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Selling anything on Etsy?


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#21 nancylee

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 05:20 AM

Yes, there is a huge market on etsy for personalized pottery. They do seem to be the biggest sellers. Having said that, there are a number of top sellers on the etsy mud team who make very nice personalized work. A few of them are so busy, they keep raising their prices and extending their production times (I think it's 5 weeks for them now) to try to slow down their orders, to no avail. Lesson for me: never underestimate the power of narcissism!

Another big seller on etsy is personalized wedding doodads, such as ring dishes and the such, with names and dates. Forme, I would like to have a wedding registry, and make dinnerware and canisters, etc. for new couples, not all the knick knacks. I think there would be great satisfaction in helping a young couple start their lives together with handmade pottery. That's one of my goals when I get better at all of this.
Nancy
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#22 GEP

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 09:46 AM

My online store has become exactly what bciske is contemplating ... a way for people who saw my work at a festival to buy something later. I am using the free version of BigCartel, not Etsy, so I am only allowed to list five items at a time. But it doesn't matter, most online customers will not purchase from those five items, instead they will send a note asking for a specific item, then I will use PayPal to get their payment and shipping info, and send the item out. It has worked out really well, it has lead to some meaty sales that I would otherwise have missed. Such as, someone sees my dinnerware at a show, thinks about it for a few days, then decides to buy placesettings for 4 or 8. It's really more of an extension to my festivals, I doubt it would generate much income if I wasn't doing a lot of shows.

And I agree with Mark that I really don't want to do any more pack+ship orders than I do now. It really is a lot of time and material spent for one order, compared to the volume of a show, where you only have to wrap+bag.

Another worthy benefit of having the online store ... it has given me a graceful response to what I think is The Most Annoying Question that I often hear at festivals. When people ask for my hometown, I provide it, they then ask "Do you have a store there?" I've heard this question so many times, I want to hiss in response "A. if I had a store, why would I have dragged all this pottery out here? And B. how do you like it when total strangers try to invite themselves to YOUR house?" But now I just smile and say "No but I have an online store" while handing them a card. I've also learned that anyone who asks this question is not going to buy any pottery anyways, so there's no need to spend any more time than that. The people who will actually use the online store will show interest in specific pieces of pottery first, before they ever get to the question "can I think about this for a few days and contact you later?"
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#23 Mark C.

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Posted 10 August 2013 - 10:54 PM

Mea

When asked about my store I just say buy it now dot com and I can bag it now as well.

I just say my site is an info site not a click and in the cart site so they think hey we should get some now.

Mark


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#24 GEP

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 10:08 AM

Haha! I'm going to try the "buy it now dot com" response!
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#25 Chris Campbell

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Posted 11 August 2013 - 11:36 AM

I love that answer too ... How can you pass up free shipping and prompt customer service?

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#26 DMCosta

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Posted 05 October 2013 - 08:33 PM

Hi, I have been on ETSY for about a year. I've made about 24 sales and I don't have a ton of items up there. I never had more than about 25 items for sale at one time. In general, I like it. However, you get what you put into it. I "refresh" or "edit" my items on a bi-weekly basis so my listings end up toward the top of the search. I find that is the key for me. About 50% of the items I sell are custom made items. Buyers contact me about something they liked via the site and I custom-make it for them. The kitchy items such as dog bowls, money jars, etc. seem to be the best sellers for me. I have had zero luck in selling any of the more "high end" items. Hope this helps!

 

~Dianna



#27 PotterGrl

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Posted 18 October 2013 - 07:13 AM

So did you decide to do Etsy?

 

I've been making pottery for 3 years now. In the beginning, I was putting pictures of the work I was proud of on my personal Facebook page (timeline) just to show to my family and friends. It didn't take long for all of them to start saying things like "How much do you want for that" and "when are you going to start selling?" and "can you make me......?"  It was a little frustrating because I wasn't ready to sell and certainly wasn't ready to take commissions. Finally, after 2 years I decided to sell. However, I needed a way to do it. I couldn't just put a picture on my FB page and say "this is for sale" and then have 10 people tell me they want it. So to simplify things, I started an Etsy page for the MAIN purpose of selling to my friends and family. So what I do is I put a pic on FB and say "for sale on Etsy right now!" Then it's not up to me to decide who gets it. I also have the set price, there's no "weeelllll, I'd like $20 for it."  Nope. It's on Etsy at this price, take it or leave it. You snooze, you lose. LOL.  I've sold 23 items since March, now it's October, so that's 7 months.  I think only 3 or so are complete strangers. I always tell my friends and family that if they live locally, to talk with me before buying because I will go to the item and put a reserve on it, then take off the shipping cost. Then that person can pay through Etsy, but come pick it up at my house.  I actually like them to pay through Etsy because I think it helps my Etsy Shop to see the number of sales. I just can't stand dealing with money with friends and family. So I MUCH prefer having Etsy to go through, even though Etsy gets their cut.

