Wrapping Up the Etsy Experiment

This update wraps up the results of my six-month experiment to see if I could sell my abstract paintings on Etsy.

Advertising time

I decided to give Etsy’s Search Ads feature a shot in June. Basically, Search Ads allow you to choose one or more items from your shop to promote, along with the desired keywords and the amount you want as your weekly budget for impressions. (The higher you set your budget, the greater the number of impressions your ad will get. An impression is what it’s called when your ad is shown to someone.) When users type in the keywords you selected, your item will appear at the top of the search results.

I actually really liked the Search Ads feature. The only downside to it is that you can only choose from keywords that Etsy thinks are related to your item. So there were a few keywords I would have liked to have included that weren’t available to me. Overall though, I think the service helped increase the number of people who saw my shop.

Improving keywords

Speaking of keywords, I also went through each of my items and tried to add more relevant keywords to them, and to improve their titles so that they would be more likely to be found by people browsing the site. I’m not sure if I succeeded here or not, but at the very least the listings ended up being a little bit more descriptive, so that has to be good.

I also added my name as a keyword to each of the listings, since several people I know had told me that they tried to find my shop by searching for my name, but nothing had come up. There’s probably a better way to do this, but that will do for now.

Second sale

First, the good news: I sold a second painting during June, so of course that was a happy day! I also have someone who may be interested in a custom painting, so that will be awesome if it works out. Etsy allows you to add a “request custom item” feature to your shop, using the method described below:

There is also the option to receive requests from buyers for custom-made pieces inspired by items from your shop. If you’re interested in creating custom, handmade items based on a buyer’s request and specifications may also put a special link in their shop that says Request Custom Item. To activate this feature, the shop owner can go to Your Shop > Options and change the Request Custom Item setting to Enable. Once the seller and the shopper have worked out the details, the seller can create a new listing for the shopper to purchase.

I think it’s a nice option, because potential buyers who like what you offer but would like something just a little bit different can see that you’re open to creating an item that’s exactly what they want.

Final shop stats

By the end of January, my starting stats had looked like this:

$9 spent. (All on Etsy fees.)
$0 earned.
1 shop category.
7 shop admirers.
9 items listed.
145 total item views.
11 total item admirers.
0 treasury lists.
0 sales.

The final stats look like this:

$43.69 spent. ($28.99 on Etsy fees, $14.70 on shipping.)
$79 earned.
1 shop category.
22 shop admirers.
13 items listed (which takes into account two items sold, and four items added).
1004 total item views.
54 total item admirers.
5 treasury lists.
2 sales.

Future plans

I will definitely keep listing my paintings on Etsy, creating treasuries, and probably also using Search Ads. Overall though, the Etsy market seems pretty crowded. And that means that while it’s a great place to sell handmade items, it’s not going to be the only place I work at selling my paintings. Word of mouth, and seeing if I can get my paintings put up in coffee shops, offices, or other public spaces will play a part in future sales attempts.

Hope you enjoyed following along with my experiment. Feel free to add your experiences to the comments, or let me know if you have any questions or feedback.