupons with points were printed right on the product packages directing people to a catalog where they could find “fine kitchen and home accessories” including Oneida flatware.

Countless families collected sets of both silverplate and stainless flatware patterns from the Betty Crocker catalog. Moms collected for themselves, and even started putting together sets for their daughters’ hope chests.
The result today? Memories.

BettyCrockerCatalog

 

1970s Catalog – Image from Pinterest (I just sold a spoon in that Viola pattern shown on the front. 🙂 )

I get countless comments from people purchasing replacement pieces of Oneida flatware explaining how they were recreating their Grandma’s set or had inherited their mother’s and wanted to fill in the last few pieces.

When I began selling replacement flatware, I would research patterns and see “Betty Crocker” in the listing or in the description on replacements.com. I learned why the name was included when I learned about the catalog. But I really never understood the process until one day I came across (while thrifting) a large bag of unredeemed Betty Crocker flatware coupons.

Oneida Flatware and Betty Crocker Coupons What a fabulous glimpse into the past! One of the Oneida stainless flatware patterns that has gained popularity recently is the very atomic Twin Star pattern. One of my favorites to find and sell. There were several coupons for that in the stash I found.

Oneida Twin Star Betty Crocker Coupon

As you can see, the coupon wasn’t limited to just one pattern. It also worked on Queen Bess, hollowware and cookbooks. Very smart!

One of the clippings also gave some insight about how you could collect your pieces faster. Just use less coupons and pay more money! You could choose either the “Speed Plan” or the “Thrift Plan”.

Betty Crocker Stainless Flatware coupon order form

What about you? Does the Betty Crocker catalog bring back memories? Do you have a set of flatware that was passed on to you? Share your memories below!

Join the Vintage Charm party with me!

Etsy Seller Success Story ~ An Interview with Tipple and Snack

(This post contains affiliate links.)

One of the things that keeps me going in my Etsy selling venture is seeking (and receiving!) inspiration from other successful vintage sellers. I devour their shops and stalk their sales. Not to copy. No. That would never work. Vintage selling is often a OOAK business…what I find and what you find will be completely different. Niches may be the same but the whole experience is unique.

No, I stalk these shops to remind myself that YES! this can be done. You can make money (good money!) by selling vintage on Etsy. You don’t even have to work it full time (as we’ll see today) but you can have a blast doing it!

So in that vein, I’d like to share a success story with you. This is the second in the series. The first post was an interview with Vintage in Bloom and can be found here: “Etsy Seller Success Story ~ An Interview with Vintage in Bloom”

Etsy Seller SuccessStories (1)

Today we are speaking with Mary from Tipple and Snack. (great name!) Mary has been curating her eclectic finds on Etsy since 2008 and has had 4684 sales as of this writing! Mary has 202 listings currently available in her shop. Let’s see what tips we can glean from her experience!

TippleandSnack

We’ll start with an easy one, how long have you been selling on Etsy?

I’ve been selling on Etsy almost eight years, since November of 2008.

What made you choose Etsy as your selling venue?

I stumbled on Etsy when looking for vintage flashcards on-line. I had been selling on Ebay for years, and was intrigued by the Etsy format. I liked the idea of opening a shop rather than running week-long auctions. I’d just moved to a new state with a basement full of old stuff and took the plunge. I panicked slightly when I had to choose a shop name and decided to use the title to a favorite 1930’s cocktail guide, “tipple and snack”.

TnSTieBacks

1940’s Metal Flower Tiebacks

Do you sell anywhere else besides Etsy?

Other than Etsy, I put the occasional item on eBay, usually higher end items like railroad or steamship pieces. I include my shop business card with orders, and it’s amazing to me how many of my Ebay customers ask me “what’s Etsy”. They’re really missing out!

Do you sell on Etsy full-time?

Selling vintage is part-time for me. It ebbs and flows depending upon my schedule. I work in film and video production as a freelance line producer and occasional prop stylist. Etsy is a both a secondary source of income and fill-in between projects. But most importantly, it’s a creative outlet.

French Apothecary Box

French Apothecary Box

Well, your prop styling skills definitely show in your listings! Tell us a little bit about your process. You have such a variety of items! Is there a particular way you get things listed?

If by “my process”, do you mean piling inventory up in my kitchen until I get it sorted and photographed? I’m always on the hunt for cool stuff. I travel a lot for work and always fit shopping into one end of the trip or the other. Once I haul the stuff home, I sort it, clean it, research it, photograph it, edit the photos, and finally list. And those steps aren’t always linear, sometimes I get sidetracked.

Your “process” sounds really familiar. 🙂 Changing tacks a little bit, what are your top 2 favorite sales of all time from your Etsy shop?

I like any sale, big or small that puts a smile on a customer’s face. I’ve had a few of the “I’ve been looking for this exact thing for years!” emails. They always make me happy.

I have a thing for hands. I sold a set of carved, life-size ASL pieces that were really special. Another of my other favorite sales was a set of tiny early 1900’s sailing trophies. They were amazing. Kind of wish I’d kept those.

2016-08-11

I remember those hands! What are your top 2 favorite items listed right now?

So hard to pick just two!

I love this little faceted garnet buckle I have up right now. I knew the minute I spied it that it would take a great photo. I think it would be fabulous repurposed into a pendant.

TnSGarnet

And, I bought a set of dressmaking stencils at Brimfield in the spring. They’re pretty wonderful.

TnSStencil

Those are amazing! Where do you source most of your items?

Flea markets, thrift stores, auctions, group shops, garage sales, my basement… In addition, I’m currently helping an elderly friend divest herself of decades of collecting. She’s brought me really unique stuff that I would never have found in the wild.

What goals do you have for your shop in the future?

I’m constantly working on my shop photos. I think I’ve got the rustic look down and really want to master the clean white background. I’m working on greeting cards using some of my photographs, and a new logo is in the works, too. I’m excited about all that!

Fun stuff! Okay, so if you could travel back in time to when you started selling…what advice would you give your newbie self??

I’d tell my newbie self to jump in and enjoy the ride. Take advantage of all the advice out there. There are so many supportive teams and resources available. And work on your photos, they’re everything on Etsy!

Thank you so much, Mary, for sharing your experience with us! Your shop is fabulous and I love poking around it to see what new cool things you’ve found!

You can keep up with Mary and her shop Tipple and Snack on social media too! Check out these links:

Tipple and Snack on Instagram
Tipple and Snack on Facebook
and
Tipple and Snack on Twitter

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Ready to get started on your own success story? Click the icon below and you’ll start off with 40 free listings. (affiliate alert: I will get 40 listings too!)

Open Your Own Etsy Shop!