OldStockPhoto-French-Shop-Sophie-GraphicsFairyBefore I do the big reveal of the city we chose I should keep my promises and discuss having your own shop versus utilizing a platform like an Etsy.  There are a ton of Pro’s & Con’s that might be better for me to go over to better illustrate my thoughts.  My first pro for having your own shop is to be able to have a dedicated url, ie. rather than  For traditional branding purposes it looks much better to have a dedicated url.  Now the cons (or the price you pay for that dedicated url).  I knew when I launched Besotted Brand that I wanted to have a dedicated url and design my site the way I envisioned it.  I didn’t have a huge budget for the site but I knew that I might have a better chance of getting a price that I could afford if I worked with someone that would be willing to code and allow me to design.  Be prepared if you go this route to get clipped emails back. I contacted a fairly popular web development company and emailed that I would be willing to design but needed coding, they wrote back and asked my budget I told them and they told me to go somewhere else. Ouch. I eventually found a great coder, super professional and when I told him my budget he told me what he could do it for and we met in the middle. Now for the cons of that dedicated url besides the initial investment, you need to think fast on your feet of how the heck are people going to find your shop in the sea of other shops out there on the interwebs?  Now that you are out thousands of dollars and have no budget for PR you need to figure out a plan for exposure.  I being the genius that I am did not have a formal marketing plan in place (I do not suggest this). I find promoting myself extraordinarily difficult. What I did have prior to launch was a mailing list, it was a list that I had up for a few years. I sent an email to that list letting them know that I had launched. It had a pretty even across the board response about 50% were thrilled and shopped shortly thereafter and the other 50% forgot they signed up for the list and reported me as spam thus I got banned from my email campaign carrier. Ouch. I don’t like getting too many emails from companies so I am not a huge fan of the email campaign. I do send one out about once a quarter and I try to make it worth the recipients while. There was no Pinterest or Instagram when I launched but those are great ways to get your brand noticed, as are places like Facebook. I read that’s how the wildly popular Mae Mae Paperie got her start by networking via Facebook and contacting fellow alumni about her newly launched company.

Now let’s get into Etsy shall we?  With Etsy you could pretty much have your shop up and running in an afternoon, hooray! That’s a huge pro in my book. The other pro is having the potential to have millions of eyes on your brand each day without ever lifting a marketing finger! The flipside/con of that is those millions of potential consumers also have millions of competing brands in your same category to eyeball as well.  You are going to have to work extra, extra hard to make yourself stand out from the crowd.  Your photos will need to be first rate, as will your copy and once you get a sale you are going to have to jump through hoops to make sure that customer is thoroughly satisfied so you don’t receive any negative feedback which can adversely effect your shop status. Another thing I need to address are the fees.  When I answer emails about Etsy people are always irritated by the fees. That is indeed a pro for running your own site–no fees (but remember the bigger upfront cost). The way I look at it for a new business is 0% of 0 is zero. Meaning, if you don’t make a sale at all you have a big fat goose egg of nothing, but if you do and you have to pay a small fee it is worth it in my humble estimation. More eyes on your brand may mean more potential sales, you will have to decide what that is worth to you. Or do you have to decide?  I eventually opened an Etsy shop as well because potential clients were asking me if I had one. I  asked why and was told that they would feel safer buying from a place like Etsy. I ship a lot of international orders so I can see where having a big corporation like Etsy behind a shop would feel a bit more safe. I gladly pay my fees and consider it the price of running my business.  One last con for Etsy and it’s super unfortunate–there is a proliferation of copy cat shops and under cutting on pricing. My advice?  Ignore them. What? Don’t allow the negative to takeover what you created. If you priced your items accordingly + fairly than trying to meet the price of your lower priced copy cat is going to negatively impact your business model. Don’t get into sacrificing your quality because you are now trying to compete with a company that is copying you. Another sound piece of advice? Get some press, getting your brand in print will hopefully ensure that clients will want the original rather than a lower quality, lower priced counterfeit. In summary, they both have their pro’s & con’s, you will need to weigh both and find out what will work best for your current situation.

If you have anything you would like to add to this conversation please do so. And if you have any other questions I didn’t answer above let me know!

P.S. If you are wanting a huge does of ‘get yourself on the right track and follow your dreams’, this girl will be sure to administer it.

photo via the graphics fairy

Author / Miss Tristan B

Miss Tristan B. is the proprietress of Besotted Brand and the writer of this delightful blog. She recently re-located to the country with her handsome husband and two pups and will be re-locating back to the city in the very near future.


  1. Great tips! I would love to have my own shop directly through my site but I feel as though I would have barely any reach or audience. Even though the Etsy market is super saturated and hard to be found in, it’s still a valuable traffic source for small unknown Etsy shops. One day, when I hopefully have a wide enough reach/audience I hope to make the leap into running my own shop site! Fingers crossed…

    1. Chelsea, you can always start with a place like Etsy first, but if you have a nice FB base like Mae Mae then it shouldn’t be a problem getting clients. It is definitely something I DID NOT think of (because I am smart like that). I wish someone would have told me what I had to learn the hard way, lol.

  2. This is such a good piece of advice. I literally got the go ahead yesterday to work for days a week so I can set up an online shop. Thank you so much you’re advice will be invaluable.

    1. Lotts, good luck to you! My suggestion is to make a giant ‘to-do’ list so it doesn’t feel so Herculean, if you can break it up into little tasks it will be more manageable:)

  3. Advice from someone who’s been in the trenches (and is a success!) is always so valuable, thank you Tristan. I’m working away on getting my shop up on Etsy, ever so slowly. I’m finding there are A LOT of details that are critical to making sure things run smoothly from the start (if that’s possible)… one thing is for sure though, I *cannot* wait to use my custom stamp made by YOU :)

    1. Congrats Catherine how exciting! There are some things you don’t figure out until you start actually doing it, but slow is good, really. It took me 3 years to launch, which seemed like FOREVER, but I am glad I didn’t launch prematurely!

