Etsy.com – No sweat in these shops

Playing to their strengths; IKEAs loyalty card is also flat.

The glorious capitalist society we live in revolves around denizens buying and selling goods to make yourself happy.  And I am definitely going to get in on this action; all appearances aside, I am not a communist.  I like to make things, and occasionally think someone else might want them so I’ve set up shop at Etsy.com, the home of handmade and vintage *everything*.  And here’s my shop, Chiok Li Designs!

Okay, I’m only selling one thing at the moment, but I want to write a guide for some of the less obvious aspects of an Etsy shop that I experienced when setting up.  Etsy provide a pretty comprehensive Handbook for Sellers to cover a whole host of areas, so definitely read through the sections you’re unsure of.  The sign up process for a seller is straight-forward, like signing up for an eBay account or listing on Gumtree.  So here are my pointers:

What’s in a username?

Pretty much everything.  Once you’ve chosen your username, you are stuck with it.  Your name is your brand and image so should reflect what you hope to sell.  Your shop name can be whatever you like though, e.g. I am “chiokli” and my shop is “Chiok Li Designs“.  Original.  However on a search or the listings page, it is your username written underneath the item title, not your shop name.  The shop name is only really apparent on the shop homepage, so pick a good moniker!  Pen Island is not a good name.

Policies Academy 2 – Their First Assignment

Selling things online requires you to have policies that regulate the fun.  Like any good online retailer, they state their policies on shipping, postage, refunds and payment methods.  You need to decide what rules you want to make so buyers know the terms of their purchase.  I had no idea what to write so looked at a bunch of other shop’s policies, the link is on the left under “Shop Info-Policies“.  I recommend looking at shops specific to your country too as some policies vary e.g. Distance Selling Regulations 2000 won’t apply in other countries, but probably have similar terms under different names.  Essentially, give terms that you would like to shop by.  Customers on Etsy have good taste if they’re shopping there, so some common courtesy on both parties will ensure everyone is happy.

Have you met my friend?

Etsy is not a store in itself, it doesn’t sell anything.  It’s more like the church yard hosting a village fete; bringing patrons to your lemonade stall with fancy bunting and a tannoy.  Etsy brings sellers and buyers together and that is all.  When you buy or sell something, you’re dealing direct with each other, so play nice.

Paypal is your buddy

Generally the easiest and safest way to transfer money between two people.  No bank details are exchanged and there’s a system in place should things go wrong.  As a seller, you will need a Paypal account to accept payment for your wares.  There are limits on the amount of money that can be sent to and from you account, which if you’re hoping on making a bit of cash will hinder things.  To remove the limits, you need to “verify” your account so you are fully accountable to Paypal.  This involves provided a proper phone number, address and bank account details.  A verified account gives you full access to the facilities and also allows you to upgrade your probably “Personal” account to “Premier”.

Premier – Sounds important

Paypal have changed their system that allows customers who don’t have an account to buy things from people who do have an account.  This is great for selling because people hate signing up to a new site for one transaction (I have a different sign-in for every train company in the UK and it’s chuffing infuriating).  As long as they have a credit or debit card, they can pay you with no problem.  But you need to set it up like this:

Sign in and click on “Profile”

Under “Selling Preferences”, click on “Website Payment Preferences”.

Scroll down to “Paypal Account Optional” and click “On”.

Now they can just enter their card information and shipping information, pay and if they feel the urge, sign up.

Fees-ibility

I decided on the selling price for my gift based on the cost of materials, my labour and what someone might pay for something they could make themselves.  What I didn’t fully account for are the fees involved with selling, of which there are more than terminating your phone contract early whilst crashing your rental car into your hotel swimming pool.

Initial listing fee on Etsy = $0.20 – this is per item not listing

Final selling fee on Etsy = 3.5% of the selling price

Paypal Cross Border fee = 0.5% of the total funds sent to you, sale price plus postage cost for currency exchange if applicable.

Paypal receiving payments = 3.4% of the total + a standard charge of £0.20.

The Paypal fees vary according to your country (these are for the United Kingdom) so check your “User Agreement” for the exact amounts.  All of this amounts to approximately £0.082 per £1.00 + £0.33 on fees.  So a gift sold for £10.00 makes you £8.85.  That’s quite a hit, but them’s the breaks. At least you can claim it all on your Self-Assessment tax returns.  Price accordingly, people prefer whole numbers.

Etsy should be fun, filled with more funky stuff than a Comic-Con lost and found.  Present your items well, wrap them nicely, and “heart” my store so you’ll be first in line when I make things!

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