In the meantime, I have been creating (or trying to - LOL) and browsing the various blogs and Etsy shops. There are so many cool products out there and so many talented people. If you are creative, you might want to take a look at Etsy and open up a shop. There is not much initial investment other than your materials, creativity and 20 cent listing fee per item (there is a back-end fee and a Paypal fee if you decide to use PayPal but both fees are paid after you have been paid by your buyer).
Here is a really quick tutorial on Etsy. I am not an Etsy expert so this is very basic as far as what you need to open a shop. First, you need an account but you just go to Etsy and click Register at the top of the main page. Registration is free and all you will need is a shop name, a password and an email address and you are all set. Please take a little bit of time in choosing your name though because once you choose it you cannot change it. My name is PaperFields and it must be run together like that for registration purposes. In your actual shop when you title it you can separate the words.
Next is setting up your shop. You go to My Etsy and on the left is the navigation bar and that is where you will find Shop Setup, Profile, New Items, etc. To setup your shop, you will click Shop Setup > Appearance. You will input your shop name and then you probably will want to have a banner at the top of your shop. Banners have to be 760 x 100 pixels. I have a graphics designer who does most of my graphics and a normal fee would be about $25.00-$30.00.
Then you will want to introduce yourself in the Shop Announcement and tell everyone a little about yourself so just prepare as small or large a blurb as you would like.
You can decide if you want to take custom orders or not. I have decided not to offer them for the time being. You will click a box for yes or no. Then there is a box for Alchemy Announcement. This is just a place where you let folks know that you don't take custom orders or, if you do, you tell them what you are willing to do as far as special order requests (there is another part of this but as a beginner you do not have to worry about it unless and until you are ready). Finally there is a message to Buyers. It usually is a thank you and a reiteration of your policies.
As far as policies, I use my Profile to tell folks my policies. I also use the Profile page to tell people about any other websites I have, groups I belong to and my blogs. You can also inform people about your copyright.
Now that you are all setup, you will want to start adding items. It is actually pretty simple. In the left navigation bar, you click Items > Add New Item.
- Title & Description: You will need a title and description of your item and the materials you use.
- Tags: You will want to add tags so people doing a search can find your items. If you make handbags, you could use the tags handbags, purses, totes, etc.
- Choosing a Category: You will need to choose a main category for your item and this is easily done by choosing a category from a list of categories in a drop-down box. (you can only choose one category per item but if your items fit into more than one category like my cards which could go in Paper Goods or Art, you can list one item in one category and another item in another category to get the most exposure)
- Shipping Costs and Carriers: Next, you will decide on your shipping costs. I include shipping with my cards and only ship to the United States. Until you are familiar with shipping, you might want to stick to shipping to your own country. You don't have to choose a shipping service but it is a good idea to let people know how you are going to ship their products wherever you have your policies listed. As you add your first item, you will come to a page where you can actually choose a shipping profile, designating what countries you will ship to, how much shipping is and how much additional if any you are going to charge if people purchase more than one item.
- Adding a Photo: You will also come to a page where you will upload a photo of your item. You just take the photo directly from your computer and upload it.
- Payment Methods: You will have to decide what payment methods you are going to use. PayPal is really a must-do because people can pay with their PayPal accounts or their credit cards but you can also decide to take personal checks and money orders. I take personal checks with all my businesses and have not received a bad check yet. You just wait until the funds clear before shipping and let folks know that is what you are going to do.
- How Much to Charge: One more thing you will have to do is designate price per item and how many of that particular item you have for sale. You can easily do a search of like items to see what others are charging for items like yours. As mentioned previously, the charge is 20 cents per item.
I know it sounds kind of complicated but it really isn't. Once you get into it you will see that all is pretty much self-explanatory. Getting your shop setup is really enough for one sitting and you can always add your items another day.
If you are creative and want an outlet to sell your handmade goods, Etsy is the place to be! Join some Street Groups, socialize, learn your way around and have fun! Remember to try to do something creative each day!