How to Sell Art on Etsy

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This is a guest post from yesterday’s featured interview, the Mousesnaps ladies Nova & Mimi.  Their Etsy website is rolling along and today they are sharing with us tips on how to sell well on Etsy.  You might also want to check out another Abundant Artist post on how to sell your art online.

How to Sell Art on Etsy

Invest in your photos. Photos on any online store do much more than just showcase your item – they represent how seriously you take your business and the overall quality of your products. Invest in a good camera, learn basic photography techniques and take plenty of photos for your shop. Of course, not everyone is a convincing photographer. Only half of the Mousesnaps team knows her way around a digital camera. If you can’t seem to take good photos, enlist the help of a friend who’s more skilled or has a better camera. A lot of amateur photographers will be willing to take photos if you offer them a photo credit on your site.

Stage your postings. When you post a new item on Etsy, it’s listed at the top of the corresponding section for a short period of time. This gives you and your store increased visibility. Each time Mousesnaps has had a major sale or inquiry, it’s been immediately after a new posting. If you have several items to upload, it makes sense to space your postings over a period of days to maximize your exposure.

Take advantage of categories and tags. Etsy’s suggested tags are there for a reason – they’re common items people look for on the site. Use Etsy’s suggested language instead of your own. For example, if you’re selling a set of kitchen towels, be sure to use the “towel” tag. Don’t skip that tag and instead create your own “kitchen towel” tag – you will miss anyone who comes to the site and just searches for through the towel tag. If you have available tags left for your posting after you’ve selected any appropriate ones Etsy has listed, feel free to create your own.

Leverage your personal networks. Cross-promote your Etsy posts on your Facebook page, your blog, or Twitter (Editor’s note: I’d also add Flickr.  People go looking for images and see your stuff).  Etsy even has a toolbar feature that lets you share your new listings on Facebook, provided you’re logged into both sites. But keep in mind that no one likes to be marketed to all the time – so be sure to keep it entertaining for those in your networks. Don’t only tweet when you’re posting a new item. And don’t update your blog once a week when you’re adding something new to your store. Keep people involved in your business by posting anecdotes about your creation process, giving an inside look at something as its being completed or just keep people up to date on your related endeavors. It’s much more interesting that way.

Selling Art on Etsy Isn’t That Hard

Do the math. Calculate the cost of your materials, your time and Etsy fees to price your products appropriately. Don’t just pick a round number because it sounds good. Also – be honest with yourself about how much you’re charging. A good way to test the quality of your product against your price is by going to a flea market or craft fair and setting up a booth. People will be brutally honest if they think your product is overpriced. And similarly, if your product is flying off the table, you know you can raise your price. Last year, Mimi and I were selling at a local fair when someone tried to buy an item that we said was “$4.” The customer thought we said “$14,” and was still willing to buy it. We sold it at $4 anyway (we’re cool like that), but we knew we could land on a price at least a couple dollars higher.

Check out the competition. Routinely patrol Etsy for sellers who are making your product or something similar. Are they cheaper? Does their product look better? Adjust your listings so that you’re competitively priced. If you think you have a superior product, explain the difference in your description. Remember what we said about the photos – appearance is everything!

Love what you do. It sounds so corny, but you have to like what you’re doing to be successful. It’s a real shocker that the two of us love mousetraps so much – but it’s true! We’ve had huge orders come in and had to drop plans and paint all day and night to get them out. It was strangely fun for us, so we know we’re on the right track.

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Comments

  1. Gabrielle Valentine says

    I liked this. While I’m not exactly an “artist” I would like to sell some things on Etsy and you gave some excellent tips here that I will follow when I do. Thank you!
    .-= Gabrielle Valentine´s last blog ..Sometimes We Drive. And Sing. And Pretend To Be Oompa Loompas. =-.

  2. says

    These are some great tips and I already use some of these for my Zazzle store front. I’ve found that even after employing some of these strategies, my sales are still rather low. Sure, I know I’m knew at this and 3 months is surely not enough time to gauge future success. You really need to have a gift, I think, for creating amazing products to be successful in the end. Learning how to use a camera and properly expose and compose your shot is really just the beginning. I’ve taken several thousand shots in the past 3 years and learned much about the technical stuff. But delivering the “WOW” factor in your work really counts. Regardless of how much money I earn I will always be taking snaps. But it would be a dream life to make a living on the net doing what I do.

    • TiaraCox says

      You may want to check-out Storemate.com and Artfire.com as good alternatives.
      If you want something different try out storemate.com, I registered on storemate.com and seen some sharp increase in the traffic directed to my website.
      Unlike Etsy and Artfire they are not restricted to handmade stuff. I get to promote to a bigger audience (all design buffs).
      Their “Talk-About” feature has got me more connected to my customers where I help them with custom options, shipping queries in realtime. I surprise my customers with exclusive discounts during these sessions and that returned heavy sales and followers.

  3. Mithila says

    I started my research into online selling with this article, and I’m glad I did. It was well-written, upbeat and had very useful suggestions, especially about the pricing.

  4. says

    Just starting on the web, but have lots of sculptures.
    Stone, iron, and most recently,a multi-media life-size statue that looks like a bronze… but only weighs app. 100 lbs.

