selling on etsy: tools & supplies, shipping & storage

{You can find my other Selling on Etsy posts here:  Part 1, Part 2, Part 3}

etsy series - tools supplies shipping and storage options @ 4onemore.com

When I first started researching what I would need to be an Etsy seller, I was imagining lots of expenses for silly things like bubble wrap and cardboard boxes!

Have no fear, you don’t need to spend your resources on boxes if you don’t want to.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

{look at that adorable toddler in a box… how did she get in this post?!}  🙂

I want to share my favorite tips about Tools & Supplies, Shipping & Storage when selling on Etsy.

selling on etsy -- supplies @4onemore.com

Tools & Supplies

First of all, totally get amazon prime membership if you don’t have it already.  It’s a lifesaver and you get a great supply of boxes to reuse.

Have your friends and family save boxes, bubble wrap, air pockets, brown paper or newspapers for you, and you will have a free supply of shipping materials.  I just print off a “recycled packaging materials” label that includes my logo and stick it on the box.  Upcycling is part of being a good resource manager.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

{This post contains affiliate links.  Please see my disclosure policy for full details.}

Shipping

Many people have questions about shipping when they  consider being an Etsy seller.  The customer pays for shipping.  That’s good news — but you also need to be prepared.

USPS shipping calculator is your friend.  Input weight and box sizes for accurate shipping quotes.  Buy your postage online.  You can even schedule a package pick-up.  You can ask my hubby what a blessing it was when we finally figured out that he didn’t need to traipse into our local post office each day with my shipments.

Make sure you have a reliable postage scale.  I started with a cheap kitchen scale and worked up to a digital scale.

After you buy your postage online, you can easily print it with a DYMO label printer.  This printer is not a necessity, but it’s a great investment.  I sold on etsy for several years by printing out my postage on computer paper, then taping it on the box.  But if your sales end up increasing you will want to upgrade.  This label printer has been a huge time-saver.  And it prints thermally, so your label’s information won’t rub off during shipment (don’t ask me how I know this the hard way!)

Storage

selling on etsy -- shipping & storage @4onemore.com

Storage has always been an issue for me.  For several years, my etsy storage was mingled in our basement with our family storage.  It was crazy!  I wrote on my boxes what the contents were, so when an item sold, I had to go search for the right box.  Terrible system.

I now have a bunch of space solely for my etsy boxes. But my best shipping system is not necessarily having a lot of space — it’s having an inventory list.

selling on etsy -- storage -- 4onemore.com

Next to each of my listings on etsy, in the title section, I have a letter and/or number label.  That tells me where to find the box in my storage.  

Each box is numbered 001-180, plus many in between like B014 (back shelf 14th box) or C003 (center storage 3rd box).  Do whatever system works for you, but if you’re going to have more than a dozen items waiting to sell and ship, please develop a system!  I really wish I could go back in time and enlighten myself.  

Setting up a shop and adding your first listings can be tackled in a few hours.  If you’ve thought about starting an etsy shop, go for it!  The risk is really actually small.  And you never know — it might take off better than you thought.  Message me if you’d like a link for 40 free listings.

selling on etsy {my craft room}

Welcome to a little tour of the space I use for crafting.

etsy series - my craft room @ 4onemore.com

I am so very thankful for this room because in the past all of my creative pursuits were done at the kitchen table or counters, which wasn’t too convenient with homeschooling and general household chores thrown in the mix.

If your handmade items are smallish (like jewelry), you can probably get away with crafting in your living spaces and not making too much of a mess.

But if you can swing it, I would highly recommend carving out a corner of a spare bedroom, a place in the basement, a counter in the garage, or a shed in the yard for your crafting hobby.  My productivity level greatly increased by having a dedicated space for my hobby-turned-business.

No worries if you don’t have a craft room!  Like I said, I ran my etsy shop for several years from a small home office space and just made do with my situation.

selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

The room is a great size with laminate flooring, which makes it easy to sweep up.

My hubby built me this awesome work table that measures 8 feet by 4 feet and 3 feet tall.

selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

He covered the top with leftover laminate flooring which has been a great work surface.

selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

The sides have great sturdy storage for supplies.

selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

This room is not “beautiful” but rather very practical!  The beauty lies in the fact that I can create at my leisure and close the door to my mess.  This room is not connected to my house, so the creative mess and piles that might exist out here don’t have to bring a cluttered feel into my home.   selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

My sewing machine is at a desk in front of the windows.  Storage of all my raw crafting materials and stock waiting to be up cycled is around the perimeter of the room.

selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

I would love for this room to be beautiful, but it’s too much of a work horse right now.

selling on etsy {my craft room} @4onemore.com

So there you have it.  This is my happy place, where my introverted self loves to recharge from being with my little people all day.

