Long before I started selling on Etsy I’d been dabbling in all sorts of arts and crafts over the years and also had a go at selling some of them when I was making more than I could possibly use myself. I’ve sold via websites, at home parties, at small craft fairs and markets and via word of mouth and tried everything from creating mohair teddy bears and jewellery to decorating wooden products with pyrography. Most of this was just for fun and to help a hobby pay for itself and give me a bit of extra spending money while bringing up my children.
Now that my children are older (they’ll be off to uni soon – yikes!) I have less family commitments and I’ve also structured my life so that I have more time to do the things I want – like drawing 🙂 The downside is that by reducing my working hours I obviously also have less income, so to keep my lifestyle viable I’m using Etsy to sell the cards and prints I create with my drawings. Why did I choose Etsy? There are loads of reasons…
One of the first is that I love Etsy as a shopper. With so much cheap and mass produced stuff around, I love to find unique and unusual things – both for myself and as presents for others. And Etsy is full of these things 🙂 From finding one of a kind handbags to handmade beauty products and personalised items of all descriptions, shopping on Etsy is heaven for me. It’s like a giant craft market but it never closes, my feet don’t get sore looking around it and I can browse in my pyjamas while drinking a glass of wine.
The customer service on Etsy is also amazing compared to most online places. Obviously there are exceptions, but in general the sellers on there are incredibly friendly, give personal attention to their customers and make an extra effort when wrapping their products for shipping so that it’s a real treat opening your package when it arrives in the mail.
I also love that Etsy is promoting well crafted artisan products and that it has made ‘handmade’ fashionable again. Even their newsletters are fun to receive, with information about new trends, ideas for gifts for upcoming occasions and interviews with some of the makers. I have a tendency to unsubscribe from newsletters pretty soon after I’ve signed up (or been signed up by shopping on a site) but with Etsy I really look forward to getting their emails in my inbox.
I love Etsy from a seller’s point of view too. They make it really easy to upload your items, take payments and promote your shop – so much easier than trying to figure out how to do these things on your own website. And they have a built in audience too, so you can find buyers other than just your friends and family 🙂
This Etsy audience is also ideal for the type of products I sell. Most people who sell products they’ve made themselves have come across people who tell them that their items are too expensive and that they can get the same thing in Wilko’s or B&M for a pound. These are not the people who appreciate the uniqueness of a handmade product though – they buy based on price rather than quality or the fact that it is one of a kind, and to them a candle is a candle is a candle. Generally those who shop on Etsy are completely different. They love to find something that is different and interesting, appreciate the work that goes into a handmade product and are happy to pay what it is worth.
Dealing with customers on Etsy has been a surprising pleasure for me. I’ve had some lovely messages and reviews from happy customers and these always make my day. It’s also nice to connect with someone in a more ‘human’ way despite being online. Particularly with my custom stick figure portraits, I’ve had some great online conversations with those commissioning them and it really makes me feel like the world is not such a bad place after all when they tell me about how they want to surprise and spoil a special friend, partner or family member. I can’t imagine that happening if I was selling on another online platform.
Whatever else happens, I’ll definitely be sticking with Etsy, both as a seller and as a buyer – Christmas shopping, here I come!