To Etsy or not to Etsy - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

To Etsy or not to Etsy

(These are my favorite bowls and my most expensive.  I tried to price things according to how long it took me to finish them and how functional I think they would be in someone’s home.)

One of my recent conundrums is whether or not to start selling some of my crafts online.  Friends and family have been very supportive, but I still have lots of doubts.  I wonder if I am really the kind of person who could make money at it.  I worry about what might be the best platform to use, and of course I wonder if what I make is really going to appeal to any online shoppers.  But really, my ultimate question is whether or not it’s worth all the trouble.

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Etsy photo 4

This a bowl I made from cardboard. They are really cool.  At certain angles they are transparent.

A lot of my friends are so into Etsy and other websites like it right now.  I know a dozen or more people who have at least opened a shop online, but only one or two who appear to be pursuing it with any success.  One of those successful sellers is my friend and high school art teacher, Kristy Patterson.  I emailed her to get her take and she had nothing but positive reviews.  She said she was hesitant at first too, but after doing her research she found that “the gamble [was] worth the risk”.

Corner on the Market

Etsy does seem to be the most well known craft selling website, but there are a lot of other places to hawk your stuff and some of them have better benefits when it comes to dollars and cents.  Etsy charges 20 cents per listing per month and then a 2 percent commission when your item sells.  As far as I’m concerned none of the other sites have the name recognition or traffic that Etsy does so I decided that was worth the price.

Popularity Contest

Etsy photo 3

This is the first paper bowl I ever made. I hope online shoppers like it as much as my friends do.

My friends started encouraging me more than a year ago that my stuff was worth selling, but it has really taken me a long time to feel confident about it.  In order to help myself feel better about how my crafts look compared to other listings, I brought in a pro.

I don’t have any money to spend, so I bartered a photo session with my blogger/photographer friend in exchange for mending a bunch of her husband’s ripped jeans.  Unconventional?  Maybe, but it was free!  She has a great camera and an even better eye and even I have to admit that in her pictures my paper bowls look great.

You’ll Never Know Until You Go

All my worries about getting an online business started can’t really be answered until I try it.  Navigating the post office, trying to find an audience, managing to make a profit—these are all things I can only theorize about so much before I just go try it out.  So that’s what I’m doing.  Today.  Right now.  Please, take a few minutes to check out my shop and give me some feedback.  At this point, comments and advice are as valuable to me as actual sales.

About the author

Kathryn Powers

Kathryn Powers is a native of the Oklahoma Panhandle. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English literature from the University of Oklahoma and Georgetown University respectively and like many English majors, is not currently utilizing any part of her education. After a brief stint as a high school English teacher, Powers married and followed her husband to Beersheva, Israel where he is studying medicine and she is struggling to buy the groceries, do the laundry and pay the bills all without a working knowledge of Hebrew. Powers is a long time crafter, sewer and general project starter. She, her mom and her two sisters have been known to sweep into each other’s lives, start ten projects, finish two and then quickly disappear leaving only a trail of yarn, glue and ribbon. Powers is an avid and indiscriminate TV watcher, sometimes baker, and dog-less dog lover. She thanks her husband for his everlasting patience with her craft mess. Contact the author.

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