This fall I, Variant Liz, started my own Etsy shop online. I crochet (yes, it’s stereotypically an old lady hobby but I proudly rep it). I, like many people who have a hobby and want to try and make a little profit off of it, was nervous about getting started. It seems so intimidating and you may not know what to expect. Plus, there is the question of cost; can you really start a small business? Well, allow me to share my brief experience so far to possibly encourage those of you who have been considering an Etsy shop to go for it.
There is no “right time”
If you are waiting for the “right time” to start your shop then, like many things in life, you will be waiting forever. When playing Catan you don’t typically wait to have enough resources for the road, village and city before you build; you build them one at a time using which resources you have already attained. I had plenty of reservations at first, but it was surprisingly easy to set up. I know that Etsy offers many more features that I do not utilize (like the data analysis they offer) but I am still new enough that I only use the features and information that are priority for me: How many people have their items in my cart, and how many orders do I have? You can honestly have a successful shop even without a robust profile and deep dive into the business data.
It is not as expensive as I’d expected
I honestly thought that it would not be worth putting my crochet items on Etsy at first. Once I took the plunge, however, I found that it was not a bank-buster. I put about $500 into the start of my Etsy business because I had the room on my credit card at the time, but I believe you could easily start off with much less capital. The listings are only $0.20 each (when you sell an item it renews so this is basically a “per sale” charge) but I found that to be pretty low. That can also be cheaper if you refer someone to the site. Use this code if you would like to try it out and get 40 listings free: https://etsy.me/35vg8ml Etsy also takes some money from each sale (about 2-3%) but that was also not as painful as I’d expected, especially after I sold a couple of items. You also have an option to use the Etsy shipping label which is a little cheaper than the labels you can print on the USPS website. After you make your first sale or first few, you can recoup these initial costs quickly.
If you can, try and make things more profesh
The one piece of “advice” that I will give is to get an inexpensive way to take professional looking photos of your product. While still exciting, discovering a hidden box of gems is slightly more lackluster if they don’t shine a slight golden glow on your face as you open the box. The same goes for product photos.
I bought a pretty inexpensive light box on Amazon that does the trick; it cost me $40. It is easy to set up and use but folds down so that I can tuck it in between the couch and the wall so that the fur and human creatures that I dwell with do not destroy it. The link is here in case you would like to check that out. I have heard that a white poster board works well so that was what I used for my first attempt, but I promise you the lightbox is significantly less effort to get a good shot and far superior quality.
I hope this has been helpful and I welcome feedback or questions if you would like to know any more information about starting a shop on Etsy. Thanks, and I’ll see you next week.