Anyone can open an Etsy shop. And with over 800,000 active shops, a lot of anyones have! But not all of those shops are successful, and like most small businesses, many will fail within their first year of opening. So what is it that separates success from failure on Etsy?
Is success determined by shop owner luck? or by being at the right place at the right time? or by Etsy playing favorites? Is it by having the best or trendiest products? No, no, no, no. It is one thing: commitment. If you want to be successful on Etsy, you have to be committed to your shop. As with anything, your level of success will equal your level of commitment.
I have asked Alex of woodenaht to join us today to talk about the importance of shop commitment for success on Etsy. Alex is an artisan woodworker who creates unique and functional/decorative art from salvaged wood. He is a longtime and successful Etsian, having opened shop in 2007. Besides being a member of Etsy Handmade Team, Alex is the Captain of the Commitment Group, an Etsy team dedicated to maximizing the success of its member shops.
Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Alex.
K: Tell us a little about how you got started on Etsy.
Alex: I think a friend told me about etsy in 2007. I thought so little of it at the time that I didn’t even bother buying a digital camera. I used throwaway cameras.
K: Looking back on your start, how committed were you at that time to being successful here? Did your level of sales reflect your level of commitment?
Alex: I wasn’t committed at all. I was still making mostly large furniturey type things back then which I didn’t think would sell online due to high shipping cost. I concentrated on shows and selling to local stores for 4 years, then opened for good in 2011.
K: Would you say you are more committed today than you were back then?
Alex: Definitely. The more sales I got, the more I wanted.
K: How can you tell if a shop owner is committed to their shop?
Alex: It is easy to see if they have done complete work. Photos, correct seo, regularly listing new items will tell you.
K: What advice do you have for shop owners who are struggling with low sales?
Alex: If you are new to making things, and new to selling them on line, it is going to take time. Those are two difficult things to learn at the same time. Don’t be hard on yourself. Learn everything you can about SEO, then test it to see what works. From doing a lot of shop critiques, I estimate less than 20% of etsy sellers have good SEO. Most people just want to make stuff, selling uses a different muscle.
K: This is a little off-topic, but I would like your opinion: Being an Etsy “oldtimer”, you have seen a lot of changes take place on the venue during your time here. What would you say has been the best change? and the worst?
Alex: Though I joined in 2007, I wasn’t open for good until 11/2011, so I don’t know much about the old days. The switch to relevance just happened when I reopened. That has been the biggest change I have seen, and the best. I can’t think of any negative changes.
K: Anything else you would like to share?
Alex: Aside from knowing what to make, and how to make it, everything necessary for successful selling is readily available here, and it is free. It is up to you to find it.
Thank you, Alex. We are always delighted to gain insight from experienced Etsians!