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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wanted to start this topic again. I had it before but can't find the old one. I started my Etsy shop in Feb of 2012 and went full time in May of 2013. I have had good success on Etsy and I see lots of misinformation on it. I would like to open a discussion on it with anyone that has any interest.

There are lots of woodworkers on Etsy, like more than 2000 and many make lots of money there. My sales in 2015 increased over 2014 by more than $120K. So I know it can be done. If you have any questions on Etsy, selling on there, shipping etc I am ready.
 

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Thanks for offering to share your experience.

I'm currently working on a coffee table, of my own design, that I might try to sell on etsy. I'd probably need to sell it at $5K to make it worthwhile. Of course, I wonder if anything sells for $5K on etsy, or if that price point is just too high to make any sales.

So, my question is, have you found that there are price points where stuff sells, and above it a certain threshold it just sits there? I know there's a lot of lower-priced craft type stuff, but (I don't think) you can really make a living selling at those prices. (just to be clear, I'm not knocking anybody's craft, I'm only talking about a profitable business).

Thanks for any input you can provide.
 

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I've also been considering Etsy for a while to make some side money.

Seems to me like everything I've seen is one of two things: either small stuff that would be more high production but that sells at a below profitable margin, or high end stuff selling for thousands but how many of those items actually sell at those prices.
 

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Sawing against the Wind
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VIF I also have interest. Is there a link to your etsy site? I'm looking for a different marketing field. I'm interested in a quality market place known for better pieces not as a LSN (local sales network) or a craigslist as most are looking for a deal not a quality artistic product. You may look at my website link here http://www.tsmfarms.com/for-sale.html and see a few of the pieces I've made might be of the needs in the Etsy market.
Thanks
 

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for offering to share your experience.

I'm currently working on a coffee table, of my own design, that I might try to sell on etsy. I'd probably need to sell it at $5K to make it worthwhile. Of course, I wonder if anything sells for $5K on etsy, or if that price point is just too high to make any sales.

So, my question is, have you found that there are price points where stuff sells, and above it a certain threshold it just sits there? I know there's a lot of lower-priced craft type stuff, but (I don't think) you can really make a living selling at those prices. (just to be clear, I'm not knocking anybody's craft, I'm only talking about a profitable business).

Thanks for any input you can provide.
People do sell expensive stuff on Etsy. But lower priced stuff sells much better. I've been trying to explain to my friends the way Etsy works. They show me a link to a nice table on Etsy that's on there for $600 and ask why I don't make stuff like that. First I don't have nice enough equipment to but mostly I don't have time. I explain that in the time it takes that guy to make that table I can make 4 and make more profit than he did. Plus I don't have to sit on my piece for a month. My in stock stuff sells within days of listing.

Generally popular in stock items can sell same day, next day. I've had a piece sell 19 minutes after listing. Probably luck but still.

Most sales on Etsy are lower priced items. These items are generally well below you guys skill level. The popular items these days are simple basic wood items, old reclaimed wood, crappy looking wood etc. For whatever reason it sells quickly. I sell a lot of desks. Coffee tables I havent been selling much of until this past week. I added them to my promoted listings on there. It costs a dollar a day for that but they sell.

Here is a link to my shop. You can see the basic stuff I make.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/Vintagesteelandwood?ref=l2-shopheader-name

I used to make bigger more complicated stuff but this stuff sells so much faster i'm covered up.
 

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I've also been considering Etsy for a while to make some side money.

Seems to me like everything I've seen is one of two things: either small stuff that would be more high production but that sells at a below profitable margin, or high end stuff selling for thousands but how many of those items actually sell at those prices.

Depends on what it is. I sell everything I make for a decent price and make a profit on everything. But I have changed the way I do things and quit making some things that take too much time. Then I changed my processes to make things faster. Generally I have less than 2 hours worth of labor in any item I make. Most about one hour to and hour and a half.

For example I used to make wood benches. But they take more time to make than a coffee table or desk and sell for less. So I no longer make them even though they are pretty easy to make and sell well.

I also used to make lots of large clothing racks with multiple shelves and I'm getting to where I don't have enough time to do those as much either.
 

