I’ve decided to spread out the small business interviews a bit and intersperse Biz Buzz with some of my own experiences! Today I’m focusing on different popular online selling platforms and my experience with them. I am in no way an expert on the ins and outs of these platforms, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. -Chloe
Etsy is arguably one of the most popular small business platforms out there. My family’s online business got its start there, and I know of plenty of CHS artists that have been very successful in their sales there, too. However, I will warn that since Etsy is incredibly popular and hosts thousands of sellers, it is very hard to stand out. From home paintings to earrings to custom sweatshirts, a quick Etsy search is bound to result in hundreds of already-existing listings. I would say if you make an Etsy shop, definitely advertise your shop on other platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, and use word of mouth to increase traffic to your shop. It is also important to note that I have noticed a lot of my favorite artists have left Etsy recently due to a change in their shipping policy–Etsy has started prioritizing items advertising free shipping over those who don’t, so sellers may have to incur the cost of shipping and raise their prices to get noticed by shoppers.
Although better known for selling secondhand or thrifted clothing, Depop is also a wonderful place to sell your jewelry or custom clothing! I began my embroidery business on Depop early this year and had plenty of success with it–it’s a pretty straightforward platform, using hashtags gets your product out to plenty of potential buyers regardless of how popular your account is, and all you need is a PayPal account to get started! One thing to note when pricing items is that Depop takes a 10% seller’s fee from every sale you make. Additionally, when it comes to shipping, Depop allows you to either pay them to generate a shipping label for you or you can handle shipping yourself. From what others have said and from my experience, I would recommend handling shipping labels yourself and adding shipping costs to your final price. This way, buyers get free shipping and you avoid any mishaps with Depop shipping labels, which have been known to be inaccurate and sometimes unusable. Overall, make sure to read the seller handbook Depop provides you when you start and you’re good to go!
Redbubble is known as the place for stickers, and in general, it’s essentially a platform where you can sell your art/designs. All you do is upload your artwork, and Redbubble handles the rest–the manufacturing, the shipping, the tax, and your profit margin. This way, your designs can be printed on anything from stickers to bedsheets, t-shirts, posters, buttons, masks, and plenty more. Even without any advertising, in the beginning, the few designs I uploaded started getting a couple of orders a few months in, so go for it! Especially for stickers, your profits won’t amount to very much–maybe 20-30 cents per sticker–but keep in mind the only work you’re putting into it is the design, which is now just sitting on Redbubble while you don’t have to worry about a thing. If you really want to, you can raise your percent of the cut, but that means your prices go up and demand goes down, so I don’t recommend doing it. One big thing to know is that you will only get paid monthly once your profit reaches $20 (the pay cycle begins the 15th of every month). But worry not, as long as you earn $2 by the end of the year, come January you will still get paid whatever profit you make! Redbubble is also very quick to update you through email about every sale and invoice you make, and the seller dashboard is very straightforward for telling you everything you need to know about getting paid, what orders are processing, and more. However, I consider Redbubble as very much a side business, and it’ll probably only get you a couple of dollars a month, depending on the popularity of your designs. It never hurts to advertise your designs on other platforms, too! This definitely helped in the boosting of a particular design I recently made–I’ve gotten orders all the way from France, which is super cool!
Lastly, although I personally haven’t had much experience with them, check out Big Cartel or Shopify if you’re looking to make your very own personal online store as opposed to being on a big platform in a sea of other sellers! A lot of artists I follow sell on these platforms and it may fit your needs too.