What to do about Etsy…

As of October 5th, I only have five remaining items listed in my jewelry store on Etsy.  I still have a sizable stock of bracelets to sell, tucked away in a ziploc bag in a drawer, but I’m not thrilled by the results I’ve had selling via Etsy and thus not sure I want to bother re-listing my inventory.  Twenty cents to list each item, with each listing lasting for four months before expiring, then a cut of each sale to Etsy, another cut of each sale to Paypal, and the impossible game of trying to charge an accurate amount for shipping costs – I’ve lost more money than I’ve made through my few Etsy sales.  Not to mention that my meager jewelry offerings are lost in the whirl of goods that are listed each day on Etsy.

Though I had dreams of making my fortune through my Etsy store, my realistic goal was to sell enough jewelry to support my expensive new hobby.  I’d still like to achieve that, since jewelry making is a blast and an excellent, creative change of pace for me from my job and our home improvement projects, but I don’t think it’s really going to happen.  Silver, my favorite medium, gets pricier every day, and copper wire just doesn’t cut it…blech.  So I’m trying hard to think of a way to sell enough jewelry to support my habit, especially since the more jewelry I make, the better I’ll get at making it.  Perhaps I’ll establish my own website, which seems like an enormous amount of work, or perhaps I’ll highlight new jewelry pieces here on this blog, or perhaps I’ll work at creating enough stock to rent a booth next year at the farmer’s market down the street from our house.  Meanwhile, though, I think I need to investigate whether I can take a business loss on my taxes for this year…ah, the price of creativity and a broad, interesting inner life.

4 thoughts on “What to do about Etsy…”

  1. I think you should do all of your ideas. The more exposure the better! I know a young woman (yes, we’re related) who just built a website for another friend who makes jewelry (very different from yours) and was not getting the exposure/sales/profit from Esty that she’d dreamed of. This person works very cheap (like, maybe a bracelet as barter) because it’s good practice for her job at a very large university that shall remain nameless, but which isn’t Harvard. 🙂

  2. I think your ideas of creating a website or selling at a framers market are great. If you’re loosing money by selling on Etsy, I don’t see the point in using it.

    If you do choose to continue listing on Etsy, one way to “guarantee” a profit (over the course of, say, 8 months) is to price your item at the cost of materials plus a percentage (for the profit), adding in $.40 for listing the item twice, plus the percent etsy takes and the percent paypal takes. It would (obviously) make your items more expensive and possibly less likely to sell, but… For the shipping cost, when I sold my (one) item on Etsy, I gave the price of a flat-rate-box, so it didn’t matter where in the US it went, I knew it’d cost the same.

  3. You could try placing your work at little boutiques in that cute pricey town you live near. you know…the one we grew up in?

  4. Jean – ah, I wish I was in the league of placing items in little boutiques…but I’m not quite there yet, I’m afraid!
    Alyson – I had thought I had priced for profit, but it’s that shipping that kills me. It seems that most Etsy sellers only charge $2.50 for shipping, which is a loss whichever way you cut it, and when I raised my shipping to $4.00 my sales halted. And, I think a lot of Etsy sellers in this leather wrap bracelet category are barely making money, which makes me look expensive. I don’t know how they do it for the price they charge!!! (And what did you sell on Etsy? 🙂 )
    Liz – Bracelets as barter sound great to me…if only I could interest our cat’s vet and my hairdresser in the barter concept…

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