Today we are shopping in the Etsy shop belonging to Joan of the blog, Anything Goes Here. Joan is a long time antique dealer living in the Chicago area. Recently, she began selling on Etsy and she was generous enough to take the time to tell us about her experience.
Joan, why did you decide to start selling on Etsy after years of doing antique shows?
I was attracted to the less physical demands of an online store and the ability to reach customers across the nation. I think that this means of selling is well suited to the many small interesting items that I have and at this stage of my life I am also beginning to part with my own personal collections by selling them in my Etsy shop.
Joan loves the little boutique feel of Etsy and finds it much more personal than Ebay. She particularly likes the one price and no bidding part of Etsy. Joan has always enjoyed creating "an environment" whether it be in her home, in a shop or antique booth, at a show...or now... in her Etsy shop.
Did you find it difficult to set up your shop Joan?
It was intimidating, but I just went at it step by step and worked my way through it. I read what other vendors said about their policies, etc. and used Etsy's abundant "help services" and "on line help chat services".
Does it take a lot of your time?
Many hours. But I want it to be very successful so I am treating it as my day to day job.
It is like any start up business, it takes effort to get it up and running and I am too new at it to know how much time it will take in the future.
I think you could choose how much time to spend at it... adjust your expectations, BUT because you are sending out orders, that requires daily regular attention, because customer service is all important!!
How about Shipping?
This has been an ongoing learning process, and a not very scientific one. I started by looking first at what other vendors were charging for similar items. Then I shipped some orders and noticed where I was right and wrong. The safe way is to cover shipping to the furthest location which for me is the west coast.
I am only shipping to US locations at this point, unless someone requests I ship internationally. Then I pack the item up, go to the post office and get a price, communicate with the buyer and then add the charges to my listing for that location.
My next step is to invest in a postal scale, do all the shipping calculations from home using the computer, and if busy enough I will have my shipments picked up at my house.
Do you have any advice for others who might want to start their own Etsy shop?
Start slow. Work out the kinks before really plunging in. Concentrate on easy to ship items, and great customer service. Look at what other successful Etsy vendors are doing. Read the information that Etsy provides and use their help!
Can you identify any pitfalls that we should be on the lookout for?
Charging too little for shipping. Giving customers too much time to pay. Not knowing how the "tags" work. Selling something you can't ship easily. Rushing in and not giving thought to your shop's overall look. (I have had to redo a lot of my photographs! Not using natural light for pictures... artificial light gives everything a very yellow cast.)
Would you consider your Etsy shop a success at this point?
I am VERY happy with how it is going and I am satisfied with the financial rewards. I think it has great potential to replace doing more shows!
It is a start up business, with start up business expenses and start up efforts. It is too early to really have a handle on long term profits.
Are you enjoying having an Etsy shop Joan?
Yes! I don't do anything that I don't enjoy!!!! Do I LOVE every aspect of it? Of course, not! I am SO grateful to MR. Anything Goes Here for doing the Post Office run! Will I like the bookkeeping, tax part? NO! But it is a necessary part of running a business.
Thank you Joan for taking the time to share your Etsy shop experience with our readers!
You always have the most interesting and unique vintage items and sometimes some pretty clever and crafty things too in your shop!
I hope you all enjoyed visiting with Joan today....if you are an Etsy seller, perhaps you would like to add to this discussion and share a bit of your experience with us!
Have a great weekend and happy shopping!
All photos are items currently selling in Joan's Etsy shop.