Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
rayaldridge

Members With Etsy Stores?

Recommended Posts

rayaldridge    276

I recently set up an Etsy storefront, and I really would like to visit the etsy sites of other forum members, just to see how they have handled it.  I imagine it wouldn't be kosher to post URLs here, but I would be grateful if anyone wanted to message me with their etsy info, so I could take a peek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LeeU    330

Paul--I notice that your store and most others that I have seen-including non-ceramic items--list each item as being the only one available. Do you just constantly add new single items, or do you actually have several/many in the same shape/glaze and just update the photo in that "slot" to fill additional orders that way? Another question....overall, would you say it is worth the "hassle" of the whole initial set-up? I read mixed reviews on the return for time/labor investment, yet it seems this "store" approach is a good one for online sales (vs. selling via the single artist web site.) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    865

I have a friend who makes his entire living off selling jewelry on etsy. Makes 6 figures from home. Took him over 3 years of hard work to get there, but the main thing he said is that you need to list items. The more items you list the better off you are. Then as you start selling you will know what to make more of and what to make less of. Keep adapting and modifying pricing until you get the sweet spot where you get the amount of work your comfortable with. He didn't start hitting a lot of sales until he had over 200 items in his shop. Now he sales 30-40 pieces a day. Of course he makes jewelry with a machine that does 95% of the work, and the hand made part is his designs that he came up with. Etsy has changed its policies a lot lately on these things. The stock prices have been falling quickly because of the market place becoming machine made things that resemble hand made.

 

He said the main thing you need to do is streamline the process for the things your going to be listing. So find shapes that fit into the same size boxes, find out how much it cost to ship those boxes and start only with those shapes so that the shipping stuff doesn't become the kink in your operation. After you get that down you can expand onto other shapes, but it is expensive in the beginning to stock different sized boxes and things for different shaped objects. He also said make sure your packaging is nice. It is nice to open a nice box into a nice thing. Will make people happier.

 

His recommendation to me was to make anything that would fit into a box that would hold a single 16oz mug. So small bowls, small vases, spoon rest, sponge holders or anything else that would fit into that size box. Then once you have the materials and are selling those products to add another size box and all the things that go with it. His advice was the move into a box that would hold 4 mug boxes, so you could ship sets of 4 and what ever would go into that box. Big mixing bowls, platters etc etc.

 

Pictures are everything. You need to have a picture that shows the item nicely, another that displays it in its natural environment, one that shows the size compared to objects that it will be around, and one that shows the detail of the piece. Some of this can be done with a single picture depending on the object one is selling.

 

Beyond that he said its just finding out what people want to buy. The best price range is the 25 dollar price range. He said if you can get a product that you can sell for a good profit at 20-25 dollars that will be your best earner, but will require a lot of manual labor for pottery.

 

I have done my own research at the bigger pottery stores on etsy, there are a few who have a lot of sales. 

 

The number one things I have found that sell are: sponge holders, mugs, cereal bowls, spoon rest, bud vases, and yarn bowls. All of those things vary greatly in prices from 10 to 50 dollars depending on the amount of detail in the pot. 

 

Another thing he said was to make sure the first people buying from you are happy. Eventually Etsy will allow them to leave reviews on your shop on the item they purchased, you want those 5 stars. His other thing was 100% satisfaction guarantee. You don't want people giving you anything but 5 stars. No review is better than 4 stars he said. So make sure that if they are unhappy they know they can ship the item back and just lose the shipping cost and you refund their money. He said it was vital to his business. He has like 3K reviews almost all 5 stars.

 

So all in all, it is a lot of work. But until you start getting sales, its just taking pictures and creating a listing, so I guess its not too much work until you start getting sales. If you can stream line your pictures to listing process and have some general templates built that you use for listing products it is pretty simple. I help my mother in law sell dog dresses on etsy. She has made over 7k selling dog dresses in 2 years. But she sells high end 80-90 dollar dog dresses. People are crazy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
PRankin    181

Lee, most of the items are one-of-a-kind. There are a few similarly carved and glazed items but not everything I have is listed. I mostly sell small mug-sized candle holders and a few bud vases/vases that are a little larger. I have only sold two pieces and my prices average about $25. The shipping charges average about $10 added to the cost of the item so I think most people are reluctant to spend that kind of money for pottery that they can't pick up, hold and touch.

