Tag Archives: Etsy

Crafting a Successful Etsy Experience

Etsy|crafting|selling crafts|sell your art|Years ago crafters were tied to church fairs and local gift shops to sell their creations.  Now, thanks to the miracle of the internet, crafters can use online markets like Etsy to sell their wares beyond their local area. 

I’m not much of a crafter myself, so I turned to three excellent ladies that work with Etsy themselves to explore this topic.  They each represent a different Etsy experience, and have shared their know how with the rest of us who may be thinking about delving into selling work online.

Beth Cyr|organic jewelry|precious metal|Beth Cyr Jewelry – Organic Metal Jewelry

Beth Cyr started with Etsy at the suggestion of a friend.  She had quit her job to follow her passion and become a full-time artist with no clear direction of how to accomplish that.  After a few months of just scraping by, she started listing with Etsy.

“I hoped to be able to make a living selling on Etsy. The friend that had told me about it did really well and sold quite a lot. So it gave me the confidence to know that was possible.”

One of the things that works well for Beth is the huge market available to her through Etsy from the convenience of her computer.  She has sold her jewelry in almost every state in America, and in ten countries.  “The first street team I joined, EtsyMetal, is amazing as well. The amount of support and inspiration that has come from being a part of that group is incredible and I would venture to say life changing.”

Beth’s Advice for other Estiers?  In her own words:

Oh I have lots of advice, but I’ll try to keep it short! If you really want it to be successful, treat it like a full-time job. Do as much as you possibly can to get your name and your shop link out there (without being annoying). Get a flickr account, start a Facebook business page, start a blog, follow blogs, make connections. I think a large part of the continued success of my business has been the (free) features on many blogs – some small, some larger.

Be generous! Try to give more than you get – it will come back to you. Feature friends and other people’s work you like. Helping to promote others is excellent for the entire handmade community. I think it is important to have the intent of helping other though. It is fairly easy to spot when sellers go about promoting others with a clearly self-promoting goal (which I find quite off-putting).

I also think it is good to remember what works for one person may not work for another. A lot of new sellers seem to want to find that special formula that someone else used and apply it to their own shop. The “formula” that I came up with for myself, probably wouldn’t work for someone else, not to mention that it is always changing 🙂

There will be times when you feel like you are working extremely hard and there is no payout. You’ve spent hours on the computer – days and days at a time and not sold anything. Keep going! I believe that if you are authentic, love what you do and offer it in an open manner, you will be successful.

Oh… and offer excellent customer service. 

tye dye|batik|fiber arts|hippy|beachWild Dyes – Tye Dye & Fiber Arts

Kris Ogden is known as Tye Dye Kris around the Emerald Coast.  She started out with Etsy after it was suggested to her by her friend, Holly Eqq.  She had heard of it but wasn’t really inspired to try it with her own art until then.

“I thought that Etsy would give me a good user-friendly site to sell my art without having to figure out the whole shopping cart thing for my own website, wilddyes.com. It costs very little to use, and you get the added bonus of Etsy driven site traffic.”

 Kris likes the cost efficiency of Etsy.  It costs only 20 cents to list each item, the photos are free and the listing stays up for months.  Kris also likes the strong and well-connected Etsy community that opens up all sorts of built-in marketing opportunities.  “My best experience with Etsy is just how fun it is to browse and look at what other artists and crafters are creating.  I can spend hours doing this!”

Kris’s advice for other Etsiers?  In her own words:

“For anyone new to selling online my best advice would be to get a decent digital camera and brush up on photography. Learn how to take a great picture of your item, It may be the most amazing piece of art, but if your picture is marginal, and amateurish you may lose the sale. Try to make your items look as slick as possible.  Etsy has a lot of info on how this can be achieved.

Secondly I would say make sure to give good customer service. There is a feedback system on Etsy for customers and sellers to leave feedback about each other. You want positive feedback from your customers, other customers will look at your feedback and make a decision if they want to buy from you or not.

Tangent Lines|beaded jewelry|necklaces|semi precious stonesTangent Lines – Designer Jewelry & Accessories

Tina Lorah was attracted to Etsy because it was a well-known and established site, like eBay, but for hand crafted items.  She hopes that one day she will earn enough regularly to quit her day job and create fulltime. 

“I have a lot of friends that do crafts and who hope to sell their stuff and I think we all have that same dream of working for ourselves.”

Tina thinks that Etsy is the way to go for maximum exposure for minimal cost and head ache.  There’s no website to manage, no domain names to obtain, and no brick & mortar store to eat away profit.  The social aspect is another bonus.  Etsy is an excellent chance for artists all over the world to network with each other, share ideas and inspiration.

Tina’s advice for other Etsier’s?  In her own words:

“Choose your shop name carefully, make it easy to find. I didn’t realize that if you have more than a one word shop name, it runs the words all together. So if it’s a long name it’s going to be harder to find than a one or two-word name. Which leads me to my next bit of advice;  Read the information they have on their website first. They have a wonderful resource guide with all kinds of helpful advice on setting up your store, increasing sales, taking better photos…..and so much more. Plus there is more info in their community where you talk with other shop owners as well as buyers plus info through blogs.”

That’s the scoop from actual Etsiers.  To me it sounds like the best way to get your creations into the hands of others.  For those of you that have an artistic flair, consider turning it into a little extra money by selling your items online.  If you do, let me know about it… I’d love to share your story here on Dandilyon Fluff.

Internet Moonlighting – Ways Your Internet Can Pay

Lately it seems all my friends are looking for extra cash.  There are so many ways to make it pay, I can’t possibly cover them all in one blog post, so this is my brief overview of different options I explored last night.

