Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Etsy 101, Owls Style: Getting Started

In anticipation of our August Trunk Show, we're going to be posting a series of articles all about the Etsy process. These articles will cover everything from the basics of Etsy (how to register, search, and purchase), how to use Paypal, to an indepth look at the Etsy Virtual Labs (where we're having the show).

This first look will be all about getting started on Etsy, how to register, and how to find what you're looking for.

Step 1: Signing Up: Welcome to Etsy.com!

The image below is the main page at http://www.etsy.com/

The red circle in the top right corner is where you should begin. Of course, if you already have an Etsy account, you would click 'sign in', but since we're assuming you don't, you click Register

The registration process is really simple, you just provide a username, password, and an email address. One thing to consider is that your username can NEVER be changed, so think about it before you choose it. Also, if you decide to become a seller, it would be your username too (unless you opened up a seperate shop, which requires a seperate email address.)

After this process, check your email for an email from Etsy confirming your sign up, and then you're good to go!! If you already have a Paypal account, you can start buying right away. If you don't have a Paypal account, you'll have to set one up, but it's pretty easy. Look for a coming tutorial on how to set that up in the next few days!

Step 2: Finding What You're Looking For

So, now you're signed up for Etsy, now what??

If you know what you're looking for on Etsy, it's as easy as typing it in the search engine and seeing what's out there. Looking back at the picture above, the search box is hard to miss on the main Etsy page. I've circled it with a big blue circle just to help out. You just pick a catagory from the drop down menu on the left (handmade, vintage, supplies, all items, or sellers) and then just type your search terms in the box.

Search tips:

To save you time, if you have a really specific item in mind, be specific in your search. The difference between 'knitted scarf' and 'green knitted scarf' is about 14,000 listings. So being specific is important.

Also, a great Etsy search feature is the word 'NOT'. Etsy sellers are allowed to tag their items with a series of search tags. Sometimes these tags can go against what you're looking for. For example, lets go back to that scarf search. If you search 'green knitted scarf', you get everything tagged with those words. Sellers who lists cowls or neckwarmers or shawls might also list them as scarves. But you're looking for a scarf, not a cowl. So you tell the search engine this, 'green knitted scarf not cowl' and it takes out all items tagged with cowl. You can keep adding to narrow it down as far as you can get it.

What's coming up in the Owls 101 series? More search tips and a look at Advanced Search, Alchemy, and also signing up for Paypal.

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