Selling on Etsy ~ Why Sell on Etsy? ~ My Top 5 Reasons I Love Selling on Etsy

Make Money Selling on Etsy ~ Why Sell on Etsy ~ My Top 5 Reasons I LOVE Selling on Etsy

Welcome to the beginning of my Selling On Etsy series! 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, but one of those is only open off and on…we just don’t have the time to dedicate to it. (more about that below)
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. (See the later segments to this series for the hard numbers of our sales. So you can decide whether to listen to me or not, lol)

I’m going to start my Selling On Etsy series with a basic overview of Etsy and things to know if you’re considering opening a shop.
First of all, let’s clear up a common misconception. Etsy is not just for handmade items.
You can also sell vintage items and craft supplies.

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Vintage: Let’s define ‘vintage’ for Etsy purposes: “Vintage items must be at least 20 years old”.
“What?? 20 years old? That’s not vintage!! That means I’m vintage!! Or at least my vacuum cleaner is!!” Sorry. Now’s not the time to get into that debate. We already discussed that here.
For now, just be glad that these are Etsy’s rules…because that opens up to you anything made in 1996 (edited) or earlier!

Craft supplies are anything you would use to make other things. The only restriction on this is that you can’t grab something newer than 20 years old and commercially made that’s ready to go as a finished product and call it a craft supply. Yeah, okay. I’m sure people do that but that’s just silly. They’re just trying to get around Etsy’s listing rules and that’s not cool.

So personally, I have vintage shops and I have craft supply shops. I’ve decided to keep my craft supplies vintage as well. That’s just my decision. You could definitely list some yarn that was made last year or a sewing pattern from 2010 and it would be a perfectly legitimate craft supply to list on Etsy.

Okay what else do you need to know about Etsy?
Oh yes…how much does it cost?
There are no monthly ‘store’ fees or subscription fees. You can open a shop at no cost and leave it empty and it wouldn’t cost you anything.
List your first item and it will cost you 20 cents for that listing. (unless you sign up for your store through my link…then it won’t cost you a thing for the first 40 listings…and I get 40 free listings too. (yup, affiliate link)
That 20 cents covers FOUR months. Unless of course your item sells…but that’s the goal, right? lol
When you renew the listing, it’s another 20 cents. You can set up your listing to automatically renew if you’d like. (a new-ish feature on Etsy). It will charge you the 20 cents as it renews the listing.
Now, when that item sells…the fee you are charged is 3.5%. This is NOT applied to shipping charges or tax.
Of course, you will need a payment processor. You can use Paypal or use Etsy’s own Direct Checkout processor. Direct Checkout (in the US…it varies by country) will cost you 3% + .25 . I can’t remember Paypal’s fees off the top of my head..but if you already sell online, you probably already know it. ((UPDATE: I have heard that if you open a shop now, you can accept Paypal but it has to be integrated into Etsy’s own Direct Checkout system. So you basically use their DC system…but buyers can still use Paypal through that if they wish. Your money will get processed by Etsy, not Paypal, however.))

Okay, let’s keep it simple for today. We’ll talk strategies and methods of getting things sold in future posts. I’ll leave you with my Top 5 Reasons I Like Selling on Etsy:

Top 5 Reasons I Like Selling on Etsy

  1. Fees are cheaper than the other sites I sell on. I feel okay listing items that are maybe a little lower priced because I’m not losing such a big chunk to fees.
  2. The community is quite lovely. I like the ‘feel’ of the site. Most people are friendly and it attracts a nice clientele. Hopefully it continues that way.
  3. No seller ratings or defects or other such nonsense. I know the point of those is to make the marketplace better and only keep high quality sellers. So this may become an issue. I have heard complaints about slow shipping times on Etsy. I follow Best Practices…and I know you will too. It’s just nice to not have ratings hanging over your head if life gets in the way sometimes.
  4. My buyers are the bomb! I have rarely had a return on Etsy and when I did it was simple and no-nonsense. The whole experience is just less stressful.
  5. And finally…I love vintage! I love having a place to curate my finds where they are appreciated by like-minded buyers and sellers. Lots of people call vintage the forgotten stepchild of Etsy but as long as I keep selling what I list…I’m good with that.

Of course, no selling platform is perfect. There are things I would change or improve. Some things you just have to accept and work with. I use Etsy as a backup to my sales on other venues. I don’t foresee giving up those other venues anytime soon.
Coming up:
Part 2 ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ Photography

Part 3 ~ Getting Your Items Found ~ My #1 Top Tip

What about you? Are you an Etsy seller? What would you add to my list?
Are you thinking about branching out to Etsy? What else would you like to know about Selling on Etsy? Comment below!!

