I will answer the top 5 questions you probably have if you're thinking of opening an Etsy vintage shop. I speak from experience because my husband and I have been sellers on Etsy since 2012. We started this adventure so we could add some additional income doing what we love – shopping for vintage items at auctions, estate sales, flea markets, thrift store, garage sales, etc. It's great taking something you enjoy and make money at the same time. Little did we know how our little Etsy shop would take off. We now have around 3,000 items in our shop and I now work full time on our Etsy shop. When I say full time, I mean working part time, but making a full time income and more. Well, let's get on with questions you may have and you can decide if an Etsy vintage shop is right for you. If you're ready to go, please check out our Etsy Vintage Shop Getting Started Guide. If you're still not sure, read on so I can answer your questions.
Can you make money on Etsy selling vintage items?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is much more detailed so please read on so I can tell you everything you need to know to make money on Etsy. We have had our vintage shop on Etsy since 2012, we now have over 12,000 sales, and income that allows me to part time, but have more than a full time income and more. Did we open our doors and have sales right away? We did have sales the first month we were open so that was encouraging to know that our Etsy shop would provide additional income. It took some time to build, but as we built and grew our shop, the sales were much more frequent and consistent. Now, we average 150 – 270 sales a month (depending on the season). It is possible to make money selling vintage on Etsy, but this is not a “list it and they will come” scenario. You must be present in your shop and adding listings or revising listings if they don't sell, etc. to continue to have sales in your shop.
You check out some of my favorite Etsy vintage shops (I have so many favorites) – Red River Antiques, Jen's Closet, Treasured Silver Shop and SecondWindShop. The last shop is ours so take a look at these shops if you're thinking of selling vintage on Etsy.
What is Etsy and what does it cost?
First, what is Etsy? Etsy is an online platform that allows sellers to have their own shop. Their platform makes it easy for sellers to sell and buyers to buy. Etsy started out being for mainly handmade items, but now also has a serious vintage shop presence. Etsy brings the traffic to the site and to your shop. We have our own shop outside of Etsy, but without Etsy's traffic, we sell only a few items a month. That makes us loyal Etsy shop owners because they bring thousands of visits to our shop each month. We wouldn't do nearly as well selling our vintage products without Etsy.
Etsy has no shop fees. Other sites, like Ruby Lane ($75 per month), have a shop fee just to have a shop on their site. The only start up cost is a listing fee for each product, which is as low as 20 cents. Yes, that's 20 cents!! You set up your shop for free and can add 1 listing for 20 cents. Now, you probably can't be successful with 1 item, but it takes time to build and grow your shop. That's what makes it great – you decide how quickly you want to build your business and the investment you want to make. Also, Etsy takes a fee when you make a sale (5% plus $.35), which is great because you don't pay anything more until you sell your products. Also, Etsy collects the money, deducts their fee and then sends you the money. That means the online out of pocket costs you have are the listing fee of 20 cents per listing and whatever the cost of your product is. As you can see, Etsy has the best platform to make it easy to offer your products with very little out of pocket costs.
Do I have to be techy to have an Etsy shop?
No, Etsy takes care of all the tech stuff. Their blank listing is just a “fill in the blanks” form where you insert your photos, type in your title and listing description, insert your key words, etc. They could not make it easier unless they did it for us. Keep in mind the better job you doing on your listing, the more likely you are to sell your product.
Check out my blog post, Top 5 Tips on Writing a Listing Description that Sells.
Do I have to be a photographer to have an Etsy shop?
No. The photos I took when I first opened my shop were horrible. However, I was still able to sell and build my shop. This is one of the first items I sold on Etsy. Yikes! Not a great photo, but it's the best I was capable of at the time. Can you believe I didn't crop off the wood table in this photo? I thought I was so cool using the blue background (not recommended). By the way, this item sold in less than a month after I listed it. You can even use your smart phone to take photos.
With that being said, it's a good idea to be open to growth and learning new skills. I eventually did some Googling to find better ways to photograph. In the beginning, just do your best until you have the time and resources to do better photography.
Do I need to be a salesperson to have a shop on Etsy?
Selling on Etsy is not your normal type of retail shop where you are interacting in person to sell your goods. I worked in retail stores when I was in high school and college, but I hated it because I was shy (I'm much less shy now). Instead, you communicate with your buyer via your listings, conversations on Etsy, and social media. So the answer is no, you don't have to be a super salesperson to sell on Etsy. Your products speak for themselves through your photographs and your listing. Try to answer all of the buyer's questions and they should have little to reason to ask questions. Try to answer as many questions about your product as you can. What is it? Who made it? When was it made? What's the size? How much does it cost? How can it be used? The Etsy listing asks you many of these questions so you have almost all the answers when you list your product.
I hope this answers some questions you may have about opening an Etsy shop. If you think an Etsy shop might be for you, be sure to sign up for our Etsy Vintage Shop Getting Started Guide, where you will find out what you need to get started on Etsy and you will receive updates from me on ways to improve and build your Etsy shop.