How do you know if it’s time to start an Etsy shop to sell your artwork? When should you use Etsy and when should you sell your art from your website? In this blog post, you will learn the exact questions to ask yourself to know which option is best for you – creating an Etsy shop or selling art from your website.
Spoiler alert: there is no one right answer! It will look different for every artist. However, I am going to discuss the pros and cons of each option to help you make the right decision. Before we get started, make sure to download my PDF guide to help you here: https://yourcreativeadventure.com/etsyorwebsite/
I hope that you get a lot of value from this blog post!
Three Reasons Why I love Etsy
First of all, many of you know that I have created two courses about selling your art on Etsy. They are Etsy Shop Makeover and Etsy Entrepreneur. In my courses, I share many tips on setting up, marketing and promoting your Etsy shop.
However, for this blog post, the main question I will be answering is, “Shelley, why did you decide to use Etsy instead of selling directly from your own website?”
This is a very valid question.
And let me tell you, there are many options to sell your art. You can use Etsy, but you don’t have to. The most important thing is to have a “Buy Button” somewhere for customers to buy your art.
Here are three reasons I used Etsy instead of selling from my website:
1. It’s super easy to get started. There are no website or technical skills required!
Etsy has the order, shipping and fulfillment processes and tools built in and it’s very simple to use. Plus, their shipping fees are a little bit cheaper than the post office.
So, if you want to do it on your website, go for it. But if you are stuck and you’re not selling your art right now because it’s too hard or too technical, then get started on Etsy. You can always transition to your website later.
2. Get access to 37 million active buyers. That’s pretty huge!
First, let me just be honest with you. Whether you use Etsy or open a shop on your website, it’s going to require marketing. If people don’t know that you’re out there and that your artwork exists, how are they going to buy it?
I heard someone say this before, “Etsy is kind of like having a shop inside a shopping mall. Whereas having your own website is like having it on an island or out in the woods where nobody knows about it.”
If you already have a large audience or a huge number of buyers or collectors, then setting up a website is going to be a good option for you.
But if you are just getting started, like I was, then Etsy is the perfect place to be. It already has shoppers so it makes the marketing a little bit easier.
I share a lot of marketing tips on my course Etsy Shop Makeover.
3. Etsy opens up other opportunities for you and your artwork as well.
I started selling on Etsy and it was successful. I wasn’t making a full-time income selling my art on Etsy, but the sales were steadily growing.
The next thing I know; I was approved to start selling wholesale to retail stores on another website! I share my process with selling wholesale and the site that I’m using in my Etsy Entrepreneur course.
And all of these happened because I took the first step of starting to sell on Etsy.
So just taking the step of opening an Etsy shop or setting up your shop on your website is already going to be the beginning of your journey as an artist-entrepreneur.
Should You Sell on Etsy or Your Website?
To guide you in choosing the best platform to sell your art, here are some questions you can use to determine whether you should open an Etsy shop or sell from a shop on your website.
Note: Instead of writing out these questions, make sure to download our PDF guide here: https://yourcreativeadventure.com/etsyorwebsite/
1) What is your main goal right now? Is it to just get started? Is it income?
2) How quickly do you need income? Everyone’s situation is different. For some, it’s not as crucial. But if you need income fast, Etsy is the fastest way to start selling your art with the lowest upfront costs.
3) Do you have the money, time and resources needed to invest in a website? Do you have the technical skills required to set up an online shop on your website or will you need to hire someone to do it for you?
4) How much time do you want to spend on marketing? Although both channels require marketing, Etsy already has the traffic of potential buyers and customers for your products.
Pros and Cons of Opening both Etsy Shop and Website
Another question that comes up when I talk about Etsy shop is, “Can I do both? Can I open an Etsy shop and an online shop on my website?
The answer is YES! Absolutely.
I want you to do what’s right for you. And so, here are some pros and cons to consider when you choose do both.
- It can double your traffic sources. As I’ve mentioned above, Etsy has 37 million potential buyers who can find your product and can be your potential customers.
- Etsy can potentially be a funnel in building your email list. You still have to follow the terms of service at Etsy so you can’t automatically add a customer to your email list from Etsy. That’s a big no-no. But what you can do is promote your email list through bonuses and promotions on your Etsy Shop. I shared about this in my Etsy Shop Makeover course.
- There are people that feel safer to buy things and paying on Etsy rather than paying on random websites.
- You have to keep track of inventory on both sides. Etsy keeps track of your inventory for you. But if you are selling on both sites, you will have to do the manual work of going in and making sure your inventory is correct so you’re not selling something that you don’t have in stock.
- You can’t directly promote your website store on Etsy. You can’t put a link to your site on Etsy. But you can add a business card or a coupon code to their package that will draw your customers back to your website for their next purchase.
Conclusion: There is no perfect platform
There is not one absolute, perfect answer for you.
Is Etsy perfect? No.
Is it the perfect opportunity for everyone? No.
Many times, it’s taking the step of getting your artwork out there, starting to sell, and building your brand that can then open doors for other opportunities for you in the future.
Etsy is a great way to get started.
You will need to test and see your results. The most important thing is that you’re selling your art.
Successful people make decisions.
What’s the worst thing that can happen? The world is not going to come crushing in on you if you open an Etsy shop and decide to do something different later.
Make the decision now. Decide what is best for you and share what you decide in the comments below.
As I always say, test, evaluate, tweak and repeat.
And don’t forget to download my PDF guide to help you here: https://yourcreativeadventure.com/etsyorwebsite/
I hope that you get a lot from this blog post. Don’t forget to share your comments or thoughts about this topic in the comments below.
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Karen Ray says
First of all, thank you so much for your creative inspiration. While I primarily create with words, visuals are an important part of my work for both memoir and business clients. And they feed my soul! Your practical help and encouragement are such a help. I’ve had a dormant shop set up on my website and have taken product pics but have been intimidated to finally go live and connect the whole thing to a commerce site. Epiphany today with your blog! I can start an Etsy shop and get everything up and running quickly while getting any kinks worked out of the website option. Thank you and bless you!
Remembering the Time
WooHoo! This is music to my ears Karen. Yes yes yes! Get those buy buttons out there now and you can add the website shop at any time. Yay! Congratulations to you.
Katie Kidwell says
Thank you Shelley. Watching you grow artistically is a good example of what you are teaching. You have walked the walk as an artist and I have found your Etsy course a good investment for me. Thank you for all the “freebies”.
Katie – this makes me so happy to hear! I always try to teach from my personal experience and not just from theory. I’m also so excited to have you in the Etsy course, yay! Can’t wait to see all that you do and be able to host you as an artist spotlight interview on my podcast soon. 🙂