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.
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