Do you have a unique hand-crafted item that you are looking to sell?  Are you ready to sell online?  Consider Etsy.

There are many successful artist and other individuals who either supplement their income or make a living selling their crafts online.  A good place to start is Etsy – an online marketplace for handmade items, vintage goods and craft supplies.  Etsy enables you to sell online without having to build your own website, or without having to add an e-commerce application to your existing site.  In April 2013, a total of 4,259,435 items were sold on Etsy at a value of $101.8 million – representing a 60.1% increase from April 2012.  The site also boasted 1.49 billion page views during the month.

Joining Etsy and setting up a shop is free.  Each item listed on Etsy costs $0.20 for a four month listing or until the item is sold.  Once a sale occurs, Etsy takes 3.5% of the sale price.  Etsy provides you with a sub domain (http://etsy.com/youstorename) that you can use to link to your site or promote via social media.  When setting up an account on Etsy, your default shop name will be your username so choose a username that reflects your shop or products.  You can also add a separate shop name at a later date.  Once you have created a profile you can upload photos of your items and list them for sale.

Etsy offers advice on pricing your products as well as a Seller Handbook .   You will also need to pay regular attention to your Shop Statsto monitor your traffic volumes, sources and keywords.

Just like any other online or main street marketplace, selling on Etsy requires a strategy.  Your products should appeal to your customers and you need to stand out from the crowd.  Etsy represents a very large community of online sellers and has been criticized for being overcrowded.  In order to drive traffic to your Etsy shop, you will need to continually promote your products through social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, as well utilizing the Etsy forum.  Your item titles are also very important.  Remember to use all 13 of the available search tags making sure your keywords are specific and relevant to the item you are selling.

In addition to selling on Etsy, you can also explore iCraft – a Canadian based online marketplace selling handmade goods.  You can also opt to setup your own online storefront and sell directly from your website.

Already have an Etsy shop?  We’d love to hear your tips and success stories!  Good luck and happy selling!