10 Reasons Why You Should Sell Vintage on Etsy

Hi there! Recently I surveyed my subscribers and members of my Facebook group (Your Vintage Headquarters) asking them what questions they had regarding running a successful vintage and antiques business. I received literally hundreds of responses and have set out to answer as many as I can. 

One line of questions related to selling vintage on Etsy so in today’s post, 10 Reasons Why You Should Sell Vintage on Etsy, I’ll be answering a number of the questions that relate to this mammoth vintage selling platform.

10 Reasons Why You Should Sell Vintage on Etsy

1. Sell Vintage on Etsy Because It’s EASY to Create an Account

For many the idea of signing up for something new online feels overwhelming. After all, we’ve all encountered forms that are not only long, but actually painful to fill out.

And sometimes you get to the end of the form, push “Enter,” and then get an error message(!). You failed to fill in a “required” field and dog nab it, you cannot figure out what that is. So you give up. All that time wasted.

The Etsy sign up process is easy peasy and practically fail-proof. I promise. Here’s how to create an Etsy account if you don’t already have one (which you need to buy OR sell):

  • Type Etsy into your Google search bar (or click HERE)
  • Click Register in the upper right corner.
  • Fill out the form: Name, email address, password.
  • Look for a confirmation email from Etsy in your inbox. [Check your spam or junk folder if you can’t find it. If you have Gmail, check your social and promotions tabs, too.]
  • Click Confirm and you’re done!
  • If you have issues, go to Creating an Account on Etsy for more help.

2. Sell Antiques on Etsy Because It’s Free to Open a Shop

Having an Etsy account means that you can now buy on Etsy, but it also means you can set up your very own Etsy Shop, and it costs absolutely NOTHING to do that(!).

This means that essentially you have very little to lose. You’re not signing a 6-12 month lease on a building or booth space that you must pay rent on, no matter how much (or little) you sell each month.

Here’s how to set up an Etsy shop:

  • Click here to get started and to get 40 FREE listings (and I’ll get 40 free listings too!).
  • Click Open a Shop Today.
  • Sign in with your email address.
  • Enter your password, click Sign in.
  • Select Shop Preferences: language, country, and currency. Click Save and Continue.
  • Select a name for your shop.* You have 20 characters. Click Save and Continue.
  • Click Open Your Shop. You’re now the proud owner of an Etsy shop!

* NOTE: You can change your name easily ONE TIME. After that you’ll have to ask Etsy for permission. Here are some things to think about when naming your shop.

3. Sell Vintage on Etsy Because It’s Easy to SET UP a Shop 

Adirondack Girl @ Heart Etsy Shop parts

Once you’ve opened your shop, it’s time to make it look attractive and inviting to potential buyers by posting a profile photo, a banner (optional), a shop icon/logo and a shop announcement/description.

It’s easy to get distracted by these steps, so I encourage you to move through them as quickly as possible and start listing your products and making sales(!).

Each of these parts of your Etsy shop can be added, edited, and/or replaced at any time.

List Your 1st Item

After you open your shop (#2 above), you’ll be prompted to create your first listing. Be prepared to spend about 20-30 minutes familiarizing yourself with the process.

Etsy has prompts to enter A LOT of information about your item. Those with an * are required to be filled out.

You will need photos of your item to create a listing. For the “thumbnail” (the photo buyers see first), you’ll need an oblong or square photo (2000 pixels on the long side) with your item dead center with space around it.

To see your listing “live,” scroll down the left side bar in your Shop Manager and look for SALES CHANNELS. Click on the orange square with the white “E”.

Here’s a video that can help you with your first listing.


After creating your first listing, you’ll be prompted to identify how you want to get paid and how you plan to pay your Etsy fees. I chose to get paid AND pay my fees via PayPal.

4. Sell on Etsy Because You Don’t Need a Huge Inventory

Shelves with inventory on themYou can sell one item or 1000 items on Etsy–your choice. What does that mean in reality though? In fact, you want your shop stocked with at least 24 items at all times so it appears full and like you’re a serious seller.

But that doesn’t mean you have to list them all the first day. When I initially created my shop, I listed five items per day for five days, until I hit 24. After that, my minimum goal was to list one item per day. 

Stocking your shop with 100 items at all times seems to be the sweet spot for many sellers.

