I’ve spent the last several days doing a big photo shoot so I could add new items to my Etsy shop. Lots of stuff like pocket mirrors, art blocks, small original art, art cards and new prints. I’ve been wanting to get it all in there for so long.
I have a lot of issues with Etsy, but over the years it has served me well. It was there for me when I was just starting out, unsure of myself and my art. It gave me a safe and inexpensive way to figure it all out.
Because Etsy has grown so much over the years, I think people shy away from it or become easily frustrated by the lack of sales. After all, it’s not Etsy’s job to bring people to your shop, that’s your job. A bit of time, patience and a lot of passion is needed to get those sales to start coming. In the meanwhile, let Etsy serve you in other ways.
Before you get started, make sure you have the basics covered. Etsy makes it easy to figure out payment methods and even shipping. All you have to do it take great pictures (in focus and natural light only, please!) and figure out your pricing.
The reasons below are for those just starting out, dipping into the arena of selling. You may have a website/blog, or not. Maybe you are just on social media and share your work there. Or maybe you are pounding the pavement to your local shops and markets. Whatever the case, take a look and see how Etsy can better serve you and your efforts to sell your art!
1. Your own personal online art gallery. Etsy can serve as a great way to display the art work you have done. Their clean, simple layout allows your images and logo to be the shining stars. People can see at a glance all you have to offer. Make sure to take advantage of the About Page. People want to know about you and what you do.
2. Easy, low cost. Etsy is constantly changing their format, but it is still really easy to make a listing and have an image displayed. For only 20 cents, you won’t be breaking the bank. If you were to list just 10 items, over one year it would cost you less than ten dollars. Plus, they take only 3.5% of your sale. That is really a good deal.
3. Gives your art an online home. If you are telling the world that you are an artist, you’ll be asked if you have a website or online shop. If you are not ready for your own personal website shop, Etsy is the next best thing. Most people will not want to skim through your blog, instagram or Facebook page to find your art. Having a gallery-like place to share is a really great idea. Plus, showing prices and giving the option to purchase will help them decide if they want to buy something – which is the ultimate goal, right? Even if you have an online shop or website, it doesn’t hurt to throw a few items into Etsy too (see no. 4).
4. It gives you a way to be found. With so many people on Etsy, you might feel like you will get lost in the sea of online makers. But here is the gold nugget — someone out there is looking for your very special item. They can find you using the Etsy search engine and your item will even show up in a Google search. Even better, the big guys (as in people looking to license art or order big custom items) are searching on Etsy too. Possibly for your special item. I was found by a company looking for Frida Kahlo art and got a great licensing gig from it. Remember to use all 13 tags as best as you can! This helps the right people to find you.
5. It shows that you are serious about your art. When you take the big step to create an online shop, people really start to take you seriously. It shows that you believe in yourself, in your art, in what you are doing. “Believe you can and you’re half way there.” Thank you Theodore Roosevelt for your very wise words.
Just make sure to commit to having your shop for at least one year. One of the biggest mistakes I see, is people giving up after only a few months because of no sales. In the beginning I would go months without a sale, but I was gathering likes and views. My shop has never been empty since I started in December of 2008.
Remember you need time, patience, passion and a way to bring people to your shop. Blogging is a great way to bring people to your shop and so are social media sites. My favorites are instagram and my Facebook page. Share updates, new items and special offers, but also share what you love, what inspires you and what your process is. Over time, you will gain a following.
Lastly, signing up for a small art shows/markets is another really great way to share your art. It’s a lot of work, but it is how I make 75% of my income. People don’t always have the money on hand or have a hard time making a decision on what to buy. By having an online shop to share, they may want to order something from you later.
Even if you would rather not deal with online sales, you really should consider having some way to visually share your beautiful artwork online. Nowadays, it’s almost expected and it is so very much appreciated.