How Many Etsy Shops Do I Need?

how-many-etsy-shops

Short answer:
It depends.

It really does. It depends on a lot of different factors. In the past, Hubby and I have had 5, (yes FIVE) Etsy shops. We are now consolidating down to two. Three. Maybe two. Here’s the quick update on our confusion. We had Hubby’s shop closed when his own carpentry/contracting business started taking off this year. He had no time. We were going to merge his items with mine. We did that with a few. Then winter came and things slowed down for him…a little. He reopened his shop. Sold a few things. But has had no time to keep up with adding anything more again. So we’re debating shutting it down again. Because, as I’ve preached before, you need to keep listing to keep selling.
We had good reasons to open the shops initially and we learned a lot about having multiple shops along the way. Here are some factors that we used when opening (and then closing) the shops.

If you are considering opening a second, or even third, Etsy shop ask yourself:

  • Is it a different enough niche or style to make having a separate shop necessary?
    In our case, I have a separate shop for sewing patterns and notions. I feel that the buyers of such would just like to look at craft supplies and not necessarily all the other vintage I have to offer.

  • Do I have the inventory to warrant another shop? 4 shops with 20 items in each may not be as effective as 1 shop with clearly marked shop sections.

  • Will it help my branding or promoting efforts if my shop is narrowed down to a specific niche? ex. sewing patterns or notions only vs a few sewing patterns mixed in with vintage home goods. You could brand and promote the shop as being a source of sewing patterns, etc…An eclectic shop will divide up your promoting efforts in many different directions.

  • Do I have the time to keep up with multiple shops? Major point. It takes time. It’s hard to get signed in to all the shops consistently and focus on adding new items on a regular basis. A plan is a must. 

  • Will I be able to consistently list new items on a regular basis in more than one shop? Again. Major factor. 

  • Will I have the time to promote the shops and their listings in social media and other efforts? Will you need to have different social media accounts to promote each niche? Or can you promote successfully from one central account?

There’s nothing wrong with giving it a try if you think it works for you. It worked for us for awhile but now we need to scale it back. The key was “us”. Two people, two shops each plus Ebay together. Now its just me doing the online stuff so we halved that. For now, we just have The Recycleista’s Retro Shop and Pish Posh Notions. I handle both of those and most of our Ebay listings.  Hubby’s shop, as I mentioned, is probably only temporary.
So if you do decide to give multiple shops a try, and it doesn’t quite workout for awhile, the nice thing is that you can just deactivate your items and let your Etsy shops sit. So if your circumstances change in the future, it doesn’t take much to get it going again. The listings will still be there, either in the deactivated or expired sections.
And there are a few things to keep in mind that Etsy requires if you have multiple shops, the main one being transparency. You need to disclose your other shops in your Profile. (now that I think about it, I’d better update mine!). Etsy has more information here: Multiple Shops on Etsy
What do you think? Are you contemplating multiple shops? Do you have concerns? Or have you already taken that step? Any tips or tricks to share? Feel free to leave a comment below. 

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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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!

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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!

Etsy Seller Success Story ~ An Interview with Vintage in Bloom

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. And you can have fun doing it.

So in that vein, I’d like to share a success story with you. This will be the first in an ongoing series.

Etsy Seller Success Stories - Meet the Etsy Seller! A series of interviews of Etsy vintage shop owners who are successful at making money on Etsy...and having fun doing it! Say hello to Amy, from Vintage in Bloom. Amy has been running Vintage in Bloom on Etsy since 2008 and currently has over 2500 items listed. As of this writing, she’s had 8207 sales!! And that number will probably go up while I’m writing this post! Truly inspiring for me since my shop has been open about the same amount of time…lol and I’m nowhere near there! Let’s find out how she does it!

VintageInBloomHow long have you been selling on Etsy?

Almost 8 years! I opened my shop in June, 2008.

What made you choose Etsy as your selling venue?
Do you sell anywhere else besides Etsy?

I had been on Etsy as a buyer since 2006, so I already knew I liked the site. And the idea of establishing an online shop really appealed to me, in contrast to Ebay, which was more auction driven at that time and felt less stable and permanent to me. Though I do sell on Ebay too now, opening a shop on Etsy made me feel like a true entrepreneur.
Borel Kaleidoscope Cocktail Watch

Is this your full-time job? If so, did it start out that way?

For the first five years, I worked at a full time job in art publishing, in addition to running my online shop. I would draft new listings at night after dinner, or on the weekends, any spare minute really was spent building my inventory, answering messages, or packing orders.

Then in 2013, I was laid off from my job a week after returning from my honeymoon. I had never been let go from a job before, and I remember how mixed my emotions were; shocked, scared, angry, a little sad.. But then standing in the parking lot, putting my box of belongings in the car, I also felt a sort of euphoria as I realized this was my chance to see if I could make a living selling full time. It may sound trite, but this was my dream job, and what better time to see if I could make my dream work? By then, I had built a sizable customer base, with enough steady sales coming in, that it seemed feasible, if I could just spend more time on it.

