Friday, 26 November 2010

Selling: Ebay, Etsy, Folksy and elsewhere

Following on from the posts about my first craft fair experience, I've been musing on comments about where to sell my makes.  This has been bubbling around in the back of my mind for a while, and I think that the sensible answer is probably going to be a mixture of every venue I can think of and a few that you might suggest to me? (Hint, Hint)

First up, eBay.  I've been registered for a number of years now and selling (mostly clothes from my over-inflated wardrobes) for two.  I think that I have got my selling routine down to a reasonable level of efficiency:

  • take photos
  • check prices for similar items
  • use Turbo Lister to create listings
  • upload on Sunday (still seems to be the best day of the week for 7 day clothes sales)
  • check for and answer any questions
  • pack, post and relist as needed, keeping a postage book for the inevitable lost in the post occasions (two so far, one eventually limped home, and the other was lost for good)
So eBay sounds a reasonable option, although I have some reservations.  I would need a business account so as not to muddy the water with my own personal stuff.  And that would have no feedback status, although I could link it to my personal account.  My other concern is the category for hand crafted items.  It's often full of items to make handcrafted items, rather than the makes themselves (excuse the hoof beats of my hobby horse here...).  And the makes never seem to achieve many bids.  I have bought some lovely items for pennies, which I think should sell for much more.  I know that sellers are choosing their start price, but...

Then there's Etsy.  Now I could (and do) spend hours on Etsy.  The treasuries, the colour-based searches, the lovely, lovely makes and ingredients.  I have bought some art and toiletries from the USA, and have been delighted with everything.  I have to confess that Etsy makes me feel just a teeny bit inadequate.  There are so many beautiful things, and I am not sure if mine are beautiful enough.  Plus I have a practical issue in that my items are quite heavy, and most of the buyers are in the USA...not an ideal combination for cheap postage costs.  

Folksy is the UK based version of Etsy, which was set up more recently.  The number of listings is increasing well; I have just looked at homeware, which now runs close to 600 pages.  Definitely worth consideration. No significant postage issues, and we know some reliable couriers for furniture.    

I really enjoyed my first craft fair, and will definitely do more.  I am lucky to live in a large conurbation, which makes it easy to drive to fairs across a wide geographical area.  In addition, I think I will start looking for fairs other than craft; I know that there are some specialist fairs that my makes might be suited for, and I would be interested in pitching my gazebo at events that aren't necessarily fairs.  (I think that might be another comedy accident waiting to happen - watch this space come Spring for the first unveiling of the gazebo.)  

So - do you sell your makes?  If so where?  Any recommendations, or advice?  


  1. Hello! Love the tea-cup-candles! great idea! really cute, you have some really unique ideas going on, well done with your new business!

  2. Good sure to figure in your listing and selling fees when you price your goods. They can eat up profit quickly. Ebay folks want something for nothing. Etsy a bit better but you are correct, most want parts not the finished product and getting your cost out is difficult unless you have a "cult" following like the gals from Papertrey Ink.

    Craft fairs are much, much better. People can see your items and they are there to buy. I do most of my sales in the fall/winter prior to Christmas.

    Good luck and thanks for visiting my blog! #89

  3. I hope my crafty Mojo is going to keep going as we're in a very similar position in starting out as self-employed people. Though as I'm expecting my workshopping/selling/ photographing to take off quite slowly I'm going to be supply teaching to make ends meet.

    But I'm off on a days business course soon which will be both exciting and scary as I'm very right brained!!!
    I think you are covering all the bases pretty well - I've had a look at all of those too. I just worry about paying for a stand at a craft fair and not making the money back.

    It's great to come across someone in a similar situation.

    All the best (skyblogpink 129)

  4. Thank you all for your comments and good wishes - it's really appreciated. Lavinia - I am so chuffed at the makes being described as unique - that's really encouraging.

    Charlene - that's some wise words from your experience there; I will take them on board. I am already looking to book next year's fairs, as I started a bit late for this year. To be honest, I am glad to be starting slowly, as I'm not sure I have the experience or the stock to be rushing between fairs at present. Albeit that the 24 hours notice for my first was a fine adrenaline rush.

    Marie - how nice to find someone in a similar position. I took voluntary redundancy to start this, so I had a bit of a financial cushion. The supply work sounds a great idea; I have been thinking about doing some contract work if needed. Perhaps we can do a bit of brain-swapping, as I've definitely got a lot of left-brain (former accountant, although public sector rather than the useful sort), and I could do with a share of your right-brain Mojo.

  5. Interesting post - I am hoping to start selling soon so this was an enjoyable read. Did you know there is a selling platform on Facebook now? I've seen a lot of crafters doing that and of course you could start up your own website and say on here when you have listed new stuff - don't sell on this actual blog as I didn't know until a few weeks ago that it is against Bloggers rules and they can close your account for it if someone reports you but you can have a seperate 'proper' website and link to it.

    The thing that's putting me off is I haven't a clue what to value my stuff at and also - the tax side of things though my OH could probably help me out there as he is self employed.

  6. I didn't know about the Facebook set up - that's something else to add to my list. Thanks!

    There will be a website soon after Christmas. I'm investigating domain names at the moment, and hopefully will stop dithering about what to call myself soon.

    My OH is self-employed as well, so I'm hoping he can help with some of the tax questions. Although I have to say that the HMRC seminar on self-employment I went to was excellent, and I registered very quickly by phone.