Wednesday, April 5, 2017

How to BUY on Etsy.

So this is a post I've been wanting to do for awhile but I wanted to make sure I did it right and really covered all the tips and tricks I could think of to help all of you new, old and potential Etsy customers!  This post may be updated frequently as I think of new things to add.

Tip #1.  Pin to Pinterest now for a quick reference when you need it!

For those of you who aren't familiar with Etsy, it is a website made up of thousands of individual sellers of handmade goods.  Think of it like a giant mall with thousands of stores.  Each shop on Etsy has their own owner, their own policies, and their own creations.  Etsy is just the platform for all of us...and they take a nice chunk of our profit in exchange for it. ;)

My shop is called That Inspired Chick.  I make glittery drinkware, wood signs, decals, and burlap prints...and if you are looking for super cute teacher gifts, look no further!  ;) My Teacher Name Plaques are are my favorite for teachers!

I've had my shop open for a year and half or so and at this moment, have had 1,974 sales.  I've had enough success to where I was able to quit my full-time job at an elementary school and focus solely on That Inspired Chick.  And it's been a great decision for my family!

I'm definitely not an expert on all things Etsy.  But I've learned so much since I opened and I learn more every day.  After answering many of the same questions over from different customers each day, I knew I wanted to find a way to try to make shopping on Etsy a little easier.  There are just so many options sometimes that it can be overwhelming trying to figure out how to relay everything you want to the seller.  I get it!!  The Etsy app and mobile site are NOT my favorite and make it so much more complicated than it has to be.  I really wish they'd make some changes.

Etsy is SO much more fun on the desktop website as opposed to the mobile site or Etsy app.  So if it's possible, shop from the Etsy desktop site for the least amount of confusion.  ;)

So here is a little guide that should help ease some shopping anxiety when looking for some cute handmade goodies on Etsy.


This was one of my biggest annoyances when I was only a customer but is even more annoying now that I'm a seller.  When I was a customer and had a specific shop I was looking for, I would type it int the search box and it wouldn't show up!  I think they've made a few changes over the years but here's the deal.  If you are searching for a specific shop, type the shop name in with NO SPACES.  So, my shop, That Inspired Chick, can be found immediately if you type "thatinspiredchick" into the search bar.


This tip is probably the most important one I'll give in this list.  The full listing description is so easily overlooked and is the most important information you need when ordering a personalized item.

When you are looking at Etsy from the Etsy App or on the Mobile Site, SCROLL DOWN just a little and under Item Overview, tap on "ITEM DETAILS".  (And all the Etsy sellers said Amen.)  This will open up the full description of the item which includes any necessary information you'll need to order.  Be sure to read this!
Here's a screenshot from one of my items on the Etsy App....

...and what it looks like when you scroll down a little bit.  See where it says "Item Details"?  That's what you want!  Tap that!

And there is all of the information about this listing!  You can change up the design colors and everything!  You'd never know that if you didn't see the description!  #thanksalotetsyapp

In my shop, this is where I list all of the details of the cup or sign or whatever it may be.  This is where your questions will be answered on size, materials, personalization choices, add-on links, links to other colors, and so much more.  Most importantly, it will tell you how to order so that I know what your preferences are such as font, font color, glitter color, monogram, name etc.  You should always leave these things in the Notes to Seller box at checkout.

I hope this saves you some frustration when you are shopping next time!  I know it's annoying to have to email the seller to ask what seems like a basic question that you feel like should have been listed. (How big is this sign?  How many ounces is this cup? Can I add a second side design to this tumbler?) It's there, y'all!  Etsy just tries to make it hard for you to find! Boo. :(


Once you are on a shop's homepage, you will see a little button that has a heart and says FAVORITE SHOP (or just "Favorite" on the app).  Tapping that little heart will put that shop in your Favorites list so you can quickly find it next time, see their shop updates and new products!  You can also favorite individual items as well.

It's just a quick way to remember all the good stuff you love on Etsy that you don't want to forget about!


Some of the most common emails I get are from customers asking when they should expect their item to ship.  I get that this is a totally rational question!  When I order something fun on Etsy, I get so anxious and want to get it NOW!

Just remember, that most Etsy items are made-to-order.  And your order is probably not their only one.  I usually have anywhere from 45-60 open orders at a time.  So if you ordered "just a decal", please know that there may be 20 orders in front of yours and most sellers go in order of when they are received.

To view the turnaround time for each specific listing (because different items can have different turnaround times even from the same shop), click (or tap) on the Shipping & Policies tab.  This will show you the turnaround time (examples "3-5 business days" or "1-2 weeks).  This means the time it takes to complete your order.  It does NOT include transit time which is the time it takes the post office to get your package to you.

On the Etsy app, under each listing it will say "Shipping & Policies".  Tap that to view the current turnaround time.  This one says "Ready to ship in 3-5 days".  (Business days)


In my shop, you are able to choose from a few shipping options.  First Class is the cheapest and does not include tracking or insurance.  It is only for packages up to 16oz.  It takes anywhere from 2-5 business days typically.  Priority Mail includes tracking and insurance and shipping typically takes 1-3 business days.  None of these are guaranteed, though.


-On your email confirmation (should include the turnaround time)
-In the listing under the Shipping Tab (you can view this before you purchase anything)
-In your Etsy Account, under Purchases, click on the order and scroll down a little to view the expected ship date.  You can also see the Notes from the seller as well which will also give you some important information.

Which brings me to my next tip...