I jumped in head first, immediately putting into action the things I had never had time to do before that I felt would help grow my business; listing more items daily, heavily promoting, shipping the same day when possible, shopping estate sales on Fridays etc. The first full month after being laid off, I sold enough to cover what my old paychecks would’ve been, and I’ve never looked back since.
Butterfly Wing Brooch
Tell us a little bit about your process. You have so many items listed!…do you have a certain system that you use to be so productive?

I try to do 10 – 15 new listings a day on the weekdays.

Ideally, this is how it goes: I draft three listings, take photos of those items, edit photos, and then activate those three listings. Doing it a few at a time keeps a steady flow of new items in the shop throughout the day, and I can take little breaks in-between if I want to. I have a photo tent setup with lights (thanks to my husband for that!), so I can take photos whenever I need to, that really helps. And I’ve tried to cut down on the number of items I do heavy research on.. For instance, knowing the exact year a certain designer brooch came out may be an interesting selling point, but it won’t “make” the sale enough that I should spend 20 minutes trying to figure it out. Sometimes you just need to do enough research to make sure you are pricing correctly, and move on.

I also have to give major credit to my wonderful husband. He plans out the route for the estate sales we will go to every weekend (and does all the driving), packs all the bulky orders that I dislike packing, helps organize the stock, and loads of other behind the scenes stuff that really frees me up to do my work more efficiently.

Whoa…I like the 3 at a time idea! I may have to steal that!! 🙂 Moving on to a different subject, what are your top 2 favorite sales of all time from your Etsy shop?

rockinghorseI sold a small wooden rocking horse toy for Ralph Lauren’s NYC Christmas window display one year. I didn’t get to see if it ended up in the window, but I really liked the thought of that.

engagementringMy favorite sale was [this] antique sapphire engagement ring to a young couple. I was first contacted by the bride, as I helped her decide if it was the right ring for her, answering questions, sending extra photos and even a short video of the ring. Then I worked with the groom on a layaway payment plan. They were both so great to work with, and I loved that I was able to help them find the perfect thing for them, and make it within reach with the flexible payment plan. Brides (or grooms!) are some of my favorite customers in general. Any piece of wedding jewelry is usually so carefully thought out and selected, and those pieces often become infused with fond memories or even become heirlooms. To be a small part of someone’s special day is incredibly meaningful to me, I feel truly honored.

What fun stories! And so now, what are your top 2 favorite items listed in your shop now?

OpalRingOne is this 14k gold and opal ring. I have a soft spot for opals, and they’re very popular in my shop, so I always try to keep at least one or two in my shop at any time.

oysterpearlnecklace

This French faux pearl shell necklace is another favorite. It embodies two things I love about vintage costume jewelry; quality of craftsmanship, and its absolutely unique design.

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

I find most of my items at estate sales, but I’ve had some surprising luck at yard sales too. You never know where you will find a treasure.

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

Significant growth! Each year I’ve been in business, I’ve beaten my previous year’s sales numbers, and it’s great to look back and see that progress. I want to be able to keep doing that, with a sizable jump year to year, whether that means listing more, putting different promotion strategies into effect, or even launching my own website. I’d also like to be featured on Etsy at some point. 🙂

If you could travel back in time to when you started selling…what advice would you give your newbie self??

I have a few pieces of advice for myself:

*List something new every day. Even if it’s only one thing. It took me a long time to figure out how much that can help your sales.  (Recycleista note: Hey! Sound familiar?!)

*Sometimes you have to spend money to make money. I remember on several occasions in the beginning, where I would pass things up I deemed “too expensive” even when I knew I could make a nice profit selling them, in favor of buying cheaper pieces in higher quantity at sales. I seemed to have a sort of fear of spending over a certain amount, even if it was within my budget. It’s good to be conservative usually, but if you see something really amazing, the time to buy it is when you find it. People want to buy quality items, and not everyone is just looking for a bargain. No matter what people say about the economy, people are still spending money. If you only buy the cheaper things, there will be nothing for the higher-end shoppers to find in your shop. I now carry a mix, in all price ranges, and that seems to be working well for me.

*Make sure you have really well thought out policies from the beginning. Revisit them every so often to update as needed. And then don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and behind your policies when a problem arises. Early on I allowed myself to be taken advantage of on a couple transactions, because I was worried about bad feedback, and didn’t have clearly defined policies to fall back on and cover me in those situations.

*Don’t freak out so much over slow periods! Especially in the beginning, the sales come in waves, and it’s better to just go with the flow. During slow times, keep listing, maybe change up they type of the things you are listing, or try promoting somewhere new. If you keep at it, the sales WILL come, and stressing out about it doesn’t do you any good. I still need to remind myself of this one once in a while!

Awesome, awesome advice! Thank you so much Amy!!

I’m pretty sure Vintage in Bloom is a shop to watch and I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Etsy contacts her someday for a feature!!
Be sure to also “Like” the Vintage in Bloom Facebook page to stay connected!

I certainly learned a lot today and have some ideas and will get to listing today with a renewed purpose! Do you have any comments or questions for Amy?
Share below!