…building a creative business: etsy

Trying to sell off Etsy? Selling furniture, vintage stuff, handmade crafts, jewelry? It can be tricky. I love the platform for artists selling their wares and it’s a beautiful place to browse, but….

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As a furniture-seller I have run into issues when it comes to selling on Etsy. It is a platform for people to browse and want to buy furniture, but before that happens I need to find shipping. I say this in the description of my pieces, but customers do not always read this important clause and it becomes a sticky matter.

In the shipping field I typically type zero dollars. This is not because shipping is free, it is because I am not a company that ships furniture. I am a person with a small business and I use USHIP, which is a bid-driven shipment site. The way it works is that I list a shipment with delivery address, pick up, size of piece and schedule and shippers going that way can bid on the job. These “shippers” can be professionals or people with trucks looking to earn some money. There is a rating system, insurance options and you can track these drivers. It has actually worked really well for me for the past six years.

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(Yes, it is the same site used on the show Shipping Wars.)

What are the Etsy issues I run into?

1. Shipping from East Coast to West Coast is almost triple the cost of the piece. I’m talking minimum bids of $900!!!

2. Shipping bids can be too costly for customers. Some customers do not realize that shipping from an independant seller is not like shipping from Pottery Barn. It is costly. A good price going from state to state is minimum of $200ish. I get excited when I get a bid around this price because it is reasonable. However, there are times that I have to convince the buyer that this is the best we can get. Not fun.

2. Customers purchasing piece BEFORE we figure out shipping. I then have to convo them, let me them know that I can’t sell what I can’t get to them, issue a refund. Everyone is disappointed.

3. Customers sad & disappointed and rate my shop poorly due to shipping issues.

Because of all this, I list very little on Etsy. Don’t get me wrong, I have been very successful selling on Etsy, but it takes patience and work to maintain. I think what buyers and sellers need to remember is that it is not a perfect system. You are not all of a sudden working for Restoration Hardware and have their platform. It is still your small business trying to make a complete sale.

If you can put in the effort and don’t mind interacting with people that are not used to this system then it can be a great resource. Just make sure you are aware that it is not always smooth sailing.

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…white is always right

I posted this on FB the other day and it got quite a bit of attention. So, I thought I’d post it here too because it’s a great example of how to DIY your dining room or kitchen. This is do-able. You can handle this. You could maybe handle this over a long weekend. Let’s take a look.

White rooms always work. Please don’t tell me that your kids will mess it up, blah, blah, blah. I have 3 little kids and plenty of white pieces. We don’t tip toe around furniture and accessories in our house. We love & live in it because it’s pretty. White just like any other color can be cleaned & wiped down. Brown pieces get just as dirty, people. And I have no problem dolling out “time-outs” if a juice box makes it into my living room! Besides all that, there’s not upholstery in this room.

So, back to the white thing. Take a look at this room.

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Table. That table could have cost $50 at Goodwill or $100 on Craigslist. You have to look past the ugly brown and see what it can be. Find one, buy it. If it has details on it even better. If it does not and the legs are not broken & wobbly great. Don’t worry too much about scratches. Just make sure it’s in overall good condition. It does not have to be perfect. Don’t let your husband/roommate have an opinion and hold you back because they think “What is she thinking bringing that ugly piece into the house.”. Just do it. Dear Husband was so mad at me when I made him pick up 8 ugly kitchen chairs and now we’ve had them for years and use them every day.

Paint. You could use Annie Sloan or you could use a can of white spray paint that works on wood. If you are using spray paint do it outside. Sounds crazy for those of you that have not worked with it, but I used to spray paint everything when we had our first home – lamps, chairs, tables, etc. You could also use a Benjamin Moore type of paint. Be sure to ask your hardware store paint person that you are painting over wood.

Color. Paint it white. You will not mess up white. Any shade of white you like, but NOT CREAM. Cream is a bit more tricky to match and will look dingy if you are trying to create a white room. If you are using ASCP use Old White or Pure White. Spray & Can paint – pick a white and don’t stress too much about it. You are layering this room so there will be alot to look at and no one is going to notice if your paint is Ecru or Eggshell.

Chairs. Use what you’ve got, Love. Here’s hoping that you have some ugly, brown chairs that you are so sick of. Paint them the same white. Don’t tell your husband/roommate that you are doing this. Beg for forgiveness later when you reveal your new setting. Any type of chairs will do because you are bringing the look together by using the same paint on the table as you will use on the chairs.

Lighting. The chandelier will be a bit of icing on the cake. Seems small, but it will create a lighter, lovelier look. Get a chandelier. You can find an inexpensive one at Home Depot or a hardware store or Target. Don’t wire it yourself. You’ll have to get some help on this part.

Hutch. The hutch is beautiful, but that can come later. Look around for one. Got one that you hate? PAINT IT THE SAME WHITE! Can’t afford one right now? Save up and keep a can of the same white paint handy.

Faux Fur. Need some faux fur for a last little touch? Ikea sells those little ones for like $7 each. I have about 4 of them all over my house. Remove when serving kids dinner in this space! Easily done.

Details. These are important and not to be glossed over. Find some white china – anywhere! Please buy white and do not be tempted by the pink paisley or cute stripes. You are creating a look and patterns will just not do! If you can find antique Ironstore on Etsy or a flea market, perfect. If you can’t and don’t want to spend money on anything fancy then go to Target and buy a few small plates or bowls or any other white serving item. Just a few. An orchid always makes things a bit more special. Trader Joes sells them for $12. Whole Foods has them for $20.

This is a cost effective project that can work wonders in your home. It’s easy and you are more than capable.

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PS – Did you know that REM sleep is the best way to help aliviate a concussion. Bedtime for me is not 7pm. Are we there yet?

 

…favorite things friday…burlap runner

Please tell me Halloween is over! I’m exhausted from all the activity, spider webs, sick of all the chocolate, not to mention DH lost two of my children trick or treating for a good two minutes last night. Done!

Can we please move on to cozier holidays like Thanksgiving? It really is the sleeper holiday because even though cooking a turkey is not the easiest or quickest thing in the world, I find that it is a more relaxing holiday. Although I’m not crazy about turkey gravy bowls, I do think a beautifully set Thanksgiving table is just lovely. It also lends itself to a rustic look with the fall leaves, branches, candles and how about some burlap?

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I used to have a burlap table runner on my kitchen table all year round, but quickly found that that does not really work with three kids, homework, crafts and very messy dinners. It is perfect for holidays, however.

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Vintage or fancy.

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There are many crafters on Etsy that make these. I happen to love the ones with ruffles like Precious Peas offers for just over $20!

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Gorge!