View Full Version : Etsy advice?

Celia Cyanide
09-26-2014, 08:45 AM
I have opened my own Etsy store to sell my decoupage shoes, and some decoupage fake nail sets. I have had the store up since July, and I have sold 3 pairs already.

I was hoping to hear from those of you who might have been doing Etsy for a while. How do you prepare for holiday shopping? How do you pimp your store for the holidays? I am hoping to do more business this Christmas, and I would love to hear from some experienced Etsy sellers. And buyers.

10-02-2014, 06:05 PM
As a buyer, I can give you some advice, just based on things I've noticed when I go Esty browsing.

First, have lots of items in your shop, because if someone is attracted to one thing you're selling, they might very well want to see what else you have. It's like luring a customer off the street with a good window display!

Also, be sure your descriptions are thorough and individual. Don't use the same copy/pasted info for every item.

Make sure the information is accurate, too! I can't count how many times I've seen a description for something totally different than the photo shows. It might say "Bracelet with blue crystals," when the photo is of a pair of red earrings! Very annoying. Also, make sure the title description and the written description match. So many times, I've found a lovely piece of lace or ribbon, but the title says 1/2" and the description says 3/4" . . . so which is it? If it's 1/2", it's small enough for my doll sewing and I'll buy it. Otherwise, no sale!

Provide nice, clear, sharp, BIG photos! If I'm going to buy something without being able to examine it in person, I want to see some good pictures of it. There's nothing worse than clicking on "zoom" only to have the picture pop up the same size as the preview.

One last thing--if you're selling fabric, lace, trims, etc., please provide a sense of scale, so customers can see how large the item is. I sew for dolls, so size is vital. I only buy fabrics with teeny-tiny prints, and very delicate lace. Sometimes it's hard to judge by the picture, since we don't know how big the item is or how closely zoomed-in the camera was. If there's no ruler in the picture, or even just a quarter tossed down to give a sense of size, I'll move on.

Hope this helps!

Celia Cyanide
10-04-2014, 09:38 PM
Yes, thank you so much!!

10-04-2014, 10:40 PM
I, too, come at this only as a frequent Etsy shopper. Accurate and consistent description is very important--like Orianna, if it says A in one place and B in another, I'm unlikely to buy it. I also value high quality pictures with a sense of scale, ideally in use.

For instance, even though the measurements were given, the last earrings I bought there were an unpleasant surprise, as they measured only the dangly part and not the whole with the hook and connector--and they hit the Birthday Girl's shoulders and can't just hang as they should.

What tempts me? Cleverly written copy with a sense of humor which doesn't overshadow the goods being offered. No mistakes in description. ("If she can't spell, how do I know she can measure?") Offers of discounts if I buy multiple items. Offers of coupons for future purchases. A good selection of lots of items and sizes. Sale items. High ratings from previous buyers. Good reviews. Seller's ability to do custom work in a short time. ("I want those shoes, but in a 9.5.") Fast shipping.
Maryn, who needs to do some Etsy shopping soon

Celia Cyanide
10-07-2014, 08:03 AM
Thanks! That is all very helpful, especially:

Seller's ability to do custom work in a short time. ("I want those shoes, but in a 9.5.")

I went through all my shoe listings and explained how easy or difficult it would be to do a custom order in a different size. For example, these:


I bought new, recently, and it would be easy for me to get another in a different size or color in the near future.

These, however:


I got at a thrift store, and they are a fairly unusual style. It would be very difficult to find another exactly like it.



were also bought at a thrift store, but I see that style every time I go shopping, so I could easily get another one in a different size.

10-08-2014, 08:23 AM
I had a crochet store on Etsy for a couple of years. Here are some tips that really helped me.

Make sure you have a FB page that you stay active on

Find forums that have something to do with your store. In my case, I happened to cloth diaper my daughter when my store was active. They had forums there for WAHMs and I advertised my store by selling baby hats, diaper covers, booties, etc.

