Help me understand this Etsy thing.

August 14, 2008 at 12:22 am 24 comments

I heard about Etsy back in November when I met this awesome purse maker gal at my church’s craft fair. She explained it as kind of like Ebay for crafters, except you don’t do auctioning. It’s just a place where crafters can set up a store and sell their wares online.

Am I getting this so far?

I have yet to really explore this Etsy thing, not really for selling my stuff (Lord knows I don’t knit fast enough to make that worthwhile at all), I just want to explore for browsing/purchasing. I love the idea of unique, handmade gifts.

But every time I think to go there, I get really overwhelmed by the sheer volume of possibilities. For example, today I searched “necklace” (yeah, I know it’s too broad a term for a crafting site, but I honestly didn’t have anything in particular in mind). Anyway, do you know how many pages there were????


How in the world can I move on from there?

So if any of you use Etsy and can give me some tips for how to enjoy this site and celebrate the wonderful creativity that I behold, I’d be in your debt. Or maybe Abraham will be in your debt.

Perhaps I shouldn’t be exploring this site at all, for the sake of our bank account.


Entry filed under: Life, Shopping.

We need renters Olympic Exhaustion

24 Comments Add your own

  • 1. emily  |  August 14, 2008 at 1:24 am

    Okay, so I have no insight for you … just wanting to jump on the learning bandwagon for Etsy. I second everything you said. Now I’ll just sit and wait for more commenters to enlighten us both 🙂

  • 2. Rebekah  |  August 14, 2008 at 5:25 am

    I’m not any help either- one of my friends sells stuff on that site and so I went to go check things out. When I did a search there were still too many pages to go through (even though I knew what I was looking for) and just had to type in her direct http. There were some pretty cool things I came across though. Good luck!

  • 3. kate o.  |  August 14, 2008 at 6:10 am

    i really enjoy buying things from etsy but agree with you, it’s overwhelming at times.

    their “handpicked items” on the homepage are often a great place to start. click on something you like and then look around the rest of that seller’s shop. if you like a particular seller, click on that seller’s favorites on the right sidebar. i’ve found some great things this way.

    also, some of the big design/photo/crafter sites like designsponge or “simply breakfast” highlight etsy shops or have their own shops so you can click away.

    sorry so much info! again, i think looking at seller’s favorites is a great way to start. i’ve also noticed that some blogs i read have an etsy widget that list their etsy favorites. a great way to find things if you have similar tastes.

    have fun!

  • 4. Krysta  |  August 14, 2008 at 6:23 am

    I had the same response to Etsy at first but now I love it. It is the first place I go to for shower gifts or “gifts” for myself.

    I recommend being as specific as possible when searching. For example, I was looking for a gift for my new nephew and I typed in “baby boy blanket blue.” This still turned up a lot of options but gave me exactly what I was looking for.

    I have purchased three baby blankets and a clutch/purse on Etsy and have been really happy with all my purchases. When you set up an account, you are able to select favorite items and favortie sellers. It is such a great site for special items.

    Hang in there! If you want to start small, there is a Shop Local option where you can look at sellers in your area. That may help you to not feel so overwhelmed.

    Hope that helps!

  • 5. Rachel  |  August 14, 2008 at 6:25 am

    I can’t remember how I first started looking at etsy – I think it was also through a purse-maker I met who showed me her store. So I started there. Then I would also try for the hand-picked selections.

    I would be much more specific in your choices. Search for like “lemon topaz earrings” and see what you get. Search for “paisley journal”. I have bought some unique gifts from vendors in paper products. They have some of the coolest things!!

    Dont’ be overwhelmed – its so fun!! I also created an account at one point as I was thinking of selling some of my photography in prints, but I was glad I did becuase then I could order things easily, and start “favoriting” my favorite sellers and items! Thats a great way to start narrowing it down. Create an account so you can save the things you are really liking the best.

    does this help at all?