 

So for my purposes, Etsy is working awesome and doing what I need it to do. I'm always getting Etsy emails that give ideas on how to promote and sell on Etsy, so if my goal is to sell a ton, then there ARE ways to do it. But I'm not a production potter, it's simply my hobby. I don't need a dime from it really.  I also get upset when I'm suddenly stressing out over making pottery. I have a 3 hour show this weekend and that is stressful enough. I don't want the fun to ever leave it. I never want to be forced to my wheel.  I've done commissions and they stress me out (I have 2 in the works right now).  I just prefer to go at my own pace, list items on Etsy and say "here, if you like it, it costs this much" and leave it at that ;o)

 

A side note, don't forget to put your shop in "vacation mode" when you go on vacation or if you have a show and you are taking those same items with you.  I went on vacation for 8 days this summer and I forgot to put my Etsy shop on vacation mode, and my second day there I had a sale!!!! I have a smartphone and get the emails and Etsy notifications ;o)  So I emailed the woman and appologized like crazy that I wouldn't be home for a week to mail her package. Offered to give her money back if it was something she needed right away. She was nice and gracious about it. I put a little something extra (a brown sugar keeper) in her package when I mailed it. That was embarrassing. 

 

I also have a Facebook business page where I post pictures and updates, and there is a free shopping app on that page that directs people to my Etsy page. I'll post pics of thing in progress, finished things, shows I'm going to, etc. I have 94 likes on that page, only 45 are family/friends from my regular FB timeline. I belong to a FB group of crafters for my area that has over 800 members and I post there as well. So the word gets out.



#28 PSC

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 11:16 AM

I have an etsy shop but come january i'm closing it down. Etsy has changed their definition of handmade to include mass manufactured items and it seems dishonest to me to call nonhamdmade items handmade so after my current listings expire i will not be listing anything. I've been there about 5 years weathered many of the changes etsy has made but this change has to do with integrity. Its like a craft show with no true crafts anymore still calling themselfs a craft show.

#29 PotterGrl

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 12:32 PM

I have an etsy shop but come january i'm closing it down. Etsy has changed their definition of handmade to include mass manufactured items and it seems dishonest to me to call nonhamdmade items handmade so after my current listings expire i will not be listing anything. I've been there about 5 years weathered many of the changes etsy has made but this change has to do with integrity. Its like a craft show with no true crafts anymore still calling themselfs a craft show.

I did not know about this change, but I DID notice that whenever I search for handmade items that non-handmade things come up. I use Etsy to help me price my own pottery for shows or to list on Etsy, so it's frustrating that the non-handmade things come up.



#30 karan

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Posted 19 October 2013 - 06:25 PM

I originally set up my Etsy shop as people at my local art fairs would ask to see my website...

 

I wasn't active for about the first year and a half or so... but have had much more activity these past couple of years.

 

It is a little supplemental income... but not huge for me, as it is just nights and weekends to dedicate to my shop.  

 

I think the best thing about it for me, is just the ability to give people my direct shop link... even if I don't sell through Etsy, locals often look, and contact me directly for a sale in person.

 

I still am weighing whether or not I feel all the work is paying off though... I've been looking at it as though I am laying groundwork for the long haul... the question then becomes when is the groundwork being laid finished, and the long haul beginning...

 

:-)  Karan


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Lebanon, Ohio

http://www.etsy.com/...ansPotsAndGlass

#31 DMCosta

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 04:55 PM

Hi, I'm on ETSY. It has it's positives and negatives. If you have simple functional items such as mugs, bowls, pitchers etc., eventually...they'll probably sell. On Etsy, my more high-end sculptural items never sell and never really get the attention. I find that the majority of buyers on Etsy are looking for made to order, "personalized" pottery. I am willing to do a handful of that, but I have my limitations. Aside from the personalized items, I find the sales are generally weak. I typically use my Etsy profits to put forth on craft fair and events so I don't have to take that money out of my regular paycheck. On average, I do about a sale one or two sales a month. Sometimes it can be a good sale. I recently made two custom order dog bowls for $80 a set, plus shipping.

 

Also, I fully agree with what was mentioned before that the items need to be refreshed on a regular basis, that helps generate more sales for sure.

Good Luck!

 

~Dianna 



#32 Bob Coyle

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Posted 06 December 2013 - 08:47 PM

Seems like it is more for well known "craft items". I guess I'll pass for now.



#33 nancylee

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Posted 07 December 2013 - 07:58 AM

Hi,

I didn't sell anything on etsy until I started to offer personalized works: mugs with names, dog bone ornaments with names, dog bowls with names. I have been crazy busy this last month with Christmas orders, I am getting 3 to 4 custom requests a day, which is a lot for me, as I was working full time. Never underestimate the narcissism of your fellow Americans!!! I know one woman on there, she is one of the top sellers, she makes personalized ring holders. She was saying that she brought 3 days of orders to the post office the other day: 180 boxes. You can check out her sales: dgordon. 

