Etsy is an e-commerce website that specializes in handmade goods and offers artists and crafters of all types an opportunity to sell their work online. The site has a thriving community of eco-minded entrepreneurs and has become a go-to destination for people around the world looking for unique and specialty green products.
A sampling of Etsy’s green product offerings includes:
- recycled gold wedding rings
- organic cotton baby blankets
- purses made from recycled plastic bags
- hand-rolled beeswax candles
- reusable produce bags
- and much more
Etsy also accepts vintage goods and certain types of crafting supplies, as well as food items that meet Etsy’s handmade guidelines and are prepared in accordance with applicable local regulations.
Starting an Etsy Shop
Starting an Etsy shop for eco-friendly crafts or products is simple. Decide in advance what you’d like your username to be, as the username cannot be changed and will become your shop name. Then register for a free Etsy account.
Once you’ve registered, upgrade your account to seller status by clicking the “Sell” tab and following the directions. You will need a valid credit card in order to register as a seller on Etsy. Though registering for an account is free, Etsy does charge small fees for listing and selling items from your shop. Listing fees are $0.20 for each item; when a product is sold, there is a 3.5% transaction fee on the sale price, not including shipping.
Once you’ve registered as a seller, it’s time to start setting up your Etsy shop. Fill in your public profile, including an avatar, location, and short biography. Then add information about your shop, including a shop title, special shop policies, and more. You can even customize the look of your shop by uploading a unique banner!
As a green seller on Etsy, it’s especially important to establish your credibility by detailing some of the efforts you take to reduce the environmental impacts of your products. You can use Etsy’s customization options to improve your green branding as well.
Once your shop information is filled in, you can start setting up the different sections of your shop and uploading products. Be sure to include relevant green tags such as “eco-friendly,” “recycled,” “upcycled,” “reclaimed,” or “organic” in order to help customers find your green products.
Promoting Your Etsy Shop
Once your green Etsy shop is set up, you’ll need to promote if if you want to make sales. Here are some tips to help promote your Etsy shop:
Join or start an Etsy Team. Etsy Teams are groups of like-minded Etsy members organized around a particular location, interest, or other factor who team up to network, share advice, and promote their shops together. There are more than 450 Etsy Teams to choose from. A few that may be of particular interest to green crafters include Eco Etsy, Etsy Clean and Green Guild, Etsy Organic, and Recyclers Guild. You can also start your own.
Start a Treasury. Etsy Treasuries are member-curated lists of items grouped according to a certain theme. Though including your own products is discouraged, Treasuries are a great way to give back to the Etsy community and get noticed by fellow sellers, who are more likely to include your products in their own Treasuries as a result. If you create an especially outstanding Treasury, it may also be listed on Etsy’s home page, gaining free publicity for your shop.
Join social networking sites. Social media marketing is an especially good tool for small green businesses such as Etsy shops because it helps create a sense of community and connection between the entrepreneur and the customer. Joining a few popular social networks such as Facebook and MySpace is a great way to promote your green products directly to consumers. A smaller social network that offers special features for Etsy sellers is Squidoo, which offers a widget-style “module” that you can use to highlight products from your Etsy shop. More great place to promote your products online include social shopping sites such as ThisNext and Kaboodle, photo and video sharing sites such as Flickr and YouTube, and niche social networks such as Ravelry, DeviantArt, and Craftster.
Start a blog. Like social media marketing, starting a blog can be a great way to build connections between your shop and your customers. Many shoppers on Etsy love in-depth descriptions of the artistic process that goes into designing and creating Etsy products, and a blog is a great place to share this kind of information. If you don’t have time for a traditional green business blog, consider using a microblogging platform such as Twitter or Tumblr to share updates and connect with customers.
Three Amazing Eco-Friendly Sellers on Etsy
2TrickPony is an artist and metalsmith working from a solar-powered, off grid studio in Northern California. 2TrickPony specializes in artisan jewelry made from reclaimed and recycled metals, and fair trade, ethically sourced stones.
Herbolution is a shop specializing in organic and eco-friendly personal care products handcrafted in small batches. Herbolution is committed to green practices, including sustainable packaging and minimal waste.
Painted Turtle Wooden Toys specializes in handcrafted, heirloom quality wooden toys made from locally and sustainably sourced hardwoods and finished with organic, food-grade hempseed oil.