Saturday, March 28, 2009

Etsy Starters Guide by BubbaRye

First of all what is an Etsian?Etsian (et-c-ann): 1) an artisan (crafter) who has located the handmade site Etsy, and has grown obsessed with it. 2) an artisan (crafter) who has become intwined in a community of artisans (crafters) on 3) an artisan (crafter) who may at times get frustrated with getting their shop or business noticed on .
Well, I started my shop Bubba and Rye on Etsy Feb 19th, 2008 (although my stat says earlier, this is when I became active). Bubba and Rye, now with over 200 sales. On July 11th, I officially opened my second shop Lilac Ave, which has over 100 sales. It was 100 times easier to get Lilac Ave up and running, knowing what I learned from opening the Bubba and Rye shop. Now I know some people interested in Etsy, and I was going to give my best tips, and figured, why not share what I know. I am not claiming to be an expert, or an Etsy hot seller, but I do ok, and there are things I have found that worked.
onesie above from

Here are those tips:
1. Your photos are so hugely important!!!! I went to the critique section in the forums many times over and kept being told my photos were too dark. I tried EVERYTHING!!!! Finally these things ended up being the key for me:- use the macro setting on your camera if your items are smaller (I use this on my candles and cards). It is the tulip shaped button on your camera.- take your photos in natural light or in a light box. Do not mean in direct full sun, this will make a glare. My perfect place is on my kitchen table with the window facing north on a sunny day. Try different places around your house until you find your sweet spot. However a light box can do wonders, and I recommend that for jewelry photos. Instructions to make one are available through and online search.- Picasa is a god send! Go to google and search for picasa. It is a free photo editing program by google and can make a fantastic difference. Maker sure to crop, and give "I'm feeling lucky" a whirl. You'll see a major difference.

Sweet Card above from

2. Scream it from the rooftops! Send out a Grand Opening email to everyone you know! Most will be very supportive, and even if they don't buy from you, they can talk about you to other people. Even their sheer knowledge that Etsy exists, can be a help.There is not a person, place, animal, rock, that I haven't talked to about Etsy. You'll find as the obsession grows this is a very easy task, and someone may tell you to shut it at some point.

Rug above from

3. Be part of the Etsy Community. Go to , then go to community, and there are our forums, where so many questions can be answered and info by experienced sellers read. There is also a teams section. There may be a team for you. I am part of the Etsy Homefront Team, which is for military spouses. I am also part of Hampton Roads Artisans Street Team, which is a local group of Etsians in the southeastern Virginia area. Not only are these teams a great support, but also help you attack promotion as a team, rather than by yourself. Together you can create treasuries to get noticed, you can have group promos, or even have a local show like I am with my HRAST group.

Burp Cloth Set from

4. Get your product seen. This is best done by listing or renewing daily. This helps get your items to the top of the search category and getting new eyes on your product daily. I call it the invitation to your shop.Recently I've found This is a great place to post new or renewed listing to get your views better, and get more attention to your item, and your shop.You also want to study your views and hearts. The most awesome tool is Majaba...Mah-who-ba? It is a website to help you track views on items, to see how much your views increased after promoting. Really without this running an Etsy shop can be a blind mission. By the way, you can even advertise on majaba for a small marketing fee.

A delicious treat from

5. The more the merrier. In both shops business increased after I had more than 30 items in the shop. Why? Because your customers have choices. They feel like they are shopping and are sure about their purchase when they check out. I know this sounds unimportant, but it really does matter, it somehow gives the perception of established, professional business.You'll see a lot on Etsy about using Flicker, MySpace, Facebook, Blogging. I have to say, if this is not something you do anyway or are savvy with, I am not sure that it increases views or sales. It has to be something you are into doing, and not just doing to gain sales. For instance I m not a myspace or facebook natural (or arguably a blogger). This seemed like a chore, and I wasn't really connected with that community...absence isn't going to bring them to you. All this info is for you to take in and digest, and spit back out the right formula for your shop. These are the things that have helped me, and will hopefully help in your Etsy business as well.