Participate with and join some of the communities and groups on Etsy itself. You'll find that a lot of those groups will help each other by creating treasuries, advertising, etc. You can find groups that are regional or that are related to the types of things you sell.

The more items you have, the better. It'll help draw people to your shop and it'll help draw a larger variety of people as well.

Either add a new listing or renew a listing at least every few days if not every day. I know it costs, so you'll have to try and balance that with the sales. But it keeps your listings higher in the Etsy queue.

Make sure your tags are accurate. Also, I checked your store and your photos are nice and clear. But a lot of your photos are cut off. Check the dimensions of that first photo that will show on your storefront so that the entire product can be seen. As a photographer, I would try to stick with the same color background for all of your images in the future to help everything look uniform and allow the shoes or nails themselves to stand out without competing with the background. I wouldn't be surprised if that was more of a me thing, though. But I wanted to throw it out there.

Another thing is to watch for holiday threads in the forums. I got a lot of looks and some sales just by participating in them. People would post threads for items that are red, for specialty gifts for women, etc. Post your links there and it helps other Etsy sellers to recognize your shop and may draw in some customers!

Finally, give it some time. I was told that it can take up to six months to really get an Etsy store going. Mine took almost a year.

I hope some of that helps!

10-10-2014, 09:40 AM
I would try to stick with the same color background for all of your images in the future to help everything look uniform and allow the shoes or nails themselves to stand out without competing with the background.

I had a look at your store, Celia, and this was my first thought also.

Congrats on having three sales already!

Celia Cyanide
10-10-2014, 05:21 PM
Thanks for taking a look at my store! The advice is much appreciated. I am new to this whole thing. I basically made a pair of shoes for myself, and people started telling me I should sell them, so I know very little about it. Great to hear the advice in this forum!

10-11-2014, 12:27 AM
Some thoughts from an etsy shopper and also from observing other successful businesses, customizable product is a huge asset. I met a jewelry maker who stamped names onto her work, a simple simple thing, but a huge success. Especially as she pushed the idea of stamping your child's name on them. Your shoes are amazing, can you customize any of them? Could an author say order a pair that had her cover on them? Could a comic book fan get their favourite issue's cover on them? You have Harley Quinn shoes, can people request other characters? That's what I LOVE about etsy, you can get stuff made just right for you.

If you can do that, then what you should next do is have a listing called "Customizable Shoes" or whatever. In that listing you offer suggestions: favourite comic book character, cover of your favourite book, pictures of your kids, your monogram, great for gifts! That kind of thing. (sometimes people need help thinking of what cool ways they could have personalized products) A lot of etsy shops do customisable stuff but don't advertise it. Not every shopper is as obnoxious as me and messages the owner to ask. If you have a listing right there that presents it as an option, people would get pretty excited I think.

Other than that I don't have much to say because I don't know the inner workings of etsy. But yeah. Personalised stuff is a real selling factor!

(love your work, btw, I just favourited you! :) )

Celia Cyanide
10-13-2014, 04:55 PM
That is a great idea. I have seen some listings that are basically for a custom order. I will have to do that. Do you have to put a listing price? Because I can make just about any theme a buyer wants, but it would depend on how elaborate the design was. That would be a great idea to let people know, and give them some ideas about what they could put on the shoes. Some people might like to have their name on it, or their own personal photos.

I can do anything, but Harley is simply the most popular! I just made 5 more pairs of shoes with her, just because the first 2 sold out so fast. I still get people favoriting that listing, even though it's been sold for a while now.

10-15-2014, 06:52 PM
I think if you don't want to put a specific price you can have a range: Price - 35$ - 115$ depending on the order. Or that kind of thing. And I think saying you can make whatever they want, put whatever they want on the shoes is important, but also offer suggestions. Like I said above, not everyone knows what to do with so much freedom of choice. "I can do . . . anything?? Gosh what would I want . . ." So listing some options will not only give people the chance to choose from amongst them, but might also inspire the buyer, "Oh I don't want my own name, but maybe my kids' names would be awesome!" That kind of thing.

