Selling Online: Expanding Your Audience with Etsy

February 19, 2013
How do you grab the 20-30 year old demographic who aren’t walking into your shop to buy custom framing?

If someone in rural Nebraska wants a handful of random-sized frames for their wedding decor, chances are they will google something like “random wedding frames” and find this:
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Or this:
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The chances of them finding your website, even if you do have one with e-commerce, are pretty slim. Etsy is an internet shopping experience which specializes in handmade goods, craft supplies and vintage finds. Similar to eBay, Etsy allows you to open your own virtual shop to sell handmade items, art, commercial craft/DIY supplies, and vintage (anything over 20 years old). According to Forbes Magazine, Etsy is an online craft fair, which has become a filter, “bringing together like-minded crafters and their customers.” It boasted over $500 million in sales in 2011 (the last year for which stats are available) and it’s growing exponentially. Etsy is the go-to place for artisans, crafters, DIYers and Hollywood designers. Touted in all the major design blogs, like Apartment TherapyDesign Sponge100 Layer Cake, and Style Me Pretty just to name a few, the Etsy platform is an extremely accessible entree into retailing online. Etsy is all about art; so it is the perfect fit for frames and framing supplies.

Screen Shot 2013-02-14 at 9.35.16 AMAs a frameshop owner Etsy is the place to be to expand sales and attract new clientele. Etsy provides you with an easy-to-use interface and a worldwide marketplace of over 42 million unique visitors monthly. Setting up e-commerce through your own website may prove futile if no customers visit your site. Etsy already has huge visibility and fantastic search engine optimization (SEO) so why reinvent the wheel. Etsy gives you the ability to put a badge or Etsy mini on your own website. This will give you the e-commerce you so desperately need.

This is exactly what FrameReady client Mindy Studer, from West Palm Beach, FL has done at FanAddictFrames.  She is making the most of her CMC and selling custom mats on Etsy.

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Perhaps you have invested in a large format printer. Why not make some money with it? Gallery wraps are all the rage.Screen Shot 2013-02-26 at 5.20.07 PM

You might as well face up to the fact that you are now competing with successful woodworkers like Signed and Numbered with over 8000 sales since 2009.
Competition also comes from carpenters like 2DogsWoodWorking. These shops are already grabbing the 30-something customer from under your nose without you even knowing it. Why not go head-to-head with these new competitors?

The Art Tree in Calgary sells supplies like bumponsATG tapesecurity hangersRoma readymades and even mat board drop outs. Someone is even selling a homemade ATG tape gun stand! Realistically, anything you might use in creating a piece of art is fair game. Even using old discontinued corner samples for bird house roof edging.

What do you do when your customers want something reframed? Do you give away or throw out their old frames?  Why not up-cycle them by spraypainting them like this or this.
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Delta Girl Frames gets really creative with her handmade frames with black and white groupings.

See what The Distressing Girl has sold in only 2 months. Smith Picture Frame Co even sells moulding footage.

Check out this Pinterest board, another online tool. Pinterest is a virtual pinboard to group and share your favourite websites and bookmarks.Screen Shot 2013-02-27 at 3.52.06 PMJust like any brick and mortar store, your virtual storefront on Etsy will take a little effort, good photography skills, and daily attention to make it really profitable (and a familiarity with the post office). But for the low price of 20 cents for one four-month listing, and the sales transaction fee of only 3.5% of the item price, you have pennies to loose and the whole world to gain. Maybe now is the time to up your risk factor.

Evelyn Ward de Roo, technical editor at SoftTouch Solutions Inc and WaveSong on Etsy, has been selling her mixed media art, knitted chair pads, and nostalgic vintage finds for three years ever since her 30-something daughter got her hooked. She is available to coach you on setting up your own Etsy presence. Call 888-281-3303 to engage her services.

4 comments on “Selling Online: Expanding Your Audience with Etsy
  1. Tom Reigle says:

    This is exactly what the average framer needs to know in this rather down economy! Where do the young people go to shop for prints, photos, framing, ideas for decorating, and general trends in young tastes and wants. Online presence in any of these genres will bring framers closer to their goals of adding new customers to their database and including the younger generation in their sales!

    I thank Bert and Evelyn and the crew for taking time to post this, if for no other reason, to jog the thinking process and open up new avenues to approach the internet with the services and products that framers offer in their businesses!

    Tom Reigle
    Frameshop owner, 1988 – 2004

    Framing employee, 2005 – present

    Lifelong student of new ideas and techniques

  2. Evelyn says:

    Thank you Tom. This is not a panacea but attempts at new marketing techniques are bound to stir things up, if not by gaining new customers, at least with your staff!

  3. Bert de Roo says:

    Here’s more ideas…especially framed chalkboards
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/VintageEvents