THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION!
are you wanting to start a small business and don't know which platform to use? let me give you my advice on this topic!
first i want to explain my experience with getting started:
i made an etsy page a year or so before i started allie rose co. i had just gotten my ipad and started messing around with hand lettering on procreate and thought my work was STELLAR. it was not. it was actually hideous. but i wanted to try and make some money as a broke college student, so i uploaded my artwork on etsy to sell as digital downloads. it was nice because once it was uploaded, i didnt have to do any work, and the customers would get the downloads automatically sent to them. i think i had 5-10 sales for the entire year, most of which were friends & family who felt bad for me (tysm). however, i was putting minimal effort into the page, and only uploaded the products at the beginning of making my page, so it made sense.
fast forward to March 2020. i uploaded a tik tok showing me making stickers and it blew up. there was so much interest in purchasing the stickers, that i quickly (and without much thought) put them up on my etsy page because it was easy and already up and running. and the sales came through!! i kept my etsy page up with stickers until i officially launched allie rose co. 6 months later, and i switched over to Wix and made my own site. i kept my etsy page running with digital downloads only, so i didn't have to do any demanding work, and i could still be found on etsy. allllll of that is to say that yes, i did initially (but unintentionally) start with an etsy page, and then switched my main selling platform to my own site, with my etsy page still running in the background.
here are my thoughts about etsy!!!!!
etsy is a great platform to start off with. if you are unsure of where to start when it comes to a website and the thought overwhelms you, it's worth it to give etsy a shot. it's extremely user friendly and anyone can post whatever they want. the main reason i love etsy is because it brings the marketing to you. of course, advertising for yourself on etsy will be helpful, but technically speaking, if you didn't want to, you don't have to. it can bring customers to you without much work on your end. if you use the right key words and have good product photos, etsy will do a lot of the hard work for you resulting in sales. when i first started, i had little to no following, so having to rely solely on me to market my products would have been tough. which is why etsy was amazing.
BUT.... the fees are INSANE! etsy recently raised their fees and it turned a lot of people away from using their platform. it became so hard to get good profit margins when so much of your hard earned money was going back to etsy. that's a huge reason people no longer use it. the main reason i stopped using it as my main selling platform, though, is because i wanted better brand identity.
it's hard to establish your brand and what it looks like and stands for when it's all filtered through another site trying to make more money than you. all you get is a cover photo, a profile picture, and a small bio. i wanted brand colors, a site that only belonged to me and not millions of others, custom features, and to step it up with my business!! this is absolutely not the case for all businesses (there are so many full time etsy pages that are 100000x more successful than i will ever be), but for me, having my own website made ARC feel more real, it made people take me more seriously, and it was a turning point into successfully making this my full time job. as a then 22 year old making doodles into stickers and t-shirts with no 9-5, to say people didn't take me seriously would be a drastic understatement. my own website helped with that! it solidified my brand and i was able to do whatever i wanted with the site.
but here's the catch!!!
i was able to successfully transition to my own site and get sales because i had a loyal following. at the time, i felt that my followers knew of my brand and would follow me over to my own site. this is key!!!! truthfully, if i didn't have a community on social media, i don't know when i would've made the switch. you need to make sure you have customers that will remember your brand name and website and won't rely on etsy to find you again. you no longer have that free marketing that etsy provides!! it's all on you to drive sales. a big social media following does NOT mean you will get lots of sales! businesses with 300 followers can make triple the amount a business with 100K followers makes if their following is more loyal. this isn't about numbers! it's about community. you need to create a community before transitioning to your own site.
- etsy is a great platform to get your business out there
- etsy has high fees
- making your own website can help a TON with brand identity
- i recommend switching over to your own site once you've established a loyal community of customers that will follow you there
please let me know if you have anymore questions regarding this topic! i love to talk about it and explain my experience as a rookie biz owner.
thanks for reading!!!!
all my love,