Tips For Shopping on Etsy

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Etsy is a scary place; how on earth are we suppose to sort through it all? There are thousands of handmade and vintage items of every variety and that can make finding plus size friendly clothing a scary and overwhelming experience. While I may not know all there is to know about shopping on Etsy I do have a few tips I think can help out.
1.) Search Effectively.  We may not think about this often but, searching “Plussize” and then searching “plus size” can yield completely different results. It’s important to take into account that listings are written by different people and not everyone spells things the same way. Also a good term to search is “custom” because some sellers don’t predominantly sell plus size clothing but, will create custom orders. Lastly, not everyone labels there items as plus size so you can also try searching your size like, “size 20”. 
2.) Check Out “Straight Size” Designers To. You never know who is willing to accommodate bigger sizes so exercise the use of the Etsy conversation feature and ask. Of course everyone will not say yes but, I have asked around and you will be surprised who is willing.
3.) Check Feedback. Look at your perspective sellers feedback to see what others thought about the quality and shipping.
4.) Take Accurate Measurements. Being a independent designer or shop owner is expensive business which means many shops only take returns if a item is defective and not if a item is to big or to small so you want to make sure you are accurate. Taking measurements can be tricky. Its a lot easier if you have a friend help you and if you have invested in proper measuring tape like the one pictured below. 

Also, I have included a short video with Nikki of Decadent Industries.

Nikki Shows Us How To Take Measurements from Tiffany Tucker on Vimeo.

5.) Read the Shop Policies Carefully. Every shop is not run the same so reading each persons shop polices is very important. Shop polices can yield information like turn  around time for items, exchange/return policies, and payment information just to name a few.
6.) Ask as Many Questions as You Need To. This does not mean be a pest but, it’s important to know what you are buying. If you have questions about the way something is made, need more pictures of a item, or would like to inquire about the quality utilize Etsy’s conversation feature but, don’t be to overzealous. Keep in mind that people are busy so, give them so time to get back to you. Etsy will block you from sending conversation messages if you send too many at once so, try to get all of your questions in one accurate message and be patient. 
7.) Never Be Afraid to Barter or Ask For a Discount. For example, if you see a vintage item that you feel is a bit over priced that has been in a shop for a few months convo the seller and see if you can get the price down. This may not always work but, it's worth a try. Secondly, if you are a repeat loyal customer to a designer it never hurts to ask for a discount on items. I have done it twice and both times it worked out. 
8.) Once you get the item if you like it leave feedback. Feedback can make others want to shop with your seller. More money means they can make more items you may enjoy.

Here are some great Etsy designers and vintage shops. 
Babooshka Boutique (offers oversized clothing and may do custom) 
Two String Jane (will accept custom orders and accommodates custom shoes up to a women's size 12)
Decadent Designs (now moved to big cartel)

I hope this helps everyone. Let me know if you have other great tips for shopping on Etsy or know of any great Etsy sellers. 


Literal Gemini said...

Very good article. I looked at etsy once and got scared away. It can definitely be daunting. Appreciate the tips.

vc said...

Good video, you should definitely have a friend help you.I measured my self to order a custom garment and it was a bit off! :( I was a inch off on the bust & the dress didn't close right....oppsie!

Carmella said...

Thanks so much for posting this! I've been trying to dip my toe in the Etsy waters for a while but it's so intimidating.

Jules said...

Thanks Tif! This is very helpful- I look through there but it is so big and overwhelming. I actually want to get something from Nakimuli big I am still being chicken because it really different.

L said...

Thanks Tiff! I looked at Etsy once, and I confused and scared, and haven't been back there since. But with these tips, hopefully I'll be confident enough to purchase items there :)

cheeky rose said...

Hi Tiff, Great article, I am an Etsy seller and I think that your advise is brilliant. I sell to people and friend local but Etsy is slow. Hope your article helps to encourage people that it is not so scary

The Buxom and The Beautiful said...

Thanks Tiff for the great post on ETSY. It can become addicting once you get the hang of it. I'm not one to self promote in comments but I run a plus size vintage shop on ETSY I try to list sizes that you can compare if you haven't got the measuring yourself down yet.