A comment on the blog last week got my attention. The commenter said that she had made a mistake with her shop by making what she thought people wanted to buy, rather than what she wanted to make.
Her comment brings up an interesting question. How do you decide what to sell when you want to open an Etsy Shop?
I’ve created a little graphic that might help you visualize the answer.
Success Lives In the Intersection of Three Circles
1. What people will buy.
The best way to determine what people will buy is by looking at what they are already buying.
That used to be much easier than it is today. Until last fall, Etsy had a “recently sold” tool as part of the “Pounce” feature, which has been removed. Unfortunately, that makes it a little harder to figure out what’s selling, but it’s still not too difficult.
- Watch the recently listed items – You can view recent listings at the bottom of the Etsy home page, or in a full page view here.
- Click on listings that appeal to you.
- Click through to the shop by clicking on the shop name.
- See how many sales are in that shop.
- If the shop has good sales, click on the sales link to see what they are selling.
This takes some time, no doubt, but it will help you build a better feel for what’s selling.
If you really feel like you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the market and you know intuitively what people will buy, fine. But I’d encourage you to test your theory by looking for similar items.
2. Things you know how to make.
If your goal is to build a shop with long term steady sales then quality and consistency in your products is going to be important.
In order to ensure that you’ll be able to produce great quality in a reasonable amount of time, you’re going to what to limit your options to things you already know how to do very well.
If you want to sell something that you’re not 100% skilled at, then your first order of business is to get really good at making it. Then worry about selling it.
3. Things you love or feel connected to.
We’ve said before that the secret weapon of handmade is love. The love people put into the work of their hands comes through in the finished products and it’s an ingredient no mass-production firm can match.
Making something is a small part of the battle. Marketing it is sometimes the harder part. It is so much easier to market something you truly have a passion for.
What can you talk about for hours on end? What kind of store can you simply not go in and look around when you pass it? What types of blogs and magazines do you like to read? What is the predominant theme on your Pinterest boards?
These answers will help you figure out what you love enough to be able to stay consistent in marketing and talking about your products and things related to them.
Success Is Where These 3 Meet
You can make a little money if you can find something you can make that people will buy, even if you don’t love it.
But that’s going to get old fast. It’s going to be really hard to find long-term success there.
If you can find that place where the market, your skills, and your passion intersect, you’ll be able to establish yourself there.
You’ll find that Etsy success you’re looking for!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. The comments are open!