Where do you craft?

selling on etsy {what to sell}

etsy series - what to sell @ 4onemore.com

With several years of experience as an etsy shop owner and over 1600 sales, I hope to inspire and encourage you to take the plunge and open your own shop if you’ve ever thought about it.  I know that I played with the idea in my mind for several months before jumping in.  Sometimes you just need a little nudge.  Consider yourself nudged 🙂

With the first post in this series I shared a few insights that I’ve learned as an etsy shop owner.

Today let’s explore what you can sell on etsy.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

Basic Categories:  Vintage, Handmade, or Supplies

Everything you sell must fit into one of these three categories.  Vintage is anything 20 years old or older.  You can sell it as-is.  This is a great category to sell in if you love estate sales and thrift stores.  Approximately 25 percent of my shop listings right now are in the vintage category.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

Handmade items include anything you make from scratch or alter in any way.  About 75 percent of my listings are up cycled handmade items.

Many times I start with an item from a thrift store or yard sale and give it a new use…

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

 

Or maybe just a new coat of paint.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

One last option is to sell craft supplies.  These can be new and not handmade by you.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

Custom/Made-to-Order or In-Stock

In the last post I mentioned the “magic number” of 100 –> meaning, if you stock your shop with at least 100 items, you will most likely see an average of one sale a day.  So, imagine the traffic if you can get to 200 items.  Or 300.  I would love to reach 400-500, but I only have enough time in the week to keep it hovering at around 300.

However, if you can branch out to custom work instead of in-stock items only, you will greatly increase the amount of items you can list.

For example, when I made my first few sets of painted mason jars, I created a listing for my in-stock jars.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

When they sold out, I was able to re-list without having to make new jars.  This keeps inventory low, allows you to create only when the money is in the bank, and enhances your storefront.

custom shabby chic frame set

Timing

Listings are 20 cents each for four months.  If they don’t sell during that time, they expire, but you can re-list for another 20 cents.  Keep reading to find out how to get some free listings!

Consider the Cost

Setting up an etsy shop is free.  There is no monthly cost.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

To start stocking your shop, you will pay 20 cents per listing.

When the item sells, etsy will charge you 3.5% of the selling price.

If your buyer checks out with Paypal, they will get their cut too.

And don’t forget about filing with your state and paying taxes on your earnings.

It all adds up and can be a bit discouraging for me at times to see all the fees, but owning at etsy shop is still worth it.  I have a nice little income on the side that can be used to help our family with unexpected expenses or to support some of my favorite charities!  What could you do with a little extra money in the budget?

Pricing

Now, don’t forget –> your etsy shop is not a yard sale!  Don’t undervalue and underprice your hard work.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

 

You can find lots of formulas online for this, so I won’t get technical, but you should price your wares at double the wholesale rate.  Meaning, if you sold your items to a brick and mortar shop that wanted to resell your pieces, you should be able to chop your listing price in half, sell to the brick & mortar people, and still come out with profit.  It that’s not working for you, then your price is too low.

What goes into pricing?  Your supplies, your time, and your fees.  Then a profit.  Then double it.

Whew!  That was a lot of information.  But I hope it was helpful.

The next post in this series will show you a behind-the-scenes view of my etsy workroom.  I will try to clean it up a bit before I give a tour!  

{Are you ready to sell on etsy?  If you open a shop using my link, we will both get 40 free listings. Send me an email at abbybanks99 at gmail dot com for that special link!}

Selling on Etsy {an insider’s view}

etsy series - an insider's view @4onemore.com

In a few short months, I will begin my 4th year of selling on etsy.  What began out of necessity as we were needing extra income to help start the adoption process soon turned into a great part-time job for me.

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

I have had countless friends ask me about running an etsy business, so I know there are people out there who are curious.  So from the perspective of a small etsy shop that has consistently grown these past 3 years, I’d like to pull back the curtain and share what I’ve learned along the way.  Who knows?  Maybe you will decide that selling on etsy is right for you!

painted mason jars @4onemore.com

First let’s talk about the benefits of owning an etsy shop.

Work from Home

Working from home is a great benefit to me, as I have five children and we homeschool.  I am able to “work” whenever it fits my family’s schedule.  Sometimes it’s only at nap time.  Sometimes it’s in the evening as my chance to decompress from the day.  Some days I never work on my business, but I still earn profit.  I even leave my shop open when I go on vacation, manage emails from away, and keep selling while I’m on the beach.

custom library card invitations 4onemore

Low Overhead

I started selling on etsy when I had no craft or hobby room.  All you need is internet access and your saleable goods.  You don’t have to rent a storefront.  It’s even more cost effective than selling at craft shows, in my opinion.  Craft show tables cost a bit of money, plus your time for a whole day or two, and you’re not guaranteed a good return.  You’re not guaranteed to sell on etsy either, but the risk is lower.  {keep reading to find out how you can list for FREE on etsy!}

selling on etsy @4onemore.com

Do what you love & get paid for it

I love my etsy business!  I get paid to go thrifting, yard sale-ing, and crafting.  Creating is “downtime” for me after being with 5 littles all day.  It’s great to have this creative outlet.