 

I know that sales will slow down now, so I am looking for some shows that I can do, where functional pottery does well. I think in any field, we have to be flexible and willing to do what brings home the bacon, even if I can't stand making another name plate to put on a mug!!!

Nancy


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Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#34 Mark Barta

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 01:18 AM

I've recently started actually using my etsy account I set up a year or two ago and have had some luck in the past month.  What people have mentioned previously is very true in that you should list new items at least weekly, research keywords that are unique and descriptive of your work, and that customer service is very important.  I also think that having a lot of options in your store is important, the number that seems to be thrown around is having at least 40 items in your store, I'm still working up to that number.  I currently use there ads program and spend about 5 dollars a week on advertising, so I make sure to factor that "overhead" into my work.  For instance, if I sell 1 piece of work a week, and I spend $5 on advertising, then I add $5 to the "base" price I would sell the work at.  Since there is a lot of pottery on Etsy, I would suggest finding a way to differentiate yourself from everybody else.  Where at an art fair there may be only 5 other potters to compare work to, on Etsy, buyers have literally thousands of pieces of work to choose from.

 

Hope this helps!

-Mark



#35 JustPeachy

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 08:50 AM

Wow, 250 pages of competition. That's a big race!



#36 JBaymore

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 11:52 AM

Wow, 250 pages of competition. That's a big race!

 

Hence the discussions in the business section of "It ain't easy". :)

 

best,

 

..................john


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#37 Kohaku

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 01:30 PM

Hi, I'm on ETSY. It has it's positives and negatives. If you have simple functional items such as mugs, bowls, pitchers etc., eventually...they'll probably sell. On Etsy, my more high-end sculptural items never sell and never really get the attention. I find that the majority of buyers on Etsy are looking for made to order, "personalized" pottery. I am willing to do a handful of that, but I have my limitations. Aside from the personalized items, I find the sales are generally weak. I typically use my Etsy profits to put forth on craft fair and events so I don't have to take that money out of my regular paycheck. On average, I do about a sale one or two sales a month. Sometimes it can be a good sale. I recently made two custom order dog bowls for $80 a set, plus shipping.

 

Also, I fully agree with what was mentioned before that the items need to be refreshed on a regular basis, that helps generate more sales for sure.

Good Luck!

 

~Dianna 

 

I've sold five higher end items (planters, kettles, art plates) on Etsy since I started a little more than a year ago. Average price in the $120 range. Seems a pretty unenviable success rate... but given than I've only had several hundred hits, it suggests to me that them potential is there. I hate the idea of pouring time into Etsy marketing... but I'm considering it...


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#38 Shuli

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:06 PM

You definitely need to "brand" yourself.  Everything about your online "storefront" needs to be cohesive: Your name, banner, fonts, items, photos, photo backdrops, "about" page, marketing...Think about businesses that are extremely successful today.  GAP.  Tiffany & Co.  Starbucks.  Pier One.  When you hear one of those names a jolt of recognition goes through you.  Everything you see/hear/smell/touch/taste in the store makes you think, "Yeah, that belongs there."

 

It also helps if you specialize and target a particular kind of consumer.  When I first opened my Etsy store, I put up all the work I had lying around the house, most of it made at least five years ago (I hope my skills have improved!)  The items that sold the fastest were two sheep soap dishes, so I made twenty-five more (does that qualify me as a production potter?) and poured a plaster mold to make them easier.  I'm going to package them with handmade goat's milk soap because it turns the soap dish into a nice gift, and I'm thinking about taking down my old work and devoting my shop to soap and soap dishes for a while.

 

I read in an article that bath/beauty products and craft supplies are some of the most fast-selling categories on Etsy.  Does anyone know if that's true?



#39 JustPeachy

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:12 PM

I'm glad I have no intentions to sell pottery but just make boat anchors for my friends. I snooped around because the Etsy topic caught my eye. I have an account and I've sold only a few things there. Mostly vintage sewing patterns but never enough to make a living off. red-neck-laughing-smiley-emoticon.gif Hardly seems worth the effort. And I've heard more of the same from people selling handcrafted soap. It's become so saturated and undercutting to just make a sale, that there isn't much profit to make. yellow-smiley-confused-emoticon.gif



#40 Michele Morehouse

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Posted 18 December 2013 - 02:38 PM

How you list your work on Etsy and the taggings are really important. If people can't find you then you won't sell anything. Think of what terms people are going to look for and use them. It seems using "Pottery Art Ceramic" in the title has worked the best for me.  Etsy gives you 140 characters to use in your title so I try to use as much of a rambling title that I can to take advantage of words people might use to search.  For instance for a raku pot I have used something like "Pottery Raku Seashell Art Ceramic Vase Home Decor Vessel Terra Cotta Housewares"  Pay attention to the tag words and use them to your advantage in both title and description.






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