  • 6. Chelsea Bass  |  August 14, 2008 at 7:18 am

    I usually go into it with an idea of what I want. Instead of necklace, try “antique brass necklace,” or instead of hat, try “elephant hat.” I have lots of things saved in my favorites. I love having one-of-a-kind accessories.

    As you browse, you’ll get more ideas for your own crafts too. There’s a lot of inspiration out there!

  • 7. artsieandie  |  August 14, 2008 at 7:40 am

    Thanks for posting about this! I had never heard of etsy. I am planning on having at table at the craft fair for the first time and this seems like another good place to try selling.

  • 8. Courtney  |  August 14, 2008 at 7:44 am

    I heart Etsy. Yes, I do! 🙂 I was an eBay girl until about a year ago when I happened upon Etsy, the most wonderful place for all things handmade. I have an Etsy store and have met so many wonderful gals through there. Like what others have said try to be super specific in your searches. I also like to support like-minded people so I often search within three of the Etsy Street Teams that I am on, the Christian Artists(search ‘CASTEAM’), the home schooling at home etsians(search ‘SHETEAM’) and a team for all the MN crafters(search ‘TeamMN’).
    Have fun on Etsy!!

  • 9. Cathy  |  August 14, 2008 at 7:46 am

    Read this very informative post by my dear friend Suzanne… she gives great tips for getting the most out of Etsy:

  • 10. jennapants  |  August 14, 2008 at 7:48 am

    chelsea- what in the world is an “elephant hat”?

    molly- I totally know what you mean. I looked about a year ago and was overwhelmed. Then I looked again about a month ago and thought that it was a gold mine. I still haven’t bought anything yet. But you can sort by price (lo to hi works for me!) and that’s helpful because these crafters do clearance some of their stuff out and you might be able to snag a deal.

    One problem with online shopping is that I feel like such a slacker if I spend an hour looking at, say, Etsy and then end up empty-handed. But, I could easily waste at least 2 hours running out to 5 stores and still find nothing, but feel like less of bum. What gives?

  • 11. Casey  |  August 14, 2008 at 7:50 am

    I like to use the “shop local” feature. Then if I find a shop that I like I’ll click on it and I will also look at that seller’s favorites too…if I like what they sell in their shop we may have similar taste in what we would put in our favorites.

    Another feature I use quite often (this helps on the expense part of it) is the “gift guide”…I’ll use the “everyday(under $15)” located under “what’s the occasion?”.

    Maybe for you, try searching under “categories”. It may help you narrow down what you’re interested in.

    Hope that helps!

    p.s. why you’re at it, why not check out my shop:

    p.s.s. i love your blog and your husband too! your son is adorable and he cracks me up!

  • 12. Crystal  |  August 14, 2008 at 8:44 am

    Ha! I’ve been selling off and on at Etsy for almost 2 years, and I still get overwhelmed when I’m looking for something. The only advice I have is that the more keywords you put in the search box, the more specific the search will get, but sometimes it’s still tricky because the sellers put in their own tags used for searching. And I tend to start in the categories. Also, the items show up in order of how recently they were posted, so there could be an awesome purse maker or jewelry designer, but hey are hidden in all those pages just because they haven’t posted anything in their shop in a few days.

    Have fun!

  • 13. Becca  |  August 14, 2008 at 9:00 am

    Hey there, I’ve been reading your blogs for a few months now and I love it! Question for you, do you have a good book that teaches how to knit?? I really want to start knitting, but have no IDEA where to begin….If you do, please email me at

    Thanks so much!!!!!

  • 14. Greta  |  August 14, 2008 at 9:18 am

    Etsy can definitely be overwhelming! I’ve had the most success in finding cute stuff by 1)seeing links to Etsy stores on others’ blogs and checking them out 2)checking out those peoples’ “favorite sellers” and 3) when I’m looking for something specific. For example, I bought a dipes and wipes case off Etsy. There were lots of options but I quickly found out that I wanted something in a particular fabric (Amy Butler). I’m also looking for a caterpillar t-shirt for my son’s birthday party. That was a pretty narrow search.

    I’ve got a shop that includes necklaces ;). Check it out (and check out my favorites!)

  • 15. Ronnica  |  August 14, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    I bought the pictures that I put up in my room on Etsy. Sure, I could have taken the time to take them myself, but I loved the fact that I was supporting someone else who obviously is investing more into their talent than I am.

    One thing that really helped me is that I both knew what I wanted (pictures of flowers) and the colors I wanted. You can search by color which is SO nice.

  • 16. chelseykarns  |  August 14, 2008 at 3:33 pm

    I tend to just click around, usually starting on the color page. Or I click on someone I know and see who they like.

  • 17. JenR  |  August 14, 2008 at 4:43 pm

    Okay, so this is totally unrelated to Etsy, but is related to your “laugh out loud” post and didnt know if I left a comment under that post this late if you would get it. I came across this website: and spent over an hour in tears and stomach pain from laughing so much. It is updated daily and is a highlight in my day.

  • 18. stacey  |  August 14, 2008 at 8:37 pm

    Molly~Lisa Birtciel sells on Etsy. I just bought a necklace and earings from her.

    You should so make your slippers and sell them on there! Like you have lots of time hahahaha I know.

  • 19. Katie @ Heart Gone Walking  |  August 15, 2008 at 8:34 am

    Maybe it’s just me, but I love typing in “apron” and seeing the million and one options that come up. It’s a great reminder of just how not-crafty I really am. 🙂

  • 20. Angela  |  August 15, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    I heart Etsy 🙂

    I, too, search for handmade necklaces; the best tip I have for you is to search in individual shops. I typically get to this point by searching for “necklace” then scanning the first couple of pages for a design I like. Once I view that necklace, I usually browse through the seller’s shop. A couple of times I’ve really hit the jackpot because the seller, overall, has really great designs.

    Though I have yet to purchase any of her jewelry, one of my favorites to check out is I particularly like her earrings. is also fun.

    Good luck to you AND your bank account!

  • 21. Grace Lee Korbel  |  August 16, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    Etsy can be overwhelming with the quantity of art and craft available.
    All the search tips are good advice.
    I have been selling on etsy for a while, my art gallery is here
    All the sellers and buyers seem very friendly.

  • 22. lisa  |  August 16, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Hi! I stumbled across your blog from a reply that you left on another blog. I smiled as I read your etsy questions & wanted to send you a quick hello.

    Yes – etsy is completely overwhelming when you are not really specific in what you are looking for. But it is worth checking out and spending time sifting through if you are into one of a kind items. For me, I love the idea of someones hands actually touching each item I purchase!

    Think of something you love, or a friend loves, and type it in the search. (Like butterfly pendant or white orchids). I promise that you will end up finding things that you will love!

  • 23. sarahT  |  August 21, 2008 at 8:28 am

    well it looks like everyone has already given you the advice i would give (be really specific in your searches, find a seller you like and then search their favorite sellers, etc).

    i have only been on etsy a few times, but it’s like getting to go to an art show without having to take a shower and get a babysitter. since most of my jewelry comes via target clearance, it’s fun to have a piece of unique, handmade jewelry. and if you look around you can find things for about the same price. i do love supporting people who have the creativity and gumption to “make art”.

    i would recommend keeping a list of the sellers you like, because i’ve had a hard time finding the same person again when i can’t remember their name. i think it is just amazing to see all of the beautiful things people make! happy browsing and remember… there’s always christmas!

  • 24. Shealynn Benner  |  August 24, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Looking for great necklaces??? Here are the best necklaces on Etsy. A friend of mine makes these…

    Etsy can be a bit overwhelming at times, but trust me, you can find some amazing things on there, so most of the time it’s worth the time to just browse. 🙂


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