I opened my third Etsy shop, the Transylvanian Trove, less than one year ago, hoping to have learned from the strategies and failures of the first two and having a chance to try a different approach.
My first shop, the Goddess Gruia, was opened in 2015 and focused on my artwork. As painting is just a (serious) hobby for me, I have little time to organize exhibitions, go to art camps, and collaborate with galleries (anyway few in numbers in my home town of Cluj-Napoca), as I did before getting a full-time job. Considering these time limitations, the decorative character of my paintings and linocuts, and the affordable prices I believe are right for them, Etsy did seem like a good solution. Still, two year and 8 sales later, it proves that the platform is not really the best to sell art and promoting one's listings is equally time consuming than all the things mentioned above that I was trying to avoid.
I then tried a shop with a different profile and promotion approach - the Proper Leather Studio. The handmade leather manufacture started with my husband worked rather well in Romania, so we though about making special items for Etsy as well (the design is different for wallets, for example, as the Romanian ID card is rather large and requires a special pocket). We decided to take this second shop easy, not invest time in promotion games but rather pay for Etsy marketing and not stress about having enough listings, long descriptions and all the rest. It was indeed very stress-free, but we had only two sales in over a year and concluded that a bit more involvement is required, at least in the number of listings :)
|Print screen - the Transylvanian Trove - July 2017|
The third - and I believe my last Etsy shop - the Transylvanian Trove, brought me the greatest joy. The strategy was to sell items I already owned (vintage accessories, retro jewelry, unique prints, collectibles, some older creations of mine, other made by friends or bought over time) so production seemed to cost nothing and I got to free up some space :) I also set aside only small objects for this shop, things that could be send as correspondence, thus not requiring me to take longed trips to the international postal office (for larger packs) and reducing the cost of shipping that buyers certainly appreciate as well. At the same time it seems that cheap nice things sell better and more often, and this makes sense as well. Selling a pair of 6$ earrings - packed in 5 minutes, shipped in 24h hours and received and reviewed in 1 week, often made me happier than selling more expensive, but larger and much more difficult to pack and ship paintings.
|Selection of design accessories and collectibles from Transylvania|
I also decided to learn more and use the promotions tools available - partly paid, mostly free- such as relatively frequent shop updates, correct tags and titles, longer descriptions, variables, team work games, social networks, related blogs etc. With more time invested, the 10 sales so far have bough me greater joy than those made with the other shops - even if the prices were so much smaller :)
|Earrings, leather tooled bracelet, leather coasters and vintage necklace from the Transylvanian Trove|
I am (still) committed to all three shops on Etsy and I believe all can be improved to lead to more sales and better visibility. It is also a matter of perseverance and stubbornness, but one also makes a habit out of checking the shops daily and being active on the platform just for fun.