My OnGoing Quest to Understand the Buyers on Etsy

25 Nov

Each time I try to rally my enthusiasm for selling on Etsy, I get slapped upside the head.  Sometimes getting slapped upside the head wiggles something loose, but not where Etsy is concerned!

I reshot the photographs for all the items in my shop.

I designed a fresh new logo and banner.

I make customized gift boxes for every sale and slip in a little something extra.

I Facebook.

I Twitter.

I Printerest.

I am on an Etsy team.

I create treasuries and am featured in treasuries.

I’ve paid Etsy for preferred item placement.

I purchased an Etsy App that modified all my listings to show a discount of 20% for Black Friday through Cyber Monday.

I ran an Etsy App to see if I am maximizing my SEO and here’s my report card:

I’m an “A” Etsy student and I’m still failing.


According to another Etsy App, the top 10 selling shops on Etsy are SUPPLIERS.  That means they don’t make anything, they sell stuff that was made commercially.

The top HANDMADE selling shop sells novelty “campaigns” buttons, those round metal disks with pins on the back and pithy sayings on the front, or worse, a smiley face.  For $1.50 a pop, this is what people are BUYING?

The next top handmade selling shop (with only half the business of the top dog) sells handmade soap.  I like soap and I use a lot of soap, but No. 2 spot?  Really?  Must be a lot of dirty hands and faces out there.

Coming in a close third is handmade stamps, the kind you put ink on and make impressions, not the mailing kind.  How many stamps does the world need?  What is being done with all those stamps?

Placing fourth are small 8X10 “curious” art prints that probably get cut up and made into something else, like scrapbooks, campaign buttons, magnets, or Scrabble tiles.  I can’t imagine all those art prints being framed and hung.

Fifth is more small prints, only these are collage on newsprint, and I don’t see why these sell, either.  Sixth is an illustrator of animal busts wearing clothes; small prints again.  Seventh place sells mineral makeup; yeah, we need LOTS of that.  Eighth sells t-shirts (okay, that one I get, t-shirts are actually useful, get worn and worn out, then get replaced).  Ninth place sells stickers; OMG.  And tenth place…wait for it…more t-shirts.

Now let’s look at the jewelry category, in which first place is a scant $318 short of edging out the tenth place t-shirt maker.

First place makes Scrabble tile pendants.

Second place makes only earrings, but I have to admit, they are cool and unusual tribal earrings in two parts; definitely not run-of-the-mill.

Third place makes some fairly complicated Steampunk style lockets and they are very unique, just like second place.

Bridal jewelry takes fourth place, really simple (read “classic” and hear “unimaginative”) chain jewelry takes fifth, and in sixth place is wonderfully bizarre and unique “jewelry with an edge inspired by nature – ravens, crows, wolves, bears and much more.”  Corvidae skull jewelry is their “specialty.”

Second, third and sixth place are, I admit, already included in my favorites.  But Scrabble tile jewelry is the top dog?  Really?

The app tracks the daily top 10 (minus supplies) and at $530 today is another handmade soap and beauty products shop.  T-shirts, campaign buttons and stickers are right behind.  Me?  $0, zip.

Bottom line is, what I create does not interest most buyers.  Trash, and lots of it, seems to be Etsy’s niche.

I’m disgusted.

One Response to “My OnGoing Quest to Understand the Buyers on Etsy”

  1. mermaiden November 26, 2012 at 8:05 PM #

    i am projectile vomiting in Etsy’s direction, let me assure you Kat. there is something happening there that smells really REALLY bad. i am so very tired and frustrated.

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