Last fall, when I was getting ready to open my store in the Catskills, several people casually said (something to the effect of) "you'll have an online store too." Assuming. "Uh, no, I don't think so," was my answer." Because: I know how much work it is. But I've changed my mind. I think. My store is only open weekends and I have a garage full of inventory and the energy to do more with it, but I can't do it in the Catskills right now. Living 240 miles from my store has its challenges. Also, most of my customers are weekenders and tourists. Many of the stores there close for the winter. Some are only open in the summer. Some have Etsy stores too.
Let's skip right over the other E or selling through my store website.***edited to add in response to Anne's comment, and because I was too lazy to think it through when I wrote this: I love the idea of having an online store on my website, but right now I have a very small store in a very small town and I think it would take years to build up enough of a customer base to make an online store successful. I love the way White Flower Farmhouse does it. That would be my dream. But her store has been open for years, she has a very successful blog, and she's located in a much more populated area than my store. All of which translates to more potential customers for her. With Etsy there are a ton of buyers browsing and I think that gives me a better chance at this stage. ***end of edit
I adore Etsy and have made friends in Etsyland and sell marvelous things in my store made by Etsyites. Etsians? Etsy people? So what's so hard about an online store (you might ask if you don't have one)? Here's my personal take on that question and the obstacles I've been working through when deciding whether to sell vintage goods on Etsy:
1. Pictures. You have to take good pictures. Really good pictures. I have a little point and shoot I try to remember to take when I go on vacation, but mostly I use my cell phone and I don't understand when people talk about light and shadows when it comes to taking good pictures. I just sort of glaze over.
That's not a good picture.
Does that make you realize you must own a steam gauge? I didn't think so.
2. Shipping. You have to list shipping rates when you post an item. If you sell vintage items, rates vary wildly. You need to learn about priority, parcel post, first class, flat rate, media mail. Possibly UPS and Fed Ex. You need a scale, packing materials and boxes and will they be new or recycled and where to keep all that c--p. Decisions about insurance and delivery confirmation. Shipping international has it's own set of issues. Confusing.
3. The store itself. Oh yeah, that. I want my store to have a personality, an identity, and I think that's hard with vintage and gets into inventory choices and so forth. I won't bore you with my thoughts about this, but I take it seriously.
There's more of course. For me, two stores, two states, which means tax stuff, name decisions. Et cetera. And there's a lot of competition, a lot of damn good stores on Etsy. And I'm sure there's plenty of things I haven't even thought about. So I don't take this lightly. But I think I'm gonna do it.
Good idea? Bad idea?