Whether you’ve seen one of their commercials or heard one of your friends talk about it, you’re probably familiar with Etsy. If not, Etsy is an online platform that allows individuals to set up their stores and sell their own products.
During the pandemic, I fell into my old hobby of making ribbon headbands. I decided to open my shop, AngelHairGoods, back in July of 2020. Prior to this, I had never even been on Etsy. Needless to say, I’ve learned a lot over this year–both as a seller and a buyer. Here are some things I wish I knew before and some knowledge I’ve acquired while hustling:
- Do Your Research
While I definitely recommend you research this if you’d like to have your own shop, I also encourage you to investigate other aspects. What’s your competition doing? How much are they charging? There’s also doing keyword research, which is a task in itself. Online shops are a learning curve. If I had waited a bit and looked around, it would’ve made a huge difference.
- Social Media Marketing Is Not Always the Main Traffic Driver
A lot of businesses have an awesome social media presence, and this effectively converts into sales. However, it’s not always the case. While I advise being active on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, or Tik Tok—depending on your audience—they’re not the only way to get people to see your product. If you learn some SEO and how to manage the Etsy algorithm, you can count on having hefty traffic from the website itself. Am I disregarding the power of social media? Absolutely not! As an advertising & PR major, that’d be a crime…but it’s not the sole solution.
- Canva is Your Best Friend
If you decide to do some social media marketing, it’s more complicated than just posting pictures of your inventory (trust me, I speak from experience). This is why I recommend Canva! It already has social media templates, but you can also browse and see what posts you can create. I find Canva particularly helpful when I’m making sales announcements or creating some humorous posts. Besides, it’s also a great tool for making your page’s header and logo!
- Sales Don’t Always End in Sales
Believe it or not, offering a sale or a discount doesn’t always bring in more revenue. Days such as Labor Day have worked out for me, but it’s not always the case. Since most of my traffic comes from Etsy’s search, it’s a bit harder for shoppers to know when I have a sale. Even then, it might not convince them to buy. It’s unfortunate, but it’s the truth. However, when it works out, it feels great!
- Success Takes Time
I know no one wants to hear this, and I know it’s cliché, but it’s true. You might see many stories of people’s stores blowing up on Tik Tok and having immediate success, but that’s the exception and not the rule. That’s alright, though. Luckily, Etsy is a platform that will reward you if you put in the work. Am I a top seller? Not yet! But I can say this: I went four months without a single sale, but after I did my homework, I’ve been more consistent. It takes time and effort.
Am I an expert on Etsy? God no. If I were, I’d be sitting at my dining table packaging orders, but I do have some valuable experience. I can’t say it’s always a wonderful time: I get mad when people abandon their carts, writing descriptions is hard, and some listings just won’t sell. It’s tough sometimes, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
College is hard, and even though it may sound odd, running my shop is what keeps me sane. It has given me a sense of purpose I never thought I’d have, and I love making headbands and bracelets. All the hard work is worth it.