How to Sell Homestead & Farm Items on Etsy
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Are you looking for a way to sell your homemade homestead or farm-ish products online? If so, Etsy may be the perfect platform for you! In this guide, we will walk you through everything you need to know in order to start selling homemade items on Etsy. We’ll cover how to choose the right products to sell, how to create your first listing, how to market your products, and more. Plus, we’ll discuss some important legal guidelines that you need to follow when selling homemade products online. Whether you want to sell soap, sheep’s wool, candles, or jam, this guide is a great place to get started!
What do we know about Etsy?
We have been selling homemade beeswax products in our Etsy shop, The Happy Hive, for years now. We have seen our business steadily grow as more and more people learned about it and reviews poured in from happy customers. We’ve tried a number of approaches and brought multiple new products to market, and some of our products have become best-sellers in their category.
We also understand homesteading and the DIY opportunities it brings. We have made self-care and beauty products, canned goods, woodenware, and more at home – and have been tempted to turn many of these pursuits into businesses. We likely have a solid understanding the product you want to bring to market, too, so we’ll talk about examples to which you can relate.
We’re happy to share our experience selling homemade items on Etsy with other homesteaders to help you take your unique product to market, too!
Why sell on Etsy?
There are several reasons why you might want to start selling your homemade products on Etsy. While people often think of artists and jewelry-makers when they think of Etsy, there is also a large market for “farm-ish” products as well as vintage goods. The “farmish” aesthetic is also trending now, making it a great time to get your homestead products out there. This makes Etsy a great match for homesteading entrepreneurs.
Here are some of the most common reasons you might choose Etsy:
- Etsy is a great platform for small business owners, especially when you are first getting started. It’s easy to set up a shop and there are millions of potential customers looking for unique, handmade products.
- Etsy offers sellers a great way to reach your audience. Millions of people visit Etsy daily looking for unique homemade and vintage products; if you are just getting started, you can get your product in front of these folks without having to attract them to your own website or shopfront.
- Etsy is a very user-friendly platform. It’s easy to navigate, and shoppers can easily find what they are looking for. This makes it a great choice for sellers who want to sell handmade products, but don’t want to spend a lot of time on the technical aspects.
- Etsy offers sellers a number of tools that can help you manage your shop and track how well your products are selling. This takes some of the guesswork out of running an online business.
- Etsy also typically collects sales tax on behalf of the sellers, making it an easy way to handle your tax obligations.
- Etsy is a great platform for buyers to purchase directly from makers, eliminating the “middle man” of a store or sales venue. While they do collect a percentage of your sales price, it is often less than other selling sites.
How to Choose the Right Product(s) for your Etsy Shop
Now that you have an idea of why Etsy might be a good fit, it’s time to think about what to sell. If you are a homesteader, chances are you are already making a lot of things yourself at home. Whether you are a sewer, a knitter, woodworker, or a crafter, you likely have something that others would love to use. Here are a few things to keep in mind when choosing were to start:
- Start with what you know. When you’re starting, it can be helpful to start by selling products that are related to what you already make or grow on your homestead. This will help you build your brand and get started on Etsy with a bit of momentum. What are you good at? What do you love making? What could you see yourself making over and over again? What are you uniquely qualified to make? These are the things that are great candidates for Etsy.
- Research what’s selling. Do some research to see what types of products are selling well on Etsy. This can give you an idea of what to focus on in your shop. To do quick and easy research, type a term in the search bar like “garden tools” or “soap,” find shops that are doing well with those products, and see what their best-sellers are. Can you sell something similar with your unique twist? Be aware that some products may be oversaturated; in the homesteading world, soap and candles are examples of things that a lot of people are selling, as are knitted goods. If you are going to enter into one of these product areas, see the next bullet point!
- Be unique. When choosing products to sell, think about how you can offer something unique to your shop. This doesn’t mean that you have to come up with a brand-new idea; it just means making sure the products in your shop are different from what other sellers are offering. Are your ingredients home-grown? Is your product organic or all-natural? What sets you apart?
- Start small. It’s important not to bite off more than you can chew when starting on Etsy. When you’re first getting started, it might be a good idea to start with just a few items in your shop. This will help you get organized and make sure that each product is high quality before you add it to your shop. It will also ensure that you can meet customer demand and not get overwhelmed or run out of your product.
- Be consistent. When you’re first getting started, it’s best to sell related products that work well together in your shop. This can help make sure your brand is cohesive from the very beginning, which will help build a loyal customer base down the road.
- Design great packaging. Your items will likely have to be packaged in some way. While being creative with your label and brand are key, be sure to keep your packaging simple to keep costs and processing time in check. We love recyclable packaging, and we try to avoid plastic (which seems to please a lot of customers). Click here for helpful hints on designing labels for your homemade products.
Be sure to read Etsy’s guidelines for selling to make sure that your item is allowed. This list of prohibited items is a good place to start. While food is allowed to be sold on Etsy your business will have to follow local guidelines for food sales and production, so be sure to do your research!