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
VIF I also have interest. Is there a link to your etsy site? I'm looking for a different marketing field. I'm interested in a quality market place known for better pieces not as a LSN (local sales network) or a craigslist as most are looking for a deal not a quality artistic product. You may look at my website link here http://www.tsmfarms.com/for-sale.html and see a few of the pieces I've made might be of the needs in the Etsy market.
Thanks
Link to my shop:
https://www.etsy.com/shop/Vintagesteelandwood

Any of that stuff on your site will sell. There are things like that on there. The next thing you have to do is get them noticed. When making an ad on there you have to have the key words that people search for. They allow 13 key words and 13 key words in the materials so you can cover every term people would use to search for that item. For example go to Etsy and search for hairpin legs desk, hairpin legs, or hairpin legs table. On page one somewhere usually is my shop. that's due to promoted listings and the sale volume I have.

Items sell on Etsy from cheap very low priced up to works of art that sell for thousands. It just depends on whether you are wanting to sell some art work, make some extra cash or do it full time.

So maybe search for something similar to yours on Etsy and see what comes up. The key words they use are at the bottom of the page.
 

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Thanks for your information.

How do you know what keywords people are searching for? Is there a way to see what the most popular search terms are?

I'm guessing that the most popular search terms are going to indicate what is most likely to sell. For example, do more people search for 'desk' rather than 'coffee table'? This would correlate to your experience selling more desks than coffee tables.
 

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for your information.

How do you know what keywords people are searching for? Is there a way to see what the most popular search terms are?

I'm guessing that the most popular search terms are going to indicate what is most likely to sell. For example, do more people search for 'desk' rather than 'coffee table'? This would correlate to your experience selling more desks than coffee tables.
On your stats page for your shop you can see what search words people used to find your item. There is probably a way to find out. I have not done that research. I do know that people search for desks and tables more than coffee tables.

In your shop stats page it shows where the clicks are coming from, what words they searched with and your top key words searched for.

I have both of my styles of tables and desks with the same amount of promotion and desks still out sell coffee tables about 3 or 4 to one. It was much higher until I added coffee tables to promoted listings. Whether something sells or not is also dependent on price and what it looks like. If I have two equal tables and I have before, and they have different pics one gets more looks than the other. It's due to people typing in a key word then scrolling through pics till they see something that catches their eye.

None of my stuff is all that special or high tone expensive quality. All my stuff has that basic wood look and feel with attention to detail. No sharp edges, rounded corners and beveled edges as well as no pits of holes. Smooth top easy for writing etc. That is what people ask for most.
 

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I will take a screen shot of my stats page and post it. It shows where traffic comes from and what they are viewing and clicking.
 

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Thanks for all the info. Do you use the same wood for everything and just stain to customer spec? If so what wood and where do you source it from?

Congrats, I did check stats and at 2300+ sales you have done real well.
 

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the info. Do you use the same wood for everything and just stain to customer spec? If so what wood and where do you source it from?

Congrats, I did check stats and at 2300+ sales you have done real well.
I use SPF whitewood from the big box store for everything. I don't use any hardwoods at all. Wherever they get it for some reason it has real nice grain patterns. I do not use any yellow pine for anything. The stuff I get has real nice grains. I will post a pic of some of that raw.

I offer 10 stain choices and make most stuff to order. As I get spare time or my oldest son is in town to help we make extra "in stock" tables that I offer. Those sell real well.

Most of you can take one look at what I am making and see what they are made of as well as about what time and materials are there. This desk is made with some regular SPF it just happened to have a nice grain to make it look like old reclaimed wood.



The hairpin legs we make in house. I have my 18 year old son doing those part time and his friend also part time after school. We also sell the legs by themselves.
 

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Very inspiring. I have always planned on opening an etsy page after I got some of my other projects completed but we will probably be moving that up the schedule :) we'll be starting with signs from reclaimed lumber. We've searched around on etsy the last few days and have seen a lot of wood signs but nothing quite like we do for our booths so hopefully we'll have a niche.
 

