Thursday, April 3, 2008

What's the deal with...Etsy?

For those of you who aren’t madly addicted yet (and notice I say yet) to Etsy, here’s a little primer on this site for buying and selling handmade items. For those who make things, Etsy is a great place to get your work out there. For those who buy things, Etsy is a great place to find things you never would have seen otherwise.

You can buy all kinds of things on Etsy, from the cute-as-a-button, to the downright strange, to the one-of-a-kind object that might just make your room. There’s a lot of woodworking on Etsy. Like any democratic platform, you’re going to find schlock-o’plenty. But you’ll also find some really well-done, unique things.

The way it works is pretty simple. If you are selling, sign up for a free account and then set up a free store. You do have to enter your credit card info because that’s how they charge you at the end of the month for the fees you’ve incurred. The fee system is very reasonable. They charge 20 cents for each item listed and 3.5% for each item sold. That’s pretty much it. The majority of sales are handled through paypal. So if you don’t already have a paypal account, you’ll need to set that up. You can customize your store with your own banner and language. Oh yeah, for each item you can upload up to five photos and you can categorize the item so people will be able to find it when they are browsing around. Of course, read the Etsy's help sections for the full scoop.

If you are buying, you also need to set up a free account. It allows you to post feedback on your purchase experience and read feedback from others, which helps you feel like the person you are buying from is legit.

So if you make small, shippable objects, you should check out Etsy. Likewise if you buy small, shippable objects. Just remember to stop and bathe once in a while.

You can see some of my stuff at and