Saturday, June 21, 2014

Why Sell on Etsy

I have been an Etsy seller since 2007 when I began selling my BeBe Babies.  Before that I used Ebay, as it was the main online marketplace for art dolls.  I had become wary of Ebay for some time because their site's look was ugly in my opinion, and their fees were high.  However I remember feeling very nervous about switching to Etsy because I worried that no one would find my shop and my sales would decline.  Now 7 years later I highly recommend having your shop on Etsy and here's why.

Truly some of the first BeBes ever made.  This was the first doll show I did with the BeBes back in 2006.  I had just started making larger dolls.

The number one reason I recommend using Etsy is because of all the information they offer to help you become a better seller- FOR FREE.  There is a wealth of information for everyone, whether you are just starting out on Etsy, or are a long time member, and it is all free.  There are many people who sell this advice on Etsy.  A lot of new and old sellers fall into the trap of shelling out money for information that they can get for free.  I am highly against paying for information.  The internet is full of free resources and you should never have to pay for advice in my opinion.  This is one reason I changed the direction of my blog.  I want to offer everyone the information I have learned over the years from practice and a ton of reading.  It might take a little longer to find the resources but it will save you a lot of money in the long run.

These are some of the first BeBe Babies ever made!  I believe this is from Halloween 2007.  

The Esty newsletter has been the most valuable for me.  You can subscribe to it here.  The other day I received one of their emails and it contained a seller seminar.  This seminar is geared towards advanced sellers, but I would still recommend it for beginners, as it might get you ahead of the game faster.  You can find the seminar here.  Now, because I have been a long time seller there were many things that were not of use to me in the packet, but there were many other things that were.  Remember, not everything will be of value to you, but it's important to find the pieces that are, and apply them to your business.  I added about 5 new things to my to-do list from this seminar and that is what I want to talk about.  

There are three things I am focusing on right now in my business; photos, social networking and pitching to companies.  From the seminar I got these ideas:

1.  Take photos of your items in their natural habitat.  I never really thought about this but it makes sense.  I would love to have some professional pictures of my play dolls in a child's bedroom or in the arms of a child.  I have a lot of fan photos but I need some professional quality ones for promotional purposes.  Think magazine editorials.

If you are like me you are thinking "I can't afford to hire a professional photographer".  This is where you need to get creative.  I have a friend and customer, who has an adorable daughter and also happens to be a beautiful photographer.  I have sent her an email asking if she could do some photos for me in exchange for a couple free BeBes.  If you are a seller without the funds to invest much in your business you have to get creative.  Start thinking how you can get services free or at a discount by offering your work or something in exchange.  Now maybe my friend will decline, and if that happens I will offer the same pitch to other photographers until I can find one who says yes.

I have also been struggling with the sales of my miniatures, mainly because I haven't sold any lol.  Ok that's not true, I have sold about 20, but all to the same customer.  The problem is mainly that I don't have the time to photograph them in a very professional way with my Blythe doll.  So I have reached out to some Blythe collectors who take beautiful photographs.  I am offering them a free mini in exchange for photographs with their Blythe dolls.  I am excited to be working with someone at this time and will be making her miniatures this weekend.  I can't wait to see her photos and share them with you.  I am hoping this will create more sales for my minis.

This photo is by my dear customer Lane of Reallusion Photography.  Mini pig BeBe available to order here.

2.  Social networking is difficult.  It takes a lot of time and planning.  Don't think social networking is just about posting all willy nilly.  You must strike a balance in order to not alienate your followers, but you must also keep them engaged.  When I first started my BeBe Babies Facebook page I really didn't use it much.  Now that I have been using it significantly more I'm mad at myself for not doing it sooner.  After reading page 20 of the Etsy seminar I have a clearer understanding of the mistakes I am making.  If you don't read any other parts of the seminar, read the social networking part starting on page 18.

New design that I am working on and very excited about!

They give you an exercise to do which is to analyze your Facebook posts to see which ones are getting the most likes and shares.  This will help you determine what your audience is responding to.  What I realized from the exercise is that I am posting way too much about new listings in my shop.  The seminar advises creating a posting schedule that includes new items (product features), a behind the scenes look at your work (backstage pass), and expertise/inspiration you possess (be an expert or inspire).  So get ready because I am going to start posting photos of BeBe Babies in progress as well as other things I find inspirational or beneficial.

Special project coming soon.

3.  As you know I have been complaining, I mean working, really hard at trying to get my dolls into stores so I can eventually do BeBe Babies full time.  I've been writing a lot of emails to stores and online publications and I am still hearing crickets in my inbox.  I have began to wonder if my emails are not looking or sounding professional enough.  There is so much advice out there about pitching to companies it's hard to know whose advice to follow.  This article on Etsy is the advice I have been following except I was forgetting one little thing.  I have not been embedding small photos into the email.  Actually the more I look at the article there are a few little things I haven't been doing; like following up or expressing why BeBe Babies are so special.  I am going to polish my email pitching and try again with more shops and blogs.  Hopefully when I get some professional photos I can make the emails look even better.  

For more information head over to the Etsy blog and/or the Etsy Seller Handbook.


  1. This is a really great post! A lot of this reminds me of what I have learned in blogging too. I would also say that Etsy can be great because crafters are buyers who appreciate the work that goes into your items. Your Blythe with Bebe hits hard because it's not only: if you like this you will love mine, it's also a nod to another craftsman which shows you as supportive and encourages others to support you!

    1. Thanks for weighing in Melissa. And you are right the best customers are other crafters because they really can appreciate the value and hard work.

  2. Agreed. This is a great post. Very useful information. Thanks, Casie for posting this on your blog. I'm going to do my homework to better educate myself in being more succeful, especially in the Etsy world. I love your new baby in blue. Too cute. And the little onsie dress is awesome. :)

    1. Thanks Debbie! My main advice is to do a lot of reading and work at it every day. I always sell better the more I am posting, writing, searching, learning and so on. :)