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Etsy is the place for great, unique Disney stuff but it is really easy to get carried away and really easy to get sucked down a rabbit hole of shirts, decor and accessories.
In today’s blog, we are going to talk about weeding through Etsy product, finding good merch, questions to ask and not caving to pressure from the seller.
I am not sure if Etsy has a secret tier system for their customers but I will tell you that if they do, I am considered tier 1 and I don’t know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Between Disney, our wedding and home decor, I love all things Etsy but I’ve made good purchases and I’ve regretted purchases. The hard part, as with all online shopping is that you don’t know what you are going to get. You don’t know about the quality, the durability, the fabric etc.
Even though you can see pictures, it is easy to make a picture look better than the reality of a product. I have sat with items in my cart, probably to the annoyance of the shop owner, for weeks. What am I doing during this time? Seeing if I can find a similar or the same product for cheaper, for better quality etc and reading the reviews.
First things first. What are you looking for? Have a clear idea of what you are looking for unless of course you are just browsing. Did you see a specific shirt you liked on Instagram? Do you know what shop it is from? Try to find that specific shirt and then go from there. I always like browse because I like to try to find unique items but I still try to have an idea of what I am looking for. Toy Story Mickey ears, Disney Christmas shirts, magic band decals, Buffalo Plaid Christmas decor, etc.
Whenever I find something that I love on Etsy, I always go to the reviews. How have people reviewed this shop in the past? I also like to look to see how many orders do they have? If they don’t have a ton of orders, that should not turn you off, but if they have had a lot of orders and don’t have a lot of reviews or good reviews, that might be a time for you to pause.
Ask questions! Most Etsy sellers are amazing at answering questions. It is a must if you are a small shop because people will always remember good customer service. I ordered shirts for Bryson and I from a cute little shop and was so excited about them. Within minutes of Bryson putting the shirt on in Disney, the vinyl decal started peeling away from the shirt.
In all honesty, I hate complaining to people about a product. But, just as this is a small shop and you want to support them and they put a lot of time and effort into making the products and that’s why you spend $25-$30 on a t shirt, you also have to remember that you worked hard to earn that money to buy the product and you deserve a good product. So, I reached out to her and sent her a picture of the shirt and explained the situation and she was just delightful. She was so apologetic and got a replacement shirt in the mail for us right away. With such great customer service, you better believe I will order from that shop again and recommend the products to others. So, if there is an issue with your shirt or what you ordered, say something.
Inquire about customization. Did you find something you liked but it wasn’t exactly what you wanted? Ask a question! There is a button on Etsy that prompts you to ask a question about a product. If Bryson and I are getting custom shirts, I almost always want glitter on mine. I live for glitter; Bryson however, does not. So, I always ask if mine can have glitter and his can be glitter-less. Sometimes I ask for a different font, or to remove our names because we don’t usually want names on our shirts, that just isn’t our style. Don’t be afraid to ask for changes to something because you are spending quite a bit on a custom shirt or item so you should get what you want.
Don’t be afraid to walk away from a purchase. I have had things in my cart and when I thought more about it or continued to look around, I would find something that I just liked better but by this time I had asked a number of questions and changed things and had a custom listing made for me or some combination of that and I feel bad for causing the seller to answer my questions and all this, so I purchase the shirt or the item and I regret it.
Don’t do this. Yes, was it probably a little annoying that you asked a lot of questions but if you find something better, you find something better. Don’t guilt yourself into making a purchase you don’t really want. Most Etsy sellers do not accept returns, especially on custom items so once you buy it, it is yours. Don’t make the mistake of buying something you don’t really want, especially if you found something else along the way, that you like better.
There is nothing wrong with changing your mind even if you have asked several questions and been what you might consider to be a bother. The seller doesn’t want you to purchase something you don’t really want either because if you aren’t happy with your purchase, you won’t come back.
Have a plan!
For each trip we go on to Disney, there are certain things I want to get before we go. We enjoy wearing Disney shirts and we buy shirts at Disney but I am a big fan of having unique items so I make a list of specific items I want to see about getting months before a trip so I can purchase a few at a time and have enough time to search around.
For example, on our upcoming trip, we will be going for our Christmas trip and this will be a land and sea adventure so we will also be setting sail on our first cruise. We set out in search of a items that we really wanted and items that we kind of wanted for that trip.
Always remember that planning in advance works to your advantage when it comes to Etsy because these are small shops and many don’t have access to large production facilities; it takes a little longer for items to be made and shipped to you. On the flip side of that, you are getting something custom, made to order and you are supporting a small shop which is great!
A typical turnaround time on Etsy is around 3-4 weeks so we don’t recommend waiting until the last minute to purchase your items, especially if you are customizing something.
The things I knew I wanted for our December trip was a new Christmas shirt for us to wear at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a pirate Mickey shirt for Pirate night on the cruise, Mickey door magnets for our room door on the cruise and then we were also on the lookout for fish extender gifts and gift ideas.
I would favorite items that I wanted to come back to and yes, I am one of those people who puts things in my cart and continues to come back and contemplate them before purchasing. If you are an Etsy shop owner, that probably drives you nuts, I apologize. I do it on every online shopping site. At this moment, I probably have items in carts on at least 15 different websites.
After I have thoroughly exhausted my search for unique or eye catching designs for what I am looking for, then I will ask questions. Can the seller customize? Can mine be glitter or can we omit the glitter from Bryson’s?
A major turnoff for me, that has resulted in me, noting to never purchase from that seller is if the seller appears agitated or is cold in their response to me. Does that sound harsh? Here is my reasoning. These are small businesses, as I mentioned, I can find these same shirts for far cheaper elsewhere, if I am going to spend the time and money to purchase from a small business, I expect excellent customer service and I can find another seller who will make me the exact shirt, this shop is selling and who will provide me with that service.
Some of my favorite shops!
I am not a rep for any of these brands and have found them through searching and social media. Each of these shops, I have purchased items from and will purchase from again. I absolutely love each and every one of them and would highly recommend checking them out to bring your magical ideas to life!
A few more tips!
Use the favorites button. In the top right hand corner of each listing is a little heart button. Click the heart button to add the item to your favorites. That way, as you continue your search you can always refer back to the listings that you favorited.
Read the listing thoroughly. Generally, Etsy sellers are amazing at providing a ton of information about the items that they sell. The dimensions, exact color choices, various options that are available, shipping times and so much more. Reach each listing thoroughly before purchasing and asking a bunch of questions so that you are sure to receive what you want and there are no surprises in your order.
Be aware of shipping times. I know that I already briefly mentioned this but be aware of the seller’s typical shipping and turnaround times. Many of these creations are handmade and turnaround times can be longer than many other online sites for that reason. Be sure that you look into the turnaround time for the shop so that you get your item in time. Don’t wait for last minute with Etsy; you want to plan ahead and order with plenty of time to spare.
Write a review. These sellers work really hard to make their products and take a lot of pride, as they should, in the items that they sell. Leave them a review and you have an issue, give the seller a chance to make the situation right before you leave a poor review. Most times, sellers will go out of their way to make right any mistakes in the order. Sometimes shirts get damaged in transit or a mistake goes unseen before it is shipped. Sometimes, packages get lost. These sellers are human, be mindful of that, and they work hard to make these products and get them to you. Be respectful and don’t give poor reviews without giving the seller a chance to make it right.
Screen printed versus Vinyl. One thing I hear a lot of people talk about is that they order a shirt that has a big vinyl decal on the front and they thought that it was going to be screen printed on or embroidered. Be sure to check the listing to see what the decal is made out of. Some shops are able to use screen printing but many, that aren’t outsourced to a screen printing business are made in house with a vinyl iron on. Another important reason to carefully read the listing to ensure you are getting what you expect.
Etsy is a wonderful online marketplace to support small business and to find unique, customized, fun items. I highly recommend supporting these gems, and searching to find exactly what it is that you want!
That’s it for this post! What are your tips for shopping on Etsy? What are your favorite Etsy shops?
Thank you for stopping by and for the love of the mouse, never forget, that it all started with a mouse.