I had never even heard of Etsy until I started designing and making things last autumn. A friend of mine who went to Uni in America (and is therefore far more clued up about transatlantic trends than I am!) told me about it when she saw my photos going up on Facebook. For those of you out there who have also not heard of it, Etsy is a website that allows people to set up their own web-based shop, selling either handmade or vintage goodies world wide, from one safe site. You don't need to have your own website or any experience to use Etsy, they make it really straightforward for you (which was a relief for me as a total novice at online selling!)
The 5 things I really really like about Etsy are:
1. Shop Stats
This means you can see how many people have viewed items in your shop over different time periods, what search criteria they've used to find your items, which items they have 'favourited' (sort of like bookmarking them, so they can find them easily again) and where they have originally come from - i.e. the number of people who read this and then click through from the blog to my Etsy shop. All these things really help a shop owner to know which areas to focus on, how best to label their items and what is popular at the moment.
2. The Teams
I'm part of three Etsy teams, all of which give me something slightly different. The Etsy's UK & Ireland Seller Support Team is brilliant for being friendly and helpful when you have a question, an idea you need sounding out or just need some confidence boosting! The other two teams I'm part of Seller Opportunity Tools and UK Felt Obsessors are both fun & useful, but I don't participate in them nearly as much as the first one.
Etsy help make it easy for sellers to tag their items as they allow you 13 different tags for each item you list. You can also see the tags that other sellers have used to get ideas for yours. It makes a big difference from my point of view as the majority of sellers & buyers are based in the US, there are some terms that are used differently there, which would result in a lack of sales if you didn't take advantage of the tagging opportunities. For example, the word 'personalised' is spelled differently in America, so by just using one tag to repeat your item title but spelling it the American way (or the English way if you've used the American spelling in your title) means you hit that wider audience.
4. The amazing range of beautiful handmade items
There are SO many absolutely wonderful designers & creators who sell through Etsy, you could spend days lost on the site! My Father-in-Law and my Grandfather are both into golf, so for Christmas I came across a wonderful shop called Tiny Love Treasures who made them both a golf ball marker with my kids names on. So lovely & something I would never have found had I been out shopping on the high street - they'd both have ended up with yet more tees and a new book full of golfing jokes!
5. You can see how much the postage is going to be before you add an item to your cart.
One of the the other things I love is that when you are shopping on Etsy you can see how much the postage is going to be from the word go. Quite often if you are based in England and trying to buy off an American site, either you get to the payment section only to find that they don't deliver outside of the US or that the postage is going to be prohibitively expensive, so you end up starting all over again... with Etsy, you can see straight away if you can afford the postage (and more importantly if they will post overseas) which saves a lot of time & frustration!
To have a browse on Etsy either follow the link to my shop or have a look at just a couple of the other lovely shops that I have come across: