How to Sell Vintage on Etsy
Selling Vintage on Etsy
Many think of Etsy as a handmade marketplace, but it is also huge for supplies and vintage items. On Etsy, vintage items are items that are at least 20 years old. Years ago, Etsy was primarily focused on handmade, although vintage and supplies for crafting were allowed, too.
Over time, more focus and recognition has been given to vintage items. When I started on Etsy there's wasn't much Vintage. Now there are tons of vintage items, from housewares to clothing, supplies to jewelry. I'll give you an example. Did you know that when I updated this lens in August 2012, there were 1,182,784 "vintage" items on Etsy--but then again in December 2012 there was 3,007,136 ? That's a whole heck of a lot ! Vintage is going CRAZY on Etsy!
So you better read this lens! Learn a thing or two and see if you have what it takes to have a great vintage shop!
We will discuss the basics, and tips, and what to sell on Etsy as a Vintage seller and how to survive! I should know, I'm surviving at RetroChalet on Etsy!
Key to Selling on Etsy in 3 Simple Steps
Many vintage things are sold on Etsy. The key to selling are:
1. Proper Use of Tags (Etsy gives you 14 of them)
2. Great Photographs (#1 way to sell your product)
3. Promoting and Marketing your Items outside of Etsy (to drive exposure to your shop)
Keep reading, we'll go into these more, and also a very special tip:
TIP: Join a Team to Network with Other People and Gain Knowledge!
Retro Chalet glove mold. Handmade Turquoise Lariat Necklace by
Treasure Trunk Designs
Do you sell on Etsy now, and if so select what your "main" catergory is!
Etsy Basics, Open Up Shop
Opening your Etsy shop is as simple as choosing a user name and providing limited personal information (plus a credit card on file) to pay your monthly bills. You may wish to choose a name that you can also intermingle with your social networking down the road. For instance, my shop has a matching Facebook, Twitter, Blog and Website. It was hard finding a name that wasn't already taken.
There is no charge for having a storefront! Etsy charges only twenty cents per item listed, and this includes five free photos, 14 tags and lengthy description of your item. Your listing will stay on Etsy for four months for this price. What a bargain!
When your item sells, they charge only 3.5% of the sales price. You can choose what payment options you wish to use. If you use PayPal, you will also incur PayPal fees for payments being accepted. Overall the storefront is very easy to manage and you should start here, with the Do's and Don'ts of Selling on Etsy.
You can set up your state tax information in accordance to the laws of your state. Etsy even gives you a "profile" page so you can tell the world a little more about yourself.
Worried about a banner? Start with a freebie from free Etsy Banners website until you make some money to afford a paid one..
Etsy Essential #1 : Use of Tags
What's in a tag? Etsy tags are the way your item will be found. It's hard getting used to this at first, but the key here is to think like a buyer. For instance, take a look at this photo! This is a globe by AlpenglowVintage. What kind of tags would be used, or, how would you search when looking for it? Would you search for the type of globe? Would you call it an Earth? What about Science? Astronomy? Planet? Sphere? Round? Topography? Map? Cartography? Sea? Atlantic Ocean? Continents? You really have to think like a buyer when listing and tagging your items. There are great articles to be had on the web for help with this. This was the hardest thing to master. What we may think of as "shabby" or "cute" others would never search with those terms. So before calling this a cute old globe, think again.
Contrary to popular belief, I'm not a fan of phrases. If you put "Vintage Globe" then "Blue Vintage Globe" then "Cool Old Vintage Globe" I think this is a waste. Why not just use vintage, globe, blue....?
Etsy Essential #2 : Use of Good Photographs
You don't need an expensive camera, but you do need how to read up on how to use your Macro function. They key to selling is taking good, clear photographs. Crappy or grainy photos won't sell your items or products. There is a plethora of free information and how-to make your own photography set up here on Handmadeology.. I love this site and check it often. As you can see by this cool vintage camera, by The Fancy Lamb , good photos matter!
Etsy Essential #3 : Promoting and Marketing Your Items
Etsy is an inexpensive storefront. However, promotions are up to YOU. With so many vintage items on Etsy, it's hard to get lost in the sauce so to speak. So , how does one promote their items?
Etsy allows you to easily connect your customers with your Facebook and Twitter, by allowing you to connect these to your home page. You can also easily "PIN" items to Pinterest! We will go more into these now...
Facebook and Twitter
Etsy allows you to connect your main shop page to your Facebook and Twitter. This is great because your customers visiting your Etsy shop can easily follow you!
Twitter - Tweet Me @IraMency
Using Twitter is easy, because you can't go past 140 characters. Basically you are just sending little mini updates out into cyberspace. You can use Twitter to find and connect with other Etsy sellers and buyers. I always think that those who sell on Etsy may also buy on Etsy. You can also search for keywords like #vintage or #etsy to find your target market.
I don't suggest you spam out all your friends on Twitter. Help your friends retweet some of their products. Ask questions and post photos of things happening. Post funny phrases. Get your audience involved and don't make it a one way street.
