Let's talk Etsy......
Oh my goodness, thank you so much everyone who sent me a message about my first blog post! I didn't think anyone would read it, so totally overwhelmed, thank you, thank you, thank you !
So on the back on that, I've had a trickle of messages asking me about Etsy and over time I've had quite a lot of people asking me for advice and issues around Etsy. So let's give it ago and I'll try explain my experiences that I have encountered along the way, which may help anyone who has queries with Etsy or who is thinking of starting.
Now for those who don't know what Esty is, it's a selling platform that mainly crafters use to sell their products. It's basically like the Ebay of the crafting/handmade world. The Etsy obsession for me started in 2014 where I discovered it through Pinterest (another obession of mine) and I was blown away on the different products and gorgeousness of home items I could buy that was so different than anything else.
With using it for several years, I had an idea about it and how it roughly worked, but was clueless on how to ever set it up!! So when it came to setting up my Etsy shop, I really hadn't thought it through overly or done much research. Hence why it didn't work out at the beginning. It was actually shit looking back on it now and I just cringe thinking about it, but as I mentioned previously when you first start up the best thing you can do is spend the time developing and growing on your own.
My biggest advice for first setting up, is have a real outlined plan for what you are selling. Have a template for your listings, so everything has the same layout and instructions for each product, which creates consistency through your shop. Then probably the most important element is the images of your product, this is the main focal point that draws people in.
Now not just for Etsy, for any platform you use to help promote and sell your products the photos you use is the most VITAL element in selling. Again this is another process you will work on over time and it's completely experimental and being experimental with this I have found has made me personally so much better. I really look back at the start and just think bloody hell that is just so naff, so it's all just trial and error with the persistence to keep developing and trying new things.
Back to Etsy and photo's, you need to be as clear and concise as possible when it comes to imagery. Don't use filters and dont make the image not look like the real thing, you need to make it look like it does in the flesh as much as possible. As lets face it, things on screen especially in terms of colour always look different in real life so adding a line in the description about this would be beneficial. Also things that are structured by hand, adding something like "may differ slightly from image shown due to being handmade", this way you have covered all bases.
If you have done your Etsy research and even more since lockdown 2020 a lot of people have turned to selling in the craft world, there are thousands beyond thousands of listings and its not just the UK you are competing with. The aim you are trying to achieve is have your product in the top end of the search engine on Etsy. So typing in "baby gift" you want your item to be in the top hits, as not many will sift through pages and pages and more pages, they will only scroll so far down.
You will then want to drive all traffic from social media platforms to your Etsy shop to create a higher SEO on Etsy. Pinterest for me was one of my top traffic drivers surprisingly, so I would highly recommended setting a business Pinterest up. If you have any questions on Pinterest as trust me it’s very confusing to start with, just pop me a message or leave a comment below. Create really detailed descriptions, include every single detail and utilise the 10 tags. Try and have a good handful of products available, with very clear photos even add a photo of the packaging. Lastly, use all the tools Etsy gives you in your shop settings, enter the "about me" section , add some photos of your work area or work in progress, so potential customers get an insight of behind the scenes.
Now, after using Esty for 2 years now and reaching milestones that I never thought in my wildest dreams I would have reached, i've decided to hit a bit of a pause on Etsy. Don't get me wrong, Etsy has been brilliant! Without a shadow of a doubt etsy created so many sales for me, especially in the lockdown stretch, which was the most insane time, so I am really thankful for this. Push that aside, I must admit I have had some extreme lows with Etsy too!!!
When I initially set up Etsy and sales started to trickle through, for me it was real excitement followed my pure anxiety. All I can describe it as, was just being on edge, trying to get orders done as quick as possible and taking forever and a day making sure it was perfect before sending it out. If a message came through I had to reply instantly, regardless if it came through at 12 a.m. I answered it and this is how it went on for a good 18 months.
Along with that, especially through the real busier periods of Christmas and of course 2020 being a year like no other, unfortunately I experienced quite a good handful of crap. Receiving bullish messages, being sworn at, being contacted on my private social media and getting the same abusive rubbish again!! In the height of lockdown and lets face it everyone was struggling, receiving this was pretty tough. Especially when it was around factors that was out of my control, post being majorly delayed, customers not reading making times and my biggest stress was that when customers didn't leave details for the order, trying to contact them would just go straight to their junk email. Bloody junk email has been the real bane!!!
I felt that in these scenarios Etsy didn't really give the support I needed as a seller. Being in contact with them over several situations, I just felt it got pushed under the rug and not really addressed. Especially the customers that threaten to leave negative feedback, when something wasn't my fault. It was a majorly weird and stressful time and my whole concept during this period was to just keep as busy as possible, to just get through it all. Looking back now there still was a part of me that longed for the pre small business days, as I was just filled up with so much anxiety about it all, on top of being in lockdown, kids and loosing a loved one, I genuinely was a shaking mess sometimes and just couldn't see the wood through the trees.
Getting to where I am now, I feel so burnt out of trying to keep up with it all, Etsy, my own web page along with family life and getting some kind of normal back, whatever that is right now. I feel so so nervous, as getting my Etsy shop to where it is/was,has taken a lot of blood, sweat, tears and many late nights. For those on Etsy, you know at the beginning how hard it is to get your shop established, but i'm not going to lie the thought of having a very long Esty break or maybe a permanent Etsy break after putting in all that work really scares me!
I'm also excited about lot's of changes and now having hit the snooze button on Esty, I feel a massive weight has been lifted and looking forward to having time to do the massive to do list of new makes and changing the look/feel of my shop and getting it to the style i've been wanting to do for a year! So i'm now fully concentrated on just my website now and Christmas items too!!! I dread typing that word as it just doesn't seem possible.
I hope this has given a little bit of help when it comes to Etsy and 100% if your thinking of starting a craft business I would still most definitely use Etsy!!! I have loved Etsy I really have, I've just got to a point where it wasn't working me for personally anymore, but I still wouldn't rule out going back one day or even next month haha, who knows. Experiencing the Esty rush as I call it through all lockdowns just took it's toll and looking back I just don't know how I was functioning but when your in a bubble you can't see out of it sometimes. I know some of my Etsy customers now follow me via Instagram so I want to say thank you so, so much to all the lovely feedback's and positive messages, as there was lot's of that too, just a small handful of experiences were negative and most certainly has made me stronger!! I'm in a much more balanced place with it all now .
Thanks so much everyone and if anyone has any Etsy questions or queries please do message me, I'm no way near an expert, not even close but just wanted to share a few tips that I have learnt along the way with my experience of it all.