Managing your ETSY shop


I wrote an entire blog about running an ETSY shop, but things that I didn’t mention that now need to be written about are:
  • Shipping
  • Inventory
  • Renewals of listing

Having a shop does take some time as you are going to be managing it if you have a product up in your shop.  Sure, there are ways you can have it easy and that is to sell items that are PDF’s and you don’t have to worry about shipping, inventory or any of the other physical item issues.  I am going to write about having physical items because that is what I have in my shop.

Shipping
Shipping sounds like it should be easy to manage, and it is once you get into a routine with regards to getting things mailed to the customers.  For us, we have decided that we do the shipping (going to the post office) three times a week depending on the volume of orders.  Setting up a routine can make a big difference because we were going to the post office each time we got an order, and it was getting a little much as it meant that we were going every day some weeks.  Now what we have done is decided that we will bunch the orders and then take them to the post office and get them shipped.

Another thing that you need to consider when you are mailing your orders is if they are going to fit into an envelope or a box.  For us, we have found that most of the orders that we get fit into an envelope, which also means that it is one way to keep the shipping costs down.  An envelope is a lot cheaper to mail than if you are putting the items into even a small, light-weight box.

For us, we have a routine when we ship, and there are specific items that we put into each order, and they are:
  • Business card with a thank you sticker on it
  • Postcard with a handwritten a note on the back of the card thanking the customer for the order.
  • Actual items ordered
One we have all the items ready they are placed into an envelope, and they are ready to be shipped.


Inventory
The physical inventory that you have is something else that you will need to determine how to manage.  For our shop, we have all the items made and stored in individual bags, which are all labelled and then they are in tote boxes to make finding them easier.  Our tote boxes are sorted by size of item so that it makes looking for each item a little easier. It also helps show when a specific size is running low and more items need to be made.

Besides all of the items being individually packaged, I have index cards for each of the fabrics that are in the shop.  Yes, I know that it isn’t necessary to have these, but it makes it easier for me to ensure that the physical inventory agrees to the inventory that I have showing in the shop.

Determining how many items you are going to have in your shop is up to you.  Once you start selling items, you will start to figure out how many you want of each item as well as how many listing you want. 


Renewals of listing
The actual listings that are on ETSY will run for four months from the time you originally post or 4 months from the last sale of the item.  It is nice when you can have multiple of an item because it means that if you have the listing set to auto-renew, it will automatically show up again as soon as a sale is made.  Now the auto-renewal only helps when you have items left; otherwise, it won’t renew if you sell the last of a specific item.  It is a nice way to ensure that you are keeping items up and visible on the general ETSY site.  Each time an item is listed, it has a chance of showing as a new item on the general ETSY site as well as a listing on your shop.

I have found that having more than multiple of a listing makes it easier for me as it means that I can make the items in batches and then I can work on another fabric to get them ready while the ones in the shop are being managed within the system.


There are so many different things that you need to think about when you are managing an ETSY shop but remember that there are people always willing to help you out. If you are thinking of opening an ETSY shop or have just opened an ETSY shop and have questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me as I am willing to answer questions if I can.


Running an ETSY shop


Here are a lot of different things that you need to consider before you start having an ETSY shop.  Some of the items will be very easy, and some of the other items will take some planning as well as some research  I know that before I ever opened my ETSY shop there were things that I needed to figure out and they were changed a bit even once the shop was up and running.

I am going to try and document some of the things that I had to figure out along the way, and hopefully, this list will help in before and even after you have your shop up and running.

Here is a list of the things that need to figure out when opening/having an ETSY shop or even when you want to sell items like your crafts. Some of the items will be logical, but they need to be listed so that they can be managed and figured out.
  • Products (what are you going to offer)
  • Shipping (are you going to be shipping the items?)
  • Cost of the item to make
  • The sales price of the item or items
Now I am going to try and go into some of the items in more detail as there are a lot of hidden costs or decisions that need to be made.

Products
This is the actual item or items you are willing to make or offer in your ETSY shop.  Some of the biggest decisions are going to be made around your products.
  • What am I going to make
    • This can be a major challenge because you may have lots of ideas, but you are also going to need to figure out if there is a demand for what you make.  If there isn’t a demand, you are going to have a difficult time getting sales.
  • How many of an item am I making
    • One thing you need to consider is are you going to make the items once they are ordered or are you going to have some stock so that you can ship once the order has been received.
  • What does it cost to make the item
    • The cost of the making of the item has to be taken into considering as this will assist you in pricing the item.  Remember you need to consider the time it takes to make the items as well
  • Storing the supplies and made items
    • If you are going to be making items, you will need to consider how much stock you want to carry and also what raw material you need to keep the stock at a good level.
  • Will I accept custom orders
    • Making custom orders is something that needs to be figured out because that will also impact what supplies you have in stock as well as how quickly you can get the material to make the custom orders.  

Shipping
The shipping of the items is something that also needs to be considered.
  • Cost
    • What is the cost going to be to ship these items to customers?  Also, are you willing to ship out of your own country will also need to be determined.
  • Packaging the items
    • What items am I going to need to package the items for shipping?  The cost of these items is also going to have to be considered when you determine your shipping costs. Are boxes required to ship the items or can they be placed in envelopes and mailed to the customer?  The size of the item will determine if it is an envelope or box and that will impact the cost of shipping
  • Frequency of shipping the items
    • How often am I going to be shipping the items as this is something that also needs to be considered so that it can be noted in your shop policy?

