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Etsy can be profitable if you're willing to put a lot of time and work into promoting your store. Jewellery is the largest category there, and unless you're constantly relisting and adding new items as well as promoting yourself via social media (twitter, blogs, facebook, etc.) you tend to get buried very, very quickly. Another issue seems to be rampant underpricing for the sake of staying 'ahead' of your competition and making sales. No one is going to buy a $80 sterling ring when they can find a similar one for $30.
I'm not saying stay away from Etsy altogether - the community is incredibly supportive and helpful, and the fees are very low compared to other handmade shopping websites - just don't sign up expecting instant sales, or expecting to make a living off of it.
My email if firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more questions :)
I've had huge success with Etsy- first listed with them in 2006, joined the Etsy Metal Street team Nov., 2006
Lots of gallery, and exhibit connections. My work is seen and sells all over the planet. The exposure has been amazing.
I visited the Etsy Labs in Brooklyn this year and got a private tour by Danielle Maveal (originally from Toronto and a GB grad)
Can't recommend Etsy enough! :) It's been a great.
I joined Etsy over a year ago and have had 4 sales... I went into it beacuse it seemed like an easy way to have an online shop, without having to worry about any of the money issues on my own website. I agree with Miranda about how a lot of the jewellery is very under priced, and its difficult to get exposure on the site with out spending crazy amounts of time. It may introduce a few new people to your work but I really think its great for people who already know about your jewellery, it just gives them another option in where or how to purchase your work.
It does depend to some extent on the popularity of your design aesthetic and the price point, but generally I agree with Miranda: like anything on the Internet it's not just going to happen - you have to work it. It is more strategic to post one new picture every day than to upload a lot of pieces at once, becasue every time you list you go back to the top of the pile. I find that I have to support it with a website and a blog as well as social networks. It is a good piece of a comprehensive web strategy, but for me not a huge one. As an enamelist I find their tagging system is not carefully monitored and a lot of things get tagged with enamel that are just not, but there's no use getting hung up on stuff like that. I find that it's important always to keep my eye on my target market, and focus on them rather than hoping that hoards will stumble upon my stuff and love it ;-) I use it as a place my customers can go to see what I have in stock, while my website is more like a catalog.