Thoughts on starting an Etsy shop

I haven’t browsed Etsy much until now. Prior to yesterday my experience with Etsy was primarily through links from Xangans and former classmates to their own shops, and I wasn’t impressed. Most of the items were simply assembly jobs, with very little creativity. I did encounter impressive jewelry when people shared links to items they liked, when I searched on Google, and through images on WeHeartIt. However, looking at what’s available now makes me feel intimidated because the vast majority of items are interesting and professional looking.

One thing that I am confused about is pricing. I have read articles on pricing so I got some ideas for prices for my items. However, I have found items that are more complicated-looking than mine, and are priced for much less that I would have expected. After eliminating items from other countries (i.e. China) in the search results, there were fewer elaborate but cheaply priced items. However, I was still able to find elaborate items made in the U.S. for cheap. Many of them turn out to be based on a commercially available pattern or a common type of bead stitch, so whoever made the item didn’t have to go through the design and experimental process, which is the most time consuming step. If I were to include the time spent developing a new design and undoing and redoing it because it’s not working, I would have to charge a lot more, so I plan to base my prices off of how much time it takes me to complete the item after I have figured out the process and can do it smoothly. (Making something off of a pattern goes more quickly and smoothly because someone else has already dealt with the kinks that came up during the design process.)

I’m seeing a lot of tag spamming, as in people using a bunch of extra tags that don’t actually describe the product. For example, a necklace shows up in the search results for earrings. Obviously it’s to increase the item’s visibility, but to a shopper it’s annoying to see other items instead of what I’m looking for. As a (potential) seller I consider that as cheating, but would it be necessary to do that to get views?

Speaking of views, seeing the number of favorites for an item, it looks as though you will need hundreds, if not thousands, of views until there is someone who actually wants to buy.

I still need to come up with a shop name. I had wanted to use urunimi at first, but this article on tips for choosing a name says to pick something that is easy to pronounce and spell. That way the name is easy to remember. From my experience, most people have a hard time pronouncing urunimi and remembering how it’s spelled. (I pronounce it “oo-roo-nee-mee” and it’s simply the letters that sound like “you are you and I am I,” but not everyone gets that on their own. You can read more about the meaning behind it here.)

I wonder if I should just use something boring like “[my name]s jewelry” or some variant of that, in case it’s already taken. Or should I try to add some modifiers in? Many people have already used the word “unique” in their names. Should I use alliteration, assonance, or consonance to make it more memorable? Names can be up to 20 letters or numbers long. Consistency across social media matters too, which means I’ll need to get new usernames or make new accounts, so hopefully the name has never been used before and is available.

The jewelry that I plan on selling would primarily be my original designs, but I might include some wire projects that I learned how to make in classes. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with just jewelry so maybe having a less specific name is better, but you can change shop names. For the time being, pieces will be beaded, wire, and origami, though I hope to add other mediums such as polymer clay, glass, and ceramics in the future.

I’m already feeling overwhelmed. Maybe this whole thing is wishful thinking. In any case, it looks like I’ll still need a day job.

Edit: From more browsing, it looks as though there are not many fun, dangle, clip-on earrings, so I might start there.

It also appears that there are some very lovely pieces of jewelry that are considered handmade only because someone assembled pendants to a chain. I was surprised by how low the prices were. It would take much longer to churn out the metal pieces, which were probably made in another country where labor is cheap.

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8 thoughts on “Thoughts on starting an Etsy shop

  1. How about something like “Bracelets and More”? That would give you a start with your beautiful bracelets, and allow you to move into other things as well.

  2. there is a book called “etsy for dummies” or something like that which i have seen at the book store and it is all about opening an etsy store. might be worth a look. glad you are looking into this!!

  3. I think that a title indicating your medium or product is good. Don’t take my advice, though, I closed my Etsy shop because of lack of interest. I think that if you have a large circle of friends or some other way to get the word out, it helps. Otherwise, like you say, there is A LOT of stuff on that site and it’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Use Pinterest, too. I see a lot of pins that originated on Etsy. Good luck.

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