When it Rains Paper Co. | Colorful and fun paper goods, office supplies, and personalized gifts.

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Tips for Shopping on Etsy

BusinessKat Rainwater

Long before Cason and I were selling paper products on Etsy, I was a huge fan of the site! It’s basically an online marketplace that allows you to buy handmade items from the comfort of your home. Anything you can possibly think of can be found here, from a dinosaur succulent planter to a piece of custom artwork. That said, Etsy can be a very overwhelming site, especially if you are a first time buyer. No worries! I’m here to help. Here are four tips to ensure you have a successful shopping experience with Etsy!

1. shop location | I know this may seem really odd because location is not something you have to consider when shopping through major retailers like J.Crew. Etsy shops are literally all over the world. I will get into my online shopping zone (you know what I’m talking about) and order a cute bracelet for a friend’s birthday and then BAM, I get an email confirmation and notice the shop owner lives in Israel. Not only will that affect shipping costs but time as well. There is no way that bracelet is arriving in time for her birthday party next Friday. Etsy has so many great shops that I’m sure I could have found a similar one from a shop located in the United States. If you are in a hurry or need it in a specific time frame definitely make sure to check the location of a shop!

2. contact shop owner | In my opinion, one of the best features on Etsy is being able to message the sellers. It’s so personal (something you don’t get from large retailers) and you are able to work together to create something perfect. You can ask them anything from changing a font color on an invitation to creating a totally new custom design just for you. If you are confused by a picture or not sure of the size of an item, just ask! Shop owners don’t know that your wedding is in two weeks and you need your guest book stat! As a shop owner, we know exactly how long it’s going to take to make, produce, and ship out an item. Send them a message with your event date (or any other crazy question you have) to ensure you get your item on time and are happy with your purchase!

3. shop policies | Before ordering, make sure to read the shop policies. I know this may seem tedious but it’s very important. In this day and age with Amazon Prime and overnight shipping, people assume they can place an order for an item and it’ll be in the mail the next day. One of the benefits of shopping Etsy is that you are working with a small business. (There’s not a stock room full of ready-made items.) It could be someone hand sewing pillows out of their home. If they state that it takes 3 weeks to make the pillow, odds are, it’s going to take the full 3 weeks but the results will be totally worth it. You won’t have the same Ikea pillow everyone owns. (Guilty.) You’ll have something unique and customized just for you. It’s also really good to glance over return polices while looking through the shop policies just so you have an idea about returning items if you’re not happy.

4. read reviews | Take it from an Etsy shop owner- reviews are everything! Our customers are able to post their REAL thoughts on the items they received. We don’t get to pay them to say sweet things so I’d trust their opinion. Before you order anything on Etsy, ALWAYS read reviews! I recently needed cookies for Bupper Club and our usual cookie lady was booked up. I searched through Etsy and found some cookies I liked. Next step, I read through the reviews to see what people thought. She had over 1,000 reviews talking about how great her cookies are.  Sure enough, when they came in they looked great and tasted even better! Don’t let new shops scare you from ordering from them. If you find a shop that only has 9 reviews that could mean they just opened and you should definitely give them a chance. We’ve all got to start some where! [Side note: if you read one or two negative reviews on an item, I wouldn’t let that deter you. There are always going to be customers you can’t please. If 200 people say they love the sweater and 1 person says the sweater sucked, odds are it’s a pretty good sweater. The only time I steer clear of a shop is if I repeatedly see negative reviews on the same item.]

Does anyone else love shopping on Etsy? If you’ve never checked out the site- today is the day! (Warning: it can be very addicting.) All my Etsy shoppers, comment with any tips I might have left off. Happy Tuesday!