My shop check up (Has Etsy had it’s day?)

I saw a comment recently that mentioned how little they were selling on Etsy at the moment. They said they had spent over £100 listing things with little sales and wondered if it was worth continuing. I responded with a quick agreement, but then started thinking, my crochet patterns sell ok, but then they’re on Ravelry. Looking at my other items and patterns I notice sales are low to non-existent.

When choosing the website to sell products how do you go about it?

I found Etsy through another Etsy seller, a friend who also struggles to sell her stunning pieces of jewellery. I also tried Folksy, but didn’t try too hard since I believed Folksy targeted the UK market and Etsy (targeting worldwide) would give me a wider customer base. I forgot the basic rule… Become a shopper.

Years ago, I worked as a waitress, many moons ago! I remember the manager giving me a special task, come to the restaurant as a customer, not as staff. Together we walked through the doors, the menu we’d had for ages, suddenly seemed old, decorations hid important information… the list went on.

So I ask again…

When you chose the website to sell your products on how did you find it?

Did you search places to sell, or did you search places to buy?

Instead of choosing your marketplace as a seller, choose as a buyer.

Here’s a little test…

Open 2 internet tabs and go to the number 1 search engine – Google

In the first tab type “selling handmade gifts”, that might be how you chose where to sell (searching as a maker and seller of crafts). My google list puts Etsy at number 4 on the page. I’m in the UK, so it’s probably different for other countries. The three before Etsy are UK market places including Folksy.

Now try again as a shopper. How would you search google if you were a buyer of handmade gifts?

I don’t know about you but I would type “handmade gifts”

Again, this will be UK only, but worth trying in all countries.

Etsy doesn’t appear on the first page. If you change the search to “buy handmade gifts” it comes third, but would you really search like that?

Ask yourself a question as a buyer, would you go past the first page? If not, then UK buyers might not find Etsy (or you!)

That’s how you should be choosing your market place because that’s how your customer finds you.

In defence of Etsy, it’s a mainly US marketplace with the majority of customers from the US. I think it’s a fantastic place to sell your items because it’s widely recognised. I’ve just posted a rattle to the US and very pleased I was to do it. However, as a UK maker and seller it might not cover all my bases. That’s why I think a second shop might be in order.

The top 2 searches are MISI and Folksy. Folksy being identical in format to Etsy, but a stronger emphasis on Handmade, and for UK sellers. MISI (make it sell it) is something I’ve only just come across but looks very similar to Folksy (I think it looks like they used the same site designer as well).

So why a second shop?

Here’s my thinking (again as a buyer) I’m from Yorkshire, a Yorkshire lass and proud of it. I also like handmade gifts. As a shopper – and I think we’re all like this at heart – I buy as local as I can. My tea is Yorkshire tea, definitely NOT Lancashire tea (why do they even sell it in Yorkshire shops?) Yesterday when I bought eggs from the supermarket I bought eggs mainly because of the box style (yep, I’m that shallow) But again, how many of us buy the packaging before the product?

I cut my choices down to the yellow happy egg company and Yorkshire eggs. I bought Yorkshire eggs. Price had little to do with it.

And that’s why I think a second UK shop would be a good option.

If I saw nice things from 2 sellers, one being a UK seller and one being a US seller, I’d choose the UK seller every time. That’s not anti-US, that’s human nature. I would support a UK person before anyone one else because it’s more local. It’s also often cheaper because of postage.

I expect it’s the same in the US, an American, buying American before UK because they are supporting their fellow country folk.

That’s why a second, UK based shop might be a sales booster, and lets face it, I’d pay the small fees for a second shop if it meant bigger sales, wouldn’t you?

It’s always worth looking at yourself from a buyers point of view, how would a buyer find you? Places, websites and magazines that are aimed at sellers may not always give the best advice, but show someone something you’ve made and ask them to find it on the internet. Watch what they type and how they try and find you. If they don’t find you, why?

P.S.  Sorry Etsy if you feel I’m picking on you. (I like you really)



Published by bettyvirago

Betty Virago is an award winning textile designer. Based in Yorkshire, England, and known for her Northern Folk dolls and the Quilts of Hope project.

2 thoughts on “My shop check up (Has Etsy had it’s day?)

  1. Hello from the U.S. I try to avoid Etsy because of the limited time they keep purchased patterns available for download. I only buy patterns from Etsy if I cannot find it on Ravelry. I try to make all my purchases at Ravelry, because once you buy a pattern it stays available for download from your Library forever, and ever. This feature was a lifesaver to me when my computer crashed, and all my patterns were lost. If Etsy allowed permanent downloading of the patterns bought, I would be happy to shop. I’m so glad your patterns are available at Ravelry, and have bought all of your “My Little Crochet Doll” patterns. They are so adorable!

  2. What an informative post, you’ve piqued my interest to think about my shops as a buyer, Mmmmm I may need to change a few things

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