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I almost always find Etsy shops via a link, in a blog, Etsy daily finds, etc. I find it very difficult to search for a shop name or an object and actually get anywhere, to Etsy's disservice. The other day I typed in the name of the shop to search for it, and it didn't come up. No matches. I thought I just had the name wrong. Nope - I found another link and it was the right shop name. I have not once been able to find a shop by name.

I love Etsy to pieces, and have so many faved shops I have no trouble finding things I love and want, but as far as searching out new, Etsy's setup makes it nearly impossible. Such a shame.

Sally Villarreal

I discover a lot of shops through ads. Then I put them in my Etsy favorites. I wish etsy had a better way to organize favorites.


I have a hard time navigating through Etsy to find new stuff. I rely on referrals, ads, and links. Sometimes, I'll look at the favorites of people in my favorites, but just surfing around is tough, especially when I don't know the name of what I want. It's easy to make purchases, though, and I love that I can use paypal.


Honestly, every time I shop Etsy, I do so with very, very specific searches. And once I find a shop that I like, I go back time and time again for the types of things those people sell.

Like, for instance, I know where I'll go if I ever need, say, a new camera strap or zippered pouch. Just saying.

If I don't have a very specific idea of what I want, Etsy is a hard place to navigate and an easy place to get lost...

I do really like the feedback ratings though - that makes me feel secure enough to buy from a new shop in the event that I find one I like.

I'm getting ready to *ssshhhh* start a little shop of my own on Etsy, so I'm hoping it doesn't totally disintegrate. They need a better search mechanism with better search option capabilities. Their categories just confuse me.

Good luck! Don't worry - I'll find you and your camera straps wherever you go!


I came to Etsy from Ebay so I was extremely spoiled by their superior search function. Etsy frustrates me with their poor search function and overuse of tags as a means for finding items. If I'm just browsing I use Pounce (I've found some neat things that way). Otherwise I use links from blogs that I find and the Etsy Finds that I get in a daily email.


I'm a huge Etsy buyer. I subscribe to my favorite etsy stores feeds so I can swoop in and purchase things as soon as they hit. Mostly I find new etsy stores from blogs I read. Sometimes I will browse around and search for things but it's mostly from word of blog.


I do pretty well on Etsy, but I LOVE my bigcartel shop. I'm doing quite well there too! I love the stats, and the fact that when I advertise (which I do sparingly), I know exactly where people are coming from.

Go for it!


I'm not sure this is going to be helpful feedback, but while I don't feel any huge loyalty to Etsy, I do have to say that having all my favorite shops "under one roof" is really convenient. I don't have any problem buying from folks who set up their own shops, but I do find I don't buy from them as often because I simply forget to check in. I agree that Etsy is ridiculously difficult to navigate to explore new vendors, etc. That drives me crazy about them! Good luck with your decision -- I promise if you set up your own shop, I'll remember!!


I pretty much agree with everyone. Etsy's search tool could use some serious help. And any time I list my glass skull knitting needles (http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5081010), they are almost immediately buried, never to be seen again. I think you would do just as well with your own site.


I shop on Etsy and yes, it has gotten huge and can be difficult to sift through. Overall, it's still effective though. As a shopper, it is more user friendly than Bigcartel because of its browsing options.


I find etsy a bit overwhelming these days - even with categories and searches, I feel like I have to weed through so much crap to find interesting, unique, special stuff. I tend to shop primarily through links from blogs, ravelry, etc. If I find a shop I like, I put it in my faves because otherwise I'll never be able to find it again - I never have success searching via username or even shop name, it seems like you have to get it exactly right to find someone. I do use my favorites frequently, and I like that function. I have to confess to never having paid attention to feedback ratings or security features like arbitration.


great questions, Caro. I came late to the etsy game, but have only bought one thing (some of Megan's soap) because if I've ever tried searching for something it only turned up crap. I support you opening your own store! (Says the friend who has yet to buy anything from you. Hum.)


Ads, bloggers, the favorites of the people I shop at, or catching something interesting on Flickr. I've been frustrated enough by Etsy searching not to do it that often. That said, I'm more likely to search Etsy than google something if I know it's something I want to buy from an indie crafter.


I've been on Etsy almost as long as you, and I've learned a lot since I've been there. I previously sold on Ebay, so as someone else replied, I've been spoiled by Ebay's search function. However, I think that the same knowledge allows me to refine my searches as a seller. I shop using a multitude of tools--direct link, search, favoriting a front page, mention in a forum.

As a seller, well, I could definitely be doing better. But I'm not sure that's Etsy's fault. And with regard to jumping ship--with careful inventory control, is that necessary? Previous to this I was a used book dealer online and sold in probably 5 different venues, each had its own benefit.


