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Crafters use Etsy website to work from home, earn profit

By Jessica Rodrigo
Feb. 22, 2014 at midnight
Updated Feb. 22, 2014 at 8:23 p.m.

Jaclyn Doremus creates festive wreaths for year-round and seasonal use. She uses Etsy.com to sell her wreaths because it's easier to operate than selling her creations in a physical market. The online site is used by crafters like Doremus who are looking for a way to sell their merchandise without  physically moving and setting up a shop.   "I can set my own hours and work in the comfort of my home," Doremus said.

Things to remember

If you are interested in creating an Etsy shop to sell your unique crafts or antiques, Megan Perez said there are a few startup costs and fees. There is a 20-cent listing fee per item that you post, she said, but there are no monthly fees. Once the item sells, Etsy earns a small percentage of the profit. For more information about opening an Etsy shop, visit Etsy.com.

Raising two children can take up a lot of time.

So when Jaclyn Doremus sent her children off to Schorlemmer Elementary, she put that newfound free time into a profit.

The 34-year-old Michigan native is the owner of an online shop, The Land of Craft, on Etsy.com. Through the online marketplace, which serves as a place where buyers and sellers can find gifts and wares, she sells handmade wreaths and decorations.

Doremus opened her shop in 2010 to sell her handmade wreaths when she lived in Sandford, Mich. In July, her husband, Chris, transferred to the Seadrift Dow Chemical plant, and the family made the move south.

"This works for me," she said. "I have kids in school, and I have everything I need at home."

While her kids learn the alphabet and numbers, she can organize her materials and set up her online shop.

Etsy is set up with the user in mind, she said, so she can upload photos, write descriptions and set prices for each item without a problem.

Although she's never been to Market Days or sold her homemade wreaths at a flea market, she said the appeal of Etsy is that she doesn't have to move around a bunch of stuff to sell her things.

"I can set my own hours and work in the comfort of my home," Doremus said.

That was what also lured Megan Perez to open an online shop about five years ago.

While she was enrolled in a ceramics course at Victoria College, she built up an inventory of items and was looking for a way to sell the pieces.

"Since I was in school, I didn't have time to do a face-to-face market," Perez, 27, said.

She set up her shop with little startup cost and was able to do it in her spare time. But it can take some time, which she said can include photographing items for sale, writing descriptions for each item and determining sale prices.

"It's a little bit of a process," she said.

Now that Perez has graduated, she plans to get her shop going again. Eventually, she wants to produce enough to sell at a physical market.

"Once I've got enough space for my own studio, I would like to move into that format," she said.

A lot of people will use social media, she said, to market their shops to potential customers and get their name out there.

Doremus created a Facebook page to introduce sales on her shop, generate new customers and even showcase other shops.

"It's helped a lot because it spreads quickly," Doremus said. "It does take a lot of work. You can't expect them to just start buying right away."

But if the costs ever outweigh the profit or if she stops enjoying what she does, she said that's when she'll quit.

"I try to make it profitable, but it's just extra cash," she said. "It's not at all our main source of income."

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