A couple of years ago I opened an Etsy shop for my knitting business. At the time I didn’t know a whole lot about selling but I thought I would give it a shot. I read one of Etsy’s start up articles that suggested not to worry too much about details a first. The idea was to get your product up on the site as quickly as possible. I looked at other businesses for inspiration especially with regard to photos and product description. A photographer friend of mine took some photos of my work which turned out great. I had my first ten items posted in an evening. For the next while I checked my Etsy account regularly to see if there was any action on my site. I had a little activity but not much happened. I didn’t expect to be the next big Etsy sensation but I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of competition and how much work it takes to get noticed. I let the site continue for about 6 months and had zero sales. I had recently started a new job and the Etsy site got put on the backburner. I also wasn’t posting on Facebook at this point so my knowledge of on-line marketing was a little low.
Recently, I’ve decided to have another look at Etsy but I’m still not sure if it is the right fit for me. I did some research and found a helpful video from an experienced Etsy seller detailing some of the pros and cons of having a business on Etsy. I enjoy the video format and use them regularly for knitting help and techniques. I find some of my videos invaluable.
The pros are pretty straightforward. Etsy takes the complicated out of starting up a business site. The process is pretty smooth and there are more than enough articles for tips on how to get your business rolling. The Etsy community for the most part is very supportive and quick to answer your questions and concerns. You also have the option to ship International (if you choose). A nice feature is the option to sell digital products. I do have a few patterns of my own that I would love to share and this would be a great way to get them out there (in addition to the knitting site, Ravelry).
Competition is the main con in my opinion. What is it that sets your products apart from others who make or sell similar items? Food for thought. I’m still working on this one!
Another con would be that all of the businesses look the same and there isn’t a lot of room for creativity and customization. Customers may not recognize your shop name only that they bought something on Etsy. Perhaps this is where a personal website comes in handy where you have complete creative control over your brand.
The fees are not a huge concern at first and you do have an option to pay a flat fee as you notice your sales increasing.
The other thing I’m learning is that there are alternatives to Etsy such as Shopify and Folksy. I don’t know much about them but may research for future blogs before I make my decision to open again.
What are your thoughts on Etsy? Do you have any experience as a buyer or seller on the site?