Do you make handmade items like jewelry, clothing, accessories or even wedding or craft products? You could be selling them to a world-wide audience on Etsy. Unlike Amazon or eBay, Etsy is designed for creative entrepreneurs to sell what they make or curate to shoppers looking for products they can’t find anywhere else.
Founded in 2005 in Brooklyn, NY, Etsy has almost 600 employees with over a million active shops and 26 million items listed. With over $1.35 Billion in gross sales in 2013, Etsy is an e-commerce site to take seriously.
Elegant Ear Cuffs
One Nashville Wraps customer who has found her place on Etsy is Fiona Thompson, owner of Elegant Ear Cuffs. Fiona is located in Philadelphia, but with her Etsy store she is reaching people she never dreamed possible.
Sometimes being a creative person doesn’t always translate into a good business person. But Fiona proved you can be both, and took her love for working with her hands and started an online jewelry business with every custom piece designed and made by her.
“I started making ear cuffs in particular when I had my hair cut very short and for the first time in many years my ears were totally exposed,” Fiona explains. “I felt they needed to be embellished, but I pierced my ears twice with allergic reactions and found clip-ons very uncomfortable. I was familiar with ear cuffs, but wanted a more traditional style of earring, so I incorporated the function of an ear cuff with more classic looking jewelry designs. No ear piercings are necessary, and they are very comfortable to wear.”
Let Etsy Turn Your Passion into a Business
Fiona began her business with some successful local events, and soon decided to create an online presence so she built her own website then opened a shop on Etsy.
She says, “People from across the world build their own shop inventory, and for those who commit time and effort, a full-time profession may be possible. The structure of the shop is very easy to use and the listing costs are extremely reasonable at 20 cents per item for 4 months at a time. You pay 3.5% commission when an item sells. Etsy has a very positive, and for the most part, very responsive staff. The Etsy forums are also beneficial for support and information.
“The downside is that it is not your platform. For instance, Etsy has changed the way you can advertise your items three times in 2014. It’s now called ‘Promoted Listings,’ which is a pay-per-click program, and can get very costly if you don’t monitor your listings. It’s easy to say, ‘Well, if you don’t like it, leave!’ But when you’ve spent years building up your listings which may well be in the hundreds, the effort to move to another platform may be prohibitive. So I don’t keep all my eggs in one basket, and one of my goals for 2015 is to have a shopping cart on my existing website as well.”
Good keyword selection and good title definition is key on Etsy for customers searching for your product since the site has become so big, and it’s becoming more difficult to be found unless you have something truly unique. Other keys to Etsy success is posting new items frequently, having great photography, and an appealing and accurate description for each item. Learn more about opening your own store on Etsy here.
Make Your Jewelry Packaging Stand Out with Personalized Ribbon & Labels
“I wanted my packaging to be ‘Made in America’ and of recycled materials where possible,” explains Fiona. “An online search identified Nashville Wraps as one of the candidates. The options were so extensive that after a while I found myself overwhelmed.
“Sue Wright in the Printing Department very patiently helped me pick out labels, jewelry boxes and custom-made ribbon. The Nashville Wraps Graphics Department helped tweak my logo design. I love the chocolate brown boxes which are made from 100% recycled materials. The personalized ribbon especially adds a touch of class to all my shipments. I am not a huge customer, but through the process I felt like I was their #1 Customer.”
Fiona finds the beauty of having her own online business and the flexibility to balance her schedule with her son’s commitments is perfect for her. This savvy business woman and artisan craftsman shows us all how beautiful “Made in America” can be. Check out all of Fiona’s Elegant Ear Cuff designs here.