Creators and artists always dream about starting a small business to showcase and sell their art.
There’s nothing more enticing than putting away the 9-5 day job and focusing on yourself and your personal brand. But is this a stable business model?
Can sites like Etsy.com make you rich?
Only the most successful businesses on eCommerce marketplaces like Etsy will help their owners and employees earn enough to make more than a full living off of their products – but it is possible to do. Though it isn’t a guarantee, you too could quit your 9-5 with the right strategy and dedication.
There are only a handful of Etsy shops that have successfully earned high revenues from their products, but their methods are smart, strong, and effective when it comes to earning what they do.
Let’s explore some of their methods in this article today!
How Much Money can you Earn with Etsy?
Earning money on Etsy is never guaranteed, but those who can “make it big” have done so – even bigger than anyone ever expected.
Shops like Three Bird Nest, Maeven Vintage, SkinFoodie, and others have worked for years to fine-tune their strategies and business plans to work for them and their product – some of them even make tens-of-thousands of dollars per MONTH.
These five-star, bestselling, and top-grossing shops on Etsy are killing it with the leaderboards, both on and off the site!
While not all shops that start out on Etsy can make it to this level of fame and money, but the possibility to build yourself, your shop, and your brand are always there for you to reach for.
How to Earn Big Bucks
Even if you do everything “right” somewhere in any of these areas, you might fall flat:
- Your product
- Your team
- Your business plan/strategy
Knowing where your problem comes from and taking steps to work out the bugs in your system is crucial to getting each of these factors “right.”
I say “right” with quotations because there really is no “one way” to do Etsy.com. The secret formula comes down to a great combination of each of these factors that work well together to make a finished shop.
How Much do the Biggest Etsy Shops Earn?
The biggest Etsy shops like Three Bird Nest, Maeven Vintage & Skin Foodie have all transcended the regular Etsy marketplace by branching out into their own businesses elsewhere.
Three Bird Nest, for example, has been recorded to making nearly $70,000 in one month off of selling their boho-inspired clothing both in their Etsy store and their personal website – but does pay back thousands of dollars in fees to Etsy that they don’t pay on their own site.
Other Etsy shops like Boygirlparty – an Etsy pin and art shop – have over 45,000 sales on the shop with an average range of sale per product for $10-$15. This equates to nearly five hundred thousand in revenue from just their Etsy shop alone.
How Long Does it Typically take to Earn a Full-Time Income on Etsy?
The shops we listed before have been on Etsy and have been branching out their market for years.
Boygirlparty has been on Etsy since 2005, and Three Bird Nest has been working its signature brand since 2009.
It can take a long time for an Etsy shop to make enough money to let the owner quit their day-job and work full-time in their shop. In fact, some never make it there – instead, many successful Etsy shops already have an online following or grow their following quickly in order to make it big.
Getting Big Quickly
Having thousands of Instagram or Twitter followers could make or break your business quickly, and maintaining those followers is a lot of work.
But, if you’re an artist looking to sell prints, stickers, or pins, you most likely post your designs to a social media account.
Artists who post to social media accounts and collect thousands of followers will inevitably have their big announcement of moving to an Etsy shop to sell their prints and pins.
A loyal following will come with you to Etsy and support your work. They will also spread the word about you and your product, posting online, or showing friends in person how much they love your work.
This will give a better guarantee of sales than someone just starting out with no prior history out there about themselves or their brand. The solution? Get out there and promote yourself as early as possible.
If you’ve already started an Etsy, don’t just advertise what you have for sale – instead, post pictures of your art, yourself, and your brand logo. Make friends, start a following and watch yourself grow!
Is it Possible to Earn Much More than a Standard Full-Time Income?
It is possible to earn more than a standard, full-time income on Etsy, but it can be very rare.
Even if your sales skyrocket, that doesn’t mean your productions will cost significantly less than what you’re making, allowing yourself to rake in the money
Rather, you have to have a solid business plan and strategy in order to make sure you are making enough to sustain your business before skimming off the top for yourself.
If, however, your business is booming, the numbers add up in your favor, and you’ve already paid for production and employees with a lot leftover, then yes – you’re on your way to the big leagues!
Just remember that there are a lot of different factors that go into a successful Etsy shop that we’ve already discussed, and that losing focus in one or more of those areas could make or break your success.
Which Products Sell Really Well on Etsy?
There are many different categories of Etsy products on Etsy.com – it’s hard sometimes to figure out what’s selling and what isn’t.
