To summarise: yes.
In the past year have made what a 21 year old would make working full time in the UK off Etsy alone (feel free to work this out yourself but it’s around 12k). I’m currently travelling, so I have someone employed to process my orders but even if I didn’t my day would only really consist of processing orders for a few hours in the morning.
So how did I do it?
I have been on Etsy for around 4 years selling various things from vintage clothes, jewellery, prints as well as excess jewellery charms. It wasn’t until I stumbled across a product that was in very high demand but not many people sold I started shifting my stock like hotcakes (temporary tattoos). Before that, I sold maybe £100 worth of stuff a month. Finding a niche product like this is far easier said than done.
Typically on Etsy you will find shops selling the same thing some will have sold thousands, and others will have sold hundreds or less. However, I noticed that I had yet to find one shop mainly selling temporary tattoos that hadn’t sold thousands.
To summarise: you need to be selling a product that is in demand (just a little hint: jewellery isn’t it).
The only thing I implement to help sales on my Etsy are:
– SEO – this is single-handedly THE most important thing I ever did to help with sales. Over the past year, I have had over 200,000 views on my items just from Etsy. I previously wrote a blog post about Etsy SEO (a definite read)
– Great product photography and product descriptions – I’m also a photographer, so this came pretty naturally to me. I’m in the process of writing a blog post on this. If don’t have access to a good camera, it could be worth looking at hiring someone to do it for you (Fiverr, Elance, google and People Per Hour are good places to look for a product photographer or retoucher). If you can’t write well, it could also be worth looking to hire a writer to write your product descriptions (again Fiverr, Elance and People Per Hour are good places to look)
– Storewoot – after I have established which products sell well I tend to promote these items on here. They promote on very popular Pinterest boards (Pinterest traffic is some of the highest converting traffic you will ever find, if you are going to invest in ONE social network to sell your products this is the one).
– Pinterest – as I just mentioned previously Pinterest is some of the highest converting traffic of any social media. I have my own board titled “My products + creations” which I pin all my Etsy products too, in addition to about 15 group boards (group boards are communal boards you apply to join which can already have 8k – 20k followers and you can pin to them to your hearts content! = unlimited traffic!). Pingroupie is one of the only Pinterest group board directories and you can sort by number of followers, repins, etc.
Other tools and methods that will help to bring in traffic/sales:
– Viralwoot – After I have pinned to “my products + creations” I grab the link and add it to my promoted pins on here (this way the traffic gets sent to my pinterest not a group board). You get “seeds” by following/repining other people’s content and spend seeds when they follow/repin your content. A great way to gain repins.
– Wanelo – A website entirely based on sharing and saving products, a great way to gain traffic.
– Polyvore – Similar to wanelo, but requires products to be on an entirely white background.
– Etsy Wholesale – currently still a WIP but you can apply to be added to Etsy’s wholesale directory which would open your doors to wholesale orders (which is where big money lies).
– Tomoson – This allows you to send your products to influential bloggers for a review/giveaway. Be aware, this isn’t a free service (I just contacted the bloggers via e-mail instead of their system) and a lot of bloggers charge for a giveaway.
– Paid Advertising – Not something I implement myself, but facebook ads and google Adwords (this is very costly and doesn’t have high converting traffic at all) can also generate traffic.
Blogging as well as becoming active on a number of social medias can also be a great way to generate traffic and interest around your product. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are the main ones I use.
To summarise: if you want it, you got to work for it.
– Find a unique product, which isn’t in an over saturated market
– Great product photos + description are an absolute must
– Implement Etsy SEO
– Promote products on a number of channels (pinterest being the most worthwhile)
There is no magic equation but if you take this advice you should be well on your way!