Etsy Seller Q&A

If you're a keen crafter, a master of the homemade, or a DIY connoisseur, you may have considered setting up your own Etsy store. Doing so can be a rather daunting undertaking, so today I've collected a group of fantastically knowledgable and experienced Etsy sellers to guide you in the right direction. Let's meet them!

Who's here to help?
Ellis: Illustrator extraordinaire and face of Llama Talks
Gwennan: The mastermind behind Gwennan's Illustrations
Taryna: A watercolour maestro from Sweet Allure Shop
Kat: Crafts and cards are her speciality at Adventures of Hope
Aphrodite: The queen of needle and thread, selling at Rosy Bubbles

What's your advice for those thinking of setting up an Etsy store?
Kat: An Etsy store is a great way to sell your handmade items. It's a bit like EBay, but made solely for handmade products. If you know of anyone who has an Etsy store, they can help you set up your store by providing you with a link which gives you a set amount of free listings. This is a great way to get in to Etsy and see how you feel about it before you commit to listing products for a fee.
Gwennan: Consider your options before setting up shop. Etsy isn't the only selling platform, so do your research, find out about commission, and investigate their rules and regulations. Also, make some sort of 'dream scenario' list, your goals for your shop, whether you just want to make a bit of pocket money from it or if it's likely to be your main source of income. Research and planning are absolutely key.
Taryna: I would really recommend having a nice variety of items when you start up! That way there is quite a few items for people to browse right away instead of having to come back all the time to see if you've updated.

How do you promote your Etsy?
Ellis: I promote using mainly Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. Also blogging is a great way to expose your Etsy shop further. People love to see what you get up to behind the scenes and it helps with both the blog and Etsy traffic.
Gwennan: I tend to promote when I have offers on or new products I'm excited about or when there's an event (like Mother's Day) coming up. I have a shop button on my blog sidebar and a link to my shop on both my blog and my illustration website and the majority of the rest of my promo comes from Twitter. Sending out links to new products or to your shop without being spammy is a fine balance but Twitter is a gold mine for promo.
Aphrodite: I mainly promote my Etsy shop on Twitter! I used to post photos on the Instagram too but I don't anymore! They didn't fit with the whole theme that I try to keep up with over there and because it's an Instagram page for my blog, I didn't see much interest from the people! I am considering making an Instagram just for my shop as I feel that Twitter is not enough!

What has been your proudest moment as a seller?
Taryna: I think every sale makes me prouder. Just knowing that people like my work and want to buy it is an incredible feeling. I think the craziest thing is knowing that people bought my prints as gifts for people at Christmas. People opening my prints up on Christmas Day was a real 'pinch me' moment!
Kat: My proudest moment having my Etsy shop was getting my first sale. I was so worried that nobody would like anything I made. But also the feedback on my first sold item I received was a big boost to my confidence.
Gwennan: My first Valentine's Day as a seller was probably my proudest moment so far when I made my first £100 quid from cards! The majority of the cards in that range sold out, I got a really good reception and I really felt like people enjoyed what I was doing.

How do you go the extra mile for your customers?
Aphrodite: I always try to reply to messages as quickly as possible, and even if people don't end up buying anything, I like to be polite and nice to them! Also, I take care with the packaging! I am not a pro, but I try to make things look beautiful inside and out! For example, I like to add a card inside the package where I thank them and discount code for their next shop!
Taryna: I like to put things up in my store that people want, so I make extra effort to ask what people will want all the time. I like to offer discounts as often as I can and just generally be genuinely thankful for any interest I get. It honestly means so much that people like my work.
Ellis: I always write a handwritten thank you note with all of my orders, on pretty paper with washi tape. I also pop some sweets in as an extra little treat. Put yourself in your customers' shoes - what would make your parcel that extra bit special when you're opening it? It doesn't have to be a lot, just thoughtful.

What's the most challenging thing about being an Etsy seller?
Gwennan: I think the misconception that you're a business, not an individual that is selling is the hardest part. My freelance business is just me, a twenty four year old girl from Wales on the other end of the complaints, the queries and the difficult questions. Sometimes customers quite rude and you feel awful for disappointing them for something entirely out of your control. Dealing with it all comes down to experience and that all important research in the first stage!
Aphrodite: The most challenging for me personally is finding actual customers! The promotion seems like it's never enough but at the same time, I don't want to overdo it so people get bored of me! I realize that you should always update your shop and keep adding items there, but realistically I'm not able to do that - I'm not that fast!
Ellis: The most challenging thing I find with Etsy is honestly the amount of emails I get asking for freebies. It's so awkward! Also if parcels ever go missing it can be really stressful, especially when you've sent them as signed for mail. I also sometimes get messages from customers NEEDING products within a couple of days before they've even placed an order. I always try my best to help them out, but some people don't understand that shipping time alone is out of the shop owner's control.

Who are YOUR favourite Etsy sellers?
Ellis: My favourite Etsy sellers are Aurora Fawn (who hand-makes flower crowns and other bespoke pieces), ZennedOut (who sell beautiful pieces of handmade customisable jewellery), and The Little Melt Company (whose wax melts give Yankee candles a run for their money).
Tarnya: I have SO many favourites. People should check out (in no particular order): Lovelylittlefoxshop, SillyLunastorta, closetgeeksite, and aTinyMew!
Kat: My top three are Made by Steffie B, Braw Bricht Jewellery, and 4 Beautiful Keys.

If you have an Etsy store, make sure you leave a link in the comments below so I can check it out! Who are your favourite people to buy from on Etsy?

Until next time,

A x