Please post your comments here on the front page news article 'Selling Stained Glass Online'.
Excellent to suggest Etsy in your post! On our site, we have actually featured art glass artisans with Etsy shops, and it appears to be a small but growing community. Etsy is a wonderful venue for artists, and we completely agree with your post!
Al and Caroline
Hi Al & Caroline,
Thanks for the link, I have posted it on our Links page for stained glass websites as well.
How has your personal experience been for selliing on Etsy? Perhaps you have some insights that you could share for the artists on this forum who are not using that venue yet?
I checked out the website. Agreed, ETSY is more suitable to the s.g. folk out there, as opposed to EBAY, but as I found out, not much use to us here north of the border - unless you send in large shipments. I took a round 'suncatcher', packed in styrofoam to Canada Post and got a quote to a friends address in Florida (as an example). Package was 24" x 24" x 5" weighing approx 6 lbs. Canada Post $35.00. Customs Broker in Canada $30.00, Customs Broker US side $50.00.
Approx cost of 'suncatcher' - $250.00. And with (or without) NAFTA, would I pay US customs duty too ? I'm staying local !
You don't pay custom brokerage on merchandise upon exiting Canada AND entering US. It's one or the other.
In your example of a parcel shipped from Canada to the US, the custom brokerage would be $50 for your US customer although in practice the USPS rarely levies this fee, unlike Canada Post, which does levy its $30 brokerage fee over half the time.
If your suncatcher requires a box that's two feet by two feet and weighs 6 pounds, you need to revise your shipping methods.
Jason, hello and thank you very much for linking to our site! Thanks for your patience, too, in waiting for our reply as it took a little time to network on Etsy and speak with Etsy shop owners from Canada to give you their perspective, which we'll share with you here.
Reporting $26 million in sales last year, Etsy IS getting a lot of attention. There's a great Forbes article published online this month, and we'll add that long link at the bottom of this post. Etsy founder, Rob Kalin, recently said,
"In 2007, over 50 Etsy sellers made over $30,000 on the site, and our top seller made over $125,000 … Our big mission for 2008 is to show that you can make a living making things. Theres a whole world out there for doing something you love."
Currently, Etsy only supports the US Dollar and the English language, but the site intends to support many other currencies and languages, and is making plans to build up to that.
We do think Etsy is a wonderful outlet for artists and sellers of handcrafted items. The online community is very helpful and so is Etsy admin who is continuously working on improvement and efficiency. As shopowners we have not had any complaints with this site. It functions well, is easy to use and low in cost.
Although we were unable to find stained glass artists from Canada with shops on Etsy, we did obtain advice to post here from others who have Etsy shops and live in Canada. Here is what we found out:
We were told they find roughly 90% of their sales are to the U.S. with about 5% to Canada and the other 5% to other countries, and international sales are growing. Keep in mind these are just rough figures from a handful of sellers. The big challenge, as already mentioned in this thread, is shipping.
In general we're told is it more expensive to ship to customers within Canada than it is to ship to the US. What costs 2 dollars to ship light packet to the US (such as a padded envelope) will cost 10-12 dollars to ship parcel post within Canada. Over 30 grams, the shipping cost is double. Of course stained glass would be much heavier/costlier. One shopowner told us that shipping is different all the time but reliably fast. You can check the prices on Canadapost.ca. And the tracking number, which many sellers do use, adds to the cost. Another shopowner from Canada said they think for bigger pieces fedex is the better option. She said, "I sold bigger paintings and fedex worked just fine. So I don't think that being in Canada should stop someone from opening store here."
Hope this helps!
Al and Caroline
a trip to that page will show the "Hand-made" stained glass your work would be sharing space with. It may or may not be "hand made" but it sure as hell doesn't belong under a stained glass listing.
Hi Al & Caroline,
No problem on the delay in getting back to us, and thanks for the research that you have done!
No doubt shipping will always be the biggest problem with trying to sell stained glass online, if only because of the weight and fragility of the medium. For smaller pieces it could still be an option however (and it seems that many of the pieces on Etsy are smaller panels, probably for this reason).
Hopefully your insights will be helpful for some of the stained glass artists that visit this site, and thanks for taking the time to post them.
One of the features of Etsy is that sellers can add keywords to their items. I guess in this case the stained glass keywords refer to the "stained glass effect" of the design on the peelable sticker.
A search for stained glass on the site does turn up a fair amount of real glass work though…my last search (sorted by most recent additions, so searching at a different time will produce different results) showed 17 of 21 items on the first page to use real glass in their construction (most of which were panels, a couple of which were jewellery and 1 of which was a sculpture incorporating glass).
One way to ensure that you are only going to see real glass pieces is to choose Materials from the menu beside the Search box. Unless of course someone is deliberately trying to deceive by listing stained glass as a construction material when they aren't using it.
The following link will also limit searches to stained glass materials: