Etsy has made it easy for selling handmade items online and the global marketplace has seen steady growth over the last 20 years.
Many entrepreneurs look to sell their goods here because they offer a flow of buyers looking for these specialty handmade products in various categories.
Some say that this offers a better advantage over other marketplaces such as Ebay or Amazon.
Lets take a look at what you can sell and whether or not it is worth it to start up your own Etsy Shop.
Is there money to be made and how to get started.
Why You Might Be Considering Becoming an Etsy Seller
If your 1 of the millions of creative people in the world with the entrepreneur spirit and ability to create handmade products then your probably considering Etsy as a place to promote and sell your items.
According to their financial reports the company emphasized that there were over 40 millions buyers just last year.
That is a lot of traffic and as a seller you would have the opportunity to funnel those buyers to your items listed on the marketplace.
If your a stay at mom this might be the opportunity that you have been looking for as well.
They also show that the majority of sellers are women working from home.
Not to leave the guys out there are categories that are suited for woodworkers as well as metal products if your a welder.
I will go over the different categories and which are the most popular a little later but for now lets take look at what is being offered if you wanted to start an Etsy Shop.
1) How Much Does It Cost To Get Started
Cost can play a big part when your first getting your online business started.
Fortunately the cost to get started with Etsy is free.
They currently offer 2 different plans with a 3rd called Premium in the works.
This is where most sellers will start because there is no monthly fee.
Once you get your feet wet and start making some money then the option to upgrade to plus will cost $10 per month.
This will actually save you money and here’s why.
- Get 15 free listings per month
- Buy a domain at a discount for your shop
- Get $5 in free promoted listings per month
- Use customized banners on your shop
- Featured area showing the products that you want to highlight
- Allow customers to receive notifications when your out of stock items are available
- Discounts on shipping boxes, business cards and promotional items
This plan has not been released yet but when it comes available I will update it.
Other Costs And Fees To Consider
Even though you can sign up and host a Etsy shop for free there are other costs that will come into play as your items start selling.
You will be charged a .20 listing fee for each item.
One thing to keep in mind is that the listing fee is for the initial listing and if you have multiple products of the same type the cost could add up.
For example lets say that you listed 4 bowls for sale.
The cost would be .20 for that listing.
But if only 1 of the bowls sells then your listing is renewed for the remaining 3 costing another .20 fee.
Then there will be the transaction fee of 5% on anything that you sell in your Etsy Shop.
For example sell and item for $10 and you would owe Etsy .50 for that sale.
Accepting credit cards is a must nowadays and Etsy has integrated credit card processing if you wish to use it.
The fees will be 3% of the sale price plus an additional .25 cents.
Overall the fees are reasonable because your not paying for web hosting.
Even if you had your own credit card processing instead of using Etsy’s the fees would be about the same.
If your running a high volume shop or selling items that are expensive the transaction fees can start to add up though.
Comparing Etsy vs Ebay Fees
Sellers have the option of also listing products on eBay’s marketplace so lets take a look to see if it would be cost effective.
|Monthly fee||$0 – $10||$7.95 – $349.95|
|Listing fee||.20||$0 – .25|
eBay offers a number of different plans if you set up a store on their platform that include starter, basic, premium, anchor and enterprise.
They come with a certain amount of free listings included depending on the plan you choose.
As you can see if your a high volume seller eBay is a better option on a cost basis.
Yo get a lot of free listings with each eBay store option.
The question is are buyers more apt to use eBay or Etsy when purchasing handmade products?
In Etsy’s own words they claim that:
“In a 2018 survey of Etsy.com buyers, 78% of buyers agreed that Etsy offers products they cannot find anywhere else.”
With that being said it appears that Etsy would offer sellers a better experience than listing their products on the eBay marketplace.
Etsy Frequently Asked Questions
These are questions I often see potential sellers asking that are using the marketplace for their online business.
1) Are Etsy Shops Profitable
As with any online business there is no guarantee that your shop or business will be successful.
Doing some research I came to the realization that the majority of Etsy sellers weren’t making a full time income with their shops.
The majority of sellers that were profitable were only bringing in a few hundred dollars per month while a few of the larger volume sellers or sellers with high ticket products were making $1000’s per month.
Its important to monitor your expenses and take into account your time not only running your shop but creating the products that your selling.
2) Why Etsy Shops Fail
Ultimately it takes a lot of volume to make money selling online especially if your products are on the lower price range.
Products such as these can be made in your kitchen part time.
These are businesses that are easy to start which means there will be many entrepreneurs looking to get into these niches.
