Make art, love art, live art - isn't that the dream? So many of us would love to be able to live off of our creations, and Etsy, an online marketplace for creatives across the world, has made that possible.
And what's more, Cass Art has partnered with Etsy this July to offer you 20 free listings to start your online shop.
You can easily sell your work, keep the majority of the profit and, for many, Etsy has changed lives, allowing creative to give up their day jobs and support themselves solely through sales of their work.
We asked artist and Etsy admin Susannah Bradley, who spoke at Free Thinking 2014, about how to start your online shop at Etsy.
Can you describe Etsy in just a few words?
Etsy is the marketplace we make together. Our vision is to reimagine commerce in ways that build a more fulfilling and lasting world. Our mission is to enable people anywhere to easily build and buy from independent, creative businesses.
Etsy has 40 million members and 1 million active shops in 200 countries. In 2012, our sellers grossed more than $895 million in sales.
How do you go about setting up your online shop with Etsy?
Well now is the time to set up shop – as we have partnered with Cass Art to offer you 20 free listings to get started! Head over to our website and register with the promotion code on the Cass Art offers leaflet, and from there we’ll guide you through the initial shop set-up steps. You’ll need an email address, shop name, and photos and details of at least one item to get started. It’s totally free to set up and takes only a few minutes.
The website also provides resources that help you with things like photography techniques and tagging your items effectively, as well as branding and marketing.
Is the website easy to use?
Yes, it's super to use! You can upload and manage your items for sale as well as make purchases. Many artists want to have their work on Etsy to take advantage of the enormous traffic from buyers, but many also appreciate having the more technical aspects of having a website taken care of for them. We provide seamless payment integration, statistics to help you see how people are finding your work, an easy way to upload and manage your listings, and a supportive online community to help answer any questions you have.
What kinds of things can you sell on Etsy?
You can sell work you have made, vintage items older than 20 years, and craft supplies.
Can you explain the breakdown of cost and delivery?
Sellers get to keep the vast majority of their retail price. Etsy charges $.20 (about 15p) to list an item, and then a 3.5% commission when it sells.
If you are accepting credit cards through Etsy there is an additional small fee for this service. In the UK it's 20p and 4% of the total amount processed. You're welcome to use another payment processor like PayPal (they have similar fees), or to not accept credit cards if you wish.
Sellers are responsible for postage and packing costs as they also choose how to pack and send their own items.
Can you ‘shut down’ your shop if you need to?
Yes, you can remove your items at any time by making them "inactive" or removing them permanently by deleting them. You can also put your shop on vacation mode which temporarily removes items from the site while you are away. You can also close your account completely if you want to.
Tell me why an artist, who has perhaps never done it before, should think about starting their own online shop?
It’s a great way to get your work out into the world without a lot of upfront costs. You don't have the overhead of renting an exhibiting space or moving work from place to place. Etsy's commission is also one of the lowest which means you get to keep a lot more of that retail price than if you were selling your work in a gallery, wholesale, or at another marketplace.
Personally, after I left art school, I sometimes found it hard to make work without the deadlines and structure of a class with assignments. Opening an Etsy shop was an incentive to keep making work – I had to fill up the shop! I also really enjoy the community of creative people and artists that are on Etsy. Joining an Etsy Team can help new sellers get their newbie questions answered as well as get involved in local opportunities.
Plus, there are loads of success stories from people who use Etsy. We have a regular feature on our blog called "Quit Your Day Job" where you can read all about artists who have made their Etsy shop their full time job.
Read more about claiming your 20 free listings for Etsy and our other Cass Art offers here.
View Susannah Bradley’s own Etsy page here.
Visit Etsy and set up your own online shop with the promotional code found in the Cass Art offers leaflet, free with any purchase online or in-store. Once you have the code, you can sign up for your online shop here.
Watch our Free Thinking highlights in a video here.