    How do I start to sell my art?

  5. Ellie Enigma says

    Hi! I just wanted to thank you for all of the great tips! I’m trying to make the money myself to go to a robotics competition in January but had never sold my artwork before. I’m absolutely positive this article will help me along the way! :D
    Wishing you the best,
    Ellie

  6. says

    Selling art on Etsy is extremely hard. Setting up a shop is easy. The competition is colossal and daunting and most Etsy buyers look for heavily discounted decorative art. Renewing/relisting unsold items can get quite expensive over time. That said, it’s worth a try so best wishes to all who venture there :)

  7. Ciera says

    I have really wanted to start selling my art canvases on Etsy however I do not know how to mail the canvases. How do you prepare it for shipping? How much does it cost? I’m really new to all of this. If you could help me it would be greatly appreciated!

  8. törö says

    I tried Etsy, but in 2 weeks I had only one visit in my page, so I deleted my profile. Need to find better place.

  9. says

    Hey!!

    My name is Terri Woodfin and I’m extremely interested in selling my art on ETSY! However, I have never been an Artist before. I’m a nurse of 12 years and just recently had a baby and I started doing abstract art and sold almost every piece I have ever done! People seem to love my pieces. I have done a Gallery Show of 35 pieces over a 4 hour period and sold 30 pieces. I have never taken an art class, but would like to know a little more about what you do to help new artist like me sell my work. I do own my own business out of my house and have a website, but I think i need to take better photos of my paintings or something to help sell them. Please help! Thank you soooo much!! ____ T.W.

  10. says

    Cory, I’ve been on Etsy for 6 years. At first, the focus was on unique individual artists and sales were OK. As of 2013, the major sales are for mass production items and suppliers of things such as t-shirts, prints, jewelry supplies and posters. The small indie artists are buried deep under the mass postings of these large companies that can afford paying for ads and costs of continuous postings. Many of my artist friends are leaving and I plan on doing the same when I find a better venue. I hope you can take another look at Etsy with a updated post because this post is out of date. I did some research on Etsy and share my personal view point & experiences with Etsy on my blog: http://www.GlassLampworkingByPatsyEvins.com “Etsy Top Sellers”

    • Cory Huff says

      Hi Patsy, I agree with you at least in part. This post is definitely old, and there are definitely some challenges with being seen on Etsy. That’s not any different than any other site that lets people create their own accounts for free.

      I do know artists who are successful on Etsy, but it’s mostly because they’ve built up their own following and they use Etsy as a traffic source and showcase, not as their primary sales venue.

  11. mark alsip says

    A well written article with some good points to ponder (especially the “flea market test”), but it is a bit lacking in the areas that are most important to anyone contemplating selling for the first time. For example, how does one safely ship a print? Roll it in a tube? What if the print is matted an framed already? (shipping flat mounted artwork via a safe carrier such as Fedex, in packaging designed for mailing prints, can cost more than the print itself is worth). Should I get a quality photo printer and do the prints myself, or use an outside service, and do most buyers have a preference? This article does offer some good and sound advice, but there are also some important points missing and I wish they had been covered.

    • Cory Huff says

      Hi Mark – this article is a couple of years old and the Mousesnaps ladies aren’t in business any more. There are lots of resources online for learning to sell on Etsy.

      I do think that we need to create an article on shipping art – thanks for the suggestion!

  12. 36229;& says

    I enjoy what you guys are up too. Such clever work
    and exposure! Keep up the awesome works guys I’ve
    incorporated you guys to my own blogroll.

  13. charles mcneil says

    I would like to show my work online,with a view to selling,I cannot seem to find any page dedicated to unknown artists can you help

  14. Dawn says

    What about paying taxes as you set up an online account? How does this work? I want to help my mom sell her crafts! She’s amazing…I’m the photographer, she’s the crafter. But I am not sure how the taxation comes into play.

  15. Mary says

    I am new to this and don’t understand how to do the technical part of getting my paintings onto etsy. I don’t see directions anywhere on how to sign up and download a product.

    Can you help me?

  16. Joan says

    I’m new at painting and really got the bug. I paint on my boat and at home. Started as just a fun thing to do and got friends and family who live what I’ve done. My husband keeps asking me what I was going to do with my pieces. I DIDN’t see any information on collecting
    money from clients/ buyers. I have questions on how safe and my husband is not wanting me to open PayPal in fear of someone doing damage…any advice on this????

  17. says

    I have been painting for about a year and have had little success so far. I have tried 2 galleries and nothing, but have sold one painting to a relative. I put my paintings up on facebook and artpal but get nothing but nice work or it is beautiful etc. I even was on etsy and did a lot of crafts there with no success. What am I doing wrong?
    Giving up on painting.
    Thanks for any help.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] I shouldn’t charge too much for my work. Some artists are so excited about finishing a project and getting attention that they don’t realize that they should charge more for it.  There are endless stories of famous artists selling their work for a pittance before they become well known.  Don’t be that guy (or gal).  If your work flies off the shelf, it might be time to charge more for your art. [...]

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