Etsy Tips from a Successful Vintage Etsy Seller

My name is Wendy, and I'm addicted to Etsy. Not just shopping on Etsy, but selling on Etsy. I tell those who've never heard of the site (after I recover from shock), that it's a dangerous place to go if you're a budget pushover with a fondness for handmade and vintage. Really, though, it's a wonderland of quality independent shops and truly spectacular vintage goods.

As a lover of vintage, I decided to take the Etsy selling plunge three years ago to make money off of doing what I love: digging in flea markets, garage sales, and thrift stores for one-of-a-kind finds.

I had shopped Etsy long before I began selling there, and that helped me learn the ropes to an extent. With that said, selling on Etsy is no simple task and it requires lots of research (on both products and selling them), some serious organizational skills, photography chops and even social skills, which are particularly important when interacting with customers.

Since opening my vintage shop, ZebrasAndBubblegum, I have made over 400 sales and been featured on their blog and on the front page over 30 times. I've also been featured in Etsy's e-newsletter several times, which garners far more views and sales than even the illustrious front page. I chalk my success up to superb pictures, great prices, quality merchandise, and consistent shop upkeep.

Friends and acquaintances contact me on a fairly consistent basis, and I am happy to share my tips and advice. Whether you're opening a record store, a crochet store, or something entirely different, the below advice applies.

- Know that it takes time. I only sold about 10 items in my first few months on Etsy. It does take a while to build a buyer base for most shops, so be patient and keep working hard.

- Make your shop pretty. I truly believe that a visually attractive shop has a higher chance of succeeding than their less aesthetically pleasing competition. Pictures should be consistent to create a cohesive-looking shop, well-lit and very thorough. People want to see every angle in excellent light before committing to purchase.

- Your product listing details should be thorough. Buyers like to know all the dimensions, the materials used, blemishes (esp. for vintage), etc.

- Always please the buyer. I've had several situations were appeasing the buyer wasn't in my best short-term financial interest, but in the long run it paid off. For example, someone bought an item of mine and decided they didn't want it within 24 hours. Though frustrating, I refunded the money and the buyer bought something a few weeks later.

- List items regularly and have a decent selection. The reason you should list regularly is because only the most recently renewed/listed items show up at the top of search results and category pages. To be seen, you must renew or list daily.

- Use the Etsy Community business forums. I've found these forums extremely helpful, especially when I'm dealing with a weird buyer situation. They came in very handy when I first opened, too.

- Use every keyword spot you can. This helps both buyers and those putting treasuries together. Treasuries are mini showcases where other buyers/sellers feature a group of similar items. Curated treasuries are then selected for the front page. All treasuries are great exposure, especially if they make front page.