Keeping the ReSelling Biz Going While Out on the Hunt for Vintage

Okay. I used to do this all the time and it was a no-brainer. I even moved cross country (twice) and kept the stores open…even though my inventory was packed up and making its own way across this fair land. Two weeks. In DECEMBER! I just made a vacation notice and emailed all my buyers and explained. I think everyone except one person was fine with it. They needed whatever it was quickly. So we cancelled. No biggie.
Then Ebay started with their *ahem* interesting Defect system and I got nervous. Too many cancelled transactions is not a good thing. It never was of course, but now there’s penalties. So on our last trip in April, we closed down all our shops, Ebay and Etsy, until right before we were ready to come home.
I was set to do the same thing earlier this month but decided to be brave. Lack of funds can make you do amazing things! lol
So here’s what we did.
~I went into my Shop Announcement and added a note…something like “*****VACATION NOTICE**** We are currently out of town until the 13th. Please feel free to browse and make purchases. We will ship your items promptly on the 14th. Thank you!!”
~While I was changing the Shop Announcement, I scrolled down a bit and found the box for “Message to Buyers” and added the same message there. So each buyer got a direct message when they paid about their order. I could have changed handling time, but I didn’t.
I did this for all 5 shops.

I went into Manage my Store and turned the Vacation Settings on. Changed the little message to show what date we would be home. But I did NOT hide my listings. [Edit:] Then I went into Bulk Edit and changed my handling time to 10 days.

Ooops. I forgot about Amazon and sure enough I had a sale while I was gone. I emailed the buyer to say the shipment would be a few days late and never heard anything. I shipped the night I got home and I hope all was well. Once I got the sale notification, I went into Amazon on my phone and just deactivated the few listings I had.

So for all my shops, once I had a sale. I made sure to email or convo the person that night. Or at least by the next day. Everyone (who replied) was super nice and said to have a nice vacation.
I’m glad I went ahead and left the shops open. We had a few nice sales in both Etsy and Ebay and it was nice to have some income coming in while we were on the road.

I also listed a few things we found along the way. And ran a sale right before we came home. I was trying to keep activity going in my shops. It worked so-so.

Let me share with you one thing I learned about my Sell on Etsy app that I didn’t know before. This is helpful if you have more than one shop on Etsy.

 You see where it says “Your Accounts” in blue? When you click on it….ALL your shops show up..the ones you’ve signed into before on the app.
And you can switch back and forth between your shops!!

Talk about a game changer!! I had been signing in and out of accounts on the road…such a pain!! I totally wish there was a way to do this on my desktop!! 
Anywho. I’m slow like that. I like my gadgets..but I tend not to explore to see what they really can do. I’d like to think this is a feature that’s only available for iPhone and that’s why I didn’t notice it 
Okay! That was our experience. It worked for us. Of course there are vacations where its nice to shut it all off and tune out for awhile. I think that’s important too. How do you handle vacations??

How To Clean Dorothy Thorpe Silver Band Glassware: Google and Twitter to the Rescue

 Awhile back I found this little glass and silver piece in one of my vintage hunts. I flipped it over and was pleasantly surprised to find the original Dorothy Thorpe label.

 It’s always fab to find an original label and especially on glassware. I would have guessed Dorothy on this but there are so many lookalikes and items misattributed as such. Well I ended up hanging on to it for a bit since I couldn’t find a DT vase that matched and I really felt like I needed to clean it…
Big chore = procrastination.
Well I decided this was too cool to hang around in my house so I gave it another go recently. I found similar ones this time in my Google search and discovered that it was actually a cordial decanter and it was missing a stopper.
Well, ready to salvage whatever value I could out of it, I determined to list it for sale, because there is probably someone out there who has a stopper that will fit….or broke their decanter and needs something to put their stopper in. 🙂
To help,  I decided to spiff it up and make it look its best. The glass was a bit cloudy as well. But I needed to be careful. Hubby is usually better at cleaning silver than I am (more patience) but he was nervous. He said DT was tricky and he had already ruined a couple of pieces.
So first I turned to Twitter. Got some suggestions of silver polishing cloths very lightly and using white vinegar and water with rice as an abrasive inside the vase.
I also got this link to a blog article about cleaning glass decanters: How To Clean Glass Decanters
I didn’t have a silver polishing cloth…so I turned to Google yet again.
This time I found a video that shows using toothpaste.
Well, toothpaste I did have. I used some white vinegar and warm water and rice for the inside (note: rice may not have been the best choice with this shape…they were crazy hard to get out!!) and I lightly polished with toothpaste.
 Here’s the result: 

Better! Not perfect but I was just looking to spiff. The silver has some scratching and the glass is still a bit cloudy…but this is not really a high value item and the time I was spending on it was valuable too.
Toothpaste! A surprising but non-toxic answer. And it worked. I just used Crest Complete…a paste, not a gel.
Maybe a kind with baking soda would work even better.
What are your go-to cleaning/polishing products?