By comparison, if you were to open an antique booth, you would want to start with a few hundred items (depending upon the size of your booth) right from the get-go because you’d be paying rent immediately.

In the photo above you see a shelving unit in my workroom where I keep the inventory for my Etsy shop, eBay, and my Vintage Blog Shop (VBS). Depending up on the size of your items (I sell mostly smalls online), you don’t need a huge amount of storage space for inventory.

NOTE: The set of plastic shelves on the lower left holds all of the jewelry that I have listed for sale online–one drawer for each platform (Etsy, eBay, and VBS).

5. Sell on Etsy Because the Overhead is Relatively Low

As someone who sells on multiple platforms, I can report that Etsy’s fees are relatively low compared to other platforms, especially antique booths in antique malls or eBay.

Etsy Listing fee: Sellers on Etsy are charged .20/item listed on the site–every four months. So if you list an item and it doesn’t sell until month five, you’ll be charged .40 total.

Etsy Selling fee: In addition to that, they’ll charge you 6.5% of the total cost of the item + the shipping cost (as opposed to eBay which charges 10%).

Etsy Payment Processing fee: In addition, Etsy charges .25 + 3% (U.S.) of the total cost of the item + shipping for processing payments. There are NO additional credit card or PayPal fees. This fee varies by country.

Offsite Ad Fees: Etsy has a relatively new “Offsite Ads” program whereby they specifically advertise some of your merchandise and when it sells, charge you an additional 15%(!). Fortunately, if you make less than $10,000/year on Etsy, you can opt out of the program, which I recommend you do immediately.

6. Sell on Etsy Because You Can Grow at Your Own Pace

While outside pressure (like a monthly rent payment) can sometimes be motivating, it can also work against you if sales are bad any given month.

Because your overhead with Etsy is minimal (stock + shipping supplies), you can build your business at your own, perhaps slower, pace. For many sellers this is a big plus.

You can buy a few items and try them out, see how well they sell (or don’t), and then move from there to make slightly more informed decisions about what to sell and for how much.

You can learn how to take great photos, write killer titles and descriptions, and how to achieve successful Search Engine Optimization (SEO)–at your own pace. Make some money as you grow in knowledge and experience with the platform. 

7. Sell Vintage on Etsy Because You Can Find Answers to Your Q’s

Etsy supplies a few methods for answering your burning questions:

In addition to these resources, feel free to join my Facebook group–Your Vintage Headquarters–where you can ask your questions, and my 2000+ members will be glad to help you answer them.

Furthermore, if you have an Etsy question, chances are YouTube has a video on the exact topic. So check them out. [And check out my channel while you’re there–I’d love it if you’d subscribe!]

8. Sell on Etsy Because Millions of People Shop There

Since Etsy has a huge following of millions of shoppers, store owners do not need to focus on marketing. Etsy does that for you. 

Compare this to setting up your own website or opening a Shopify store. It’s NOT like the movie Field of Dreams–“If you build it,they will come.” Trust me. They won’t come, LOL. It can take years to gain traction with your own website, and Shopify doesn’t send customers your way.

You need a certain force to drive traffic to the amazing vintage goods that you’re offering to the world. That force could be Google if you have your own website, but it takes a long time and a lot of effort to get Google to pay attention to you. An email list could also be that force, but the average person doesn’t have an email list in their back pocket. So go with Etsy.

9. Sell on Etsy Because Shipping is Not as Hard as You Think!!

tape, bubble wrap, boxesI let the idea of shipping keep me from selling online for years! There are two very good reasons why I have an entirely different feeling about it nowadays:

(1) Both eBay and Etsy have taken a lot of the guesswork out of shipping costs, and both have mechanisms for you to pay for and print out shipping labels in your own home. And it’s cheaper to ship via Etsy (and eBay) than your local post office.

(2) I have a designated area in my office that’s specifically for shipping. It contains all the necessary supplies: bubble wrap, pillows, shredded paper, tissue paper, small boxes, tape, a stapler, business cards, pens, scissors, a lamp, mailing envelopes, twine, and cardboard.

Don’t be afraid of shipping! Everything is Figure-Out-Able (Marie Forleo). I talk about shipping in my FREE Ebay Seller 5-Day Challenge and some of it is applicable to Etsy.

My sweet cousin and a family friend keep me stocked up with almost everything I need for shipping. In addition, I reuse poly bags, envelopes, and padded envelopes that come in the mail. I buy rolls of wide, clear tape at Dollar Tree and that pretty much covers all my needs. Oh, and I pick up boxes whenever I come across them.