But here’s the thing with etsy, as with all of life….

You get what you put into it

If you list 10 items and expect to sell out quickly, it just won’t happen.  Somehow there’s a magic number on etsy of about 100 listings.  That is, if you work on your shop enough to have 100 items listed, you will probably start seeing sales nearly once a day.

selling on etsy / 4onemore.com

It took a while to build my shop, but if you keep at it, listing several items or a dozen each week, you will get there.  I try to keep my shop at around 300 items.  Sales drive sales on etsy.

If you’ve always wanted to take the plunge into selling on etsy, I would say go for it!  It really is low risk, and you may just end up loving it.

Are you ready to sell on etsy?  If you open a shop using my link, we will both get 40 free listings. Send me an email at abbybanks99 at gmail dot com for that special link!

Next up, I’ll tell you about my shop set-up at the beginning and now and share some tips I wish I had known when I first started selling.

etsy insider selling tips @Making Room 4 One More

 

Do you already sell on etsy?  What tips would you add?  Go ahead and add your shop link in the comments — I’d love to come favorite your shop!

Making Room 4 One More through the Sparrow Fund

BTN button 1

I have enjoyed crafting and making handmade gifts ever since I was a little girl.

So when God burdened our hearts for adoption, this love of creating and our family’s passion to Make Room 4 One More kind of collided, and my etsy shop, 4onemore, was born.

4 one more 200X200

Every purchase from my shop during the first several years helped to bring our daughter home to her forever family. Now I want to use my shop to bless other adoptive families and charities that are Making Room 4 One More!

This is my third year supporting the adoption ministry of The Sparrow Fund.  I have committed to donate 10% of my sales this May to help adoptive families through this charity.

BTN - Brown & Yellow

Mary and Kelly Raudenbush founded The Sparrow Fund in 2011 after the adoption of their youngest child from China.  Since then, The Sparrow Fund has given well over 50 grants to adoptive families.

There are dozens of other online businesses that are part of Building the Nest 2015!  Check them out here.

You still have a few days left to shop and help make this 10% something crazy big for orphans and their forever families!

Build-a-Library Baby Shower Invitations on etsy

Build-a-Library Baby Showers continue to be a fun theme.  Food, games, and decor all take their cue from favorite children’s books.  And the best part is that vintage books can be found cheaply at almost any thrift store.

But setting the right feel for your shower begins when you send the invitation.  That’s why my custom library card invites are a smart purchase.

CUSTOM library card invitations by 4onemore.etsy.com

I have crafted thousands of unique invitations for my etsy shop, 4onemore.  Each book page is hand cut with just the right amount of text and illustration.

CUSTOM library card invitations by 4onemore.etsy.comCUSTOM library card invitations by 4onemore.etsy.comCUSTOM library card invitations by 4onemore.etsy.com

Have a shower color scheme?  I may be able to match the card stock color to your choice.  I use real library pockets, then attach the book pages to the front.

Will the shower be featuring Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry, or Little Golden Books?  My book stash is constantly growing and changing, so chances are I can match to your theme.
CUSTOM library card invitations by 4onemore.etsy.com

Now the fun begins, and I print out your invitation onto authentic library cards.

CUSTOM library card invitations by 4onemore.etsy.com CUSTOM library card invitations by 4onemore.etsy.com

What is usually included on the invite?  You can definitely word it any way you’d like, but here are the main points.
CUSTOM library card invitations by 4onemore.etsy.com

The reverse side is a great place to include extra details.  Some people carry the theme over to the gifts, and ask guests to bring books for baby’s library.  There are several creative ways to do this.

In lieu of a card, please bring a copy of your favorite childhood book to help build a library for baby.

One small request that won’t be too hard,  Please bring a book instead of a card, Whether Cat in the Hat or Winnie the Pooh, You can sign the book with a note from you.

If you’re looking for cute library card invitations for baby showers, birthdays, or book club parties, give me a shout on 4onemore.etsy.com

CUSTOM library card invitations by 4onemore.etsy.com

For a more grown up look, these library card notecards are just the thing!

CUSTOM library card notecards by 4onemore.etsy.com

It’s always fun to coordinate your thank you notes with your party theme.

CUSTOM library card thank you notes by 4onemore.etsy.com

Need some cute tags?  I’ve got them too.

CUSTOM book page tags by 4onemore.etsy.com

These mini composition notebooks make cute favors.  Customized to your book theme.

CUSTOM mini notebook favors by 4onemore.etsy.com

I haven’t seen invitations just like this anywhere.  I hope you’ll give 4onemore a chance to create great pieces to carry out your theme.

Check out my Pinterest board for more Build-a-Library Shower ideas.

Have you been to a book-themed shower?  What other items helped to set the mood?