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!

 

How To Survive a Sales Slump…a.k.a April Sales Recap

 

Make Money Selling on Etsy. The highs and the lows...what to do if you're experiencing a sales slump

Okay, well then. April. Can’t say that I’m gonna miss you.
I really was prepared for the slow down…but I didn’t really expect that it would last the whole month.
April generally has some slow spots. It’s when income taxes are due so all the procrastinators (me! me! me!) are scrambling to finish up and if they suspect they owe anything, they may be a bit more careful with their spending.
Plus they are just distracted for awhile.
I know that happened with me. Even though I was pleasantly surprised with a refund…the act of doing my taxes took up my brain power for more than a week or so.
And my listing pace suffered as a result. It affected my sales as I explain in this post. 

So, let’s look at the numbers of our main shops and then talk about how to cope.

In my main Etsy shop, The Recycleista’s Retro Shop, after such a stellar March (28 orders $717 in revenue), sales went down by more than half in April.
The Retro Shop: 17 orders $322 sales revenue.
Ouch.

In Hubby’s shop Metal and Tweed, we see a downturn but not as sharp. The reason for that is related though, to the reason I posted above. Hubby went from being an employee to starting his own business in January. Obviously, then, the time he has to dedicate to the online shops is limited. So in March, M & T had 10 orders with $312 in revenue. (higher price points in that shop :))
April was lower but not as dramatic.
Metal and Tweed: 8 orders $226 revenue

So yes…very painful to consider when you see it in black and white. Sales in our 2 main Etsy shops were HALF of what they were the previous month. And our secondary shops….it’s not even worth talking about them. lol. And eBay?? Ridiculous.

What to do? Here’s how I coped and continue to cope since things aren’t bouncing back miraculously.

How to Survive a Sales Slump

Dory - Just Keep Swimming during a sales slump
1) “Just keep swimming“. Don’t despair. Realize that these slumps are just that. Temporary downward swings and that they naturally have to swing back up. They won’t swing back up though, if you do nothing.
So keep listing. Keep promoting. Keep doing what you’re doing and when the peeps come back…you’ll be ready.

2) Hang with a like-minded selling community. I’m part of the Got Vintage Shops group and The Thrifting Board on Facebook. I don’t mean go to those groups and start complaining and whining about the lack of sales. That doesn’t help you or anybody. But you’ll get an overall feel if the sales slump is widespread or just your shop and you maybe need to fix a few things.
I personally was very comforted to read several threads in the GVS group that sales AND views were down overall in April. I knew I wasn’t alone and that there was a bigger issue going on that was out of my control.

3) Use the time during the Sales Slump to explore new sales venues. I’m a firm believer in not putting all your eggs in one basket. Because I have shops on Etsy and Ebay and a few items on Amazon….my trickle of sales this month at least added up to something. I also sold some items directly in Facebook groups. I could have worked those harder and that would have helped beef up my Paypal account. But I was busy…with taxes..did I mention that? lol. And this blog.
I also did some research on Poshmark. It’s a clothes selling app. I don’t sell a ton of clothing online anymore, but I have a few pieces leftover and find things occasionally. Plus I have some vintage jewelry that I could try listing on there. It’s worth a shot. I haven’t had time to list anything yet but I will report back how it goes. If you’d like to try it out, feel free to enter my referral code: JLDDH According to the app, you will get $10 for downloading the app and using my code. I will receive $10 only once you’ve made a purchase. (affiliate disclaimer)

4) If you have time between listing new items, you can also spiff up your older listings. Not satisfied with the photos you took 3 years ago? Just redo the main item photo. Quick fix. As you look over those listings, you’ll probably find some other little errors or oversights that you can fix. I find wrong tags all the time on my older Etsy listings. When I use the “Copy” feature to make a new listing for a similar item I’m listing…sometimes I forget to delete all the tags that are not relevant to the current item. It happens.
On eBay, I’ve been weeding out older items and adding Best Offer to some listings. Just whatever I can do to refresh things.

5) Set some goals. Despite my periodic moments of despair this month “OMG…NOTHING is selling!!! No one will buy anything from me ever again….”  I almost immediately bounced back with determination to work harder. I have high hopes for May and hope to add at least 75 new items to my main Etsy shop. That’s a lofty goal considering the other venues I want need to work on as well. But if I shoot high and miss…I’ll at least end up higher than if I hadn’t set a goal at all.

Okay, your turn! Please tell me how you deal with sales slumps? What philosophy keeps you grounded? What do you keep busy with when sales aren’t pouring in? Please comment below!

How to Find Completed Sale Prices on Etsy

NOTE: This app is currently being worked on, due to some changes Etsy made in the appearance of pages of sold items. We will update you when things are back in action! 

I’m getting a feeling of deja vu here. I’ve written this post before.
But as we know, nothing to do with online reselling ever stays the same for long. The methods I’ve used in the past to find completed sale prices on Etsy either don’t work anymore or are too klunky.

Fortunately I found a fabulous new solution to finding completed sale prices on Etsy!

How To Find Out What Something Sold For on Etsy There used to be a super spy sneaky way of finding out what individual items sold for on Etsy that involved 1) opening the listing you’re trying to research 2) right-clicking on the description and hitting Page Source 3) playing Where’s Waldo in the resulting lines of code to find the hidden price.