  4. Great post Tristan! I’m not in any position of opening a shop anytime, but it’s interesting to read (and I’ve forwarded your posts them to a friend who’s considering of opening one). I think in terms of business marketing for anyone nowadays pinterest should be as important point of focus as facebook, especially at the rate it has been growing.

  5. Wow, such perfect timing with this article! I am in my second day of setting up my Etsy shop…unfortunately for me it takes me more than an afternoon to do something like this because I am very very anal at times. It’s almost up…I just want to list a few more items so it looks like a fuller shop and then I’ll be open for business. I even used your apricot glow PS action for the banner picture. I haven’t designed a logo so for now its just a simple fun type for the name. I’ll let you know when its up (hopefully tomorrow!) so you can check it out. I will be selling vintage clothing (don’t know if that is your thing…). Thanks again for the pros and cons article.

  6. Love the article! I am in the process of opening a shop on Etsy, but it’s nerve wrecking. I am planing on selling my own photography and probably some other hand made goods like painting, and I believe this is a good start to get my my brand noticed by many. Thanks for the great post! :)

  7. Really good post! I totally agree with your “more eyes on your brand”, most of my business is by word of mouth but Etsy is really, really good for all my international clients. I do have to watch and quote shipping on international orders. What do think of Search Ads on Etsy? Looking forward to hearing about your future new home …..
    tail wags ~moose

    1. I am not sure about Search ads, I tried it at a small amount $5 and larger $40 and the results were not any more than what I have usually. I think maybe it helps is you have something very unique? I am interested in your experience with them.

  8. This definitely gives me something to think about in terms of opening a shop – thanks so much for the insight! It’s my dream to have my own online stationery shop…sigh…one can dream. I was considering Etsy and even possibly Big Cartel to start a small venture as I certainly can’t afford my own website right now…this definitely gives me some info – thanks for the great post! :)

  9. Great post. I really appreciate your candidness. When I was redesigning my blog, I was “rejected” by a web designer/coder whom I really wanted to work with. I felt very defeated. In the long run ($$$) it turned out better. In terms of portfolios for artists, I think etsy is a good way to get started too. I see some very high end, highly collected fine artists now using etsy as their sole portfolio website. This did not used to be the case and there was a “crafty” vibe to it. I think the flexibility of it and the price has won out.
    Love the vintage dog photo. Just pinned it. Thank you.

    1. I know Etsy can have a bad rap but I have seen SO many talented artist get noticed because of Etsy and I personally think it’s a wonderful and vibrant community, so I am in agreeance as long as they are pricing right for their target audience then it could be a great venue.

  10. Thanks for the info..but I have a few questions: what is a coder? plus your Etsy shop.. my biggest problem is the shipping. It’s so confusing. I am also getting together a shop..or two on Etsy..and it’s good to know that I am not the only one taking a long time to get it done. All the pricing and you are right about others that have a shop that are selling their stuff for pennies. I am going to in the future have my own web site..but like you say.. Etsy is where I am going to start to build up my client list. If you can give me any info on shipping that would be great. I started a year ago..with reading..and more reading..gosh.. then pricing..and that time Etsy had changes..that means more reading.. right now.. my head hurts..ha.. thank you…

    1. Hi Shirley, coder is short for web coder, they code the site to make it functional, you won’t need a cider for something like Etsy but would need one for a custom site. What problems are you having with shipping? Pricing? You could go onto and get approx. pricing for a shipment. Postage changes all the time so I update regularly.

  11. Thanks Tristan ..explaining what a coder is… My thing with total confusion. I bought a mail scale to weigh my I could get a better feel of the shipping costs. I will go to .. and take a look at the info there. I am not sure about if there is a price difference going to a CA address vs a GA address. Plus .. all U.S. states/and out of the lower 48..does that make a difference? One more thing is the international shipments. I see that some of the shops on Etsy have a list of shipping fees going all over the place. I really want to get a handle on this before I start an Etsy shop. Thank you….. you are way too kind…

    1. It is going to take some time to figure this out, weighing your parcels and putting in addressees into the will give you a good idea (weigh in the box you would be sending). You won’t know exactly the pricing for international until you start shipping. I would choose a couple places say France, Italy and weigh a parcel and go to USPS to get an idea of cost. The one thing I’ve NEVER done is gone back and asked for more postage if I under estimated. Instead I make a note of it and update the fee on my Etsy. Ex. If I have shipping for $7.00 to Switzerland and I find out it actually will cost me $10, I just go in to Etsy and change my price for the future and eat that cost. You will begin to learn more about shipping pricing as you go. If you items are small enough you can offer flat rate shipping in the small priority boxes which runs about $5, just double check with the post to see if it has changed, this can be an option for the states, one even price:)

  12. Thanks Tristan… now that makes since. It sound easy the way you explained it. When you do ship to international, they are responsible for all taxes etc..right? They must have to pay that at the other end..the receiver is the one that pays that. I think that’s the way I understand it. I know that I will get the hang of it..with your help I feel better about it all. Thanks so much for helping me.

    1. Shirley, you only charge/collect sales tax for the state you are located in and if the buyer is in the same state. For international orders there are charges but the client pays those (duties/ custom charges), it is not a tax though and it varies from country-to-country and by the amount you have claimed on the value of the item on the customs forms.

      Also, Etsy has TONS of tutorials and forums to ask questions, you should take advantage of the experience of other sellers, I found it a very valuable resource when I was starting out there:)

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