Local, Sales and marketing, Website Strategy

Etsy opens Melbourne showroom – five tips from an Etsy expert

Michelle Hammond /

A local Etsy expert has offered her key tips to start-ups looking to use Etsy as a selling platform, after it was revealed the Brooklyn-based online retailer is opening a showroom in Melbourne.

 

Etsy, a global marketplace for handmade and vintage goods, and arts and crafts materials, was launched in 2005 and now attracts around 40 million consumers a month.

 

The site also has 875,000 active sellers who grossed more than $US525 million in sales last year. Australian traders and consumers accounted for about 3% of this figure.

 

However, the site reported sales growth in the Australian region of nearly 75% last year, suggesting the site is becoming increasingly popular among Australian sellers and consumers.

 

About 30% of Etsy sales from Australian sellers are to local buyers, with the remaining 70% of sales going to buyers overseas.

 

Etsy makes money by charging a listing fee of 20 cents for each item and a 3.5% commission on every sale. The average transaction is $US20.

 

Last week, Etsy raised $40 million from venture capital firms including Index Ventures, Accel Partners and Union Square Ventures, which have backed the likes of Facebook and Twitter.

 

Now it’s been revealed Etsy is opening a showroom in Melbourne’s retail precinct to increase awareness of the site and educate Australian sellers about using the platform.

 

Kirsteene Phelan, Etsy community manager for Australia, also operates a business on Etsy.

 

Phelan says it was her idea to open a local Etsy showroom.

 

“Australia is one of Etsy’s most important international markets,” she says.

 

“I thought it would be a really great place to have a themed focus, and also where people interested in Etsy could come in and I could talk to them about setting up their shop [on Etsy].”

 

Currently, the showroom has a wedding theme, but Phelan says the theme will change every three months.

 

Phelan offers five key tips for new Etsy sellers:

 

1. Explore the Etsy seller handbook

 

According to Phelan, this can be found on the Etsy website.

 

“It has all sorts of tips on how to set up your shop so that you are easily found in search,” she says.

 

“There’s information about wholesaling and about getting involved in offline selling. There’s excellent ‘quit your day job’ inspiration quotes from people using Etsy as full-time employment.”

 

2. Good photography

 

Phelan says product photography is king when it comes to online selling.

 

“Clear, concise and beautifully merchandised photos are key to making sure you get lots of views,” she says.

 

3. Enticing item descriptions

 

“Make sure you use basic but descriptive words,” Phelan says.

 

“Also, ensure you’re using Facebook and Twitter and various other social media platforms. Post regularly to Facebook and Twitter.”

 

“A blog is also a fantastic way to get people to come back to your store.”

 

4. Join an Etsy team

 

An Etsy team, according to Phelan, is a peer-to-peer support network, defined by location or by function.

 

“For example, there is a Brisbane team that has 200 sellers who live in Brisbane. They get their own page on Etsy where they can ask each other questions,” she says.

 

“Etsy teams are definitely worth getting involved in.”

 

5. Make use of Etsy’s online labs

 

The online labs, run from Etsy’s US office, offer shop critiques.

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