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Etsy for your thoughts.
February 14, 2011 11:29 AM   Subscribe

Is it worth it to make an Etsy account for this kind of craft? Considering that they charge for listing items and shipping would be somewhat expensive ($15-20~) as I live in Chile.

If yes, what should I take into account when creating the store?
posted by Memo to Shopping (12 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Selling crafts is one of those things were your mileage can vary greatly - I do Christmas sales because the other 10 months of the year are just not profitable for me. Same with online sales. If shipping is prohibitive, you might want to reach out to a local market instead. But, Etsy's listing fees are cheap enough that it wouldn't be a bad thing to try for international exposure. One can only try and see :-) I realize that this is a non-answer, but one truly doesn't know until you see what works (or not) for you and your craft.
posted by Calzephyr at 11:36 AM on February 14, 2011


I would say yes, it's worth it to make an account and list your items. However, you're going to want to do some sort of marketing off the site or they're going to just sit there. Just listing items on the site won't move them. Consider marketing your work locally, using your Etsy shop as a sort of "landing page" for people interested in your work. The cost you suggest for international shipping is going to be a major barrier to getting a wider market.

I have a medium amount of experience selling on Etsy and would be happy to give you any amount of detailed advice if you're interested.
posted by pajamazon at 11:52 AM on February 14, 2011


With those kind of shipping charges, it's going to be hard to compete with people who are located in North America, and can make and ship those kinds of items for less than your shipping charges will be. There's nothing noticable that's inherently Chilean about them (at least in keeping with North American pre-conceptions of what inherently Chilean might mean) to make people want to buy them from you instead of someone else who is closer.

I can certainly see people buying some of those items (the apple and pear are lovely), but probably not at the prices you'd need to charge for shipping.
posted by jacquilynne at 11:52 AM on February 14, 2011


What is "worth it"? Etsy accounts are free. Listing items is something like US .20 per listing (or .30?). You only pay other fees if you sell items.

Ultimately, there is a lot of drek on etsy, so finding ways to get the message out to potential buyers is the vital key to success. Use a blog, your flickr account, posting in the forums, coupons, etc to entice new sellers to your etsy store.

The second key, within etsy, differentiating yourself in your market relative to other sellers. Two things help: great pictures and great products. Great pictures are a no-brainer, but you have no idea how many etsy sellers there are with really bad pictures, poorly lit cell phone photos from one angle. How can I tell what I'm getting? Great products: be better and different. For example, I only buy cutting boards from this awesome etsy-ian across the country because no one makes cutting boards with the same variety and pattern of woods that he does. So despite the fact that his fees (and his shipping charges) are higher than other sellers, I return to him time after time.
posted by arnicae at 11:56 AM on February 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just checked a couple other sellers based in Chile who are selling what look like comparably sized and weighted items, and they're charging significantly less for shipping. You might want to get in touch with other local Etsians and pick their brains on what they're doing as far as shipping.
posted by pajamazon at 11:59 AM on February 14, 2011


I question your assumption that international shipping is more of an issue for a Chilean than an American. My girlfriend runs an Etsy shop (mostly vintage clothes rather than crafts) and more than half of her sales are overseas -- apparently lots of people are willing to pay the extra $10-16 shipping fee for something they really like. Listing on Etsy is cheap, so I say go for it.
posted by theodolite at 12:10 PM on February 14, 2011


jacquilynne: "There's nothing noticable that's inherently Chilean about them (at least in keeping with North American pre-conceptions of what inherently Chilean might mean) "
I'm curious, what kind of thing would be inherently Chilean?
pajamazon: "I just checked a couple other sellers based in Chile who are selling what look like comparably sized and weighted items, and they're charging significantly less for shipping. "
Thanks. I only checked the local online shipping calculator so it's very possible I'm wrong about the fees.
theodolite: "I question your assumption that international shipping is more of an issue for a Chilean than an American."
Well, Americans tend to pay less for shipping as a rule (as most sites are based in the USA) so I thought expensive shipping would be a problem for them.
arnicae: "What is "worth it"? "
I'm not sure if people would actually buy that kind of craft.
posted by Memo at 12:34 PM on February 14, 2011


I would definitely be potentially interested in buying stuff like that, but I'd also definitely hesitate at a shipping cost that high, especially if I could find something similar with a more reasonable shipping cost. So, as someone said above, I would look into that and make sure it's really as high as you're thinking it is.

Another thing - I don't know how likely it will be that people will stumble upon your crafts, so I'd try really hard to include at least one word in the title and/description that would come up in a good amount of searches for items such as the ones you're selling.

Good luck!
posted by jitterbug perfume at 12:38 PM on February 14, 2011


I think the wood stuff would sell well. I agree that you will need to stand apart to justify the extra shipping. I don't know what is Chilean, but I would look to what kinds of wood you use (and Etsy folks LOVE sustainable/eco stuff) and if there's any patterns/designs styles you could mimic.

Perhaps making even more detailed wood items that would sell at a higher price (and thus shipping is less as a %).

It really takes nothing to try it out. You're risking all of $5 to open an account and list some items.

I would make it obvious you are from Chile, otherwise you will get complaints about shipping time.
posted by dripdripdrop at 1:12 PM on February 14, 2011


I'm curious, what kind of thing would be inherently Chilean?

I don't really know, most of my ideas would be stereotypical and probably kind of generically pan-South American -- you'd probably have a better idea than me if you're there and can see the sort of things that are typically sold to higher-end tourists. But if you're trying to overcome the handicap of being far away from your target market, one of the ways to do it is to make that a feature, not a bug -- by having your items be Chilean rather than just made in Chile. Someone upthread mentioned eco-wood as an example that would make the source of your product a pro rather than a con -- that's the sort of thing I mean, whether it's traditional craft items for your region, or using materials that are indigenous to your area and not necessarily commonly found elsewhere.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:21 PM on February 14, 2011


Just chiming in to say not every Etsy buyer is located in the US. I'm in the UK & have bought from non-European stores only (both US & Asia) and the shipping costs have never put me off (obviously I don't know if Chilean postage is proportionally much higher than US for instance).
posted by ClarissaWAM at 3:35 PM on February 14, 2011


I would have to agree that your big problem here is shipping costs and I also agree that $15 is way more than I would pay to have something like that (even though your stuff is beautiful) shipped.

Personally I think the carved wood stuff is where you should focus, but that is just my opinion.

If cost of listing worries you there are other sites, artfire.com for one where there are no fees for basic accounts and listings don't expire like they do on etsy. I don't know what their international sellers situation looks like so you'll have to check that out. This might be a place where you can get your feet wet in the online selling world. At this point I probably do slightly more business on artfire than I do on etsy anyway.
posted by magnetsphere at 5:18 PM on February 14, 2011


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