It's now easy as pie for your customers to follow you via Twitter thanks to Etsy integration to the front page of your Etsy shop. Make sure to connect your Twitter to your Etsy shop! Follow me Now! on Twitter .
Twitter Poll - Food for Thought!
Twitter is used by all kinds of businesses from gasoline companies to BBQ guys!
Take for instance, @BigFatDaddys owner Wayne who Twitter tweets all over about his barbecue adding silly photos of what he's eating, like this picture of a Livermush sandwich! What is that? ! With almost 50,000 followers, he must be doing something right. Is this crazy, or just part of tweeting?
What is your Opinion of Twitter helping your business?
Facebook - Photo: VintageStyleRose.etsy.com
Most of us use Facebook, so it's very easy to go in and "create a page" for your Facebook! At first it may appear to have funny numbers after it, but after you get 25 "LIKES" you can fix that easily by picking your own name.
How To Use Facebook
Facebook users post photos of their new items, coupon codes, and sometimes just post old vintage links and photos to keep their clients entertained. I know of a few shops who have told me that MOST of their business comes from Facebook.
Tip: Don't be afraid to share your posts to your friends and family. Aunt Jean or Uncle Stu may be your best little marketing associates!
Reaching and Targeting Your Customer Base
I suppose the success depends on how interactive you are. Take for instance Vintage Style Rose Etsy Shop . She sells jewelry that she makes from Vintage beads! She is all the way in Cork, Ireland, but wants to reach customers from the USA. Facebook is an easy way for her to connect to a huge US market!
Lucky for all Etsy vintage sellers, Etsy allows you to integrate your Facebook right into your Etsy shop!
Photo Credit:Etsy Shop Vintage Style Rose earrings on Etsy, $16.61 USD
Facebook Forecast - What do you think?
Facebook offers free pages where you can promote your business.
Do you think Facebook is a viable source for sharing your Etsy vintage items?
Help With Social Media
If you only take away a few good ideas from this book, it's worth it.
Pinterest is a great way to get your wares into cyberspace, but beware because it is not "proper pin etiquette" to promote your own items! Pinterest also has business accounts, so you must read my information on this!
Connect with me on PINTEREST!
Pinterest - Do You Use It?
How often do you use Pinterest? Add your Pinterest name in the comments!
Pinterest - You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks
This is huge. It's a virtual pinboard to catergorize and organize your best and favorite items. For your customers, this is a great way to "PIN" your vintage wares from your Etsy shop and send that item into cyberspace for all their pinboard followers to see.
Pin Dos and Don'ts
Pinterest proper etiquette (aka don't get your account shut down for spam) means you shouldn't pin your own items or use Pinterest for a business venture. Now this doesn't mean Aunt Bertha and cousin Myron can't help you out a bit.
I have been known to work a few of my pins in casually because these items I sell are also items I love. However, I don't spam my wares all into cyberspace. They are neatly organized on different boards and I've also gotten some pin buddies where we can exchange pins.
Etsy Integration and Does it Drive Sales ?
I can only tell you that views on Etsy equate to sales. Pinterest drives a lot of views to my shop thanks to Etsy's integration of the PIN IT button next to every item. I actually use a PIN IT toolbar from Pinterest itself. I see a lot of traffic from my customers now pinning my items. My sales have remained the same, even though the amount of Etsy vintage items has quadrupled, so yes, I think it helps.
I have more blogs than I can count. Should you have one too? Why not, most are free and help get your items into cyberspace. You can click HERE for blogging help!
Networking 101: Blogs like VintageChalet will Blog Your Vintage Items for Free
Niche Blogging Idea
I have a blog about vintage plastics and melamine dinnerware. My ad for my Etsy shop is on it. It drives me new views all the time. You don't have to blog about what's in your shop. Find something you collect and niche blog.
A Helpful Book Worth Reading - For All Etsy Shop Owners
I bought this book after having been on Etsy several years. On pages 12-13 I learned new things. This book explains in screen shots and words how to make the most of your Etsy shop, and how to market yourself. See my review on Amazon!
Another Must Have Book for Etsians!
I own this book, and have learned much about social networking outside of Etsy. I was interviewed in tje book and my helpful advice and story is in there!
Join an Etsy Team .. What's a Team?
Etsy Teams are available to join once you become a full fledged Etsian. There are teams for many different things from religion to politics! Some teams are based on location, for instance, you can join a team in your local area for networking. Other teams are based on all crocheters, or all jewelry sellers, but other teams are all vintage.
My suggestion is to get in with a good Etsy Vintage team to help showcase and promote your Etsy items. Teams help promote one another's items, network together, make treasuries (a way to showcase and promote items), blog, twitter, and Facebook each other's wares. You will find members who have been around a long time and have learned tips and tricks and they are willing to share and mentor you.
