Etsy can be a great place to sell your wood projects, allowing others to appreciate the things you’ve made while earning money for your hard work. Unfortunately, figuring out how to sell on sites like Etsy can be overwhelming at times, if you aren’t sure what you’re supposed to do. Sometimes sales will be slow, sometimes they’ll be fast and often you’ll find yourself wondering how best to appeal to potential customers. Although there is no one-size-fits-all formula to Etsy success, keeping the following points in mind will give you a good idea of where to start.
Low-end vs. High-end
When you pour a lot of hours and materials into a project, you deserve to make money on it when it sells. If you’re selling on Etsy, though, you’ll likely find that your lower-priced items sell much quicker than high-end pieces. That doesn’t mean you should only have low-end items in your shop, but if you want to keep things going and make your Etsy shop into a full-fledged income source, keep those low-end projects in production. Don’t abandon the high-end stuff entirely, because they’re the ones that will drive your word of mouth advertising and help find new buyers.
Many people shop Etsy hoping to find something unique. As a woodworker, there are many ways you can make unique pieces that may sell for a premium. Consider using driftwood, reclaimed wood or other material that sets itself apart from the crowd. You shouldn’t necessarily use this for every project (unless you have a good supply and that’s the material you most enjoy working with), but having a few unique pieces in your shop will definitely get some attention.
Stock a Few Basics
Etsy gives you a chance to show off your creative side, selling pretty much anything you can make. That said, it doesn’t hurt to keep a few basic items for sale in your shop as well. Desks, simple coffee tables, and other basic wood items often sell well and can keep business coming in until your more creative projects sell. Just like the low-end vs. high-end debate, finding a balance between basic and creative items will keep you in sales while letting you express yourself.
Consider the Price
If you want to make money from your work, don’t sell it for less than the cost of the materials you used to make it. Perhaps more importantly, don’t sell it for the same price as the materials you used to make it. If you do that, you’re not making any money – you’re just breaking even. Even worse, you’re attributing no value to the time and effort you put in to making the piece. Make sure you have a markup over your material cost so you’ll actually make some money on what you sell. Shop around for similar pieces for an idea of how to price them.
Keep Shipping in Mind
Making money on Etsy means shipping the items you sell. There’s just no way around it – if you want a successful Etsy shop, you’re going to have to ship. That can be problematic if you make large, awkwardly-shaped pieces or overly fragile pieces that might be damaged during shipping. Take the time to talk to someone at UPS, FedEx or the US Postal Service to get a good idea of what shipping rates will be on different pieces so you can plan accordingly.
Treat it Like a Job
There’s a very good reason to treat your Etsy shop like it’s your job – It is. It may not be your primary source of income, but you still have to treat it as a serious responsibility. Be professional when communicating with buyers, ship things as soon as possible after receiving an order and be willing to field the occasional complaint. The more respect you give your Etsy store, the more evident it will be to customers planning to buy your products.
Find Time to Work
Once you start selling items on Etsy, you’re going to need to replace what you sell. Make sure you set aside time to work on Etsy projects or your storefront might end up a little barren. If you have items that are selling well, devote a little more time to making replacements so you’ll have a little bit of extra stock for those items.
Don’t ignore your higher-end and creative projects, though, since they’ll not only earn you more money when they sell, they’ll also allow you to do more of the work you actually enjoy.