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Hi everyone!  I haven’t been around in a bit because I’ve been building my Etsy shop. But- I’ve reached a point where realize I could really use the input and combined miniatures wisdom of this community-

 First, I have to say I love Etsy and especially miniatures shopping on Etsy- and it’s really kind of mind boggling when you realize  just how many miniatures makers and artisans there are all over the world!

I know at least some of you must have experience as merchants on Etsy, either of miniatures supplies and/or handmade artisan miniature items,etc. and I’d love to hear your thoughts or experiences with any parts of the process! One thing I have come across is the huge amount of mass manufactured dollhouse miniatures available for very cheap. It’s hard to compete with those kinds of prices! 

When setting out to make items for an Etsy shop, how do you decide what to make , and if it will sell?  How can you find a niche without overspecializing?  

These are just some of the things that I have thought as I’ve gone through the early processes of setting up my shop.  Here’s the link if you want to check it out https://etsy.me/2M1CJOj - all positive and constructive feedback is welcomed!!

Emily C.

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I sell on Etsy and it has a lot of good points but also a lot of bad points. I am trying to push as much business as I can into my own online store but it is very early days for that. On Etsy, you get a lot of potential customers, but the search function is crappy and there is a LOT of competition, as you mentioned. It is also getting expensive and can be hard to get the support when you need it. It is easy to use though, and has a lot of functionality that other sites don’t have. They also change things constantly, which I find frustrating. 

I think their biggest weakness is the manufactured mass produced stuff that people are selling. It really takes away from their original concept of handmade.

I should add that people will go on there for handmade stuff and pay for the uniqueness of a OOAK piece.

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I am always amazed at how much talent is on Etsy....if it's mass produced stuff I tend to move on. I will, however purchase vintage hard to find items on Etsy although they aren't hand made.  I have an unopened shop and agree with you on many aspects.  I don't think you'd find it difficult to list some items on ebay as well and you might have the opportunity to sell them faster and potentially cheaper cost to you.  Just my two cents.  Looking forward to seeing your shop grow!

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My experiences have been buying and not selling on Etsy, but I wouldn't worry about the mass-produced, inexpensive competition. When I shop on Etsy, I'm always looking for the unique and handmade, and I'm happy to pay for the quality, love, and labor that go into those pieces that are truly artisan miniatures.

I would highly recommend posting photos of your miniatures on Pinterest. (link them up with Etsy) I've stumbled across some of my favorite miniatures this way, and it's basically like free advertising.

I don't want to sound mean, but if I'm being honest, I would recommend having separate stores for your vintage wares and your miniatures. I'm not sure how Etsy works, so this might be more expensive and not feasible, but when I see someone selling miniatures and non-miniatures, my brain doesn't like to have to decipher if an item is miniature or not. (For example, a little part of me was disappointed to discover that your beautiful cups and saucers were full size and not miniature.) I also think you risk your credibility and seriousness as a miniature artist being subconsciously compromised when you're selling other items in the same space.

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9 hours ago, IndyCindy said:

My experiences have been buying and not selling on Etsy, but I wouldn't worry about the mass-produced, inexpensive competition. When I shop on Etsy, I'm always looking for the unique and handmade, and I'm happy to pay for the quality, love, and labor that go into those pieces that are truly artisan miniatures.

I would highly recommend posting photos of your miniatures on Pinterest. (link them up with Etsy) I've stumbled across some of my favorite miniatures this way, and it's basically like free advertising.

I don't want to sound mean, but if I'm being honest, I would recommend having separate stores for your vintage wares and your miniatures. I'm not sure how Etsy works, so this might be more expensive and not feasible, but when I see someone selling miniatures and non-miniatures, my brain doesn't like to have to decipher if an item is miniature or not. (For example, a little part of me was disappointed to discover that your beautiful cups and saucers were full size and not miniature.) I also think you risk your credibility and seriousness as a miniature artist being subconsciously compromised when you're selling other items in the same space.

Thanks for your honest input! I don’t think you sound mean at all, lol! This is exactly the kind of honest feedback I asked for- and it is much appreciated! 

I totally agree with you about the mini shop sharing space with vintage collectibles- it bugs me too! They are two different shops, really. In the future I do plan to separate them- they are sharing space only temporarily.

 It’s funny you mentioned being disappointed that the vintage items are full size-  I felt the same way when I first looked at my shop opened-  so I decided to try to make miniature versions of all of them! Too ambitious for me all at once, since I am only doing this part time- so I started with my favorite vintage shop piece- the Staffordshire ‘Indian Tree’ tea set.  

