I initially started Selling Vintage on Etsy back in May after being laid off from my sales position at a local Los Angeles magazine, (yes, I'm one of those statistics which fits in well with checking cliche after cliche off my list of things to be, do, feel), and so to supplement my income I started Selling Vintage. First I took a booth at a local antique mall and then eventually I took to the internet. When this comes up in conversation with other lovers of vintage the response I often hear is one of 'I thought of doing that, is it easy?' or 'how do you get started?' - but it took the question coming to me as a blog comment from Linda over at A La Carte to get me to write a response to this question often posed.
Usually my response is 'it's easy, just go to Etsy and follow the directions'. And well, that is basically what you need to do to get started. You can register for an Etsy account here. But before you do learn from my mistake and think about what you want to call your shop, your username will ultimately become your shop name. I ultimately wound up starting a brand new account after having already gone through the motions of posting items to the incorrectly named account.
Once you get your account set up you can login to Etsy and start selling - seriously, it's that easy! It may take some trial and error but eventually you'll get used to the layout and can easily share your pretty vintage goods with the world.
When you login to your account look to the top of the screen where you'll see a shopping cart and to the right, about center page, you'll see YOUR ETSY, click on this to get to your account and start selling. Then you'll see a navbar on the left hand side, you'll just have to play around with these different features as you go along but they're all pretty self-explanatory. The one you need to be concerned with initially is ADD NEW ITEM. Go through the motions and list your item for only $.20!
Be sure to describe the item as best you can and use words you think people may search for when they are looking for something similar to what you are selling.
Take full advantage of the key word section, you'll click down to Vintage first and then narrow it further and further. Use words that describe the style, the color, the designer or similar designers, what the item is, where it's made - anything that you were not able to mention in your text.
I cannot stress this enough - TAKE GOOD PICTURES. I bought two large pieces of foam board from my local art store to use as a backdrop and I always go outside to take my photos since my house is lit for mood not photography.
You can add up to five pictures, if you can use them all. Get creative and have fun! And always be sure to photograph the label or logo if there is one.
Shipping is trial and error and sometimes you lose a little money on shipping. I always try to be fair but list my shipping a little high so that I am covered and able to ship Priority Mail with Tracking. Tracking is important and so is packaging, be careful, buy bubble wrap and pack your items well. I recently, so far only once, shipped something and had it chip in the process. That made me feel real bad and the biggest bummer was I was so sure I had done a stellar job packing that one - not the case.
Another note on shipping, make a trip to the post office and take advantage of the FREE Priority Mail boxes. I don't usually send items flat rate which is what these boxes are intended for, instead I wrap them in brown bag paper from Office Depot. The rate is usually cheaper than flat rate, I only use flat rate when something is really heavy. If you don't feel like visiting the post office initially you can order your FREE Priority Mail boxes on their website.
Marketing is a whole other beast but start following the official Etsy Blog, Storque for ideas and tips. And I'll write something on that... next time someone asks!
Thanks for the question Linda, I hope this is enough to get you started and wish you the best of luck. Let me know if there's something I didn't cover that you may be wondering - that goes for everyone.
Happy Selling Vintage!