 

The initial setup was somewhat time consuming but once its in place it's easy to copy a listing and modify it with new photos and a modified description. I knew I was never going to get rich selling on etsy but its just another outlet and serves as my current website for the time being.

 

Paul

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rayaldridge    276

Thanks, folks.

 

Paul, that's a good idea.  I'll put a link to my etsy shop in my profile.  I'll spend some time tonight looking at the sites.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rayaldridge    276

grype, very good advice, I think.  Some of the pieces I have in the store are pretty expensive, but I plan to add pieces that aren't as costly.

 

It does take a fair amount of time to photograph and edit the pics, but practice is starting to make me a little more efficient.  I try to make myself feel better about the time by thinking how much more time it would take to pack and drag the pieces to shows, which is what I used to do.  I'm not sure I'm tough enough these days to do shows for a living.  Hope it doesn't come to that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris Campbell    1,088

Success on etsy is HARD work ... A different kind of work than hauling to shows but very time consuming.

Note that the successful guy is making almost everything by machine to keep his price points low. It is very discouraging to sell against machine made goods be it pottery or jewelry.

With new listings hitting the site by the second, day and night ... It is hard to be noticed. There are clay groups there who could help you.

Read up on all their hints and tips to give yourself a good chance for success.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark C.    1,807

It does take a fair amount of time to photograph and edit the pics, but practice is starting to make me a little more efficient. I try to make myself feel better about the time by thinking how much more time it would take to pack and drag the pieces to shows

 

all that time with photos and edits per pice how about wholesailing?

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    865

These are the highest sales sites I have found on etsy for things that I would like to make for a living.

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TwistedRiverClay

 

https://www.etsy.com/shop/blueroompottery

 

both have very nice pieces for general public and have worked hard to sell on etsy, if you go back to the beginning of their sales you can see how they slowly catered to what was selling. 

There are a few others with higher sales than these guys, but they sell 1-2 pieces every few days. Which isn't enough to maintain a fancy lifestyle, but added to regular sales I could see it helping.

 

What Chris said is very true. My friend worked very hard and invested a lot of money in machinery and took big risk while working 40 hours a week at another job over 3 years till he was able to live off his Etsy sales, and there is a huge difference between coming up with a design, then a machine making it, compared to us making every single piece. 

 

Etsy will continue to change now that it is public company, and I fear probably for the worse. I wish they had kept it only hand made objects like it was in the beginning, but you can't fault a company for wanting to make more money. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I put a few things on etsy, somebody actually bought one :D Then I got annoyed because I didn't realise you had to keep paying for listings and let them all run out.

 

Going to go back one day once I have regular things I can list once instead of single items I have to keep listing and paying for. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
rayaldridge    276

Mark, wholesaling is the main plan.  But I've been successful before, in pushing a product on the internet, and I find it interesting as a pursuit and a challenge.  I'm one of those weirdos who bought his first computer back in the late 70s, run Linux, and fix the neighbors' machines when they go south.  In other words, a geek.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris Campbell    1,088

If working the Internet is fun for you and your aim is to wholesale to stores and galleries there, you might want to check out ...

www.wholesalecrafts.com

I wholesaled from there for ten years ... but left about seven years ago so I don't know prices or rules etc. I do know they try very hard to keep it "human made" but you would not believe how hard it is to keep it that way. Every craft has its own ideas of where the line is.

There used to be another group wholesale site but cannot remember the name right now. The Guild? Maybe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark C.    1,807

You can do 6 figures without all that shipping via Etsy by a mix of marketing-I know this to be true in my own life of selling pots.It's a lot of work that I will not sugar coat.Making pottery for a living will take a toll on your body-I know this from over 40 years of moving clay around by the ton and I mean lots of tons.

I wholesale a bit and consign a bit(same palces for 30 plus years) and do a bit of shows-direct marketing-shows are the most profit (as Mea Rae has already spelled out in another post)I;m down to 7 this year.

I'm not an etey fan as machine made anything is the norm now and hand made items in walmart do not do well.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris Campbell    1,088

So true Mark ...

 

Hand/Human Made items cannot go toe to toe against imports/buy-sell ... whether in a live show, a shop or the Internet ... We just cannot beat them if we market in the same place to the same people. People who buy by price alone are not our customers.

People who don't care who made it are not our crowd either ... even though they will pay big bucks in mall chains for machine made goods supposedly touched somewhere along the line by a human.