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I do not ship assembled. Just think of how big the packaging would need to be to ship a table with the legs on or a clothing rack assembled. It would have to go on a pallet and cost $300 or more to ship. The table in the pic above is 48" long, 20" wide and 30" high. It ships in a box that is 49" long, 21" wide and 6" deep.

To do this you can't buy just a single box. This is why I mentioned box centric above. Making stuff easy to ship. I will give an example. My planer is 20" wide so the widest tables I make are 20" (really 19.75" so they fit in a 20" wide box) I used to make wider ones by doing two glue ups then putting them together and sanding out the seam later. But it's just not worth all the extra time it takes to make those. The length is also set by boxes. I sell them from 30" long to 59" long. The best place to get boxes easy and cheap is Uline. They sell 20" wide boxes in 20x20x6 and 20x30x6. Cant go with a more shallow box as there has to be room for the legs.

So to ship any table I have to put two boxes together with the ends cut out. For a 40" table I would use two 20x20 boxes and for a 59" table I would use two 20x30 boxes. Anything in between I just cut one of the boxes. I use a 4' T square to mark them and cut them with a box knife. I use the flat cardboard pads inside and around the inside and outside perimeter of the box with 3 layers minimum on all sides. This keeps them from damage and I can ship them cheap instead of having to make a wood box or pallet to ship on.

The table above can be shipped from Texas to either coast for less than $40 UPS ground. I do have a good rate as I ship several a day. The legs are packaged in boxes individually and then put in the box with the top and the screws. My shipping guy can box a table in 30 to 45 minutes at a decent pace. Faster if we have to. I would not be able to do the volume I do without making everything easy to ship. This goes back to what we talked about earlier with the benches. Same amount of time to make a table, half the price and twice the time to package. Easy to see why I don't make those. If I could make them with detachable legs maybe they are profitable.
 

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Here is a screen shot of part of the stats page. I can't show all of it because it shows money info. But the stats page has all stats of where people are clicking from, what they are clicking most etc to help tailor your items to get maximum sales. This pic is the most active pages on my Etsy shop page..


That shows how many views. I have it set to show 2015 totals. You can show this week, last week, month or whatever year. The next pic is the top keywords searched for in my shop.



Now that I have my shop established I rarely look at these or adjust anything. But this is just scratching the surface of what all you can do to increase sales and track what is getting attention and what is not.

Remember opening an Etsy shop is free. Making a listing costs 20 cents and last for 180 days. When the item sells they get 3.5% And speaking of payments Etsy now takes all cards and Paypal even if you dont have a Paypal account. The Etsy direct checkout lets them accept the payment and they send you a deposit once a week. They send a deposit Monday afternoon and it's in my bank account Tuesday morning. You can also schedule an earlier deposit any day of the week.
 

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Those screenshots are interesting, thanks for posting.

My observation is that the search terms people are using are pretty simple and broad, as in 'desk' and not 'hairpin leg reclaimed wood computer desk'. I think on google, which has a much broader database, the search terms have to be more specific (imagine doing a search for 'desk' on google!).

It looks like the overall take on selling is about 6.5% or so? (3.5% for etsy, 3% for paypal?). I'm pretty sure that's cheaper than ebay. I wonder if etsy's percentage goes down as the price of the item goes up (that's what ebay does).
 

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Sawdust Mill Operator
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Those screenshots are interesting, thanks for posting.

My observation is that the search terms people are using are pretty simple and broad, as in 'desk' and not 'hairpin leg reclaimed wood computer desk'. I think on google, which has a much broader database, the search terms have to be more specific (imagine doing a search for 'desk' on google!).

It looks like the overall take on selling is about 6.5% or so? (3.5% for etsy, 3% for paypal?). I'm pretty sure that's cheaper than ebay. I wonder if etsy's percentage goes down as the price of the item goes up (that's what ebay does).
Many sales come from people searching on Google and an Etsy listing comes up. Just google reclaimed wood coffee table or something similar. Etsy will be all over the searches.

The 3.5% stays the same. If you have direct checkout they get another I think .25% or something. I call it the cost of the site. Cheap if you ask me. I do very well on there.
 
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