Do you Etsy? If not, why not?! There’s a whole world of new shopping opportunities that await on Etsy!
Packed with independent designers and businesses from all over the world selling unique products not readily available on the high street, Etsy bargains include fashion, jewellery and accessories, interiors, stationery, baby and kids clothing, vintage treasures… and the list goes on.
Okay, so it can be a little bit overwhelming, BUT here are my top tips to find what you’re looking for without drowning in products:
My Etsy how-to
First things first, sign up for an account; you can either use your Facebook login or just create a new account from scratch. Then it’s actually pretty simple – my top tip is search!
Finding what you want is all about the search terms you use, so a great way to narrow down a field is to input the name of a famous designer or brand similar to the style that you have in mind in the main search box at the top of the page.
For example, searching “J Crew statement necklace”, “Anthropologie bracelet”, “Lulu Frost earrings” or “Kate Spade necklace” will throw up some great results in a similar style to those pricier pieces if it’s jewellery that you’re after.
For fashion and other searches, I would narrow it down by the style that you’re after, and think about any special effects that might help reduce the number of results returned.
For example, “neon shift dress” or “chevron maxi dress” is pretty specific. You can further narrow your search by only searching a particular section, e.g. only in the Handmade or Vintage section, or by specifying that this is womenswear. Searching for “maxi dress chevron” in the “Handmade” and “Women” categories will neatly cut out all the kids wear results.
And there are loads more helpful search tips from Etsy here!
So here’s some other Etsy essentials to help you get the most out of your shop:
Set your region in your account settings to Hong Kong, as you don’t want to waste precious time searching only to find out that they don’t ship to the 852! Go to: Your Account > Settings > Preferences, or alternatively, click the country listed at the bottom of any Etsy page.
Favourites are another essential tool for bookmarking what you like. I love favourites as they are a snapshot of your tastes and tell a story of what you like at a certain point in time. For example if you’re planning a wedding, your favourites will most likely be all about the wedding paraphernalia you can find on Etsy! You can also follow your friends (more on this below) and see what they are adding to their favourites, giving you an insight into their taste, passions, life events at that particular time (and a sneaky heads up when it comes to picking perfect gifts!)
When you’ve found a product that you like simply click on the heart at the top right of the description to make it a favourite. You can also add the shop to your favourites by clicking on the shop name then clicking on the heart. When you’ve successfully added a product or shop to your favourites the heart will become red. To access your favourites, just click on the heart in the main toolbar at the very top of your Etsy front page. And for more information on favourites click here.
Followers are a great way to get inspired. If you like a particular shop, you can see how many other people on Etsy are ‘following’ that shop, and in turn see their favourites, which will lead you to other shops. When you click on a product that you like, look for the Followers link in the shop owner description on the right hand side and click away! You’ll also see a link to the shop owner’s Favourites where you can see their favourite products and shops and get even more ideas and inspiration!
Use the Find your Friends tool to see what, and who, your friends are following… then steal their style! I’m sure they won’t mind! To do this, access your profile by clicking on your username, which is at the top right of any Etsy page, then click on the “Find your Friends” link at the top of the page.
Messaging sellers is useful to find out more about a product. Look for the “Contact” button in the product description. Sellers on Etsy are normally incredibly friendly and helpful and sometimes if they don’t usually ship to Hong Kong they will be willing to arrange special shipping options if you ask them nicely!
Payment depends on the seller, but typically most major credit cards are accepted or you can use PayPal, which is great for peace of mind as they offer a certain amount of anti-fraud protection.
Shipping rates are included at the bottom of the product description. Beware of China Post as it’s notoriously slow and unreliable, and often sellers in China will be willing to use a courier service instead. Of course this costs a little more, but normally it’s not too expensive and you’ll receive your product in a matter of days rather than weeks (as is the case with China Post!). SF Express is a good courier service that is available from China to Hong Kong.
For the more advanced Etsy fan, you can also make your own Treasury – a list of 16 items that you’re lusting after. The list can be themed, or just a random collection of what you like – it’s up to you. For more information about Treasuries, see what Etsy has to say here.
I also love the Etsy apps for both iPhone and iPad. They’re easy to use and you can sync your different devices to keep your favourites up-to-date on the go.
Jewellery & Accessories
I am an absolute jewel junkie and I love the cool jewels available on Etsy. Two of my current favourites are Emily Gao Jewelry and ECMTRADE. You may have to message ECM Trade to arrange Hong Kong delivery as – even though they’re based here – sometimes they don’t specifically state that they ship to Hong Kong in their listings. Another Hong Kong favourite is Bayila who handcrafts show-stopping necklaces… prepare to stare!
Top left: Aphrodite necklace from Bayila $2388; Top right: GOLD RUSH foldover clutch purse from Leah Lerner $716.
Bottom left: Gold leather studs rock studs rivet cuff bracelet from Craftistikone $120;
Bottom right: Oval vintage rhinestone cuff bracelet from MStreetStudio $1595.
If fashion is your thing, you’ll love what you can find on Etsy. Often very affordable and with sellers who will do made-to-measure designs. Etsy also has a plus size section if you’re fed up of scouring the shops here for the (very rare) XL size.
Fancy updating your home décor? Or moving home and need some interior design ideas? Etsy has an extensive homewares section, packed with interior design goodies that are great for getting a unique look at a fraction of the price you’ll pay for in the shops.
Top left: Set of 3 natural finish floating honeycomb shelves by HandmadeRiot $755;
Top right: Lampshade made of wood with cutouts by Minjonshop $2995;
Bottom left: Botanical damask decorative pillow by WillaSkyeHome $195; Bottom right: Big Screenprint poster by Marta $270.
There are loads of gorgeous kids creations in Etsy-land and here are just a few:
If it’s design inspiration, or just the finishing touches to your kid’s bedroom that you’re after, Etsy is packed with cool stuff and again, often at a fraction of the price that you would pay here in Hong Kong.
Top left: Teepee by LittleFierceOne $1195; Top right: Baby quilt by SarahSewInLOve $795;
Bottom left: Baby crib mobile by Love Felt XoXo $795; Bottom right: Yellow elephant beanbag by Ilsaccotto $1790.
Etsy is really all about craft, and you can find some wonderful handmade toys on Etsy. The wooden toys in particular are often totally unique and very well made. You’ll also find lots of other stuff to keep your kids amused, like the playhouse idea below where you can make your dining room table into a playhouse… there are different designs which simply fit over the top of the table and the kids crawl in underneath the table. Let the fun and adventures begin!
Top left: Dining table playhouse by Tableforts $710; Top right: Wooden toy red yellow Sausage Dog pull toy by Friendly Toys $267; Bottom left: Personalised wooden toy bowling set $280 by hc woodcraft;
Bottom right: Make your own sock monkey instant download by SquigglyMonkey $30.
Again, there are some great made-to-measure options in the maternity handmade section, so don’t forget to narrow down your search results by adding in “Handmade”. You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by the affordable prices.
Top left: Royal blue dress by Alex Woman Creations $905; Top right: Blue chevron maternity hospital gown by Caleb’s Granni $500; Bottom left: Tunic off shoulder by orchideaboutique $390; Bottom right: Maternity maxi dress by NUICHAN $470.
So that’s Sassy Mama’s comprehensive guide to Etsy… feet up on the couch and happy shopping!
Top image sourced from Bayila store on Etsy.