A variety of products are sold on Etsy, including arts supplies, handmade products, and vintage pieces. Vintage pieces can only be listed if they are a minimum of 20 years old. In order to sell products on Etsy, users must create a username and have the option to create a shop name. The username cannot be changed once created. Since online signup appears for every region internationally, Etsy provides a global shipping feature.
Keep in mind that there are already many handmade greetings cards available. To be really successful, you need to offer something a little different. In many areas, the market is swamped with handmade cards. An example of a niche is a "green" handmade card business where all products used are recycled, sustainably sourced, or some portion of proceeds benefit ecology projects around the world. When you are thinking about a niche, a great place to start is to think about the things that inspire you or make you smile.
As of December 31, 2014, Etsy had 54 million users registered as members, and the online marketplace for handmade and vintage goods connected 1.4 million sellers with 19.8 million buyers. At the end of 2014, Etsy had 685 employees, and had 29 million items listed. In 2014, Etsy had total sales, or Gross Merchandise Sales (GMS), of US$1.93 billion on the platform. Of this, 36.1% came from purchases made on mobile devices and 30.9% was generated outside the US.
Before you start selling your handmade cards take a little time to plan. You need a business plan. Investing time in planning upfront can help you stay on track, meet your goals, and avoid any nasty pitfalls along the way. There are a number of elements you need to consider during the planning process. Where will you sell? Who is your target audience? What makes you unique? These are just a few of the questions you need to answer as you develop a roadmap for your business.
In Etsy's first year, it attracted attention for frequently adding new tools and functionality to the site to help sellers gain exposure and traffic, including Adobe Flash-based visualizations and a taxonomy of categories with tags. Etsy passed $1.7 million in sales in May 2007. On July 29, Etsy had its one-millionth sale and anticipated its two-millionth sale would occur mid-December 2007. In November 2007, buyers spent $4.3 million purchasing 300,000 items for sale on Etsy, an increase of 43 percent from October 2007. In June 2007, it expected to be profitable by the fall, but in December 2007 it was not a profitable company. In January 2008, Etsy received an additional $27 million in funding from Union Square Ventures, Hubert Burda Media, and Jim Breyer.
The presentation of the cards—the packaging—helps make a successful handmade card business. A card that is neatly presented in a cellophane envelope looks more professional and can command a higher price than one that is unpackaged. Presenting cards in some form of packaging stops cards from becoming dirty or dog-eared and it also gives the ideal opportunity for further marketing. A label on the back with your phone number or website address could help you solicit further orders. Remember to consider shipping and packaging when factoring the costs per unit in your pricing formula.