Even though the profit can be good with these niches the ability to scale them up as well as sell large volumes is really hard.
3) Etsy What Sells Best
If your creative and looking for ideas then check out the different categories.
All you have to do is look through the different products to see which ones have the most reviews.
This will give you an idea of what buyers are looking for.
As for the most popular categories check these out:
Its also important to keep in mind the holidays which offer sellers great opportunities to create niche products during these months of the year.
Typically the holidays such as Mothers Day, Fathers Day and Christmas bring out buyers.
These holidays can be profitable times for any seller with an Etsy Shop.
Products specifically designed with holiday themes can increase profit as well as volume of sales.
So make sure to have a holiday marketing plan.
Selling On Etsy – Tips For Being Successful
When looking at what this marketplace offered and who the sellers were having success there were some things that stood out.
1) Product selection
When you look at sellers that are actually making a living using Etsy they were selling handmade products that were not only unique but were high ticket.
Take Erin from Urban Woods Good with her line of reclaimed furniture.
She has hundreds of listings in her shop with retail price ranges from $595 to over $3,000.
Her first year of sales came in at $35,000 and a year later she had over $600,000.
So before you look to start selling on Etsy make sure to consider the time it will take to manufacture your product and what the profit will be.
Make sure they are unique and there is a large enough profit after all expenses and your time to justify running a shop.
2) Use Social Media As A Traffic Source
Although I am not a fan of social media myself I do believe that it can offer a good source of targeted traffic for your Etsy Shop.
Best of all most are still free which is even better.
The following social media channels would work best for the types of products being sold on the Etsy Marketplace.
It would be best to choose one the of the social media platforms and concentrate on building it up to support your shop.
Facebook for instance is great for creating a community using groups.
While Instagram is good for promoting your brand.
Its also possible to scale up your business using paid advertising on any of these platforms as well.
3) Run It As A Business Instead Of A Hobby
Often times when people look to start selling online they don’t take it seriously.
Meaning that they don’t research their competitors to see what they do.
- Will your products be competitive with other sellers?
- Are your products unique enough to stand out from the others?
- Have you come up with a marketing plan?
- Do you know who your target audience is?
These are just some of the important questions to be asking.
I thought that when I started my first online business visitors would find my website and want to buy from me.
Unfortunately I was wrong.
I didn’t stand out from the crowd and the products that I was selling were just commodities meaning I had to compete on price to get a sale.
I hadn’t done the proper research before jumping in.
So know your costs and what you need to make in profit to make this opportunity worth while.
Plan on spending a certain amount of day dedicated to getting your business off the ground and running smoothly.
4) Build An Email List
You have done everything right when it came to choosing unique products to sell and your social media marketing is helping to drive traffic to your shop.
The hours that you have spent is starting to pay off.
Its time to build a loyal following by building an email list.
It doesn’t make much sense to spend time and money marketing in order to get traffic to your shop without having a way to make contact with them again in the future.
With all the competition on the web most people won’t remember where they have been or where to find products that they were interested in.
So capturing leads and marketing to them by way of email can help you build a long term business by staying in front of people looking for specific types of handmade products.
Plus the cost is relatively inexpensive as well.
There are email services that start as low as $10 per month depending on the plan that you choose.
Pros and Cons Of Selling On Etsy
Of course starting a store and selling your handmade items is not a simple as it may seem.
There are some good and bad when it comes to setting up an Etsy Shop so let’s take a look at what you should be considering.
Pros ( the good stuff )
- Dedicated marketplace for handmade goods
- Listing fees are reasonable
- Offer their own credit card processing for those needing it
- Discounted shipping through Etsy
- Community for help
Cons ( not so good stuff )
- Lots of competition in the same place
- No way to customize your shop
- Can’t rely on the marketplace for your traffic and visitors
- Search results can be hit or miss
- You don’t own your store your just a renter
The Etsy marketplace gives sellers of handmade goods a great place start and see what others are offering in their niche.
In order to have success as a seller its important to have the right products with enough profit.
Just listing items on Etsy won’t be enough to create a full time business or income either.
Using outside sources of traffic such as social media and building an email list are just some of the ways to grow your shop.
Ultimately if you plan on growing your business into something that will support you financially I suggest building your own website as well.
This will give you more control allowing for a custom experience for your visitors.
There are many different website themes to use and by starting a blog you can also get ranked in the search engines better than your Etsy store will.
Plus you could expand your products into other categories that may not be allowed on Etsy.
Feel free to leave a comment below with your opinion or experience selling on Etsy!