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Some queries about Etsy


#1

I have some questions about Etsy and how to make a successful store selling jewellery. I will be selling predominantly rings, including mostly simply bands and a few pendants and cuttlebone cast pieces. I am wondering a few things about Etsy.

Is there much of a market for gold on Etsy? Can I expect to sell mostly gold on Etsy as gold is much nicer to work with and the profit margins are much higher. Of course I also plan on selling gold attached to silver but that isn’t really the same thing as solid gold which should be the end material goal of any smith, except maybe platinum.

How long does it take to make a first sale on etsy? How long does it take to get a relatively solid flow of sales. Maybe one sale every 2-4 weeks?

How long should I allow for shipping? Most stores seem to take around 2-4 weeks to get to the customers door.

How shall I market my work? I don’t really use social media (being young, odd for my age, I know) and so I can’t really market there. Do I need to market?

Thank you for answering my queries,

ArgentumMoon


#2

I won’t address your other questions but if you aren’t able to actively promote your Etsy shop in some manner, it is unlikely that you will have any success.

Instagram is easy - post photos of new work, process, your pet, your end-of-day glass of wine, etc – but it does take time to gain a following and only a small portion of those followers will become customers.

If you do retail sales in any venue then a business card with your Etsy shop url can bring in some customers.

An email flyer to your customer base and other subscribers to promote new products - and with a link to your Etsy shop - can help.

But the bottom line is that Etsy is glutted with jewelry and to be seen and get customers takes a lot of promotion.

Be aware that it seems that Etsy is really pushing for shop owners to offer free shipping. I recently read that they are promoting shops that already offer it by having them come up in the top of customer search results.

Since you don’t want to get engaged in social media yourself, can you hire someone to do that for you?

Best of luck
Sasha Crow


#3

AM,

Your sales will be based on the appeal of your designs and pricing. I do a range of metals - 14 & 18kt YG, 14kt GF, 925, vermeil and bronze. I use some precious and semi precious stones.

Are your designs unique or are they similar to other shops product? I specialize in what I like to create and am always adding new designs to my shop. My work is mostly lost wax casting with hand carved waxes and some cast from life, but I do other types as well. I like to do cast In place gemstones, some hand setting. In my experience, nothing is predictable. I get multiple orders on specially flower earrings - mostly for weddings. If people see a ring they like, very often ends up being a custom order in another size and gemstone. I have two custom rings currently, both in Europe, one a repeat client. In the last couple of years, I have gotten more custom work than regular shop purchases. " I like those earrings, but can you create a custom necklace to go with it…?" " can you make those flowers in cuff links?"

My nice gold pieces sell, but that’s every couple of months. Pendants need chains or something to go on. I provide nice gold fill chains as a service.

If it’s easy for someone else to make the same design look out close to it, that’s a tough market to exploit. Alot of shops sell things CHEAP. I’m guessing that what they are selling is not the precious metal content they claim sometimes.

I have had my online shop for 6 years. It took a while to build up my stock. When you have in excess of 70-80 pieces, business seems to pick up considerably. I sell between 8 & 25 pieces a year… If you count a single client ordering 6 pairs of earrings. About 30% of my clients are overseas - mostly Europe & Australia. About 40% of my clients are men.

I regularly do research and compare my work to other shops pieces when I do my pricing. If I can squeeze a bit more out, I give it a shot. Most of my gold pieces (pendants) that sell are under $250 retail. I can get nearly half that or more for sterling. So gold is not necessarily a niche to chase. I mark my metal up about 4-5×. Looking at work on eBay and etsy, some shops mark up 8×+. That has not worked for me.

Social media depends on your own interests. I know that it has done linkage- but I have not seen the stats that directly prove of. I haven’t had too many direct clicks. I do however have more traffic that goes to my shop, without search terms. I’m guessing it’s a help. Personally, I’m primarily an Instagram junkie - and did lots of images that share my design process from start to finish. Videos seem to help over just still shots. I do some Pinterest as well.

All in all, do your most to differentiate your designs and fabricating talents to make your work stand alone if you can. Personally, I would rather sell fewer nice pieces for a little more, than a bunch of junk. Thank goodness that I have good, regular clients outside of my online shop.