If you need a package by a certain date, be sure to message the seller first to make sure it is doable.  Most sellers have a Rush Fee that will bump your order to the top of their list.  Mine guarantees your order will ship within 1-2 business days.  You will still need to choose the best shipping option for you, though so don't forget that at checkout! :)

**Also, please note that the Rush Fee (or mine anyway) does not guarantee a delivery date.  It just guarantees I will have your package out within 1-2 business days.  I wish I could guarantee delivery dates but we are all at the mercy of the Post Office.  Refunds cannot be given on personalized items that don't arrive in time, so make sure you order well in advance if at all possible!


On the Etsy app, be sure to swipe to the left to view all pictures.  Etsy allows up to 5 pictures per listing and in my shop, these pictures contain not only the image of the item being sold but also color charts for paint or vinyl.


I will be honest and say that every single time I get a notification on my phone that says someone has left me feedback, my heart skips a beat!  I have some really sweet reviews and I am so very thankful!!  And I'm incredibly confident in every order that I send out.  But still, I know that there are people out there who are more particular than I am and sometimes you just can't please everyone.

Reviews are public and sellers are unable to delete reviews.  However, for any 3 star review or lower, we are able to publicly respond which can be helpful when the review is unfair or if we'd like a chance to explain a situation or apologize if it was a big mistake.

My tip is that if you have any issues with your order, please contact the seller first.  BEFORE you leave a review.  Most times, the seller will bend over backward if it was a mistake on their part in order to make it right.  So give them a chance to fix it before you leaving a public review.  It'll probably work out much better for you!  I know I adore sweet customers who understand that mistakes happen!

Another thing about reviews--READ THEM BEFORE MAKING A PURCHASE.  If it's a seller you've never worked with, take a minute to browse their reviews before buying anything.  If they have mostly great reviews but one or two off the wall bad ones...take those bad ones with a grain of salt, yall.  There is more than likely a perfectly understandable back story behind them.

If they are getting consistently bad reviews then skip them and maybe find someone else.  You can also read the seller's response to bad reviews which, in my opinion, can make or break a seller.  If I read a bad review of a certain shop that I'm interested in and the seller comes back with a harsh, aggressive or rude message back to that customer then I will take my business elsewhere.  I don't want rude people to have my money and you shouldn't either!


The biggest thing to remember when ordering on Etsy, is that you are ordering something handmade with lots of love! And 9 times out of 10, that business is run completely by 1 person.  One person is doing the designing, the cutting, the painting, the sanding, the packaging, the shipping, the listing, and answering the questions that come in throughout the day.  Patience is key when ordering off of Etsy but I do my absolute very best to get all orders out on time!  (Remember where we said you can find that ship date???  Scroll up to find that section if you missed it!)

I hope you've found this Guide to Buying on Etsy helpful!  If you haven't checked out my shop yet, please do!  You can find it HERE!

Have questions?  Leave them in the comments and I'll get back to you!

Interested in opening your own Etsy shop?  I can answer some questions about that as well!  Start HERE and get 40 free listings!

Happy Shopping, friends!!

Want to know more about my Life as an Etsy Mama?  Find it here! 

Or for /'my favorite posts of the week, check out my Friday Favorites where you'll find everything from my favorite Etsy items to cute shoes, home decor, clothes and jewelry! 

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. So many good tips!! I needed this post a month ago! Hahaha!

    1. When you were talking about your Etsy problem the other day it gave me a kickstart to get this post done!

  2. These are all great tips! I love Etsy, but sometimes you are right, if you don't know where to look for info it can be a bit overwhelming. And why in the world is the Etsy app so not user friendly?!? I would think they would up their game on this!! =)

    1. I would think so too!! It seems like such an easy fix to put the important "Item Details" ABOVE the not so imporant Overview. #duhEtsy! ;)

  3. When searching for a shop, even just deleting spaces won't do it sometimes! If a shop has "co" or something similar on the end, or if you do not get the shop name exact, the search feature won't find it (in my experience at least). It is so frustrating to me! I usually turn to Google search first, typing in the name + etsy (so, "That inspired chick etsy). Usually, the first or second link to pop up is the shop! Love Etsy. Hate searching for specific sellers...which is why the "favorite shop" feature is my FAVORITE! Love your goodies, by the way!

    1. Thank you, Rachel! And yes, you are right! I've started adding a "That Inspired Chick" tag to some of my listings, just so something will show up in a search. It seems so silly that you can't search by shop name easily!

  4. I couldn't love this post more! My biggest pet peeve is that you can't search a shop's name unless you put no spaces between the words...why has Etsy not changed this? And it has to be exact. I've told anyone wanting to start an Etsy shop that you need to explain as much as you can in your title and pictures and create auto-emails that email what they're getting once they order...because so many buyers do NOT read the info. I sell digital files and I've had several buyers not read the description (or the title, or the pictures, or even the follow email) that all explain that it's a digital file that is emailed to them and not printed and shipped. It's frustrating but I've learned a lot in almost 4 years. I'm so grateful for Etsy though and the opportunity to's allowed me to stay home much more comfortably. Great post and your tips are spot on!

    1. Thank you, Olivia!! Yes, I'm so grateful for Etsy too! I just wish they'd hire me on as a consultant or something so I could whip that app into shape. ;)

  5. Great tips!! I love being an Etsy seller. And I got my coffee sign today. OH MY GOSH!! I'm getting ready to hang it then I will post my review. But it's five stars. 😍


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