truebluemeandyou: EDIT: My answer is about paying for a featured spot on Etsy and my friends’ personal experience doing so.I opened an etsy shop a few weeks ago and haven’t had any luck selling anything yet, even though I’ve posted a link to my shop a few times on facebook and tumblr for my friends and followers to check it out, so I was wondering if it would even be worth the money to try promoting my items. I don’t like the idea of spending money if there’s a chance I won’t earn it back, or if I know I’ll just earn exactly the amount that I spent. Any suggestions?
My answer is based on the experience of my friends. You may want to try it but here is their experience doing exactly what you are thinking of doing. It’s really hard to sell on Etsy - I know because I have good friends who are selling beautiful bracelets at Hannah’s Accessories. They have beautiful photographs, a great product and their bracelets are priced right (below retail for the quality of beads they are using). They paid to feature their bracelets on Etsy - meaning that item comes up first when searching certain key words on Etsy (and you pay Etsy based on how many people click on the featured item).
Lots of people talk up how well they are doing on Etsy and then you go and see the actual sales’ numbers and you find they’ve made four sales.
I preferred selling to small stores/boutiques. See my post on where to sell here: truebluemeandyou.tumblr.com/post/44688145826/reader-question-getting-started-selling-crafts
You may be better off at fairs and at small gift boutiques,
Any suggestions or opinions from readers on or off Etsy?
chasingperception answered: My etsy shop pals make more $$ from custom orders people send in after seeing their products in the etsy store than actual etsy sales.
ettudebbie answered: it’s funny that you (op) think money’s just going to fall in your lap because you’ve opened your etsy shop and posted a few links on facebook.
i can tell you from experience family and friends, although they wish you well and hope for your success, are not really going to buy your products—especially if they feel entitled to deep discounts.
you have to spend money to make money, so pay for the promotion. give a few freebies to popular youtube reviewers to give their honest opinion on and offer their subscribers a percentage off of their first order.
or better yet, check out the library for info on how to run a business. or use google. there are a ton of forums and marketing blogs out there with info.
no one is just going to give you their money, no matter how nice your products are. you gotta advertise, and tell them WHY you “should shut up and take their money”
truebluemeandyou: I agree with ettudebbie about the family and friends part. BUT I think Etsy is ALOT like Tumblr where it is often very hard to stand out from the crowd. And yes, there are a lot of sites like everythingetsy and Etsy itself with tips on selling. Another note: I want everyone to feel safe asking questions about anything DIY related on my blog and to expect respectful and constructive answers.
sznnh answered: soooo you post the one response that could hurt someones feelings?
Truebluemeandyou: I post ALL answers unless they are really offensive (and I haven’t run across that yet). I don’t pick and choose. This person also reblogged my post and the comment is out there whether I posted it or not. There were some really good points made in that response - although I would have put things differently.
snooxeisen answered: those safety pin bracelets aren’t really a unique item. the beads might be fancy expensive ones, but I have one I made like four years ago…
truebluemeandyou: the bracelets are not unique - I also made them years ago. But it wasn’t a coincidence that after my friends paid to feature their bracelets, within two weeks there were hundreds rather than twenty sites (or so) listing them (but none with spacer beads). My point (and maybe I wasn’t clear) is that paying to be “featured” on Etsy did not drive sales for my friends. Instead they paid for hundreds if not thousands of clicks from a Romanian FB site. I hope I made clear that I was answering the question of whether to feature an item based on my friends’ experience on Etsy :)
@sznnh & @barfingunicorn: I apologize if my response seemed harsh. The simple fact is that running a business is not easy, and just thinking that posting links or telling your friends will drive up your sales significantly (or even at all) is really naive. Telling someone to begin by reading up on how to actually run a business and interacting with a few marketing websites isn’t to hurt your feelings. It’s like, how are you gonna learn to grow your business, without taking the most basic steps? Google is available to everyone for everything under the sun. And IMO and experience, the adage is very true: You have to spend money to make money. You don’t necessarily have to drop a mint or buy etsy promotion (like @truebluemeandyou pointed out, it could be a waste of time/money) but you should invest in some kind of promotion for you product. Even if it’s not “unique,” if there is a market for it, you can stand to invest in your own product. If you’re not willing to spend money on your own product, why should the consumer?
Even if you prefer to go the word of mouth route, you can go about creating incentives by doing give-aways, “grand opening sales” and other things to attract your customers. You’ve got to get creative, and not just in the jewelry making dept.
IDK if you’ve ever worked retail or for commission, but there’s a certain hype that has to be made in order for people to want to buy something. Either it’s a personal connection or a social one. Figure what the niche is for your product and go with it.
truebluemeandyou: I thought you made some really good points. I have found family and friends EXPECT free items and will not buy from you. It’s just on my site people seem very touchy about how things are worded. Thank you for your comment and very sound advice!