Cost of making the item
What is the actual cost of making the item needs to be determined as this is going to help you determine your sales price?  I know that you might be getting some of your supplies on sale, and I do recommend trying to watch for sales.  You are also going to have to figure out the cost if you need to purchase something when there isn’t a sale either for a custom order or even to restock something that is in high demand.

Sales price
Now the determination of the sales price of the item is going to have some different factors, and all of these are going to need to be considered when you are pricing your items.
  • Cost of making the item
  • Possible fees that are going to be incurred for listing and even selling the item.
  • How much profit do I want to make on each item?  

Having an actual ETSY shop
Now that you have figured out some of the things there are now other things that need to be considering once you decide that an ETSY shop is something that you want to do. 
  • Listing
    • The listing is something that is going to be the biggest part of having an ETSY shop, and it does involve a few things.
      • Description – you will need to figure out how you are going to describe your item so that someone else understands what it is and would be interested in purchasing it.
      • Photos – you must have a minimum of one photo for each of your items.
      • Shipping – does your sales price include shipping as part of the price or are you going to charge shipping separately.
      • Tags – there are short phrases to help people find your listings when they are doing searches.
      • Inventory – are you going to have some stock. If you are going to have the stock, you can add the quantity to the listing, and that will show the customer that there is more than one of an item available for purchase.
    • A piece of advance that I can offer about your listing is to make sure that you add items at various times and don’t put everything up at once as each listing is a new item and something that might appear on someone’s view.  The other piece of advance is to have your listing auto-renew because then you don’t have to monitor when an item will expiry and not be available in your shop.  The auto-renew is a great tool, especially when you start to have multiple items available.
  • Fees
    • Fees are something that you are going to have to look at because again you are going to be incurring costs when you list and sell your items.
      • Listing fee – for each listing that you put up on ETSY there is a listing fee.  If you have multiple of a single item, you can add the quantity, and you will incur a new listing fee each time you make a sale.  The good part of having multiple of an item available is that as soon as one sells your listening is updated with the new quantity and it shows again in your shop.
      • Transaction fee – these are the fees that you are going to incur when you make a sale.  It is a percentage of the actual sales price and also a percentage of shipping fees if they are separate.
  • Messages
    • With ETSY, you will be able to get messages from potential and current customers.  The messages you receive are something that you will need to reply to, as this also impacts your customer service.  You can have the messages show in your email account as well as the ETSY app so you can manage the messages on a timely basis. 
  
Having an ETSY shop can be extremely rewarding, especially once you start getting sales, and the reviews start to appear.  Each customer has the opportunity to do a review on the item that they received, and they will rate it based on sales between one and five.  After rating the order and your customer service, they can add an actual comment to explain what they thought of the item as well as your service. There are always going to be things that you will learn as you start having a shop, and then you can make the changes and move forward.  Another good thing is to ask someone that has an ETSY shop about their experience because they will give you the advice to assist you in finding the process a little easier. 

I know that I talked to someone that helped with an ETSY shop before opening my shop, and I appreciated their input.  If you are thinking of having an ETSY shop and would like to talk to someone about it, please don’t hesitate to reach out to myself or other ETSY shop owners because a lot of us had to figure out things and are willing to share our experience.

A bit about my ETSY shop



I reopened my ETSY shop in October of 2017, and that was after a few friends and family encouraged me to try and seel some of the items that I was making. I had made a couple of items for friends, and that is when I decided it was time to see if I could make these items to sell on a broader scale.  Little did I know what I was going to be doing almost two years later.

After a discussion with my husband, we decided that an ETSY shop might be a good idea and we would start small, which we did.  I started out making a few grime guards and some project envelopes as I used them myself and figured maybe someone else would like what I made.  The shopping trip for the first lot of fabric wasn’t too bad, and we got what we needed, and I set off the make a few items and would see how things went.

Like all other ETSY shops, it takes some time to get discovered and actually start selling things but I was able to sell a few grime guards and a couple of project envelopes as well as a thread catcher that I also started to make, in the first couple of months, so I figured that was a pretty good start. After the sale of a couple of items, I felt it was going to work out, and that is when the fun began for both my husband and maybe.  See, my husband is also part of the production of the items as he helps cut out most of the items and then helps with the elastic on the grime guards and anything else that I need him to assist with.  He is also the one that now takes all the photographs of the items so that I can then put them up on the site.

This ETSY shop is a lot of fun for both of us as it means that we have time in the evening where we are spending time together but also getting something done.  We now have a routine when it comes to making the grime guards and even shipping items.  We share a lot of the duties, which means that we both get the enjoyment out of the shop.  The decision on a lot of the fabric has been a joint effort as he seems to find things that he thinks will sell and I have to admit that some of his finds are the ones that we sell out of first. 

ETSY isn’t our full-time business, and even for me it isn’t something I do full time, but it is something that I enjoy doing, and I am pretty sure my husband enjoys spending the time that he does helping me out with it. 

We are enjoying having the shop and enjoy finding new items that we can add to the shop.  If someone has an idea of something else that I could make and possible sell make sure you leave a comment and I will look into the item and maybe it will be something else that I add to the shop in the future.