I personally signed up for some of these and gave them a try, some of them I read about or had friends tell me about, and one I wouldn’t touch at all, even just to explore.  I didn’t even begin to cover selling real goods online, like with Etsy or eBay.  That will have to be another post entirely.

When I started looking around the internet for the best ways to make extra cash and goodies from it, I found a mass of useless advertisements being masqueraded as information.  I have explored a lot of income options on the internet over the years, some have panned out and some were colossal wastes of time.  Last night I took some time to explore what’s out there now and try it out, and here’s what I came up with.

Product Review Sites
These are websites that need chatty people and bloggers.  Large companies depend on these sites to gather together people willing to try their products and review them.  These companies fall into the category of word of mouth advertising.

To date, I’ve only tried Vibe Village of all these, but it was a rewarding experience.  They sent me the large package of Tetley Tea in the photo for free.  Inside were two large boxes of tea, a ton of smaller sample packages to pass out to my friends and a carton of soy milk.  All I had to do for it was respond a short review, and then tell them three different ways I shared the tea.  Past campaigns have been Cadbury Chocolate and Bulla Ice Cream.  Unfortunately I joined up with them afterwards, so I missed out on the chocolate.  Sigh. 

Oddly enough, I could only find one company in the US.  MyBlogSpark came came recommended to me from a friend who loves it, and when I contacted their customer service they responded quickly and were very nice, so I’d think they would be a good choice.  You do need to pick one from your own country due to the cost of shipping overseas.  If I were in the US, I would definitely try out MyBlogSpark.  Here’s a few sites to get you started:

The Soup Australia
Vibe Village Australia
Word of Mouth Club Australia
Yooster Australia
MyBlogSpark USA (my favorite)

Reward Sites
These sites give you incentives like giftcards and PayPal credit in exchange for your activity on their site.  I’ve used Gather casually for a little while and would highly recommend them.  Squidoo is a new one I just found, and I’m actually going to check it out just because it looks like fun.  SwagBucks has been used by a number of my friends, and last night I spent a frustrating hour and a half on MyPoints filling out my information for what seems to be nothing.

While you probably won’t get rich on any of these sites, they do help out with a little extra.  As Dee B, one of my new Gather friends says,”They do help cut cost for us. I’ve used all my gift cards for work done on our house.”  And here are the ones I found:

Gather (my favorite)
Sunshine Rewards

Virtual Business
I know I talk about how wonderful virtual worlds like Second Life are, but seriously, I am bringing in around $50 a week from selling my clothes designs.  To date, creating items to sell in our cyber shop has been the most financially rewarding thing I have done on the internet, aside from a past lucrative contract writing position.  Those were the days…

There are a large number of these “social games” to choose from besides Second Life, and there are a number of ways to earn money there besides creating items.  A musician friend of mine brings in around $100 a week for doing live shows where he sings and plays his guitar.  People can choose to be models for designers like me, run a club, be a dancer, a hostess for events… the possibilities are endless.  Use your imagination and jump in.

In Second life, you get paid in game money called Lindens which you trade for real currency.  At this time 1,000 Lindens comes to just under $5.  With 132,379 members on FaceBook alone, just a fraction of the total residents, there are a lot of people to discover, and pay you, for your special talents.  My advice if you do try this route is to stay focused on your goal, and remember you are there to work or you can get swept away in all the distractions and find yourself spending more then you make.  An excellent publication on the business side of virtual worlds is Hypergrid Business.  You can visit Second Life here, or google “virtual worlds”.

Temporary Hire
This is my first experience with these type of site.  The idea is that businesses that can’t afford to keep a staff on hand can pay internet surfers like us to do their work.  I actually tried out MicroWorkers.  I signed on to do a small job, which was to write 100 words about Marilyn Monroe and link back to their site, which you can see I did with my last post.  It was worth $4 for me to do that, and took me less then five minutes. 

Today I got a message back from the “hirer” saying my job wasn’t good enough and they wouldn’t pay.  I don’t really see what is wrong about my post, it came in at 116 words excluding the quote at the end, so I don’t see much of a future with MicroWorkers myself.  A lot of the jobs listed were things like signing up for a certain dating site, or leave a comment or rate a book on Amazon and they paid anywhere from .05 to $5.  I tried two other jobs with MicroWorkers so I’ll see how it all pans out.

MicroWorkers (tried it, still deciding)

Opportunities on the internet are as widespread and varied as types of bird, and to cover them all would take me a book rather then a blog post.  Second Life has proved to be the most all over rewarding venture, but of the rest of them, I enjoyed doing the product review for Tetley Tea best, followed by Gather and Squidoo. 

I did come across one more called Project PayDay, but it sounded so shady I didn’t even want to resister.  The idea behind that one, I am told, is that you get paid to sign up for offers and you have to remember to cancel the offers after you get your money.  On the other end, you can pay others to sign up for deals with you so you can get discounted goods.

The example I read about was a deal that gave you an Xbox 360 if you could get 5 people to sign up for a certain plan.  You were paying 5 people each $20 to join up, so you got an Xbox at a discounted price of $100.  I didn’t try it, and it sounds like too much bother for me, but if you decide to try it please let me know how it works for you.  I’m always curious to learn more.

That wraps up my exhausting search for money making on the web, I hope some of you can make good use of it.  Please let me know what works for you and what doesn’t, and anything you’ve tried that I haven’t mentioned.  I’m off to enjoy a lovely cup of Tetley Tea and explore my new Squidoo.

Updated Note:  We’ve moved from Australia back to the US so now I’m primarily working with MyBlogSpark and other US based companies.