Thursday, January 17, 2008
What is Etsy (ET-see)?
After attending my family reunion this summer, I found out a few of my family members had Etsy stores. I had one, too, but I had practically abandoned it. Thanks to my family, I have a renewed interest in this easy-to-use online selling website.
Etsy (http://www.etsy.com/) is a place for crafters and artisans to sell their wares. The only stipulation regarding what can be sold on Etsy is that it is either hand-made by the seller or could be classified as supplies for hand making things. It is free to create an Etsy account which includes a relatively stylish online storefront.
It costs 20 cents (a listing fee) to put an item into the store, no matter what it is or for how much it is being sold. If an item sells, an additional 3.5% of the item's selling price is taken as commission. This type of charging appeals to me because it's quite low and it's item based - not a regular monthly charge regardless if I've had any sales or not. If I sell something and make money, then Etsy makes money, too.
Other aspects of Etsy I like are that it works with Paypal, it allows a user to upload her own artwork as a banner for her store, and it allows five generously-sized photos per item to be uploaded. The sense of community I get from the website is also nice. The forums are helpful and busy and there are many other community features I haven't yet explored such as Treasuries, The Storque (Etsy's online 'zine), and chat rooms.
However, there are two major things I wish were improved. First, in order to buy from an Etsy store, the customer has to have an Etsy account. Non-members can browse and add things to their shopping carts, but when they click "Checkout," they are asked to either login or create an Etsy account. I think it would be nice to give people the option to shop as a guest.
Second, the checkout process is clumsy because it requires multiple checkout processes. The first process is to buy the item(s) on Etsy. Then each item has to be paid for seperately. Paypal is the most widely used payment system on Etsy. Using Paypal as an example, if a shopper has bought three items from three different sellers, the shopper then has to send each seller a seperate Paypal payment. I think it would be nice if Etsy could pull one withdrawal from the shopper's Paypal account for the total amount spent in Etsy and then distribute that payment behind the scenes to its sellers.
Even with those two drawbacks considered, they are far outweighed by the ease of use and the gaining popularity. It's a great introduction to selling hand-made goods and materials online.
My Craftwork Etsy store is located at http://craftwork.etsy.com/. I make and sell all sorts of random things. Here are the stores of some of my cousins and my aunt:
Moonrover: http://moonrover.etsy.com/ - here you will usually find out-of-this-world hand-spun yarn, knitted items and other beautiful random items.
Maia's Menagerie: http://maiat.etsy.com/ - Maia's photography prints are the star of this store. She takes pictures all over the world, yet she can also capture the beauty of her own back yard. She also offers cute paper goods.
DAiSY'S & dots: http://daisysanddots.etsy.com/ - This cousin of mine is a scrapbooking genius. She puts her decorative talents to all sorts of paper goods and she also dabbles in jewelry.
MillipedeBead: http://millipedebead.etsy.com/ - The person behind this shop joins jewelry and beads in the most beautiful ways. She also sells woven thread bracelets as a non-profit item for the Seeds of Life foundation.
Bella Rose Design: http://bellarosedesign.etsy.com/ - My aunt runs this shop. She is an accomplished glassworks designer and she's as sweet as a Rose.
[This post was originally written and posted on December 18, 2007 on my old blog.]