The Storage Buyer's Guide to Using Etsy.com: Part 1
No, I'm not suggesting you should give up the storage auction biz and become a full time arts-n-crafter on Etsy. Believe it or not, everyone's favorite craft website can be used to the storage buyer's advantage, too! Put away the glitter glue and knitting needles for now though--you might already have a unit filled with things you can sell on Etsy.
An Introduction: Etsy? Huh, What's That?
Etsy.com has boomed in popularity since it first launched in 2005 as a website geared towards selling unique, handmade items. Today, hundreds of thousands of starry-eyed crafters have opened up their very own "Etsy shops", selling everything from handmade soap, crocheted scarves, and even high-fashion dog raincoats.
The great thing about this website for you is that alongside the handmade items, they also have a section for "vintage" items. FYI: Etsy defines vintage as anything 20 years or older (jeez....that means I'm vintage!). Since Etsy is a little more lenient with what they consider vintage, you can sell items that people will love that an antique dealer might just scoff at (Pogs, anyone?).
Take a look for yourself. In the vintage section alone, there are currently over 2,000,000 items for sale!
So, if you've found a unit filled with boxes of cute little vintage Christmas ornaments, salt and pepper shakers, and teacups--check out Etsy before you decide to sell these items in the dollar bin at your next tag sale. They might have a far greater value to collectors than you'd think!
The Basics: Before You Begin...
Get to know Etsy. One great thing about this site is that it's very user friendly, both for sellers and buyers. Opening an "Etsy shop" and listing your first items can be completed in a matter of minutes. Selling is simple: good sellers get good feedback, which gives them a better store rating. Once an item is posted, it remains in your shop for 3 months, or until someone buys it.
One thing I find very advantageous to using Etsy is the minimal seller fees. It's only 20 cents to list an item, regardless of your selling price, and that's it. No percent taken out of the total sale, and no surprises.
Another great feature is coupon codes, which allow you to choose a discount to add to your items (either free shipping or a certain % off retail price). This could potentially set you apart from other stores. Try running sales to celebrate events, like your store's grand opening, one year anniversary, and most importantly--Christmas. Just don't go too coupon crazy all the time--you're in it to make a profit, after all.
Inventory: Do You Have What it Takes?
Before you start this venture, it's a good idea to have quite a few very good items ( I would suggest 5-10) to start your shop with. If somebody comes to your shop, sees only one item for sale and no positive feedback yet, they're probably not very likely to buy from you.
In this aspect, it's much like eBay selling: be consistent, make sure all of your items are well described, and the photos are all nice and clear. Try to take visually pleasing photos of your products. Don't just throw it in your garage on a dirty sheet and expect that photo to sell it! What you see is what you get...and customers on Etsy want pretty things.
Finally, just take some time to browse what's selling on Etsy, and for how much. This will give you a pretty good idea of how to price your own goods, and what you should be selling. I can't stress it enough--do your research! Prices vary depending on many factors, especially condition. Make sure you take that into account when pricing your own items.
So, you've learned all about how Etsy works...now, the burning question that can make or break your Etsy career: exactly what items from your storage unit should you sell in your Etsy Shop?
....Find out in Part 2 of The Storage Buyer's Guide to Etsy.com! Stay tuned.
All photos are from http://thetinyhobo.blogspot.com/