Being on Etsy is not enough: what this means and what to do about it

The 'golden age' of Etsy.

Back 5+ years ago it was possible to build a brand on Etsy with very little investment up front.  Many brands only existed on the Etsy marketplace and that was more than enough to see profit. You could make good income with little effort compared to managing your own website. So much so, for a lot of people it seemed silly to invest the time and effort to build a brand and website outside of Etsy.

In 2018, the game is totally different.

Etsy has changed a lot in the last 5 years.  Etsy became a publicly traded company with investors to answer to. They changed CEOs and with it changed their definition of handmade. The marketplace has become saturated with competition. Resellers of cheap mass produced products joined in droves and dominate search results.

For makers, this means it’s much harder to stand out and get traffic or sales on Etsy without significant effort. Most brands have seen their etsy income drop, some an astonishing 50%+ in the past 3 years.

The harsh reality in 2018 is to have a sustainable brand, it's no longer enough to only be on Etsy.

etsy is not enough

What can you do about it?

If you’re serious about developing a brand that survives in the long term, you must expand beyond Etsy. Explore alternative sales avenues and define yourself as a brand independent Etsy. Use it as a tool in your arsenal, but don't let Etsy be the center point of your business.

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Start your own website.

With the growing popularity of online sales it’s easier than ever to make a website. Back in the day, you needed to be familiar with a lot of coding and programming. Now, simple drag and drop navigation eliminates that. Shopify, Wix, WordPress, BigCommerce and Weebly are great tools. If you’re intimidated or don’t have the time to DIY, services like my Shopify site creation can get you started fast.

Get serious about social media.

If your brand is NOT on social media, you pretty much don’t exist. Whether Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, or YouTube, you need a social media presence. Social media sites are tools to build a relationship with an audience you can turn into sales.

Many people in Puerto Rico turn to social media first when they consider shopping. This trend only seems to continue to be growing into the coming years.

Sell at craft fairs and local events.

In Puerto Rico we're blessed to have pretty amazing weather all year round. This means all kinds of awesome events and festivals are happening at any given time. Local events, generate sales. They can also help you build your brand’s reputation and connection to your community.

Most of the brands I work with cite local events, not online sales, as the backbone of their business. At local events they make income they need to invest in growth. They also make personal connections that lead to more opportunities and sales.

Get into the wholesale market.

Wholesale is a sales tool I advocate more local brands to consider. Wholesale is a big topic which I won't cover completely here but I want to give you a general idea. Wholesale means selling products in large batches at a reduced rates to stores.

With wholesale you increase production which can lower supply costs and increase profit. If your business is ready for wholesale it can help your brand grow. It can help you generate a reliable income on the long term with contracts that can last for years.

Host in person private events/parties.

Hosting private parties and events can be a lucrative revenue stream for your brand. Tania of Habia Una Vez is a great example. She is a local artist with a shop in Cidra, PR. She regularly hosts private painting and art events alongside selling her products. By selling her skills as products AND a service, she has many revenue streams with the same skill set.

Through private events and services, you can generate more income in a set amount of time!

Vanessa Jiménez is a virtual assistant that helps creative women across the U.S build and run handmade businesses on solid foundations. She lives and works in Puerto Rico. 

To learn how more about how Vanessa can help your business, click here

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