Im not very good at painting tiny china , especially to the level of detail I’m aiming for- so I’m experimenting with a couple other methods.  I’m trying to post a picture here for you of the full size plate and the miniature ‘protoype’ I’m working on, but I’m having some difficulty-

ill keep trying! I’d love to hear what you think- thanks again for your reply! 

 

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26 minutes ago, EmilyCraig said:

Too ambitious for me all at once, since I am only doing this part time- so I started with my favorite vintage shop piece- the Staffordshire ‘Indian Tree’ tea set.  

Im not very good at painting tiny china , especially to the level of detail I’m aiming for- so I’m experimenting with a couple other methods.

Have you considered using printable decal paper? It's a water-slide paper. Print the design and then slide it onto a plain white plate. Don't think this would work well on a cup or other rounded surface, although if the design were small enough, it might work.

Decals from Plain Paper

Using Decal Paper

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You can also copy the image and resize it, print it out and paint it with several coats of clear nail polish, letting each coat dry between.  Then you can wet and peel off the paper, leaving the image on the nail polish and glue it to your plate/ saucer/ cup with a clear-drying glue.

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On 8/11/2018, 6:44:37, KathieB said:

Have you considered using printable decal paper? It's a water-slide paper. Print the design and then slide it onto a plain white plate. Don't think this would work well on a cup or other rounded surface, although if the design were small enough, it might work.

Decals from Plain Paper

Using Decal Paper

That was my initial inspiration- I photographed my tea sets and shrank them down to scale- the designs got kind of muddy , I think because the pic resolution was too high? I printed them out on the thinnest printer paper I could find and modpodged them to tiny terra cotta plates I’ve had for awhile. The result was pretty good- the patterns definitely match the full sized versions, only, the terra cotta plates were much too thick to give the impression of delicate china.  I still haven’t had succes using the same method for the tea cups- they are so tiny that even thin paper sticks out too much.  I have never used decal paper-  I’d love to try it out- any suggestions on where to find the best kind of decal paper?

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10 minutes ago, EmilyCraig said:

the terra cotta plates were much too thick to give the impression of delicate china.

What plates are you using for your blanks?  Have you considered something like this?  https://true2scale.com/1-12-plastic-dish-blanks-for-decals/  (Not sure exactly how thin they are, but they look pretty good.)

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On 8/11/2018, 7:08:57, havanaholly said:

You can also copy the image and resize it, print it out and paint it with several coats of clear nail polish, letting each coat dry between.  Then you can wet and peel off the paper, leaving the image on the nail polish and glue it to your plate/ saucer/ cup with a clear-drying glue.

I have to try this!  I ordered a set of chrysnbon plain white table ware, because the thickness of the plates and cups is a much more accurate match to life size delicate china-  I tried my thin printer paper modpodge method on one of the plates and it came out a little better. I tried again to post a picture of this and for some reason the upload failed (again).  I think standard and even thin printer paper aren’t the medium I’m looking for, as I’ve tried it many times and haven’t gotten the result I’m looking for. I shall try decal paper and definitely your clear nail polish suggestion!  Below is the link to the picture I tried to post here, from Pinterest.  https://pin.it/wq237bvopup2hk.  

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 Update on mini versions of full sized items from my shop-  apparently my little prototype plates were much liked by followers of my Facebook minis page, even though I wasn’t entirely satisfied with the results and haven’t  made matching tea cups.  I ended up selling all the prototypes through Facebook!

https://www.facebook.com/EmilysAtticWorkshop/

 I am determined to find the best method to make these minis and list them on my Etsy shop.  I’ve had much better luck making miniature versions of the vintage perfume bottles I have listed.  Check them out and share any input you might have.

https://etsy.me/2M1CJOj

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I'm going to move this thread over to the Community Trading Post, since shop links are being posted.

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4 hours ago, fov said:

I'm going to move this thread over to the Community Trading Post, since shop links are being posted.

I’m sorry- Still kind of new here and getting used to the forums! 

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5 hours ago, Debsrand56 said:

What plates are you using for your blanks?  Have you considered something like this?  https://true2scale.com/1-12-plastic-dish-blanks-for-decals/  (Not sure exactly how thin they are, but they look pretty good.)

The first set of blanks I used were actually terra cotta plates meant to sit underneath miniature terra cotta plant pots. They were really rough and had to be sanded smooth- it was messy and time consuming! It was what I had on hand at the moment of inspiration- then I used a set of chrysnbon plain white plastic dishes - a much closer match to the real thing- thanks so much for the link! I have never heard of this shop and those blanks are much cheaper than using chrysnbon. I’ll have to try those blanks with the decal paper suggestion and the clear nail polish suggestion and see what I come up with!

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