I hope these tips can in someway help your own Etsy business!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Shipping Phobia by SewHappyFabricShop

I’ve been selling on etsy for over a year now, and I have to admit, I was clueless about shipping in the beginning. I always guessed about my calculation, sometimes went to to calculate shipping, and then dragged myself and my children into the post office only to discover that I had guessed wrong and was now out $1…or more. I knew that Paypal offered a shipping program, but I was timid about using it.

Most of my fellow Homefront Team members are well versed in shipping, but after receiving a package recently from a top seller on etsy who didn’t use Paypal shipping, I decided to write a post about the subject.

So you accept Paypal… why should you use the shipping feature?
First of all, if you use Paypal, you are paying for it. And by shipping through the postal service on Paypal, you get discounted fees. For example, if I waltz into the post office and ask for confirmation on my first class package, it’s going to cost me 75 cents. Online through Paypal will only cost 18 cents.

Secondly, it is easy. Really. You will need a small scale that will fit your product, but that is the only equipment required.

Third, it looks professional.

Now, how to do it?
Ebay has a great link at which is applicable to your Paypal account for etsy users too.

Personally, I print off my order details from the Sold Items page in Etsy. This allows me to keep my orders straight and checked off as I ship. It also provides me with their shipping address and any notes that may affect shipping that I can look at once I have logged into my Paypal account.

When I’m ready to ship, I log into Paypal. Basically, when you look at your account in Paypal, you will see the payment you received and a button to the right that says “print shipping label”. Don’t be scared.

Click on the button, and it will show the information to be printed. Double check the address of your buyer on the right hand side with your etsy statement. In the center of the page, you will be able to select your shipping method (first class, priority, etc). For less than 13 ounces, you can use first class. Over that weight, use priority mail (unless you are using media mail, and then compare first class weights as it is sometimes less expensive and quicker).

Weight your item and enter the amount. Select confirmation if you want it (18 cents for first class, free with priority mail). Continue on, and print your label.

What should you print on?
I personally use these shipping labels. **
It makes life easier for me. However, you can absolutely print on a regular piece of paper, cut off the confirmation side, and save that for your records. Then tape the “label” onto your package. Just make sure the bar code section is not taped over. (Personally, I make two printed copies of my Etsy sold statement, then stick the confirmation label on the back side so that I can put my hands on both pieces of information if needed.)

You’re done. If you selected confirmation, your customer just got an email with that information. You can log back into Paypal and track any of your shipments.

I have never tried the postal pick up, but I know that many sellers swear by the feature which allows you to request your mailman drop by and pick up your package. I have ordered priority mail supplies and received them within a week or two.

I hope that if you haven’t used the Paypal feature, you will give it a try. Please feel free to convo me for any additional information.

-Thanks to Becky for her article contribution

Friday, March 6, 2009

How An Etsy Shop Is Born by lyneya

Just a quick word of introduction...I'm a working mom of a two year old boy. It was in the interest of providing him with safe and beautiful playthings that I ventured into the crazy world of etsy and opened my own little shop, Lyneya's Toys. I firmly believe in creating well rounded little men and providing a variety of house-play toys and dolls to nurture.

Walker's corner

Boys are NOT the same as girls and never will be. But little boys grow up to be fathers and husbands and need to learn the same house-keeping and parenting skills through pretend play. So I set off to find my son a buddy to take care of. I finally found a style I liked, but they were all adorable little girl dolls. I set out to make my own and loved the process! I had so much trouble finding a contemporary little boy doll that I liked, that I decided to make a few extra before Christmas and see how they did! Turns out...other mamas out there wanted boy dolls! And my shop was born.

blond doll

Every doll I send out to another little boy makes me smile. I know that his new buddy is destined for fun adventures. There might not be a lot of tea parties and princesses in its future, but if their new homes are anything like our house, there will be trains to conduct, jungles to explore, and farms to run. And everything is more fun with a buddy!!

2 little velour babies!

To see Lyneya's shop, visit: