Saturday, February 25, 2017

My Etsy-Selling Secrets

   As I reached  1000 sales in my Etsy shop, I felt pretty excited.  I've been growing my
Etsy shop for 5 years!  It's a wonderful online marketplace for handcrafted and vintage things!
    Actually there were more than 1000 sales,  including some returns, cancellations,
 breakage and refunds,, and multiple purchases counting as one. 
     Selling Etsy from home is time consuming, and takes a lot of space. If I had a storefront
it could be displayed somewhere else, and not so invasive in my home. But, an online store
 reaches more people, and there are benefits of working from home..  
    I feel as though it serves some remote customers and even helps people.  I imagine some
folks can't get out to shop for many reasons, or don''t have antique and vintage, collectibles
 shops nearby.  Some people say, online selling is impersonal, but I have a lot of satisfaction interacting with my customers.

  I once got an order for a fancy  dress. The lady said she had trouble finding clothing
that fit her, but she needed something special for her grandson's wedding.
 She seldom wore a dress, and was hesitant to buy it. I sent her two dresses, in case
 one didin't work.   But once she tried it on, she just loved this green beaded gown.
  It made her feel so beautiful for the first time, and she felt so condfident at her son's
wedding, that she sent me a picture!  I felt so good, knowing this sweet lady was a very
happy customer and looked  stunning in a gown from my shop!

    One time a woman ordered some Sporto Canvas slingback shoes.  She thought they were fabulous and wore them to work. By the end of the day, the sole was entirely loose and flapping.  She got many laughs. I felt terrible, imagining her embarrassment.  I was surprised because they looked fine when I shipped them, but then they came apart first time she wore them!   But she said she wanted to keep them and would like a partial refund, just  to pay  cobbler  repairs.  I talked her into trying a good shoe glue, "Shoe Goo" that I had used.  I gave her the money to buy it. She used it and the problem was solved.

Shoe Goo is available at Walmart

     Another time a young woman bought a small vintage purse and later wrote me a lovely letter.
  She told me her elderly father had owned the company, and he had designed and manufactured
these beautiful  leather bags many years ago.   Since she was a little girl, her life's dream was to help her daddy design handbags!
So when she Googled and found a Perlina bag, she had to have one of his creations. When she received it, he was so pleased to see one on his proud pieces still existed and in such good condition!   She'll always cherish it, and is inspired to reproduce an updated version of that design
She hopes to make it again, now that she manages the company!  She made me so happy!
A Perlina Bag

 Here's my secrets for selling vintage in your Etsy shop:
   ☆ Write a really good description, with good measurements. You can't say too much about the     item.  They will ask you for silly details many times if you don't give enough details.
   ☆Use all five photos!   Sometimes my photography is not so great, but I will go
    back later, when I have more time, and edit - adding better retakes.
   ☆Add a little personal comment, funny remark or suggestion,
 as though you were talking to the person live,  in your shop.
   ☆ Be truthful about flaws, They won't mind complaining and returning items that aren't perfect!
 But probably will accept imperfections if you state them and price accordingly.
 Naturally, Vintage is used, older, and of course, it sometimes shows a little wear or discoloration,
 ( we call it patina)  so be up front about that.    Somebody will still want it, but you have to represent it honestly.
   ☆ If you sell out of something, and someone else  "favorited" it, Then you acquire another one.... Take the time to notify that potential customer that you are listing it again, and quickly list it again. This may lead to another quick sale.
   ☆ Communication is so important. If I can't find an item that is ordered within a week,  I have learned to tell the customer the truth,    Simply, " I am sorry, but I can't locate the item".
Sometimes I  cancel the sale, promptly give a full refund,  and tell them I'll notify them
 when I find it. They are usually very understanding.  I got my only bad feedback from
a lady I didn't notify, because I kept searching for the item for over 10 days, and didn't
tell her I couldn't find it.  Even though I finally located it, and send it within 14 days of
when she ordered it,  she gave me only 1 star and complained that I didn't communicate.
         All my other feedbacks are ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ !    Oh no!  My perfect reputation ruined!
  ☆ I try to ship in 2-3 days, and tell the customer if it will be longer.
Be considerate, especially since you already have their money!
  ☆ I spend the extra money to insure breakables.  Sounds like common sense, but I learned the hard way when customers claimed items I had packed very well were broken upon arrival.
I suspect customer may have lied and said this lid arrived broken,
but I hadn't insured it,  so I got stuck with giving a  full refund.

 Now I own this cute little  set, minus the lid!

     And lastly,
 ☆ Clearly state your return policy. I give a full refund if the customer returns the item
 within 14 days, for whatever reason, Customer pays return shipping.

You want a shop?
 Have fun with it.  If you enjoy dealing with vintage, your joy will shine through and your customers will feel it. They are looking at your vintage shop, because they like old things too!
I think if I didn't have fun doing this, it wouldn't be worth it!
 Vintage is a way of life. My home is filled with old things, which I prefer over new things.
I am delighted when I find a dingy hand crocheted tablecloth that needs TLC.
 I appreciate it and love the challenge of washing it, drying it in the sun and watching it become a restored beauty.
 I don't mind craze lines and small chips. I keep and use the unsaleables that are damaged, but still pretty! I sell the best of my finds, and I love the hunt, the research and handling old things.

 I only regret when I have to sell something that I really wanted to keep!

j. k.    I really didn't like these guys at all!
 Customer bought them after a trip to the Universal Studios. Her kid  really
 wanted these exact doll characters, and they couldn't buy them in the souvenir shop,
So she bought them from me for a surprise Christmas gift!

The funniest thing I ever sold in my Etsy shop, was my ex-husband's  old swim trunks from when he was a teenager!  They said "Grubb" all over them.

But I  do have fun handling my vintage treasures, in  the process of putting them in my Etsy or my booth at the antiques mall.  I love doing the display work. I am always up for  the hunt for vintage treasures. I see the quality in handcrafted items, and the beauty in things used long ago, from another era.

Occasionally I enjoy exhibiting at local antique shows and rubbing shoulders with the other dealers. I learn so much from them. I make good connections, hear about other venues, and find out where to shop for more vintage treasures.

Part of my booth at a weekend Antiques Show in my hometown, 
We only have a few hours to set up!

Do you like vintage too?  

If you decide to be a dealer, you better like it, because it will surround you and take up all your space,
 and consume most of your time and energy.

What's your favorite selling site, and what makes your shop successful? 

I wish you lots of happiness buying and selling vintage! 

Love, Linda

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