I do charge for shipping - primarily USPS priority mail which too a degree is a hindrance to more sales. However, stuff disappears in shipping too often. Average sale is about $170. Best sale was 2k for custom gold earrings.

I have to laugh, things that I imagined would move quickly, sometimes never sell. Things I imagine will become stale, they sell for a high price and don’t become stale at all. The value of Etsy has been some money, a better sense of a larger market and creating pieces that will live on for a couple of generations. What I imagined my market to be when I started out in jewelry, does not exist as I envisioned it. Both my work and clientele have evolved. I can imagine that you will have a similar experience over time.

Eileen


#4

I mostly buy on Etsy, but to stand out you need to have a distinct style and eye catching pieces. I’ve purchased sterling, gold and brass jewelry on Etsy based strictly on the design and construction. It doesn’t have to be complicated.


#5

I cast bronze. Desktop sculptures, mostly. Small novelty items will sell, but I don’t see people spending a lot of money on Etsy to buy my cast sculptures and art. In my opinion people will risk a few hundred dollars sight unseen, but they will not risk a few thousand dollars.

Frankly, I am thinking of shutting my Etsy shop down after 4 years. It’s not performing now that I raised my sculpture prices to gallery levels and I no longer sell novelties.

My Etsy fees are 8.5% on every sale which is very high. Transaction fees, payment fees, currency fees, and so on. Etsy also charges hosting fees for each item, so if you have 100 items on Etsy you can get far better rates with your own website. On the other hand, getting your website noticed among the millions and millions is next to impossible without advertising.

Etsy will not provide a significant return for the small craft person who does not have an extensive following. Those who succeed are companies like Etsy, Google, Microsoft, and all those who market services to many thousands of people.

But, if you don’t try, how else do you get your product in front of customers?


#6

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it sounds like you put your novelties on Etsy and some of them sold without much marketing effort. But now you are serving a different market, and you will need to work harder to find these folks, because you don’t think they are browsing on Etsy.

Social media is one way to help you learn about your target market. Another similar way is to put your work on display in a non-sales venue …a place where the folks in your target market would go, where they will see your work, love it and then try to find you because it’s a place where all they can learn is your name …there are no price tags.

This will require much thought, effort and time, none of which is free. But it can help you define the type of folks who love your work enough to buy it. You will be learning about your target market until the day you stop selling. It never ends, because as Eileen mentioned, you will be surprised to discover your target market will not be the people you expected. You need to constantly refine your definition of your target market, because it will help you decide where to invest your marketing efforts and time; otherwise, you will be all over the place, marketing to folks who are not interested and you will not accomplish your goal.

When asked about how he became successful in an overly competitive market, a screenwriter said: “You’ve always got to hawk your work”.

The verb “to hawk” means selling aggressively, but that screenwriter defined it as: “to always have selling your work in the front of your mind, always be prepared for any opportunity to talk about it and to show it”.

It’s most important for you and your work to be ready and in the right place in order to take advantage of every opportunity to make your target market aware of your work. Find out what your target market does for a living, what they like, what they eat, what they wear, where they go everyday, what they do for fun, where they go on vacation, what kind of problems do they have, what do they think about, etc…

Ask questions of everyone who buys your work, in order to learn more about them and to help you define what your customers have in common …that is how you target other folks like them and not waste your time targeting folks who are not likely to buy your work.


#7

Hi, I create jewelry as my hobby and a small side busisiness. I do a few local shows a year annd I have had a shop on etsy since 2015. I had my first sale on etsy relatively quickly and they trickled in the first year. Then I was at about a sale a month and now I am at multiple sales per month. I have sold jewelry all over the world and would not have been able to do that without etsy. For me, that is just right as I can’t keep up with much more than a few sales a month.

What you need to do to succeed is read all of the information that etsy provides and take all of their advice on how to move up in the search. That should be your main goal. If you are 50 pages down in a search, you probably are not going to get seen. I don’t invest in any of their paid services like advertising or whatever else they offer. I have just a standard shop and I feel I have been successful with it. Good luck to you!