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Textile Center Class: How to Create an Etsy Shop

How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond by Derrick Sutton
A tiny embroidery hoop, made from laser cut bamboo plywood, a bit of wire and a tiny piece of hand-stitched needlepoint by Becka Rahn. The hoop is just 1 inch across. The little yellow bird on a branch is stitched on 18 count (18 stitches to the inch) aida cloth.  
Tiny weaving loom, made from laser cut bamboo plywood and woven with hand-dyed wool yarn by Becka Rahn.  The loom is 2.25 inches wide. The shuttle is just over an inch long and attached to the loom.  This piece is woven using "Rhubarb", a handdyed colorway of yarn in shades of green with a tiny bit of red. 
How to Sell Your Crafts Online: A Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Sales on Etsy and Beyond by Derrick Sutton
Photo gallery (4 images)

The American Craft Council Library is thrilled to host Textile Center of Minnesota Education Manager and artist Becka Rahn on Tuesday, May 29th, from 6-8 p.m. for a behind-the-scenes look at setting up and maintaining a shop in Etsy, the online marketplace. Becka will share her insider’s view of setting up and maintaining a shop, giving tips, and answering questions. We asked Becka to answer a few questions about her experience as an Etsian and what participants can expect from the upcoming class.

What is your background and experience with Etsy?
Etsy opened its virtual doors in June 2005 and I opened my shop, beckarahn, in August 2005. I am what they affectionately call an "oldtimer" in Etsy parlance. I am co-captain of the Sellers Assisting Sellers (SASsy) Mentoring Team, which is a volunteer group of experienced Etsy shopkeepers who act as mentors to new sellers. I sell embroidery patterns, DIY looms, and miniature ornaments and jewelry for "fiber art geeks" like one-inch embroidery hoops and laser-cut bamboo weaving loom pins.

What do you think are the biggest challenges makers encounter when selling on Etsy?
Marketing is the biggest challenge; getting the customers to visit your shop. Many brand new Etsy sellers think that all they have to do is open up their shop, list a few items, and the sales will just magically come rolling in. Getting really great photos of your work is also a big hurdle for a lot of new sellers.

What types of advice will you be giving to class  participants about entering the Etsy marketplace?
This class is a combination of advice and a tour of the nuts-and-bolts of how it works. I really focus on showing you how and why things work the way they do and a lot about learning the vocabulary and best practices of running a shop. For example, if you are selling a pair of earrings and you title them "Serenity Earrings," you will get maybe 10% of the views than if you title your earrings "Dangle Earrings, Seashell and Pearl, White Crystal Bridal Jewelry." Why? Come to class and we will talk about that! We also do a behind-the-scenes tour of what it looks like to run your shop - so that if you haven't created an Etsy account yet, you can see what it looks like to set up an item listing or a shipping profile.

Are there any books or articles in particular that you recommend on the topic of selling online?
How to Make Money Using Etsy: A Guide to the Online Marketplace for Crafts and Handmade Products by Timothy Adam. I have to admit I haven't actually read the paper version of this one, but I love his website for really solid thoughtful advice.  This book is also a great resource for photography, written by an Etsy seller and featuring some of my favorite sellers' work: The Crafter's Guide to Taking Great Photos by Heidi Adnum.

In addition to the resources Becka mentions above (which can be found in our collection), the ACC librarians recommend the following books, available for viewing at the library or for purchase online:

Etsy 101 by Steve Weber is a comprehensive work to guide new sellers through setting up shop and to marketing, pricing, and promoting your shop. Information on licensing designs, taking photographs, and examples and tips from top Etsy sellers are included too. Derrick Sutton draws from personal experience in his book, How to Sell Your Crafts Online. Some of the topics included are how to analyze your shop and see where you need to focus your efforts, copywriting information, using the Etsy forums, and how to use social media. From pricing to photography to online sales (including Etsy), Kari Chapin describes it all in The Handmade Marketplace. Faythe Levine, writer and DIY activist, notes that this is "a fantastic resource full of useful tips and guidelines from top DIY insiders" and a "must have for any maker's library." The Creative Entrepreneur by Lisa Sonora Beam is a motivational tool full of tips for your creative business, showing how to blend creativity and business success. This book will help give you the skills to make a business out of your creative work, using various tools such as vision boards and visual journals.

Visit the Textile Center of Minnesota’s website for more details. please note that the registration deadline is 7 pm the day before the class is scheduled to start. Registration can be by phone, mail, or fax, using the Textile Center’s downloadable pdf registration form. If you have questions on materials and resources in the ACC Library related to the business of craft and entrepreneurship, contact us at [email protected].

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