It seems like only yesterday that Etsy was a small, niche marketplace for selling handicrafts and heirlooms. Today, it’s a huge site with businesses making corporate-level profits without needing their own websites or shopping systems. Without needing to manage a website, they can focus on advertising and making their products unique.
Which shops are the best on Etsy, and what can you learn from them?
First of all, you need to know that there are three main types of shops on Etsy. These are the Handmade, the Vintage, and the Supplies sops.
Now, one thing will be abundantly clear when you start to see the numbers: Supplies are by far the highest volume. Selling supplies tends to be a cheap way to make money by volume. In fact, all of the top 10 sellers on Etsy overall are supply sellers. So, we’ll cover that first.
Every single one of these stores is more or less the same, and yet very different. They all sell a wide assortment of beats, pendants, chains, settings, gems, cords and anything else you might need to get into crafting. They all have individual pieces and lots, cheap sets and themed collections, with massive inventories.
Yet every store is very different. Bohemian Findings takes pictures frequently with a hand holding the item. Dime Store Emporium uses vintage pictures as the backgrounds to display items, sometimes in goofy ways. EverLuxe uses a gray background, probably a table. MiniatureSweet has a lot of candy-themed items, like plastic chocolate bars and tubes of fake whipped cream.
What can you learn from supply sellers? They are by far the most reliant on a massive customer base and a reputation. They need a huge variety of items – every store listed has over 200 pages of items – and a huge stock. They all have low prices and they tend to offer deals.
Variety and specialization is the key to success in the vintage market. Each store has a focus, and like the supplies section, each store has a high volume of small, cheap items. For example, inkpainter sells vintage pins and labels, RogueRetro sells a lot of apparel, Julie Collings sells ornaments, ribbons and sweets, while grandmother’s attic sells books, puzzles, and other collectibles.
Estate Sale Treasures is an interesting shop, because it’s #8 on Etsy for sales, but does not have a wide selection or a high volume. Which stands to reason; the entire goal of the shop is to buy small, eclectic items from estate sales and re-sell them online.
Vintage really requires a lot of resources or suppliers to succeed, and even then, the top seller is still below the #10 seller in Handmade, and well below the #10 in suppliers. They act like suppliers of vintage items for use in crafts, only their specialization requires a smaller scale operation.
Handmade is perhaps the largest category on Etsy, and this specialization and a theme are required to meet great success. Each store on the list above has a defined theme, and focuses on that theme to sell to a specific type of person.
Additionally, Handmade items are rarely used as supplied for other products. They are the end results of supplies and labor mixed with time and creativity. As such, they don’t thrive as much on volume. Instead, they focus on high quality items with high price tags.
What sort of themes thrive? What price ranges exist? It’s all very variable. Pink Bows
Sells almost entirely headbands, though dresses, leg warmers, sashes and a few necklaces pepper the ship. They range from a $5 price tag up to $30 or more.
Meanwhile, Rivermill Embroidery is just what it sounds like on the tin; embroidered items, rangeing from patches to clothing to monograms. Bean Forest sells buttons, mugs and other printed items. Signature T-Shorts looks more like the back wall of an FYE or Hot Topic, with designs ranging from modern memes to shirts from American Apparel.
One theme unites virtually ever seller on Etsy, however, and that’s a certain type of chic or trend. You don’t see a lot of ultra-modern styling or Art Deco succeeding on the site. Instead, you see items that can be exemplified by terms like “found” or “hip,” “green” and “earthy.”
Every store has a top banner, but Etsy allows very little in the way of site-wide branding. Username doesn’t even matter so much, and banners are often used for advertising more than branding. Pictures matter, of course.
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