PS: You may remember my blogging challenge? Well I gave up. 🙂 I had too many other things to do.

How Do I Find Film for my Polaroid Instant Camera?

It would be hard to find anyone over the age of 25 (maybe even younger) whose childhood does not involve the click and whirr of a Polaroid camera and the waiting-with-bated-breath for an image to materialize on the print.
Polaroid instant cameras have been a part of all of our lives since the instant camera reached the market in 1948.
And although the Polaroid company went bankrupt in 2009 and no longer produces cameras or film…there is still a huge following.
There are many artists and photographers who are loyal to the style, who have expanded on the process and are creating something new.
There are serious camera collectors who look for the more rare Polaroid versions to add to their collection. Check out the trade on Etsy or Ebay and you might be surprised at the market for these ‘outdated’ cameras.
Vintage Polaroid Cameras on Etsy
Vintage Polaroid Cameras on Ebay
Of course there is also the nostalgia factor. People are recapturing their childhood and there is just a ‘look’ to a Polaroid picture that is hard to duplicate.

So where is everyone getting their film?

Well, an obvious answer would be Ebay or Amazon. Unopened packs of film are found occasionally and put up for sale.
Vintage Polaroid Film on Ebay

Another option is The Impossible Project. 
I’ll let the Project itself tell you about itself.

“Edwin Land, the founder of Polaroid and the inventor of the world’s first instant camera and film, once said,“Don’t undertake a project unless it’s manifestly important and nearly impossible.” The founders of The Impossible Project took him at his word when, in 2008, they purchased the last factory in the world manufacturing Polaroid instant film. Their aim was simple: to save 200 million Polaroid instant cameras from becoming utterly useless.
Two years later, the fledgling start-up began producing its own re-formulated versions of classic Polaroid instant film formats, including SX-70, 600, and Image-Spectra, as well as 8×10, at plants in Enschede, in The Netherlands, and Monheim, Germany.
Today, Impossible is no longer a ‘project’ but a fast-growing company with around 130 employees in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Britain, France, the USA and China. Its core products are analog instant film, refurbished Polaroid cameras, and its own-designed range of analog instant cameras. But Impossible’s ambitions are bigger: from its new creative headquarters in Berlin, Germany, Impossible is intent on creating the future of analog instant photography.”
You can shop for Polaroid film right on their site, or I also found some on Ebay and Amazon.
So what about you? Which Polaroid Instant Camera did you have?

It All Started With a Cheese Slicer

I was having one of those weeks. In the world of online ReSelling, it seems you have those weeks. A week where nothing much seems to go right. I can’t really remember the details, but we probably got at least one return and had one lost package. We sent the wrong items to the wrong people. (basically switched the shipping labels on two small packages). Fortunately I think most of the issues were on Etsy, where the customers are nice and friendly. 🙂 And there’s no defect rate. Ahem.

So I wasn’t really surprised when I got an email from a customer in the UK who purchased a cheese slicer. She was understandably upset, because, yes, I had sent her the wrong one. The one in the picture up above is like the one I sent her…but not the one she ordered. I forgot I had two listed and when the order came in, I grabbed the first one I saw and shipped it. 
I quickly replied and apologized and told her we’d make it right. We refunded the first order. And immediately sent out the correct item. 
After that all was well. We exchanged some more emails about this gift she was intending to give and about who was receiving it and why it had to be that particular cheese slicer. She received the correct slicer a couple weeks later, fortunately in time to gift it and was thrilled.
I wasn’t too upset about the whole thing.
Really, mistakes happen. Making them right is a cost of doing business. I could have railed and cried and whined about my whole week and made things difficult for my customer but I chose not to. It’s not worth it. Fix it and move on. Of course, I had a fabulous, understanding customer which made it easier. When your customer is less than stellar, taking the high road is not as easy. But still.
Don’t be afraid to give great customer service!
You never know what results you’ll get.
A few weeks later, I got a package in the mail. From the UK.
It was from my awesome customer:
She makes gorgeous jewelry (or jewellery if you’re in the UK, lol) and sent me a pair of earrings!!
Here’s her website for you to check out!
So that’s my story. And my online reselling lesson for the day. 
What about you? Have you had great experiences when you’ve provided fabulous customer service??