Sort of like:

I can customize your shoes with any kind of artwork you'd like! Past customers have requested such things as: monograms, their kids' names, pictures of their pets, other Batman characters (though yup, Harley is still the fav, go Harley!), their own artwork. You name it, I can do it! :)

That kind of thing.

(and I totally get Harley's popularity!)

10-15-2014, 08:01 PM
ALSO you might want to offer suggestions for occasions where people might want to give your shoes as gifts. Like say something like:

Perfect for presents too! Give a pair to celebrate wedding/baby showers, graduations, birthdays, unbirthdays!

10-15-2014, 09:56 PM
Last week I was looking for a handmade scarf as a going away gift. I wanted something to remind the person of where she'd been living - so I was looking for something with local landmarks or similar. I'd checked around local shops and didn't find what I wanted. So I thought of Etsy.

When I went to Etsy I put in specific keywords in the search - I think they were "Oregon scarf" - and then clicked on the "handmade" box.

I had to look through several pages before I found one that was a good fit. And then I clicked on the seller's store and looked at other stuff.

One thing I checked was the location of the item - I needed the scarf quickly so wanted it to be close by. This seller is located just a few hours away so that helped make up my mind. That's not something you can really control, though - just something that may influence potential customers.

I used the "ask a question" button to ask how quickly the scarf could be shipped. Got an email from Etsy saying the message had been sent - and then waited two days until I got a reply from the seller. She apologized and said her parents had been in town and she hadn't been able to check her messages.

That kinda bugged me - I did need the scarf quickly - and her lagging meant it wouldn't arrive in time for the going away party. My husband is self employed and he takes phone calls and checks messages pretty much every day. I realize this may just be a hobby or side business for this seller, but I was still miffed by the delay.

But, I ended up buying 3 scarves from her, not just 1. :)

What did I like about my experience?

attractive storefront
clear photos, more than 1 photo of each item with different angles and closeups for some
good descriptions - what type of fabric, sizing, fabric care, a bit of seller's personality ("I found this design and loved it - wish I had more of it")
many items to choose from
quick shipping once I ordered - didn't arrive when I wanted but the next day, which was ok
scarves well-packaged for shipping
little printed cards that came with each scarf with washing instructions and some other care advice
low shipping cost
seller obviously takes pride in her business

I don't know what algorithms Etsy uses to determine which products turn up on the front pages of the search - for "Oregon scarf" 407 items matched those terms - 10 pages to look through. Which wasn't much to go through. Something with thousands of items matching the terms would have so many pages of results - I'd probably just look through the first 10 or so and hope to find something.

If I were looking for your shoes, what keywords would people use? I'd make sure your descriptions contained those. And perhaps you can find a way to make sure your items turn up early in the search (don't know how that works with Etsy).

I did notice that if I searched for "Celia Cyanide Shoes" as 3 separate words your shop doesn't turn up. It has to be entered as "CeliaCyanideShoes" (1 word) to appear. As a buyer, I might not think of that.

Your store is attractive. Your descriptions seem honest - you mention bits of wear from the thrift store shoes. I would add the heel height in inches for each shoe - I don't wear heels much, so what's "low" to you might be more than I'd expect.

Good luck with your Etsy venture!

Celia Cyanide
10-17-2014, 06:24 PM
Thanks to everyone who has replied so far. Everyone has given really good feedback, and mentioned things that I never would have thought of.

Celia Cyanide
10-17-2014, 06:28 PM
I would add the heel height in inches for each shoe - I don't wear heels much, so what's "low" to you might be more than I'd expect.

That is a great idea. I wear heels a LOT, so kitten heels feel normal to me, but they wouldn't for someone who wasn't used to it. I can also measure the width of the platform, and how much higher the heel is. Some people don't realize that the heel can look huge, but with the platform, the heel isn't elevated that much higher. They are easier to wear that someone might think if they don't wear heels.