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How to Sell Vintage on Etsy

Updated on October 27, 2016

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

Vintage Porcelain Glove Mold Used to Display Jewelry
Vintage Porcelain Glove Mold Used to Display Jewelry

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

Etsy Poll

Do you sell on Etsy now, and if so select what your "main" catergory is!

See results
Retro Chalet vintage on Etsy the best ever etsy shop
Retro Chalet vintage on Etsy the best ever etsy shop | Source

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..

Alpenglow Vintage
Alpenglow Vintage

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....?

TheFancyLamb on Etsy
TheFancyLamb on Etsy

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!

toy Phone bought by RetroChalet
toy Phone bought by RetroChalet

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...

Phone I bought from Aunt Lettuce.

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

Vintage Glove Mold
Vintage Glove Mold

Twitter

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.

Twitter Etiquette

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.

Etsy Integration

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!

big fat daddys
big fat daddys

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?

See results

Facebook - Photo: VintageStyleRose.etsy.com

Vintage Beaded Earrings
Vintage Beaded Earrings

It's Easy!

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!

Etsy Integration

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?

Weiner Schnitzel
Weiner Schnitzel

Facebook offers free pages where you can promote your business.

Do you think Facebook is a viable source for sharing your Etsy vintage items?

See results

Pinterest

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!

See results

Pinterest - You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Pinterest

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.

Realistically...

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.

Blogs

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

Networking 101: Blogs like VintageChalet will Blog Your Vintage Items for Free
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

How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products
How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products

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!

Etsy-preneurship: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Handmade Hobby into a Thriving Business
Etsy-preneurship: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Handmade Hobby into a Thriving Business

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!

 
ModObjects Football game vintage on etsy
ModObjects Football game vintage on etsy

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!

Solstice Home
Solstice Home

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

TheIDConnection on Etsy
TheIDConnection on Etsy

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!

SoulRust sells Vintage Clothing on Etsy!
SoulRust sells Vintage Clothing on Etsy!

RetroBabs sells Kitchenwares and Housewares on Etsy!

RetroBabs sells Kitchenwares and Housewares on Etsy!
RetroBabs sells Kitchenwares and Housewares on Etsy!

RetroChalet sells Vintage Glove Molds on Etsy!

RetroChalet sells Vintage Glove Molds on Etsy!
RetroChalet sells Vintage Glove Molds on Etsy!

Oritdotan sells Vintage Buttons on Etsy!

Oritdotan sells Vintage Buttons on Etsy!
Oritdotan sells Vintage Buttons on Etsy!

Paper Picker sells Vintage Ephemera on Etsy!

Paper Picker sells Vintage Ephemera on Etsy!
Paper Picker sells Vintage Ephemera on Etsy!

Niftic sells lovely Vintage Décor on Etsy!

Niftic sells lovely Vintage Décor on Etsy!
Niftic sells lovely Vintage Décor on Etsy!

RollingHillsVintage is one place to find Vintage Toys on Etsy

RollingHillsVintage is one place to find Vintage Toys on Etsy
RollingHillsVintage is one place to find Vintage Toys on Etsy

Selling Worldwide - Just ask Buzzing Bees Vintage on Etsy

Vintage Boots on Etsy
Vintage Boots 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!

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.

Vintage lovers, check out these great comments and Etsy shops!

Please leave a comment and List Your Vintage Etsy Shop!

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    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 3 years ago

      I have never tried to sell here, but at least I know how to now.

    • Scarlettohairy profile image

      Peggy Hazelwood 4 years ago from Desert Southwest, U.S.A.

      Great tips for selling on Etsy. I have an Etsy shop where I sell mostly vintage items. I love the hunt and can't keep it all unfortunately so share with others here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/sybelladesigns

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Hi, Etsy is OK but have you ever seen Retrophoria? List your vintage items and pay a small transaction fee when your item sells.

    • jnstewart profile image

      John Norman Stewart 4 years ago from Cottonwood, CA

      Hi: Really enjoyed reading your very informative lens. I have an Etsy store at

      http://www.etsy.com/shop/jonarte

      My wife has a busier shop at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/valsbeads

    • SecondSally profile image

      SecondSally 4 years ago

      Thanks for the info. I've been thinking of switching over from eBay due to the costs involved for longer running listings.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Glad I found you! LOTS of great information here!

      Dawn

      Callahan's Collectibles - Vintage Collectibles and Antiques

      hhtp://www.etsy.com/shop/CallahanCollectibles

    • Blkeeslar profile image

      Billie Keeslar 4 years ago from Mississippi

      Its my lucky day - I found your site!! I love everything vintage. My shop is http://www.etsy.com/shop/billiesdesigns

    • Thankfultw profile image

      Thankfultw 4 years ago

      Thanks for making Esty easy!

    • susieque2 profile image

      susieque2 5 years ago

      Good hints!! thank you!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love selling vintage items on Etsy. It's a great way to make some extra money, and I love going on my own treasure hunts for vintage stuff.

      http://etsyvintagetips.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      very helpful i am thinking about opening up shop!

    • dwnovacek profile image

      dwnovacek 5 years ago

      I'd never thought about selling vintage on Etsy. Great information! Angel Blessed!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I had no idea you could sell vintage items on etsy! Great lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Love it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great information!

    • BlueStarling profile image

      BlueStarling 6 years ago

      Interesting and informative lens -- I'll be coming back to check out the various links. I don't yet have an Etsy shop, but am looking into opening one for supplies and vintage.

    • SeanVernall LM profile image

      SeanVernall LM 6 years ago

      My sister is just going back into the vintage clothing business so I'm going to email her about this lens. great info.

    • retrochalet profile image
      Author

      Cindy Fahnestock-Schafer 6 years ago from Hedgesville, WV

      @anonymous: Thank you for sharing your shop Barb!

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      brilliant lens

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great article- Knowing what to sell was key. When I first started I went crazy and bought a bunch of stuff that I now think is ridiculous. You have to find a niche. My shop has developed into a Mid-Century Modern Type. I try to focus on the 1950s and 60's. I think narrowing my field has helped my sales.

      http://www.etsy.com/shop/RetroBabs

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thanks for referencing my shop, Cindy.

      http://auntlettuce.etsy.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      One of the best parts of etsy, is the community of sellers who help one another. Great tips for new sellers and some of us who have been a seller for awhile. Thanks Cindy for being a big part of that community.

      Find an eclectic vintage mix at

      www.solsticehome.etsy.com

      www.solsticehome.blogspot.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Well... this blog is amazing! thank you for the hats off to the vesties team!

      http://www.Opendoorstudio.etsy.com reporting in here!

      has anyone told you you are the best...lately!?

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Fantastic! Great info!

      http://www.etsy.com/shop/soulrust

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Make sure to list your links, shops, etc like this:

      http://RetroChalet.blogspot.com

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      These are some wonderful shops and you have some very good ideas. We LOVE Etsy!

      www.ooahvintageglam.etsy.com