Listing Your First Item: When listing your first item, I recommend using the Calculated Shipping option the first time around. Weigh your item in the box you plan to ship it in, along with whatever supplies (e.g., bubble wrap) you plan to use, plus a 1/2 sheet of paper (to reflect the shipping label), and a business card.

Enter the package dimensions and weight. Etsy will calculate the shipping charges when the item sells, depending upon your buyer’s zip code.

10. Sell on Etsy Because It’s an Extremely Friendly Place

Etsy has a reputation as a friendly, buyer-focused place to purchase handmade and vintage items. Sellers tend to be responsive to questions and take extra-special care when shipping their products. They often use brand-specific shipping products and may even including a small token of appreciation like a hand-written note or free small gift.

Because Etsy utilizes a store front format, buyers can easily get to know shops and shop owners. With one click, shops can easily be “favorited” and you’ll smile every time your own shop gets a new favorite 🙂

The number of favorites your shop has received, along with recent reviews, are both prominently displayed on your shop page, making it obvious to potential buyers what it’s like to do business with you. 

BONUS Reason: Sell Vintage on Etsy Because You Can Make $$ 

You’ve probably heard it said that Etsy is saturated with both craft and vintage sellers. But I have found that with very little effort (as in 30 minutes or less a week), I make a steady $100-200/month. Can you imagine if I worked at it a couple of hours a week?

My problem, as you can imagine, is that I have my finger in a lot of pies. Not only do I sell via multiple platforms, I write my blog, run my FB group, create courses, create content for Farmhouse Style magazine, and write eBooks. I have very little time to spend on my Etsy shop, though I’m upping my game at the moment.

All that to say, I strongly believe that there is good money to be made on Etsy, but you have to put time into it both listing and learning the tricks of the trade.

In today’s post I introduced you to Etsy, but I plan to write at least one more post (or create an email challenge perhaps) covering some of the next level information to help you grow your business.

So there you have it friend, 10 Reasons Why You Should Sell Vintage on Etsy. I hope you found the post informative and beyond that, just the impetus you need to open a shop, if you’ve been thinking about doing so for a long time.

Savvy Antique Seller Etsy Edition

If you’re looking for an intensive course and someone to “hold your hand” while you establish your Etsy shop, consider my course Savvy Antique Seller: Etsy Edition. 

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  1. Great article Diana! I have an Etsy shop and love selling there, in fact I moved there from eBay when eBay got all crazy with their rules and fees. Since Etsy has their Etsy Payments system now buyers have many more options than Paypal to pay, the fees are 3% + .25 per sale.


  2. Hi Diana. I very much enjoy reading your posts and watching your videos. What are your thoughts on Etsy and eBay charging fees on shipping? When I last sold on eBay (2013 – whew!), I don’t remember that fee existing. I never padded shipping to make money. Just another fee to add to their pockets? Thanks!

    1. I’m glad you’re enjoying my posts and videos Erin–that makes me so happy! I, like most other sellers, think it’s crazy (and wrong!) for them to apply fees to shipping since that’s not “profit.” Yes, another fee to add to their pockets 🙁

      1. Another person writing about Etsy recommended selling similar items. I think they were recommending having a niche. Do you think selling a variety of items can also work? I also am a retired H.S. teacher who has no computer skills. Does Etsy provide a template to set up a shop? Do you have any suggestions about my starting an Etsy shop? Thank you.

        1. Hi Deborah! When selling on Etsy it absolutely pays off to choose a niche to focus on, farmhouse style, MCM, or 90’s clothing, for example. Having a niche increases repeat customers and helps to sell more than one item at a time. Unfortunately, many of us antique lovers have a very hard time niche-ing down(!), so many sellers sell a wide variety.

          Etsy has a basic template to which you add your own graphics–a self-portrait, logo, and/or header. You can get by w/o a logo or header, but I do recommend adding them ASAP since your shop will perform better with them.

          I have a course called Savvy Antique Seller: Etsy Edition that teaches all about setting up a shop, listing and shipping items, business records, what to sell, and more. You can find more info about it here: http://adirondack-girl-at-heart.teachable.com/p/savvy_antique_seller_etsy

          Computer skills are required for the following: setting up your shop, downloading and editing photos, and creating and printing shipping labels.

