Sunday, July 7, 2013

Etsy Confessions: A shopping guide

To kick off this series, I'm going to start by coming clean.  I am an Etsy addict.  

I have the app on my phone.  I put items in my cart to keep looking at them each day.  I have a very long list of favorite shops and when an item that I've been watching sells, I move it to my favorite items list and proceed to lament my loss because of my indecisiveness.  It sounds a little like I need help, right?

Don't worry, I'm fine.  But, I did decide that I would share what I've learned about shopping on Etsy with all of you and introduce some of my favorite shops by interviewing the sellers in a series I'm calling Etsy Confessions.  I've got some fun things lined up and I'm super excited to launch this series.

So, without further ado, here are some lessons I've learned about successful Etsy shopping:

  • First, to really find items that work, you really have to know your own measurements - Etsy sellers usually post the measurements of garments when they lay flat and therefore, you have to remember to double the waist measurement.  You should also know the range of what fits you (is there an elastic waistband? what is the smallest waist measurement that feels comfortable for you? is there some flexibility for fit in the style of the garment?)  Don't forget that vintage garments are not sized the same way as clothing is today.  You'll have to adjust up (i.e. a vintage size 6 fits more like a modern size 4).
  • You really have to know what style of garment suit you.  I mostly buy vintage skirts and dresses, so I tend to stick to a similar silhouette.  Pants are a little tricky to buy, but we all know what our problem areas are and so it's a good idea to keep those in mind when looking at the cut of the pants.  The skirts and dresses I normally buy are high waisted and loose around the hips, so I have a relatively easy time finding things to fit.
  • Don't forget fabric.  Most often the sellers will list what the fabric is, unless it's not known (or the tag is missing).  Most vintage garments are some kind of polyester blend.  As a result, most vintage items have a certain scent because they are old.  Decide if you are okay with that before you purchase.  I'm guessing if you buy vintage, you're well aware of this fact already and you don't mind.  I always dry clean items before wearing them, anyhow.  Natural fabrics can also be found on Etsy (I have found lovely silk garments), but expect to pay a little more.  
  • Use the 'favorite' button to like shops and items that you like.  If you do this, Etsy automatically lists other items from your favorite shops in your 'recent activity' when you log in.  If you follow sellers, you can also see what items, shops and treasury lists they like also.  I have found many other shops that I love this way.  It's a little bit like Etsy's version of social networking.  A treasury list is an Etsy community member's way of creating a board of items that follow a theme (kind of like Pinterest or Polyvore).  
  • Probably the most important way to have a positive experience shopping on Etsy is to get to know your Etsy sellers.  Don't be afraid to contact the seller if you have a question about the item you're interested in.  I've found that Etsy shop owners respond in a very timely manner and it's good to have conversations with them to figure out whether or not you really want to purchase a garment or ask more about style, measurements, etc.  Always make sure to provide feedback after you make a purchase.

If you're interested in seeing what shops I like, have a look at my Etsy profile and stay tuned for some fun interviews with some of my favorite shop owners.


Collections said...

I am an etsy addict as well. A great place for vintage is bopandawe the owner of that shop is so sweet.

Great tips!

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