 

I have heard stories about potters ... Friends of friends, someone knows this person etc. ... making a good living on etsy but have yet to meet this elusive person to find out exactly what they consider to be a good living $$$$$. Is it $100 a day before expenses or is it $20?

 

However, I do know lots of potters who are making their living with the hard work mix of retail, wholesale, live sales and teaching. Pick any three and go for it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    865

@ Chris - Etsy shows the sales numbers, and I haven't found a single potter on etsy with a sales record that is anything like what show & whole sale potters sale. It is definitely not a place to only sell work and be done with it, unless your just doing it as a hobby or something. Even the top sellers only sale 1-2 items every few days(i have been corrected and don't want to misinform, see following post). And most of those items are 15-35 dollars. So if your happy with like 200 bucks a week, then I guess if your become a top pottery seller on etsy you could be happy. Don't get me wrong 200 bucks a week adds up to a decent amount per year to supplement other areas, but if you want to make a sole living on pottery, I think you have to do more than just etsy, things like you said. 

 

Just to make some realizations, my friend is constantly having to adjust prices and introduce new items or his sales rapidly decline. He says that as soon as he stops, competitors move in, create same items as his, mark down prices and start getting his sales. So he is constantly creating new pieces. So even though he makes good money, he is still working just as hard as he was when he first started. There is no such thing as easy money. He works Monday - Friday 6AM till 4PM every day, running his machines, boxing and shipping. It's a full time job for him and his wife.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Stephen    139

Would love to pull a few sales online but 6am-4pm every day adjusting machines and shipping does not fit in with my way over romanticized view of full time potting. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    865

I just want to put there here, that in no means was I trying to put down anyone's success. I hope you all make millions. I just meant that I haven't seen anyone selling solely hand built or wheel thrown work for the amount of sales that you are achieving Lorrie. I am not cutting down slip cast ware by any means. Most of us here in this thread are hand builders or wheel throwers, so I just based my research off those figures for Etsy shops.

 

If you know of other potters who are producing wheel thrown or hand built ware that have 25k+ sales that I haven't seen their store I would love to see it. Your figures are fantastic, congrats on your success. I have looked through Craft count before, and the two stores I listed above are in the top 10 for sales, you are achieving nearly 5x the amount of pots they sale per year. That's a very large difference.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LorrieMud    19

No worries Joseph! Thanks so much for your kind words. June and July are traditionally the slowest months on Etsy but the stats are still interesting. For example,  check out dgordon.  She's currently the top 3rd pottery seller- selling mainly handbuilt ringholders.  Many sellers cummulative sales don't reflect what their day to day revenue is.  If you click the blue sales number and sort the results by line instead of grid you can actually see specifics of what each shop sells per day.  Looks like dgordon sells an average of 8- 13 pieces a day at an average of $20.00 each.  Sellers like her also sell larger bulk orders that are not shown in sales history- so she may get large wedding favor orders that do not show up as they are special listings.  Another shop, Say your piece, also sells an average of 8-15 pieces per day handbuilt only, with price per sale averaging around 16. The Etsy shop The brick kiln sells an average of 10 pieces a day handbuilt only  at $70 each.  The shop Miss Pottery sells an average of 4-5 pieces a day, with mugs at $30.00 each.  Clarey Clayworks sells an average of 8 handbuilt only pieces a day currently, at an average price of $49 per handbuilt dish.  Dariellesclayart sells an average of 8 pieces per day at an average price point of $20 each. Claylicious sells an average of 6 wheelthrown or handbuilt pieces a day at an average price point of $30 per piece. I could go on but if anyone is interested in really looking through what potters are making on Etsy and what is elling, just visit craftcount dot com and view top selers by category- if you click on pottery and ceramics it will sho you results for 169 of the busiest ceramic shops on Etsy.

 

I know most of the potters mentioned above- having been on teams and at events with them. Some generalizations I would make are that smaller items at lower price points do sell well and seem to be easier to manage from a shipping standpoint.  Mugs used to be a great category for most potters but Pinterest and the dawn of the DIY sharpie a dollar store mug era have really changed that-- you now see beautiful stoneware pieces placed side by side in search results with commercial mugs that someone has used an oil based sharpie on.  I'm not a fan of that change but the nature of e-commerce is that you must adapt to survive. 

