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augustlan's avatar

Is selling on Etsy worth it?

Asked by augustlan (47745points) March 1st, 2009

My children are trying to convince me to sell the art I make (mostly paintings on canvas). They are encouraging me to open an Etsy shop. Have you had enough success to make it worth the time and/or trouble? Please mention what you sell, too. Thanks.

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19 Answers

jrpowell's avatar

PupnTaco sells some stuff on Etsy. Might want to send him a comment if he doesn’t see this.

dynamicduo's avatar

I have purchased many things from Etsy stores, I have not sold things myself but I am planning on getting into the crafting market soon. It is worth it if you are an artist who doesn’t have the time or skills (or desire) to create and market your own website. Etsy provides you with the mechanisms for making the sale as well as the publicity in being a part of their website (if your items are great, they could be featured; people can send links to your items to friends). Another thing is security – some people may find it more safe to purchase through a reputable website versus from your own standalone website. For all of these features, Etsy takes a small percentage (3.5) of your price and 20 cents for listing it.

Personally, I will not use an Etsy store to sell my wares. As I am a web designer, I have set up a beautiful store that’s exactly the way I want it (I find Etsy’s design to be too narrow). I will also keep the amount of money Etsy would have taken. However this will require me to advertise my store with more effort – but since I want to sell locally, this is more of a pro than a con.

Basically Etsy is a great way to sell your items if you’re new to selling things online. It doesn’t take a lot of time to set an item up and it’s very easy. Your success at selling items really depends on how much you get your name out there and get people seeing your work, participating in forums and communities with your Etsy link can help with this.

marinelife's avatar

I have a good friend who has an Etsy store, augustlan. I will ask her your question and see what she says. My impression, though, is that she has been less than totally satisfied.

She sells graphic design cards she has made and jewelry that she makes.

sdeutsch's avatar

I’ve been wondering about this myself, because I just started setting up an Etsy shop to sell some of my mom’s stuff (she knits adorable baby hats in her free time).

From what I can tell, you can do really well selling stuff on Etsy if you’re willing to take the time to market your shop. As @dynamicduo pointed out, Etsy has a lot of forums and groups you can join that will help you get your name out there – and if you find other ways to market (spreading the word through friends, putting links to the store on other websites you have a connection to), you can get a lot of traffic.

Once you’ve got the people coming, Etsy seems like the best deal out there – their listing fees and commission are both very low, compared to other sites, so your net profits are comparatively high. I think it can definitely work, but you have to make it work – creating a store won’t automatically get you sales…

I’ll keep you posted on how my mom’s store goes, if you’re interested. And if you do set up your own store, make sure you tell us flutherers – we’re a great way to get the word out to a lot of people! ;)

PupnTaco's avatar

Yes, I have two shops on Etsy – one for T-shirts one for prints. Etsy is an easy, affordable way to sell stuff online and since the emphasis is on handmade stuff, the company you’ll be in is good, for the most part.

You can promote the shop on your own and you’ll get browsing traffic from people looking around Etsy.

augustlan's avatar

Thanks for all of your answers. Now I just have to decide if my stuff is actually worth selling. I have low self-art-esteem. Lurve to all of you!

bigbanana's avatar

I am told on good authority that for crafty people, etsy is a great way to go. You have very little, if nothing to lose and much to gain. Go for it!

susanc's avatar

@Augustlan: show us your art. Let us decide. You admit you shouldn’t be the one.

augustlan's avatar

@susanc Oh, you have no idea how scared I would be to do that! I’ll have to give that some serious thought. :)

Alas, I don’t even have one of my own paintings on display in my own home! At the moment, I only have one of my paintings even in my possession. A rather simple one at that, not even my usual style. All the others live in other people’s houses. That’s the only thing I’ve ever painted for… to give them to friends and family.

resmc's avatar

I lurve etsy. Am more of a buyer… usually of vintage clothes/accessories, jewelry supplies, sometimes cheap & lovely upcycled clothes. Not that I’ve bought much (little more than one each of the stuff mentioned), but it’s my favorite place to shop & oggle stuff.

It seems the best place to sell… the format’s very open & inviting, aside from intuitive. Other selling sites seem very cumbersome in a way which probably cuts down on sales. Heard most sellers don’t like ebay, also, in case you were wondering if a larger site would be preferable.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

my buddy sells his handmade capacitor guys, he calls them 21stCentury folk art on Etsy. Does very well, too. I don’t suppose I can get away with posting a link to his site, though. Oh well, Dave got away with it. :-)

I’ve got bunches of these, perfect gift for the computer nerd in your life, or just someone like me, who enjoys neat stuff.

augustlan's avatar

Those are so cute! BTW, I’ve taken pics of some paintings I did for my kids… now I just have to get them on the computer, and maybe I’ll let you guys see them. ;-)

marinelife's avatar

@augustlan Hurray! Can’t wait.

YARNLADY's avatar

Yes, this is one of the best sites on the internet to seel craft items. Do not expect to become self-supporting, the buyers are mostly looking for bargains. This means set the price very low. Do some research to discover the best way to market your products.

Daethian's avatar

I prefer as it’s a flat rate to sell or FREE if you have 12 or fewer items to sell. They also really cater to their members. I have not had that positive experience at Etsy. Etsy is also unbelievably large and it’s hard to be seen there unless someone searches for you specifically.

Artfire has been focused on promoting it’s members to help them succeed where Etsy is only beginning to follow Artfire’s lead and incorporating some basic tools to help you promote.

Also Artfire is extending their membership special and free ride deals! If I get 12 referrals I win 2 free rides for life. One for me and one I will give away via random drawing to one of the 12 people who signed up.

I’ve used both and I find Artfire to be far more user friendly and involved in it’s community of members. The owner is on Twitter and he responds to anything I ask him! @artfirejohn

MoeJoe's avatar

Hey I have heard of a new site that is supposed to launch late winter or early spring called It is supposed to be like Etsy or Artfire, except that it has a couple of things that those two don’t. I also heard that is fairly cheap to list on. I can’t wait till it launches so I can try it out.

keane7342's avatar

I LOVE browsing etsy!! Almost better than going out to shop….so yes, I’d say worth it.

suzanneartist's avatar

I like Etsy, in fact I just opened a second store. I feel ETSY works hard to help artists/artisans and vintage good sellers to learn how to promote, and successfully sell their work.
My two stores: suzanneartist
and suzanneurban

Having a day job prevents me from amping up things where I could sell more, I do feel if I had a larger inventory in each of my shops I would have more steady sales. And I need to improve my photos.

Yes, I too would like to quit my day job, and there are etsy artists who have so they can sell and manage their etsy shop. This takes as much work as the day job, but worth it, I think when people complain ETSY takes work-they f the alternative would be to have a day job which also takes work, work is work; being in own business is very hard work, but for many worth it. Etsy allows creatifs to sell in between shows, which I feel is key.


I see many shops where it’s clear the seller hasn’t read any of the articles on how to sell their work or set up their shop to be visually effective.

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