I started an Etsy Shop in January of 2019 and did not make a profit for a year. I bet you’re asking yourself, “why is this chick talking about success if she didn’t make a profit?” Well, the answer is because success takes time. If you’re here looking for a quick ROI (Return on Investment) you’re in the wrong place; however, if you are looking to sell things you’ve made and get your name out there in a way that will eventually lead to profit, then Kiminy Cricket is at your service.
1. Don’t Do “Made to Order.”
Etsy is a place of creativity, so you should be selling things on Etsy because you love to make them – especially when you consider that each item costs you $0.10 to sell. You have a life outside of making and selling things; therefore, make what you love, and post it. If other people love it, they’ll buy it. If not? Then you had fun making stuff and you can keep it available until someone buys it rather than waiting around to be told to make something.
2. Look for a Hole in the Market.
I knew I wanted to make and sell jewelry, but I also knew that the jewelry market was extremely over-saturated. So, I decided I would focus on making jewelry inspired by movies, games, and just random things that I liked. First, I searched for things on Etsy inspired by Disney, but I learned quickly that that would never work – talk about over-saturated – and then I started thinking about a game I had recently played and loved, Horizon Zero Dawn. When I searched for that I found a HUGE gaping hole just waiting for products to become available. Thus, I created a series of what I thought to be beautiful and unique pieces of jewelry.
3. Be Aware of Copyrights.
There is a reason that all of my works use the phrase “Inspired By” on every image and in every item title: you must protect yourself and your works. In the United States, art is protected as soon as it is created, but not if it belongs to someone else, see Copyright.gov FAQ for more info. For example: a necklace with a pendant that is identical to Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid and sold by you without an agreement to sell for Disney is ILLEGAL; however, a necklace that you make and sell as your own interpretation which reminds you of the mermaid Ariel from The Little Mermaid by Disney is LEGAL.
4. Pay for Marketing through Etsy.
Do not advertise with google. Google is too big when you’re just starting out, you’ll never get clicks there unless you spend an obscene amount of money per day on it. The thing is, I signed up for up to $1 a day – but you’re only charged if people click on the adds. In addition, once you’ve had some interest, you’ll start to see data regarding what phrases were searched for when people clicked your add. At that point, I would then suggest altering your ads to be on the items which brought in clicks rather than your entire inventory. Also, don’t be afraid to revisit what you’re putting into adds each month. You may not see any action for a while, and that’s ok, just make sure you can afford to keep it up.
5. Self Advertise.
Don’t do it everyday, but sometimes a random post on facebook or in Instagram can pull in an unexpected buyer. There’s also a lot of opportunity here for marketing your brand – such as how I use my website to promote my thoughts on the creative process and link back to my works in my original post on creating Horizon Zero Dawn Jewelry. The ability to post your work in multiple places and have them point specifically where you want them to is priceless. You can do a lot by just adding a tag or phrase into your SEO (Search Engine Optimization), see Basic SEO suggestions.