 

The shop that used to be the top shop and that many of us used to aspire to be like when we first started was Palomasnest. They now do the bulk of their business on their own website instead of Etsy but they remain a great example of how the marriage of an aesthetic and an online presence can create trends and change design tastes.  Their small handbuilt dishes are $54.00 each. 

 

I think if you go through the stats shop by shop you'll see that for many many potters who do not do Etsy full time, that the average revenue is likely $150 per day gross.  For most of them, that is just one of several revenue streams that include other online venues and websites and wholesale gigs.  Etsy has a wholesale division that assists sellers who want to reach an audience of buyers.

 

That said, Amazon announced recently that they will be launching a juried handmade only marketplace as an aspect of their site soon.  Many Etsy sellers are applying to be part of that venue as they expect the revenue opportunities to be even greater through that host.

 

I am an introvert with bad knees, so for me-online selling is the perfect way for me to sell large amounts of work without having to schlep a tent or chat with someone about their high school ceramics class (LOL) .  But I have tons of friends who love traveling to shows and really enjoy the interactions with customers who purchase their work--and they get great pleasure from in person, hand on revenue streams like teaching, etc. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Joseph F    865

Lorrie,

 

Thanks for the info, I haven't broken it down in detail as you have. I just skimmed through a few shops that I found with a lot of sales. As I dont sell on Etsy(yet), I don't know the months. I was just doing simple quick maths in my head and ballparking the average shop(given ups and downs), since I assume people adjust prices constantly for slow and hot times.

 

Good to know they are doing so well, something for all of us who are interested in it to strive for. I know I plan to sell on etsy once I develop my glazes a bit more.

 

I have went back and strike through my previous post, so if someone doesn't finish reading they wont be misinformed. Thanks for your information. 

 

It is interesting about Amazon. I am huge fan of Amazon and have been a prime member since its beginning. I haven't seen or heard about the juried handmade market place. What is the name of it?

 

Edit: never mind found it here: http://services.amazon.com/handmade/handmade.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark C.    1,807

I have had a seperate  side slipware business ( for about 10 years  about 10 years ago it stopped when client went to China) in my 40 years of making wheel thrown pottery and it was great for production of the same form but it really is not anything like one of a kind work its more like 10,000 of a kind work. 

I threw a aromatherapy lamps for a customer (major herb products-caller frontier herbs) and made the molds from it and sold many thousands of that form to them. I can say that  in my business of juried art fairs there is no place for slip wares. 

And thats how it should be as slip wares can be made for so much less money so they should not be in the juried art markets.

I have nothing against them as they are just one more process in ceramics but they are by nature easy to mass produce.Thats why they are not allowed at most juried art shows-at least the ones I do.

What I see is the public does not know the difference many times  on how things are made and thats my issue with slip wares.

Also most slip wares are produced at lower temps at do not hold up as well as higher fired wares.

Mark

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
LorrieMud    19

I think that some of your comments (Mark) definitely do apply to my own work and I do not expect to participate in juried art shows with the type of work I sell on a mass scale.  But i do disagree with the statement that slipcast pieces are always easy to produce/ less expensive.  Check out this etsy shop: revisionsdesigns  (if you want to check out any of the etsy shops in this thread just type the shop name no spaces dot etsy dot com) She slipcasts porcelain antique bottles. A set of replicas of vintage pharmacy bottles retails for $189 and i could certainly see those and other pieces in a juried art fair.

 

I think the most awesome thing is when people of the mud are open to learning ANY aspect of ceramics and don't dismiss some techniques as being "too commercial", "easier" or anything that labels them as inferior because they do not meet a personal definition of pottery.  I personally was asked to leave the Pottery/MUD team on Etsy once my shop became successful as they felt I was not "Muddy" enough because I used slipcasting or jiggered techniques (along with handbuilt and wheelthrown.)  This was hurtful-- young chiccas in their 20s who were using cookie cutters and rubber stamps were considered more of a "true potter" than I was.  I liken the discussion to an ongoing one I have observed with jewler friends- who think the jewelry maker who puts a pendant (which may be beautifully made fused glass or metal shopped etc) onto  commercial chain is less than an artist than they are.  All artists who are business people as well can benefit from an analysis of ways to make work more efficiently.  (I wrote that last paragraph not meaning it to refer to anything or anyone in this thread--just sharing experience elsewhere;)

 

Lorrie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×