October 17, 2008

Etsy – Buy And Sell Handmade Items Online


Etsy is an online marketplace for handmade and vintage items. Its motto is ‘buy, sell and live handmade’ and its mission is to help people earn a living by making things and by selling them to interested buyers. The founders have tapped into a renewed interest in unique items and have created Etsy as the place where such items can be bought and sold easily.

It only takes seconds to sign up with Etsy as a buyer but if you want to be a seller as well, you’ll need to have a valid credit card. You can get started setting up your profile (and your store if so inclined). Etsy has incorporated many of the features common to social sites. You can include an avatar, a bio and a location with your profile. You can also tag your items for sale to help buyers to find them easily. There’s a built in messaging system, as well as forums and chat rooms.

Shops can be customized with profile information, shipping information and banners, and payments are made through PayPal. Sellers pay a small listing fee of $0.20 per item and a selling fee of 3.5%. Each listing can contain several photos and may be listed for up to four months. Sellers can set the prices they want.

Buyers have a lot of options for finding handmade items for sale: tags, materials, and a shop owner’s showcase called the Treasury. There is also a Pounce feature which allows buyers to see recently purchased items or previously undiscovered sellers. Etsy is a simple concept that has caught on quickly. With more than 100,000 sellers around the world, the founders just might be onto something.

Practical Uses

  • Order a custom handmade gift for your parents’ golden wedding anniversary
  • Sell your handmade items without the expense of running a shop
  • Link up with other craftspeople to form artistic collaborations

Insider Tips

  • When listing items for sale, don’t forget to add the materials they are made of. This is another way to help buyers to find your goods
  • Use the ‘shop local’ feature to browse items that are available in a particular location, such as your country or town
  • The Alchemy feature allows buyers to request custom items and sellers to bid to make those items
  • If you plan to sell items on Esty, choose your username wisely, as this will become your shop name (usernames cannot be changed once established)

What We Liked

  • Shops are listed on Google, making it easier for people to find your hand made items
  • There is no confusing auction process; buyers simply have to decide whether they want the item or not
  • The gift guide suggests handmade gifts for different occasions

What We Didn’t Like

  • This site works well and quickly and has a thriving community. There’s nothing we could find to dislike


Company Info

  • Launched: 2005
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Brooklyn, NY
  • Founded by: Robert Kalin, Chris Maguire, Haim Schoppik, Jared Tarbell
  • Website:


  • $0.20 for listings; 3.5% commission on sales


  • 4 out of 5 (great)

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