I have found myself outgrowing etsy for a while now... I hate that there are no stats, and it is is difficult to reconcile paypal and etsy when you have many orders per day. That said I don't have the extra time or funds to set up a shop (possibly powered by Zencart or the like) on my own domain.

As far as ordering business cards... Right when i started selling I set up a redirect page at http://www.girlontherocks.com/shop that redirects to etsy. I have tried to use that link in my advertising and aon my product tags, tec. This allows me to get stats on the people that pass through that page, and will also make all of the old advertising links (and links from places like knitty.com) valid if I decide to host my own shop at that address... You should definitely try that for your business cards!

Clumsy Knitter

For exactly the reasons you mentioned (hard to find new things, too many listings to sort through, etc.), I rely solely on recommendations from other people/blogs/etc. for Etsy. I am more likely to buy directly from someone's blog that I already read (like yours) than I am from a shop on Etsy.

Good luck!


Oddly, I find Etsy's search system, while a bit confusing, not too bad--so long as I always use the categories. And I don't use it for everything, just things I know people won't screw up (yarn, journals, cards). I love the categories. Finding something without them? Impossible. But I also bookmark shops I like and definitely follow blog recommendations. I admit, the search function is really difficult when you're looking for something that doesn't fit into their categories, and it took me a long time to figure out that hand-dyed yarn was under "supplies", not "knitting", but since learning the tricks (and tips not to look for really random stuff...) I haven't had too much trouble, which is why I'm surprised about all these people saying they have.

But when you outgrow something, you outgrow it. I'm glad at least there ARE people outgrowing Etsy; means they're definitely success stories. :)


Hi Caro, If you're looking for a shopping cart/shop system, have a look at Flogd - www.flogd.com - it's a cool shop which incorporates a cart, and best of all, is free for any number of products.
Also, it seems that you can place the code for your shop anywhere on the web, blog, forums etc, so should be pretty easy to set up and place in your blog...

I am setting up my own crafty store at the moment, and am intending to use Flogd as my shop/shopping cart system. It's a good way of being able to sell directly from your website regardless, without having to redirect people at all.
Hope that helps!! :)


I sell mostly plant seeds in my shop, though I want to branch out into art and I have some crochet headbands coming on Sunday. I've found what I buy through a quick search or by an impulse when I see it in a treasury. I haven't bought much at all on Etsy and my problem is also the out of focus photos and the lack of descriptions.

I want to get a pouch from you, but I need something to hold a lot of pens!


I just checked out the bigcartel site & signed up for it - as much as I enjoy shopping on Etsy? I can't stand listing things on it. Makes me crazy. I used to sell clothes & whatnot on eBay, and they have such ease-of-use forms, to reduce typing and repetitive elements. Putting in all the tags per item was what put me over the edge - I know, I can copy/paste some of the other elements, but it just seemed redundant and way too time consuming when I know there are other methods to make it faster.
I'm not going to be selling so much I require monthly charges, though, but maybe give the free version a shot for a month for your top 5 items, and compare the processes & time spent? I have to say, having just graduated to my own web domain and a steep learning curve with building pages and installing wordpress, I am excited to have found a website/tool that makes this part of selling so much easier. (and, I also like the part where you can incorporate their shopware into your own domain if you do want to upgrade.)


I haven't bought a lot on etsy, yet. Most of what I've found has been by accident, or found on someone's blog. I also often do a search by location, usually just Canada, and see what comes up.

Suzanne V. (Yarnhog)

I don't usually shop on etsy, because I find it hopelessly overwhelming. I can never find what I am looking for. When I do order through etsy, it is almost always a direct link from someone's blog.


Very timely -- I just hung up the phone talking with someone about Etsy. She says I should have an Etsy shop and we were discussing the pros and cons. As a buyer, I am frustrated to search and end up with TONS of pages to look at. She says one way she finds Etsy shops is that she always clicks on the Ravelry ads and finds Etsy sites that way. I don't have anything to compare to as I've never had a shop but will be very interested in seeing what you do as I hope to open something soon.


like others, i tend to find etsy shops via others -- blogs and ads, not searching for sites. i don't rely on feedback or faves in etsy. if i like your stuff and want more, i'll be able to find you, even if you move to a new home. meg over at twisted fiber art had her own etsy shop, which is where i first found her. now she's got her own site/shop and has linked from etsy to the new place, with seeming success.

not sure how much this helps, just another $.02 from the masses.

Patricia Fontes

Cannot find anything at Etsy, although I love, and I just find the stores in the blogs... didnt find anything I wanted like you.... can you have both for a while? good luck

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