From jewelry to clothing, art to woodworking, Etsy seems to have the “handcrafted” market cornered in their favor. But what sells really well on Etsy?
Most successful shops are either clothing or trinket design (trinkets meaning pins, stickers, charms, jewelry, etc.)
Art and fashion are the backbones of Etsy.com and therefore are the most competitive as well.
How to Get Noticed
If you’re going to try and crack your way into the fashion or art markets on Etsy, you need to understand what is currently trending and who your competition is. Especially since the term “art” is so broad that it could mean anything.
If we review our shops from earlier, such as Maeven Vintage, we start to realize that having a “brand” or mission for your business is key in standing out from the crowd. Maeven Vintage prides itself on restoring and repurposing vintage or “found” items and re-selling them to the public.
Their image is classy, their models are elegant, and they offer up items that look as though they were decades or a century old. Keeping the “modern” vibe out of it makes Maeven Vintage attractive to customers looking for the specific “vintage” or repurposed feel.
Not only that but picking your brand and sticking to it is crucial – you should never do a 180-turn on what initially made you successful in the first place.
If stores like Maeven Vintage suddenly re-branded themselves and only sold mass-marketed, modern items, their following would die, and so would their sales.
Find out what your “thing” is and stick to it if it works – if you have to find that brand through trial and error over the course of your Etsy career, that’s okay too!
What are the Main Reasons People Quit their Etsy Shop?
For a lot of Etsy shops, finding the right combination for success never comes, and they end up throwing in the towel on their Etsy shop.
Even with a great product, good marketing, and consistent five-star ratings, some styles or handmade items can fall out of favor with the general public. What might have been cute or trendy a month ago is now outdated with a new fad.
And even if you still get a few sales each month for your product, counting on a guaranteed salary that will keep the bills paid is a difficult thing for Etsy shops that lose traction.
No Sales are Guaranteed
There are plenty of dabblers in Etsy.com that never seem to get their shops off the ground. Instead of taking another look at their business strategy, these shop owners tend to quit before they’ve even started.
There’s nothing wrong with thinking that Etsy isn’t for you, but it does make it hard to grow your brand.
Earning profits right away on Etsy is almost impossible without a previous following before you start, and many get discouraged after their first four months without a sale is up.
If you struggle to start, consider reaching out to the Etsy community and asking them how they were able to get their first sales. Read the seller’s guide that Etsy provides and try to consider that you may be doing something that is hurting rather than helping you grow.
Once you’ve taken a good look at yourself and your products, make changes, and get that first sale, try to remember that you can only go up from there!
Lack of Sales & High Fees
When an Etsy shop begins to slow down on sales, a lot of the falling out for that shop comes from is losing money on the little sales they have left.
If your shop went from 1,000 sales per month to less than one hundred sales per month, the costs of making your products, listing fees, and transaction fees might take too much of a chunk to be worth it anymore.
Furthermore, if their sales have gone way down, Etsy shop owners tend to limit their listing amounts to prevent paying for slots that don’t sell.
Imagine you sell 500 different products on your Etsy store, but sales have gone down lately. Each of those product listings costs you $0.20 cents to keep on your shop for four months. That means you pay $100.00 every four months to keep all those listings on your website.
While that number may not seem that big for a full-time business, losing sales will make those fees add up much more quickly than when you were at your peak.
Therefore, putting your listings at 250 instead of that initial 500 will probably lower sales even more with a smaller pool to choose from, and finally could send your shop into a downward spiral.
The Etsy “Ceiling”
One thing that the really BIG and successful Etsy shops have in common is this: leaving Etsy when their business has outgrown it.
If you’re making thousands of sales per month, it’s time to get off Etsy.com – at least some of your business.
Beginning your shop on Etsy is a great idea because it helps new business owners and sellers get a taste of what it is like to own, market, and ship their products to customers without any prior experience.
However, at a certain point, your brand might be big enough to expand to bigger and better outlets!
Three Bird Nest, as we mentioned before, has moved its operations to pop-up shops and their own website in order to maximize growth and sales. Because their brand is so well-known, they no longer need to compete with other Etsy shops that might fight for their limelight on the “featured” page.
Instead, customers aren’t searching “boho-style dress” on Etsy to find Three Bird Nest, but rather heading straight to the Three Bird Nest site to find what they are looking for.
So while you can and should keep your Etsy shop open, many sellers who are successful tend to branch away from their beginners’ roots and head toward new horizons and new business opportunities.