How to Set Prices on Etsy
When you are selling homemade items on Etsy, you will need to provide a price for your product. This can be tricky, as you don’t want to price yourself out of the market – but you also don’t want to sell your products too cheaply. Here are some tips:
- Compare your prices to those of other sellers. What is the average price for a similar product? Try to stay within this range, but also remember that you are offering a unique product that may be worth more than the average.
- Follow traditional guidelines around selling homemade items. You figure out the cost of your ingredients or parts, then add in the price of your time to determine the cost to make each item. Then, multiply that cost by 2 for a wholesale price (if you were selling to a store), and by three for a market price (on Etsy or direct to the consumer). See if this price aligns with similar items on Etsy to make sure that you are competitive; if not, how can you align it to be competitive?
- Use Etsy’s pricing tools. Etsy offers sellers a few different tools to help them set prices. The first is called “Shop Pricing”. This tool allows you to set your own profit margin. It will then calculate how much you need to charge in order to make that amount of money. This can be helpful if you have a strict budget, or if you are trying to keep prices low without sacrificing the quality of your product. The second tool is called “Etsy’s Calculator”. This one calculates how much it will cost you to create your item, how much it will cost to ship it, how much you want to make in terms of profit, and how much Etsy is charging for listing fees. It then calculates how much you need to charge in order for all these expenses plus the profit margin amount that you specified earlier.
- Consider offering free shipping. Etsy promotes shops that offer free shipping (or free shipping on bundles), so this can be a great way to draw customers to your shop. However, keep in mind how much it will cost you to ship each item – and how long it will take. It is important that you are able to cover these expenses within the price of your product.
How to Create your Etsy Shop
OK, so you know what you want to sell and about how you want to price it. It’s time to set up your shop! The process for selling homemade items on Etsy is actually quite simple:
- First, create an account on Etsy. This will just be under your name and email address; preferably an email address connected to your shop or product, if possible.
- Then, create your shop. You’ll need a name for your shop that isn’t already taken. When choosing a name, be sure to pick something that accurately represents your products and is easy for customers to remember. This name will be your brand, so choose carefully and think about it before committing. It helps if you have a logo and some images to use for your shop’s banner and homepage. If you plan to sell a diversity of homestead products, you could use the name of your homestead or farm – just make sure it conveys a “brand” or image that says something about what you will sell.
- Next, set up your payment information. You’ll need to provide Etsy with your bank account information so you can be paid for the items you sell. Consider setting up a separate bank account for your business if you don’t have one already. This will help with record-keeping.
- Fill in your shop info. This includes your bio, how you got started with Etsy, how long it takes you to create each product and how quickly you ship them (this is the information that will be displayed on your page). You also need to decide whether or not returns are allowed – if they are, how will they work? As you tell the story of your brand, consider inserting elements of your homesteading lifestyle and how it influences the products that you create and sell. If your location (either geographically or your actual homestead) convey a certain brand story, include a description and photos.
- Set your shop preferences. This includes how you will accept payments from customers (PayPal, credit cards, etc.), how much it costs to ship certain items and how long that shipping time is, and if any products are available for local pickup or delivery only.
How to Add Listings to your Etsy Shop
You’ve determined your product, you have an idea of pricing, and your shop is ready to go. It’s time to create your first listing! Selling homemade items on Etsy is all about conveying their value and their story when you create a listing.
Here are a few tips:
- Title your product well. When someone is searching for a specific item on Etsy, the title is one of the things they will use to determine if it’s the right product. Make sure your title is descriptive and keyword-rich so that it will show up in search results.
- Add good quality photos. Photos are a key part of any Etsy listing, and they are especially important when selling handmade products. Make sure to take high-quality photos from different angles, and use a clear and consistent naming convention for your files. Check out our article on building a light box for product photography – it can take your images up a notch and help your product get noticed!
- Write a great description. The description is your opportunity to sell your product and explain what makes it special. Make sure to include all of the details someone would want to know, like how the item is made, what materials are used, sizing information, and care instructions.
- Use keywords in your listing. As with the title, you want to use keywords throughout your listing so that it will show up in search results. Etsy provides a list of recommended keywords for each category, and you can also find helpful tips online.
- Don’t forget shipping. You will need to figure out how much it will cost to ship your product to your customers, and how long it will take. You’ll need this information in order to create a shipping profile (this can be done at the same time you are creating a listing). Keep in mind that Etsy promotes shops that offer free shipping, or free shipping on bundles. Work this into your pricing estimate and see if you can realistically cover shipping in your sales price.
- Promote your shop! We’ll talk about marketing and promoting your Etsy shop in an article to follow, but you can begin by announcing the shop on your existing social media accounts and letting friends and family know about it. If folks have been asking about the products you make, now is a great time to let them know that they can now purchase it online!
By following these steps you can launch your small business on Etsy and get ready to celebrate your first sale! Remember that making your first sale can take a little while, especially if you are in a competitive niche. You may need to offer sales and incentives, or invite your close circle of friends and family to make a few purchases, in order to get your shop rolling. Be patient, and don’t lose hope. Once great reviews start pouring in, your shop will gain momentum! Selling homemade products on etsy is both rewarding and fun.