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I am writing in hopes that you can help me solve this problem.  I have been making ceramic beads, pendants and jewelry for some time now.  Recently, I have found that I have so many pieces that I wanted to start selling on a website called Etsy.  It seems like the perfect site for selling my handmade items.  I went ahead and listed the items that I want to sell and although I got some views, it doesn't seem like anyone is interested enough to purchase.  I know it's not because my items are not creative, because..."Hey! I think that they are pretty cool...not to mention....of great quality!"  I am hoping that the members of Beads-of-Clay and all of the followers can give me some pointers on being a successful Etsy seller.  Please Help!!


Sellin' Slow on the Internet

Dear Sellin' Slow,

I think that I can give you a few pointers and I hope that our Beads-of-Clay Members and Followers will leave some helpful advice as well. One important tip is to make sure that your pictures are of high quality. That doesn't mean that you have to go out and buy an expensive camera, but you have to find the right lighting, the best focus and be aware of what seems to get the most views from the buyers.   I've included some pictures from clay artists who had pictures that caught my eye.

Also, list regularly. Rather that list 14 items at once, list a couple a day to keep your shop supplied with new items. If you don't always have enough to list as new, you can also renew items to get them back on the first couple of pages in a buyer's search.

Lastly, I think that pricing is very important. Check out what others are pricing similiar items for. Pricing too low can be just as bad as pricing too high. You don't want your items to be priced out of the range of the average buyer, but you really should consider not giving away your effort, time and materials either. It might seem like a good idea, but it ultimately can hurt those who are making a living from their handmade artisan work.

One more thing Sellin' Slow,  I will ask that our BOC members and any follower who would like to share to  leave tips for you too.

The more advice, the better! 

If you are an Etsy buyer and not a seller, please help Sellin' Slow know what it is that attracts you to buying on Etsy!

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  1. Thanks for these tips. I just opened an Etsy site, but haven't listed anything yet (now that things are calmer for me I will do that). These tips are great for anyone who sells on Etsy, not just the BOC members. I think that photography is key. Find your style, make sure the lighting is great and show different views. As a buyer I check out all the views of a piece. Also be very convo friendly. I recently had a less than stellar experience with a lampworker. I sent two convos and NEVER received a reply. I finally got the beads, 2 1/2 weeks later and the day before the deadline of the contest that I was hoping to submit a piece for. So I had to stay up until 1am to complete it! I love the beads but I will not be as inclined to order from this seller again.
    Oh, and the sellers I have bought from have been so gracious with extra goodies and smart packaging. I learn from every transaction. So if you want to be a good seller, be a good buyer too.
    I plan to spread the wealth around when I make my sales to support other artists in all fields out there.
    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Enjoy the day!

  2. Great post and suggestions. I found, especially when I first started selling on Etsy, that getting to know Etsy through the forums was a great way to get exposure and learn new tips from other Etsy sellers.

  3. Wow! Those are more great tips. I especially like the tip about being convo friendly. I think that is extremely important.

    Also, the one shop that I have to compare my successful handmade bead shop to is my jewelry shop. Etsy suggested that having two shops it too many and I have to say that I now agree. I had to make a different email and I don't always like to check that email since it's only for the jewelry shop. Also, I do not stay up to date on it at all. I've only had 5sales since last August. I believe it's because I do not stay current. I will probably let that shop close and bring my jewelry back to my bead shop......so...if you read the advice from Etsy, it's probably going to steer you in the right direction! Maybe in the future when I'm not teaching, I will be able to manage both!

  4. I have found on Etsy that it is helpful at first, at least, to put up some Treasuries. That is a good way to meet other sellers and develop a network. Another way to develop a network is to join an Etsy Street Team. I think a lot of selling on Etsy is through networks given that you do what some of these other folks have suggested as well.

  5. Advertise!
    I know that etsy portrays the whole business thing as a grass roots community but that is a Utopian dream not realized in reality.

    Be patient.
    When you sell something, divide up the money; replace supplies, cover overhead, set aside a percentage to advertise with (usually 10%). Most business do not succeed unless they have active, consistent advertising. It takes awhile to build a customer base.

  6. That should read "most businesses do not succeed..."

  7. When you say advertise, where do you do that, in beading mags? I think if I'm going to spend money on advertising, I would direct people to my own web site because I don't have to pay fees there.

  8. Myself, I advertise by doing LOTS of networking, recognizing others shops, blogging, etc. I also have started doing giveaways on my blog which is an expense, but not a huge one! I totally agree that marketing yourself is a MUST. Nike sneakers didn't get where they are by just making a good shoe. I don't do any of this for my jewelry shop and the sales are reflective of that!! Too much for me to do both at this point in my life.....


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