I also found another option, but that required cutting and pasting the link to the Etsy listing to another web page. Super slow and klunky.

I always thought…wouldn’t it be nice if you could just see the completed sale price right ON THE ETSY LISTING PAGE ITSELF?

Well guess what?! Now you can.

Thanks to a fabulous new Chrome Extension called ShowSold.
Developed by Chris Green and Jason T Smith, this feature is available in desktop and mobile versions.

How It Works

You find a great little vintage doo-hickey and you’re so excited to get home and research it. You eagerly sit down at your computer and then unfortunately, you hit a bit of a wall. Your item is more unique than you thought!
Then you remember to try to search Google Images. Whoo hoo! There are a couple matches! Clicking through you see that they are Etsy listings and that they’ve sold. Well, that’s good news because it means your doo-hickey is desirable and more than one person wanted one, right?

But the problem is your screen looks like this:

How To Find What Things Sold For On Etsy
No info. What did it sell for? What is it worth? Well you could convo the seller. Hmm. That might work but even if you get an answer, it’ll take time. And you’d really like to get your doo-hickey listed…today…at the right price.

Now let’s consider this same scenario with the ShowSold extension installed.
You click through to the sold Etsy listing and you see this:

How To Find Completed Sale Prices on EtsyBAM! Done! Finding completed sale prices on Etsy couldn’t be any easier!

That is so sweet. Time is money and anything that helps speed up the researching process of online reselling is gold!
And get this…the desktop version of the ShowSold extension is only $39.99 for LIFETIME ACCESS! Or you can pay monthly for 3.99 per month.
And…(yes there’s more!! lol)
And…that $39.99 one time payment also includes Ebay! On Ebay, there are times where a seller accepted a best offer, but Ebay doesn’t automatically show the actual price the item sold for. With ShowSold, you see the actual selling price right on the listing.

Go ahead and click here to check out the ShowSold page and make your Reselling life a little bit easier!

Disclaimer: I didn’t receive any monetary compensation for this post. This post is just my own, honest opinion of a product that helps me and I think will help you! I purchased this extension from my own little vintage change purse and I don’t regret it! 🙂 

Selling on Etsy ~ How to Write Titles That Sell!

Make Money Selling On Etsy - How To Write Titles that Sell Need help grabbing the attention of those Etsy shoppers? Reel 'em in with a great title!
This post may have affiliate links.

Welcome to Part 4 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.
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.

Reel the Shoppers in with an Effective Title

So today we’ll discuss a little bit about writing your BEST title. You’ve got your little vintage tchotchke (I’ve just been waiting to use that word!) and you need to be able to convey to prospective buyers exactly what you have and why they want it. Fabulous pictures are the first step…but a thorough description will seal the deal.

Of course, before a buyer can get to your fabulously awesome description (discussed in a future post), the title has to pull them in and make them want to click. Titles are important not only for within Etsy’s own search but they can also help people find you from other search engines, like Google.

Obviously we want our title to be keyword strong. Pay special attention to the first few words. These are the words shoppers will see while browsing search results and they are also given more value by the search algorithms.

So basically, tell the buyer WHAT the item is in the beginning of your title.

Let’s look at an example. I’m going to use one of Hubby’s items for this. He sold this tape dispenser for about $75 not too long ago.

FoxScreenshot
Looking at his title, we see a strong beginning. The brand is first, then what the item is. Anyone searching for Takahashi red fox items (there are more items in this line and people do collect them) will come across this listing quickly. Then right away we see it’s a “tape dispenser”. This is important because what the item actually is or does may not be super apparent from the main photo. It’s certainly eye-catching…but they will need the title to give them more information.

But Hubby didn’t stop there. We see more phrases like “Made in Japan” and “Desk Accessory”.

Etsy gives you 140 characters for your title. Use them. Pack them with more keywords and keyword phrases. Think like a buyer.  Look at your item and think of how you would search for it. What phrases would you use? Could it be a gift for someone?  Does it have an alternate use? Use these ideas to fill up your title.

PRO TIP: Still stumped? This may help. Have you noticed when you type a word into the Etsy search bar…a long list of related search words or phrases pop up? These are search phrases that actual shoppers have typed in….most often. So you know these are words and phrases that will probably get searched again. Type in a generic word that matches  your item and see what phrases pop up. Some of these may work for your title.

Hard work? Maybe. It gets easier. Plus the work you put in now to brainstorm your title will pay off as you write your description and fill out your tags.

((Note: Hubby and I tend to use commas to separate thoughts and keyword phrases in our titles. Other sellers do the same, or use symbols like hyphens or back slashes. It adds readability and may make your listing stand out….on Etsy. Be careful that it doesn’t impede Google searches though. We haven’t noticed a problem with commas)

Summary:

  • Use your best keywords in the beginning of your title.
  • Use all 140 characters in your title.
  • Think like a buyer and include keyword phrases that shoppers would use in search

These are ideas that work for us but it’s worth noting that Hubby and I have completely different styles with title and description writing. So there’s room for adding your own personality as long as the basics (strong keywords) are covered.

Next post we’ll see how the work you did building a title that sells can be carried over to your description.
Thanks for joining me!

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