Vintage Football Game by ModObjects
Places To Advertise Your Vintage Items Free - Social Networking 101
Look for places you can advertise your Etsy shops for free. You want to get your product out there, so be sure to look for free opportunities with other Etsy sellers too. Some ideas you may wish to consider are :
a) Swap Links with other Etsians
b) Cross Promote with other Etsians
c) Trade Blog Features with other Etsians
d) Be Pinterest Pals
e) Join Etsy teams who help cross promote
Here's some other ideas for VINTAGE SELLERS:
Network with another vintage sellers and cross promote your shop!
What Should You Sell on Etsy....and Where to Find It
Sellers sell all kinds of vintage items on Etsy. Below you will find examples of the types of objects that are sold on Etsy. From vintage sewing notions to linens, to primitive antiques, almost anything goes (check the Do's and Don'ts of Selling on Etsy for items you can't sell. Items that contain pornography or are hurtful or hateful aren't allowed among several other things.)
Items can be found at estate sales, thrift stores, flea markets, garage sales, auctions, consignment shops, and curbside trash piles.
Stop Sign by Solstice Home
Tip: Should You Have One Shop or Two?
In my Etsy RetroChalet shop there's a good mix of housewares, supplies, industrial décor, and even some of my handmade jewelry and artwork. Etsy gives you 10 sections per shop. If you specialize in one thing, and have found your niche' like clothing for example--your shop may use all 10 tags for clothing related items. If you then want to sell vintage supply items, you may wish to open two stores.
Personally I know people who do very well having two or three shops, though it is not "frowned upon" by Etsy it is not really encouraged. You should clearly indicate that you also have another shop in your announcement or somewhere in your storefront. A lot of people say "Please visit my vintage supply shop HERE".
Personally, I used to have two shops, but it became too much to handle. I now have a shop that incorporates everything from vintage kitchen to supplies to industrial goods. I find that mixing it up a bit keeps it fresh, but I have noticed some items sell better than others in my shop. This is of course because I only do Etsy part time and in the summer hardly at all.
If you are looking for a year round quit your day job, you may very well be able to handle two or three shops. An example of this is a husband and wife duo (Roland and Monica Dressler) from Galveston Texas, who operate three shops! One is all vintage, one is more supplies and vintage, and one is Roland's boy toys such as trains, model sets, etc!. They do very well and find time to promote them all. I have written about them on Vintage Chalet here. Or, you may click on the cat shoes below to get to their main shop, TheIDConnection.
Photo Courtesy of Etsy, TheIDConnection
SoulRust sells Vintage Clothing on Etsy!
RetroBabs sells Kitchenwares and Housewares on Etsy!
RetroChalet sells Vintage Glove Molds on Etsy!
Oritdotan sells Vintage Buttons on Etsy!
Paper Picker sells Vintage Ephemera on Etsy!
Niftic sells lovely Vintage Décor on Etsy!
RollingHillsVintage is one place to find Vintage Toys on Etsy
Selling Worldwide - Just ask Buzzing Bees Vintage on Etsy
Etsy gives you the storefront to have worldwide visibility of your item. As a seller you must decide where it is best for you to sell. You can select where you wish each item to ship to. Let's say you have some paper products, then you may wish to offer them available to ship everywhere and set your rates accordingly. Jewelry is small and easy to ship, but you may wish to investigate how much insurance will cost you shipping to other countries. Bulky items shipped from the US to Canada are generally inexpensive using USPS or a UPS account if you have a business account set up with a discount rate.
BuzzingBeesVintage on Etsy who primarily sells vintage clothing and retro shoes and boots. Felicia is located in Toronto. She chooses to ship from Canada to the US and within her country of Canada. She is able to ship certain items in flat rate packets across the country. She has done her research to see what is more cost effective.
Look at her cute boots! Click on the boots to go to her shop!
Etsy Related Blogs and Sites for Guidance - Helpful Links!
This site features lots of how-to's and networking for the Etsy seller! Although the focus is handmade, vintage sellers can learn a ton here.
- Everything Etsy!
Kim's site is Everything Etsy related! Gotta love it!
- Retro Chalet's Melmac Central
Vintage plastic finds coming from Etsy sellers, if you like vintage kitchen follow this blog!
- Free Help for the Etsy Seller on VC Blog
A Collection of Links all in one place for Etsy help
My Favorite Etsy Vintage Shops - Here is why I like them.
All of us who sell on Etsy also buy on Etsy. I'm going to let you in on my top favorite Etsy shops and tell you why.
Some Links You May Like!
- Etsy Land
We live on Etsy. We breathe Etsy. We love Etsy. We shop Etsy. Yeah, it's pretty there! The term "Etsy" is a registered trademark of Etsy, Inc. - This site is not affiliated w/ Etsy, Inc. We just bring...
- Etsy Rainbows
The best of Etsy, organized by color!
- Etsy Artisans
You never know who will be featured next, all are Etsians!
- Vintage Melmac and Melamine
This is the blog I was telling you about earlier, notice how I have my Etsy ad right on the top right!
Vintage lovers, check out these great comments and Etsy shops!