Selling on Etsy 101: It’s not Easy

Tiger Eye and Wood Beaded Bracelet


Selling on ETSY takes alot of dedication and hard work, selling in a saturated jewelry market alone on ETSY takes determination. I learned the hard way that jewelry is a hard market to sell in, and with that came disappointment, frustration, and the feeling of defeat. Back in February I said Goodbye to my shop, still fulfilling the small amount of orders that came in because I became discouraged that I felt like I was doing absolutely everything with little or no sales to show all my hardwork and dedication. Then here comes the lightbulb moment, after taking a little break I started to realize these little questions:


* Was I doing enough?

* What are other sellers doing that I am not?

* Am I really, I mean really reaching my target market?


After sitting awhile, asking myself those questions I came to realize, No, it’s obvious I am not. I know I make a great product, if I didn’t people wouldn’t buy from me at all. If I made a bad product, I wouldn’t have 33 happy feedback reviews. So where do I come from here? Where does any struggling handmade artist go form here? Back to the drawing board. Back to the little room to brainstorm a new business plan.


Question 1:  Was I doing enough?

I realized that I was not doing absolutely everything I could to bring buyers to my site. ETSY gives me the tools to upload my work and setup a cart. It is my job as a seller to help buyers find me. I can not rely on ETSY alone to bring me buyers. What was I neglecting?

* Marketing locally.  The coming weeks I am going to start looking into local farmer markets, places to pin up my business cards, talking to people and marketing myself as a jewelry artist. I never focused to much outside of the Internet. Mistake number one.

* Keeping my Blog up-to date.  This is my first article on jewelry and selling on ETSY in a long time. I used to get 50 hits a day, and many of those hits would then result in people looking at my jewelry store. What I need to do is make sure I am writing a few articles a week on relevant topics.

* Find Affordable Advertising. Marketing can’t always be free, and what I need to remember is that you have to put money in sometimes to get results back. There are alot of great places a small handmade artist can advertise on, I would look at local magazines, magazines about the craft you make, or even ask your local newspaper about how much an ad would be.


Question 2:  What are other sellers doing that I am not?

There are good reasons why one ETSY seller is more successful then another ETSY seller and I think it is a smart idea to pay attention to advice many of them give on the ETSY forums. Many of these sellers bring outside customers here, pay for advertising, have a strong local market, have a great product with great descriptions, clear and appealing product pictures, and know their target market. What can I learn from them?

* Be Objective to your Listings.  You have to be honest with yourself, and you have to be able to give yourself constructive criticism. No one wants to criticize their own shop, but the best thing you can do for yourself is to look at your shop objectively and as if you were a new buyer finding this new shop on ETSY. Would you buy your items based-on your pictures? Your descriptions? Your prices?

* Look at other similar successful shops.  You can get a good idea on why a shop on ETSY is more successful. I like to look at the “Quit Your Day Job” articles on ETSY, many of these sellers have great ideas and they have beautiful shops!


Question 3 Am I really, I mean really reaching my target market?

If the sales are not there, and you know you have a great product then there is a good chance you have not found your target market. I am very surprised when I talk to other artists about target market, how some do not even know who they are marketing too. My market for example are woman who love to wear jewelry made from natural materials: gemstone, wood, and shell. Have I found my market? I don’t believe so. A great place to start is marketing locally. Perhaps there is a trendy cafe you think would be a great fit for your business card based on the customers who go there. You have to be creative. You have to know where to find your target market.


I am excited to start getting back into my shop, marketing more efficiently, and really, I mean really focusing on becoming more successful, and more happy knowing that I did everything to put my best foot forward. Are you ready to do the same?


  1. Trace said,

    May 27, 2009 at 10:32 pm

    What a great article! I’m glad your back and positive–Good luck!

  2. markgran said,

    May 28, 2009 at 12:58 am

    Great Points there!

  3. Bettie said,

    May 28, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Excellent post! Love your shop too! :o)

  4. Lauri said,

    February 22, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    I’ve been doing the same thing. And wondering the same questions. I’ve been rewriting my descriptions, updated my front page information, started a blog (haven’t got it all figured out yet), joined twitter, added info to facebook. I have placed items at a local beauty salon. Trying to see where to go from here.

  5. Shirlee Grund said,

    May 12, 2010 at 2:26 am

    great advice. I suspect that we all could do more to grow our business.

  6. Asurri said,

    June 24, 2010 at 1:51 am

    Lovely. Absolutely lovely.

  7. Junior Jeweler said,

    August 12, 2010 at 1:01 am

    That’s interesting! I tried with Etsy but my camera’s resolution was too high and wouldn’t fit so it took more work shrinking every picture. I soon gave up. But I think I might try again after reading what you said!

  8. October 28, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    Not all diamond jewelry stores are the same so check reviews first before buying on a jewelry store.,`

  9. November 26, 2010 at 2:36 am

    Great tips.
    Thanks a bunch for sharing.
    I opened my shop in October 2010 and had almost 40 sales in my first four weeks. The days that there are no sales and no hits are killers. I am definitely going to market locally! Thank-you.

  10. Olubunmi said,

    March 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    I was thinking similarly, and yes, I will also focus more on outside of the net. I cannot rely on it solely. By the way, I love your pieces. I work with stone, glass beads, and wood. I also knit and I also find that it’s tough. But… lets keep in mind, that quality handmade is not cheap.

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