Sunday, November 11, 2012

A Handmade Holiday: Tips for Holiday Shopping on Etsy

I am not an Etsy expert, but I am an Etsy lover. I used to be hesitant about online shopping because I was afraid to buy something I couldn't handle in person. Eventually, I got over my fear and realized that not only was online shopping awesome, it was (in some cases) much more efficient than shopping in a store. There is no search engine when you walk into the mall!

Why should you shop on Etsy for your holiday gifts?

     1. Etsy sellers are trustworthy because their success is dependent on positive feedback from

     2. Customization is usually an option. Don't be afraid to ask for a change to an item.

     3. The search function is a lifesaver, especially if you're looking for something specific.

     4. There are items in every price range. Whether you're looking for an inexpensive stocking stuffer    or a jaw-dropping gift-splosion, there is something at your price point.

     5. On Etsy, you can find one-of-a-kind gifts for your one-of-a-kind loved ones.

Tips for Etsy Shopping

1. How do I find gifts?

The search bar is the easiest way to search for things, especially if you already know what you're looking for. For example, a few years ago I really wanted bath towels with snowflakes on them. It took me forever to find them in a store; had I searched for them on Etsy, I would've immediately found a list of relevant items.

You can also search through Treasuries, which are special lists created by Etsy members. Each Treasury has a specific theme; for example, I made a Treasury of crab-themed items. The items in my Treasury are diverse (a clock, glasses, jewelry, pillows) but they all feature crabs in some way. I've also seen seasonal Treasuries and Treasuries based off of a specific color scheme. This is a good way to shop if you know someone with a specific interest, or if you know someone's favorite colors.

If you're not sure where to start, you can browse through items by category. You can browse by general categories (jewelry) or more specific sub-sections (earrings.) At the bottom of the homepage, there is an option to scroll through recently listed items. This will show you a wide variety of items that were recently put up on the site, and you can narrow your search as you go.

Finally, if a person on your gift list has an Etsy account, check to see if he or she has any favorites. Users can "favorite" items that they like, but don't necessarily want to buy right away. If you buy something off of someone's "favorites" list, you don't have to worry about whether or not the person will like it.

2. When should I buy?

Picking out gifts for our loved ones should be fun, but sometimes, it's more stressful than enjoyable. The earlier you start planning gifts, the less stressful the holidays become.

 Getting an early start is especially important with regards to Etsy because sellers need time to ship your items. Some items are made to order, and sellers are particularly busy around the holidays. Some items on Etsy are one-of-a-kind, meaning once they sell, they're gone. Check out a shop's announcement section to see if they have anything to say about their current turnaround time.

3. What about special orders?

Sometimes when I'm out shopping, I'll see a beautiful pair of earrings that I like...except, they're too long. Or I'll find a bag that my sister would love...if it was only in a different color.

On Etsy, you can send a message to a seller if you would like alterations done to an item. For example, buyers have contacted us to ask about adding more pockets to our bags, which we could easily do. It's usually not a big deal, and most sellers will be willing to work with you. If you like the style of the items in a shop, you can request a custom order.

4. I love it!'s too expensive.

Sometimes, handmade items can be pricey because of the amount of time that goes into making them. Still, this doesn't mean that all handmade items are expensive! Many items on Etsy are similar in price to items you'd find in the store, and shipping costs are usually reasonable.

If you fall in love with an item that is out of your price range, go to the shop that the item came from. Often, shops will list items in different price ranges to reach a wider range of customers. The gorgeous dishes you found might be $100, but a single mug in the same style might be only $20.

Want other ways to save? Some shops will run sales or give out coupon codes, especially around special occasions (like Black Friday.) Check out a shop's announcement section to see if they have coupon codes listed there, or visit their website or facebook page.

Happy Shopping!

I am frequently listing more items in our shop. Currently, the shop is filled with earrings and a handful of bags, but I've been diligently working on coasters at home.  The most recent item I've listed is this awesome Baltimore Ravens quilted handbag. Check it out!

Our next show will be a Holiday Bazaar on December 1st at the Delmar Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Delmar, DE. More details to come!

1 comment:

  1. Very helpful and informative blog! Thank you!