Etsy, is it worth it?

Me and my oldest daughter Tova has started an Etsy store. In this blogpost I will mind-vomit a lot of things I’ve learned.

We sell stuff we make ourselves, Tova takes the pictures and fixes the shipping and those other things that I find a little bit boring. She takes a hefty commission, but really, how many boxes of bowls do we need around the house 🙂 So what we have are unique items that are not super high in price.

But do we make any money? are those boxes of bowl’s getting fewer?
What have we tried?
What worked?

I fell down the SEO rabbit-hole. And also the joy of figuring out blackbox algoritms on how Etsy promotes things in searches. And Etsy ad’s.

First of SEO, yes, SEO on Etsy matters, you get more hit’s on your things if you figure out good tags. But you also need to give your item’s titles that include search terms. That makes your handmade unique items look like Aliexpress things though. I dont like the estetics of doing that.

However, the search algos on Etsy does not kick in until you made a few sales. So until you sell something, there will be no boost. This is a downside if you are not making the bowls exactly the same. Your one-offs will not have any benefit from this.

I read somewhere that Etsy boost’s things that you get sales from organically. So, you need to advertise outside of Etsy and get sales. Then Etsy will pay attention to you.

Videos on the items, no change for us.

We tried some print it yourself posters, but either the motives are not nice enough or the prices are too high. They have been favorited though, but maybe that is from ppl wanting to remake them in their own style.

When selling from Sweden Etsy adds VAT to all the different areas where they charge you. I’m not sure why they are charging Swedish VAT for us. The way is ass-backwards if you are a swede. Unless you are a company (registered) you always se the prices including VAT. For an Etsy buyer, that is also the case. For a seller? nope. The listing fee is 0.20 USD, and then VAT added for that.

Profit. You really really need to take a deep look when pricing things. It’s made to be confusing. First you have a listing fee. Then VAT on the listing fee. Then depending on how you charge for items, or rather how the sale is being done, either via Etsy or Paypal there are different charges. Subtracted from your profit. Then the item (if you have more then one) are getting “re-listed” witch is another .20 USD. Then A bunch of different things happen. This is for one sale of Tovas wonderful small crocheted figures.

Confusing, right? What is the actual income from Etsy for the sold item?

Then we have Etsy ADS. They are worthless if you are selling one-offs. The algoritms wants a month to learn Etsy tells us. But if you sell your thing, then it’s gone. And the learning cost has been wasted. Still I tried it. Ran with about USD 3 for some time. Got 3 sales on the. Cost 54 USD. + taxes. So, a pretty big net loss.

This is five days of ad’s. No sales, Turns out that if you read on Reddit, the consensus is that even if you have several of the same in your shop it’s not useful to have ad’s. Mostly because they cost so much. And if you are in a saturated market, and there are some that are reselling imported things that competes with your handmade thing the competition has been know to click your ad’s so that you have to pay the cost.

Free shipping in the US for orders over 35 Dollars. Nope, because you cant sett different prices to different locations, so everyone else would have to pay for the free shipping (it’s not free you know, it’s just hidden)

What will we do going forward? We’re just going to add the things we are making. Not doing anything digital except for patterns that Tova makes. We are not going to do any ad’s. And if we sell something, that’s nice. But It’s easier for our minds to just be happily excited when it happens. And only do marketing via the instagram account Hope to se you there!

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