Thousands of crafters, collectors and e-entrepreneurs have found ways to make money on the Web by selling hand-crafted and vintage items on Etsy.com. Etsy has been referred to as “the world’s largest craft fair,” and “the e-Bay of crafts” since it was first launched in 2005.
Etsy is similar to e-Bay in several ways. It’s a marketplace where buyers can purchase products and sellers can set up virtual “stores” and “storefronts” to sell their items.
It differs from e-Bay, though, in that the products featured on Etsy have set prices, unlike e-Bay whose sales are mainly auction-based. In this regard, Etsy has been compared to the Amazon marketplace.
The biggest difference between Etsy and sites like e-Bay and Amazon is that Etsy is a marketplace for crafts, craft supplies and vintage items only. All items listed by vendors must be hand-made, or must be at least 20 years old to be considered “vintage.” These are the only ways to make money allowed by Etsy.com vendors.
Besides this, there are few other stipulations regarding the types of products that can be peddled. The Website marketplace features a vast range of hand-made and vintage products, including decorative items, furniture, home décor, clothing, pet supplies, toys, art, purses and more. In fact, there are currently more than 25 separate categories of products on Etsy. So, essentially, there are three ways to make money on Etsy: sell original, hand-crafted items, sell craft supplies or sell vintage items (which fit into one of Etsy’s existing categories of products).
All vendors, regardless of what they sell, must start out by creating a vendor’s account. This process takes only a few minutes and involves filling out some basic personal information (name, address, email address). Vendors must also be prepared to register a credit card. The credit card is used for verification purposes only, although a vendor may choose to have his/her various monthly fees applied automatically to that card.
Vendors may list as few or as many items in their “store” as they wish. Vendors must pay a listing fee for each single item they list. They must also pay a fee when an item sells. This fee is around 3.5% of the total selling price.
A single item may be listed for up to for months. If the product doesn’t sell in four months it is automatically removed by Etsy. The vendor may then choose to re-list the item if he/she desires. A new listing fee will then apply.
What if you aren’t a crafter? There are still ways to make money on Etsy even if you don’t make your own products.
One of the ways to make money using Etsy (without making your own products) is to set up shop and sell handmade items made by other crafters. This is acceptable practice on Etsy as long as you don’t misrepresent the products in any way. In other words, the items must be hand-made originals, and you must disclose who the maker is.
Another way to make money on Etsy without being crafty is to sell craft supplies. This can include just about anything related to crafting: fabric, ribbon, glue, wood and even equipment for crafting. These are referred to as “commercial crafting supplies.” Their sale is subject to different terms than handmade items, so if you use this as a way to make money on the site, familiarize yourself with these terms.
Finally, one of the best ways to make money on this site if you’re not a crafter is to sell vintage items. It’s a bit like having an online antique store. You just have to make sure that your products are at least 20 years old and that they fall into one of Etsy’s existing categories. Entrepreneurs, whether crafty themselves or not, have numerous ways to make money using Etsy.