Side Hustle: Etsy

You’ve heard of Etsy right? Etsy is an e-commerce web site that brings together buyers and sellers, centered around hand made items and vintage items and supplies. Etsy used to be all about hand crafted items, but recently they have relaxed their stance on that and it is now acceptable to have manufactured items listed in an Etsy store.

I first heard of Etsy in 2011 after reading a Wired magazine article about an upcycling revolution. Where people were taking items that were no longer wanted any more and instead of throwing them in the trash, adding a new twist to them in order to turn old unwanted items into cool and desirable items. I thought that was neat, so I went and browsed around Etsy to see what could be found. I think I did a search for “geek”. What I found was a lot of cool stuff … but what’s more, is I found a lot of cool stuff selling for a reasonable amount of money that I was certain I could make! Not only that, but in some product categories, I thought I could make them better!

With that, I started my first online Etsy store. I sold upcycled drink coasters and primarily specialized in selling old video game controllers that were converted into iPhone chargers. In about six months of the store being online, I sold 39 items totaling just under $1000 in sales. I wasn’t tracking my costs, but on average, my markup was about 4x. So something that would cost around $10 in materials, I would sell for around $40. I eventually lost a little bit of interest in this side hustle, but I would again get the bug this year!

I started my second Etsy store this year with a partner making items we liked cnc cut on a plasma table. Initially, we just wanted to get a feel for how it would be like working together and how much of an interest in our products we could generate. With virtually no marketing, just Etsy sales and traffic, we have sold 25 items in the last three months with just under $500 in sales. Of that $500, about half is profit. Not bad for a side hustle that takes very little effort! The majority of the time is spent designing new cnc pieces to sell. So far, we have designed 7 products to sell.

If you haven’t checked out Etsy yet, I highly recommend you do. It can be a great place to find interesting items to purchase … and interesting items to try making yourself! Do you have an Etsy store? Feel free to leave a comment if you do.


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