A Day of Etsy-fying

Today was a full day.  All about Etsy.
I dove into setting up my Etsy shop today, and was reminded how little I know about working retail…
First, I have to say that Etsy is a lot bigger than I thought.  It seems like an intimate little place, but there are thousands and thousands of vendors on there.  A little bit of searching using their engine, and you realize that Etsy ain’t so small…  There are people on there that use it for their main source of income, just like Ebay.  (I suppose I’ll need to investigate that as well, but one storefront at a time…ugh…)
It’s one thing to go on quickly and establish an account, and post something to sell.  It’s quite another to think it all through and try to do it right…  I realized right away that my photos aren’t going to work.  That’s okay–I figured they wouldn’t.  I have some plans for that.  Getting live models and a photographer is high on my priority list, but in lieu of doing that today I decided to take care of the rest of my profile.
Good grief there’s a lot to say!  Not only did I need a profile, but I also had to think about shipping, returns, payment… I had to establish a Paypal account right off the bat so I could even begin to list anything.  That was part of the process.  In the process, I learned that Paypal allows users to use their credit cards and such even if they don’t have an account with them, which was fantastically convenient!  I don’t have to track down a shopping cart mechanism until I start on my own sight.  Right now, that’s not a wise idea unless I have the money to promote it, and that’s not going to happen right away.  Best to ride “piggy back” on venues that are set up to do it for me just yet.
After getting the monetary issues squared away, I had to figure out shipping.  This was a real conundrum–I had to research box sizes, figure out how much my garments weigh, and then research shipping services.  The bulk of the shops that I saw on Etsy used the US Postal Service, and their flat rate boxes.  Well, I couldn’t–the majority of my coats are not going to fit into those boxes, so it’s not going to work…  So I had to come up with different options.  Rather than figure out what the shipping was going to be for every zone, for every garment, I decided to simply include shipping in the price of the garment.  That simplifies things a great deal.  Of course, it’ll probably be a headache later on, but for right now it’ll work.
So I spent part of my day on the road purchasing a mailing scale and visiting a box supplier, and then wrapped it up with a quick trip to Michael’s Crafts…  I have heard that part of the charm of buying handmade is the anti-corporation feeling, so packing the garments in a manner that is unique, fun, and ultimately charming can make a big difference with customer loyalty.  So I bought some hemp and twine at Michael’s and experimented part of the day with wrapping the pieces with old fashioned craft paper and string, then inserting that into the final shipping box.  It looks authentically endearing and simple, I think, but it needs some more antiquing and personalization.  So I’m gonna consider some stamps, some personal hand-written notes, and some heartfelt creativity to wrap it all together.  I’m as excited about the potential fun in shipping stuff off as I am about actually making the garments!
So that’s what I did today.  That, and more research on the community that is Etsy.  We’ll see if I fit in…
Live life with Relish!

Today was a full day.  All about Etsy.

I dove into setting up my Etsy shop today, and was reminded how little I know about working retail…

First, I have to say that Etsy is a lot bigger than I thought.  It seems like an intimate little place, but there are thousands and thousands of vendors on there.  A little bit of searching using their engine, and you realize that Etsy ain’t so small…  There are people on there that use it for their main source of income, just like Ebay.  (I suppose I’ll need to investigate that as well, but one storefront at a time…ugh…)

It’s one thing to go on quickly and establish an account, and post something to sell.  It’s quite another to think it all through and try to do it right…  I realized right away that my photos aren’t going to work.  That’s okay–I figured they wouldn’t.  I have some plans for that.  Getting live models and a photographer is high on my priority list, but in lieu of doing that today I decided to take care of the rest of my profile.

Good grief there’s a lot to say!  Not only did I need a profile, but I also had to think about shipping, returns, payment… I had to establish a Paypal account right off the bat so I could even begin to list anything.  That was part of the process.  In the process, I learned that Paypal allows users to use their credit cards and such even if they don’t have an account with them, which was fantastically convenient!  I don’t have to track down a shopping cart mechanism until I start on my own sight.  Right now, that’s not a wise idea unless I have the money to promote it, and that’s not going to happen right away.  Best to ride “piggy back” on venues that are set up to do it for me just yet.

After getting the monetary issues squared away, I had to figure out shipping.  This was a real conundrum–I had to research box sizes, figure out how much my garments weigh, and then research shipping services.  The bulk of the shops that I saw on Etsy used the US Postal Service, and their flat rate boxes.  Well, I couldn’t–the majority of my coats are not going to fit into those boxes, so it’s not going to work…  So I had to come up with different options.  Rather than figure out what the shipping was going to be for every zone, for every garment, I decided to simply include shipping in the price of the garment.  That simplifies things a great deal.  Of course, it’ll probably be a headache later on, but for right now it’ll work.

So I spent part of my day on the road purchasing a mailing scale and visiting a box supplier, and then wrapped it up with a quick trip to Michael’s Crafts…  I have heard that part of the charm of buying handmade is the anti-corporation feeling, so packing the garments in a manner that is unique, fun, and ultimately charming can make a big difference with customer loyalty.  So I bought some hemp and twine at Michael’s and experimented part of the day with wrapping the pieces with old fashioned craft paper and string, then inserting that into the final shipping box.  It looks authentically endearing and simple, I think, but it needs some more antiquing and personalization.  So I’m gonna consider some stamps, some personal hand-written notes, and some heartfelt creativity to wrap it all together.  I’m as excited about the potential fun in shipping stuff off as I am about actually making the garments!

So that’s what I did today.  That, and more research on the community that is Etsy.  We’ll see if I fit in…

Live life with Relish!

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2 Comments

  1. August 15, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Good Luck with the paypal! Yeah, the shipping is always a headache, I use the same for my site, and the wreaths do not fit in the flat rate box either, so I go back and forth with my shipping, sometimes, its included in the price, and other times they are added in percentages on Paypal. Being that my store is pretty much solely on the internet, I depend on Paypal an awful lot. I tried Etsy for awhile, and then, I got out of it cause I discovered Yola.com. Its super easy, and free to make your own website instead of paying to display your products on ETSY- then, I just simply added my paypal buttons to my site… they even let you have a dot. com name for 20 buck! I have been a member since January, and have just gotten into designing sites for other people as well. It just seems to be an easier way. Paypal is amazing for business! When you get a chance, surf around on there.. you’ll see there is free stuff available for you and your business that will keep tax info for you, your inventory, and they even add traffic for you, which always helps. Once you get your site up and going, go to Linkreferral.com- I use it, and it helps me to get targeted hits from all over… if your not using it already- its low maintenence, and the work you put in is just some simple reviews, they go by a ranking process, and then other people review you as well to give you a sense of how current your keeping your site- Anyhow, Like I said, Great Luck to you!! Stop my blog and site sometime… we will share tips as we go along!! Great and interesting bloggin by the way!

    • relishedartistry said,

      August 24, 2009 at 3:33 am

      Wreath, thanks SO MUCH for the advice! I appreciate it! Sorry, I didn’t reply quickly–somehow your post ended up in my spam folder… hmm… But I’m going to go look at all the sights you suggested and explore! I will certainly head to your blog, too! This is all new to me, so advice like yours is always very very helpful!


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