How do you define success on Etsy? Is it possible to make a living on Etsy?
My main Etsy shop shop grossed $90,000+ revenue in 2015. In 2016, my sales have increased by 33.41%, well on track to clear $120,000+ revenue in 2016.
But how could I ever know if that is considered to be “successful” among the 1.5 million sellers on Etsy? Etsy’s new rules allow for the use of manufacturing and staff (gasp!). If I am doing $100k a year as a single maker operated business, there must be hundreds of shops making 5x-10x that amount.
It is hard to figure out what success on Etsy looks like. Google “Etsy success” or “what is success on Etsy” and you will be bombarded with outdated articles, blog posts and Etsy forum threads. Etsy changes so rapidly that posts from 2014 are outdated. This blog too will soon be outdated, it is inevitable.
Craftcount lists my shop Exsect as the 15th top seller in the Leathercraft category. But only shops who have signed up to be ranked are listed here.
So WHO is successful on Etsy?
Shops with 1000 sales? 5000? 10,000+? Many high volume shops are suppliers with items that retail for under $5 or $10 with super narrow profit margins. Etsy success can not be weighed on published sales numbers alone.
WHAT is successful on Etsy?
As of this posting Etsy has 38,893,348 Items listed. Just 2 years ago I remember that number being 26,000,000. That is a crazy amount of competition and an insane amount of growth.
In the earlier days of the “treasury” front page, it seemed to be the same handmade panties, weird mini banners, you wash I'll dry towels and concrete planters day in and day out. But these shops were not necessarily successful, they just had pretty photos that placed well with the other items in the treasury.
In 2016, treasuries are no more and with the newer constantly updating curated homepage, it can be very hard to know what is trending on Etsy.
Ive seen trending items on Etsy come and go : shabby chic, owls, chevrons, feathers, gypsy, rustic, foxes, sloths, personalized stamped jewelry, state specific items, tassels, french bulldogs, rabbits, cats, lace boot socks… fill your shop with these items and you may make a considerable amount of sales in a short period of time only to be left with a very dead shop a few short months or weeks later.
What do I know to be true?
I know one thing that is certainly true: To be successful on Etsy you MUST keep up with their SEO guidelines. If you do not, don’t bother listing. If you are not willing to consume the vast amount of literature that Etsy has made available to you in the Etsy Seller Handbook, don’t waste your precious time setting up a shop.
Another great piece of advice on Etsy : STAY OFF OF THE FORUMS. The forums are a time suck full of pessimistic, largely unsuccessful sellers whining about everything imaginable. It’s best to focus on YOU and your success.
If you list 10 items, only one many become a top seller. And in my case, the product that becomes the most popular is always the product I least expect to sell well.
And in closing, a small list of the most important things that helped me go from a revenue of $1900 in 2013 to $91,000+ in 2015:
- Being proactive. Not reactive.
- Doing my due diligence.
*Shipping monies collected are not calculated in the revenue numbers in the graph above.
**Exsect Inc. was closed for vacation for 3 weeks in September of 2015.
***Im not putting this screenshot here to brag. It is here just for income verification. So you know there ain’t no bullsh**.
Exsect Inc. is a single maker operated leather company with over 4,300 sales on Etsy. Featuring specialty designs, exclusive leather finishes, reclaimed leather creations and industry standard deviations.
Exsect Inc. is not your grandfather’s hobby shop.
©2016 Exsect Inc ©2016 Amina Baker ©Amina Munster