          Let me know if I can help in any other way Deborah and good luck!

  3. Interesting article, Diana…I’ve been selling on Etsy for seven years now…and this week alone I had 6 sales from my meagre 150 listings. This year has been my best year ever, dollar wise. Although there seems to be a bit more of an increase of total cost for selling-now running to about 8% for me. This is from sales made through Etsy’s new ad program which you can’t really opt out of. But, they have also adjusted the postage fees down instead of making a profit on YOU paying for the postage at a rate higher than what the USPS was charging Etsy.

    I’m madly trying to get new listings up—after a year of not adding much at all. Definitely a good venue for the at home seller. Most important though is doing research on your items so you can add tags that are accurate and will actually capture buyers those looking for that specific item. Most of my sales come from exact searches on my tags—so like you so often share…accurate information on your items is doubly necessary and profitable. Hugs, Sandi

    1. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us Sandi, and I’m SO happy for you that you’re having such a great year. That’s awesome!

      I hope to do a follow-up (or an Etsy Challenge) as I mentioned, to cover more advanced topics like writing killer titles and tags for the best SEO. You’re absolutely right that it’s important to spend the most time on those two areas.

      BTW, I’m not sure what you mean by “you can’t really opt out” of the “Offsite Ad Fees”?? I’ve opted out and gave a link in the body of the post (above) so others can as well.

      1. Hi Diana. Just to clarify…if you make over $10,000 in a 12-month period, you cannot opt out of the Offsite Ad Fee program. I wish I could opt out, but I can’t. I wouldn’t mind if it helps older inventory sell, but it’s a bit of a blow when a newly listed item sells through one of these ads or if the item is already on sale! All the best, Karen

        1. Yes, that’s right Karen. You can only opt out if you make less than $10,000. A couple of my items sold before I opted out and it ate away a big chunk of my profit! So sorry you can’t opt out but congrats on making more than $10,000/year!

  4. Great article. I’m not tempted–yet, but you do make it look easier than I thought it would be! Finally found 3 yard sales this Sat.–first I’ve been to this year in Maine!

    1. I’m glad I could simplify things for you Kathy, and I’m SO glad you finally had some garage sales in your neck of the woods. Hope you found some great loot!

  5. Hi, Diana! I love reading all your ‘stuff’ and also questions and answers. I always have loved antiques. Now, I have a question. I have a bedspread that my mother in law embroidered on muslin, probably as a teenager. She was born in 1915. Would there be a value to it, now? Just curious. I’m sure a family member will ask for it, so would probably never be for sale. As I am aging, we are making a list of who wants what!! I still have several antiques, but mostly just ‘family stuff’ to pass on to them. Hope you have a estimated value.

    1. I’m so glad you enjoy my blog BessieMae! It’s very hard to give you an idea of something’s value without seeing it (in person is always best!). Are you a member of my Facebook group (Your Vintage Headquarters) yet?

      That would be a great place to post some quality photos (some up close, others farther away) of your bedspread. Then I (and other group members) can try to help you get an idea of it’s value. Sounds like it very well could be worth something!

  6. This is great! So easy to follow. I have weary of Etsy because I did not want the hassle of tracking income and expenses for tax purposes. Especially since the time spent on paperwork and posting might mitigate any $$$ I get. How does this work? For me it is more of a hobby than a business.

    1. I’m glad you liked the post Paula 🙂 I’m not sure what exactly you’re trying to get at with your question, “How does it work?” You pretty much hit the nail on the head regarding paperwork–you have to track your income (easy enough since Etsy keeps track of your sales) and your expenses (mileage, cost of goods sold, office supplies, etc). Let me know what additional info you were looking for 🙂

  7. Thank you for this post! I am on both Etsy and Poshmark (Canada). Etsy for the vintage stuff and Posh for the newer.
    Your three drawers of jewelry made me smile. That’s what I love about selling jewelry on Etsy — it takes up so LITTLE room! The clothing/shoes/purses I sell on Poshmark take up a whole closet to store!
    So far, I make way more *per item* on Etsy than on Poshmark. The fees are lower on Etsy — and I think the clientele is more-willing to pay what something is worth.
    Thank you!

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us Carolyn! Poshmark is one platform that I haven’t sold on (yet!), so any info is always useful 🙂 I hope your businesses continue to do well–

  8. Good article on ETSY. There are a couple of things I’d like to mention.

    A) Negative: ETSY needs a little help with their math. I’ve put up a number of items (mostly antique canning jars) that clearly have a production date of 1890 – 1910. In other words they’re over a hundred years old and yet ETSY wants to call them vintage. Early on I was told that antique = 100+ years.

    B) Positive: eBay is focused on sell…sell..sell. If you put up an item (I have lots of proof coin sets listed) they want you to start low and have a bidding war. There are people whose tactic is to sneak in just before the item closes and low-ball their bid. At ETSY you can determine what something’s worth and price it accordingly. I don’t recall ever going to the Super Market and putting in a bid for a gallon of milk.

    C) ETSY keeps pushing movies at me. Whether they facilitate a sale is hard to say. I don’t think a 20 second movie is going to affect my purchase decision very much. One has to recall that my primary merchandise is coin sets and canning jars.

    Peace and Blessings

    1. Hi Edward–thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂 Etsy may want to call it vintage (their catch-all term for vintage and antiques) but you can call it antique, right?!! Don’t adopt their lingo if you’re uncomfortable with it 🙂

      Regarding eBay, I sell items at a fixed price all the time. Every item is a bit different–some get listed as auctions with a low starting price, others with a high starting price, and then others I set at a fixed price. For my auction items, I set the starting price at the lowest amount that I’m happy to get for the item, whether that’s $9.99 or $99.99. I wouldn’t let what eBay “wants” determine your pricing strategy at all Edward. (My two cents)

      I’m just starting out with videos on Etsy and have already sold one item that had a video included. According to Etsy’s statistics, they are finding that items with a video sell faster/better. But I can see how videos of canning jars and coins might not be helpful/influential. Stick with whatever’s working, I say!

  9. Interesting. My husband and I are resellers. Right now we do auction-style sales on Facebook and eBay listings. I’ve mentioned selling on Etsy to try it out and see if it works. Now I may just have to start our store. eBay makes it pretty easy and most items sell quickly, would you say your items sell quickly on Etsy?

    1. Hi Kelsey! I enjoy the atmosphere on Etsy, as compared with eBay, but different items sell differently on each–so I sell on both. I can get higher prices for certain things on one or the other. For example, I find that I get higher prices for Putz houses on Etsy but higher prices for mercury glass garlands on eBay. Interesting, right? I have a course that teaches how to get started on Etsy (and 3 other platforms) if you’re ever interested 🙂

  10. It’s a great article but I am amazed you can spend 3O minutes a week and make 100 to 200 a month. It takes me about 30 minutes to do an ebay listing from start to finish counting photography, description writing and posting. So I think it would take the same for Etsy. So, how exactly do you do it? 4 listings at $25 each? And that assumes they all sell.

    I did/do have an Etsy store but am not currently using it because there’s a lot to search term optimization on etsy which you don’t mention. Depending on key words that you use, your potential buyers may or may not see your item – or your items may consistently show up on page 10 of their search results and the potential buyer may never get to your listing. I got discouraged when I saw little payback for the effort I put into it.

    Etsy is also getting the reputation for ridiculous prices which you can see by shopping there. A lot of sellers seem to “park” their vintage jewelry there at high prices and hope that someone will buy it eventually. For me, turnover is the name of the game since it is called buying and selling, not buying and listing it so it can languish and gather dust on my shelves.

    1. Over the years I’ve probably picked up some tricks here and there to make things go more quickly. This article was not so much a full course on how to sell on Etsy as reasons why it’s a great place to sell.

      The basic SEO (Search Engine Optimization) principles apply to both eBay and Etsy, so I wouldn’t let that stand in your way. As with eBay, you need to have good photos and good descriptions, and list regularly. A “full” shop of 24 or more items on Etsy is also pretty important.

      I’m not sure what you mean by ridiculous prices. Do you mean that some sellers have high prices? If so, wouldn’t that be good for the rest of us sellers?

      I also wouldn’t let what other sellers are doing–e.g., “parking” their merch–stop you, especially since this only hurts them and helps the rest of us sell our merch for reasonable prices.

      I agree with your turnover policy, I feel the same way and very rarely ever relist any unsold items. If it hasn’t sold in 4 months, then it’s not likely to sell at all. I move it to another platform or my antique booth in those cases.

      I hope I’ve answered some of your questions Ann 🙂

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