Sunday, June 2, 2013

Etsy

I'm a fan, honestly.
Etsy logo.  Etsy.com
Yes, I know that Etsy gets lots of flack.  That being featured on the cover page of the website is a matter of politics rather than professionalism or product fineness.  And, yes.  I am annoyed by the proliferation of mass-produced crap that shows up falsely labeled as handmade.

But Etsy allows me to reach an audience that once, I only dreamed of.

Through my Etsy shop, I've made sales all over the United States.  I've made sales in the Netherlands, France, Sweden and Spain.  These are sales that never would have happened by doing local art shows.  Even national shows.  Best of all, I have customers that feel like friends, who I've gotten to know.  Who encourage me to keep working on new designs.  Who prompt me to explore.

I've also purchased hundreds of items through Etsy.  Glorious, fabulous, funky, beautiful components for use in my jewelry designs.  Most of my supply shopping happens through Etsy.  I spend 10-15 hours every month looking for new supplies.  If I get a design idea, Etsy is my go-to source for components.  Yes, I do shop at my local bead store from time to time.  But, frankly, Etsy is my best resource for keeping my jewelry prices low (so that my jewelry is accessible to customers).

The pricing for an Etsy shop is very reasonable, in my opinion.  I also think that .has done an excellent job of making the selling of products easy to manage.  As I go along in my Etsy business, I learn more and more about getting my products seen.  For instance, it helps tremendously to re-new a few necklaces/cabs once or twice a week.  The cost is minimal and most of the time, results in a sale.  At Christmas, it helps to do more advertising in late November.  In December, Etsy is flooded with product, making it harder to be seen.  (Frankly, this past holiday season was so over-merchandised that it was not worth the extra cost of advertising in a sea of advertising.)  

Having 100+ items in my shop makes the difference in shop views.  So does tagging.  Since I've been much more focused on using keywords to describe the overall beadwork I do, my jewelry is seen more often.  Now, instead of describing the specific features of one necklace, I use general keywords for each listing: bead embroidery, beaded embroidery, bead necklace, bead jewelry, one of a kind, etc.  This has resulted in more sales.

Listing my art glass cabochon components along with my jewelry has also helped sales.  It expands my customer base from people looking for finished jewelry to people looking for supplies for their own art creations.  In the next few weeks, I'll be adding pearl necklaces to my Etsy shop.  This should give me yet another jewelry line to draw from.  And, as I learned and implement SEO methods, I expect even more traffic.  (I'll do a post on this, when I get SEO's figured out.)

Most of all, I appreciate Etsy because it's easy to navigate.  Other art venues aren't as easy to explore.  Since purchases are often impulse buys, I want my customers to have easy access to my shop.  The easier, the better.



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