Many moons ago, I was an Etsy seller, making vintage-style veils, fascinator and wedding accessories for unique brides. In fact, taking listing photos for my shop is why I bought my first DSLR and part of how I got into photography! I loved working with brides, and it felt great to find success with my shop. I would ship items that were hand-sewn and customized to brides all over the world. The best part was forming a connection with my clients to better understand their wants and needs, and knowing that they felt extra special working hand in hand with an artist/designer.
Etsy has evolved quite a bit from when I was a seller, growing by leaps and bounds and currently offering a lot more than just handmade items. But in my opinion, it's still the best online source for buying custom and handmade items that are truly unique. Whatever your needs, from DIY to investing in a family heirloom - handmade Etsy sellers offer quality, variety and personalized service that's hard to beat.
Purchasing Handmade Goods
When you click on an item you like, you'll be brought to the item page and be able to see a more detailed description. Many items have the option to choose a size and finish. I could also see the seller's rating (5 stars really do mean top quality and customer service!), where they ship to, how many sales they've made and where the seller is located. The tabs below the photos make it easy to estimate shipping costs and times - important details that can sometimes make or break your timeline and budget!
You can check out with or without an Etsy account, but the fun part about having an account is clicking on that little "Favorite" heart button. You can build a collection of favorite items and sellers and find lots of inspiration for your wedding.
Etsy Buyer Tips
- In buying, read the reviews and take the ratings to heart. The sellers with 5 star ratings do everything they can to make sure buyers have a great experience, so you can expect to be a happy buyer.
- Communication times should be prompt. If someone is more than a few days in responding, I would beware.
- Shop locations should be taken into consideration. If you are ordering from a country outside of the USA, items may be held up in customs, and sometimes the buyer is responsible for the fees! Read reviews from buyers in your country to see what their experience was like.
Making Contact for Custom Items
If you see an item you like, but want to ask if it can be customized in some way, you'll need to create an account for that as well. Click the "Ask a Question" button on the item listing, and ask away! Active sellers (you can often times tell how active they are by how recently an item was reviewed) will respond quickly. I was often asked about items that weren't in my shop, but the buyer loved the style of the items enough to see if they could custom request a unique item. I loved these challenges! Not every seller does, but it never hurts to ask. If it works out, you could have an awesome one of a kind creation for your wedding!!!
- Production times and shipping times combined can be weeks at times! But, it's just a matter of planning ahead and can be totally worth it.
- Return Policies should be crystal clear! If you have any questions or concerns, just ask. Think of your Etsy seller as someone who's working with you to create the best experience possible.