Friday, April 29, 2011

困った時に If you Need Help

さて来週からEtsyの会員登録の仕方、出品の仕方等の具体的な話を一段階ずつしていきたいと思っていますが、その前に、これでいいのかと疑問がわいてきたり すぐに対応しなくてはならない問題が起こっててしまった時 どうしたらいいか説明しておいたほうがいいかなと思います。
Starting next week, I want to start writing step-by-step instructions on the Etsy basics, such as registering and listing an item. But before that, I think I should mention where you could find answers if you ever have question or problems on Etsy.

Etsyは人気の高いサイトですので たいていの場合すでに他の誰かが似たような経験をしたり、似たような疑問を抱いたりしています。どこを探せばいいのかさえ知っていれば、わざわざ毎回スタッフにメールを送らなくても簡単に答えは見つかります。
Since Etsy is such a popular site already, someone else has most likely already encountered the same problems that you’re having or asked the same questions you are asking. If you know where to look, you can easily find answers on your own, instead of emailing the staff every single time.

Etsyに関する質問だったらまずはFAQを検索してみましょう。特にお店を開くことに関する質問はこちらです: FAQで回答を見つけられなかったりEtsy以外のことで疑問があったときは(例えばPaypalに関する疑問)私はForumsを検索します。
If you have questions about using Etsy, the FAQs should be the first place you search. If your questions are specific to selling on Etsy, you can look for your answers at: If I can’t find the right answer there, or if I have questions about something other than Etsy (about a problem on Paypal, for example) I search in the Forums.

Forumsは要するにEtsyの提示板。Etsyのロゴの上のCommunityリンクからアクセスできます。Announcementにはスタッフ(EtsyではAdminと呼ばれています)しか書き込むことができませんが、他のSite HelpBusiness TopicsIdeasBugsにはユーザー誰でも書き込むことができます。検索しても答えが見つからないのであれば、自分から質問してみましょう。たいていはすぐに回答が戻ってきます。
Forums is Etsy’s discussion board. You can access it through the Community link, above the Etsy logo on each page. Only Etsy administrators (Admin for short) are allowed to post in the Announcement section, but all users can post in the Site Help, Business Topics, Ideas, and the Bugs sections. If you still can’t find your answer in the Forums, you should post a new topic yourself. In most cases, your fellow Etsians will write back almost immediately.

日本から海外へ品を送る時の質問や一定の技術に関する質問など、ちょっと普通のEtsyのユーザーの方々には答えられない疑問がある場合はForumsよりはTeamsのDiscussion に質問を投稿したほうが詳しい答えを得られます。Teamsとは同じ興味を持ったユーザーの方々が個人で始めたクラブみたいなものでForums と同じくCommunityのページからアクセスできます。今回写真を使わせていただいたFurugiStarさんも私もEtsy JapanというTeamのメンバーです。特に日本在住のユーザーに質問してみたいという方にはEtsy Japanをお勧めします。
If you have a very specific question that an average user may not be able to answer, regarding shipping from Japan or using a certain technique, for example, you might want to try posting your question in a Team discussion. Teams are clubs started by individual users around a common interest, and can be found in the Community page, just like the Forums. FurugiStar, whose items are shown alongside the post this week, and I are both members of the Etsy Japan team. If you have questions that are specific to selling from Japan, I recommend that you join Etsy Japan.

Even after that, if you still can’t find an answer to your question, then it’s time to contact the Etsy staff through the Help page. They’ve recently introduced a live chat tool in the Help page, but right now, it’s only available between 11pm to 7am Japan standard time. If you are located in Japan, it may be easier to email them, even if it takes a little longer to get the answer.

Friday, April 22, 2011

ユーザー名を選ぼう Let's choose your Username

Etsyで何を販売するか決まったならば まずは試作品を作ったり、品数をそろえたりするのがやはり一番大事です。良い品物がなければ何も売れませんし、品数が多いほどお客さんにお店を見つけてもらえる確立が上がります。でも他にも大事なことはたくさんあります。特に時間をかけてじっくり考えていただきたいのがお店の名前となるEtsyのユーザー名です。
Once you’ve decided on what you would like to sell on Etsy, it’s important that you work on new products and on increasing the number of items to be listed in your store. Afterall, you won’t be able to sell anything if you don’t have good products, and the more items you have in your store, the more chances there are of them being found by your customers. However, there are many other very important things that need to be considered. One of them is choosing your username, which deserves a considerable time of thought, as it will also be the name of your store.

ユーザー名は言ってみればこれから自分のブランド名として育てていくものです。Etsy以外にもブログやツイッター等のアカウント、もしくは自分のウェブサイトも将来開く可能性がありますのでその時なるべく同じ名前を使えるほうがいいですよね。読みやすい、覚えやすい名前であるほか ネット上で開くお店ですからGoogleやYahoo等の検索エンジンを使った時に探しやすい名前がいい、という事も頭に入れておいてください。
Your username, in a way, is a brand name that you’ll be trying to establish as you grow your business. In the future, you may want to start a blog, open a twitter account, or even create your own website using this business name, so you’ll want to choose a name that will be available for as many of these options as possible. You’ll also want a name that is easy to read, easy to remember, as well as easy to find in search engines since this is an online store.

There are, in general, about 3 different types of usernames. Ones based on the seller’s given name or nickname, ones that refer to the type of items sold in the store, and ones based on the seller’s favorite words and phrases. Each type has its own strengths and weaknesses, so I can’t say one is better than the other.

私は自分の名前を使ったSonoSonoStudioというユーザー名を選びましたが一番の欠点は何を販売しているのか読んだだけでは分からないという事です。でもアバターに品物の写真を使えばそこは大体分かりますし、Etsyは特に手作り専門ですので 名前を使ったユーザー名のほうが人のぬくもりを感じられて良いと言う説もあります。しかしすでに同じ名前の有名人が居られる場合は自分の名を使うことはお勧めできません。検索エンジンで見つけにくいですし、ドメイン名もすでに取られていることでしょう。
My username, SonoSonoStudio, falls under the “given name” group. The top weakness of these usernames is that people can’t tell what you are selling by simply reading the name. You can, however, get around this problem by using a picture of your product in the avatar. Some also say using your name adds a touch of human warmth, which is rather important on a “handmade” site like Etsy. I can’t recommend using your name if there’s already a relatively famous person with the same name, however. You’ll be hard to find on search engines, and the domain name is probably already taken as well.

Product-based usernames will help your customers quickly grasp what your store is about, and should also help them remember your username easily. The down side of choosing a product-based username would be that if you ever decide to sell something completely different, it would be strange to continue using the same name. At this time, Etsy doesn’t allow you to alter your username, so you’d have to open a new account under a different name, bringing back your sales history and your feedback to zero.

好きな言葉を使ったユーザー名はとても面白い名前だとそれだけでもお店を見に来る人が出てくるほどですが、平凡な名前だと逆に覚えにくく、すでに似たような名前を使っている方もいるかもしれません。ただしEtsy ではもちろん英語のユーザー名が多いのでわざと日本語の言葉を選んで日本好きなお客様の目を引くこともできます。今回写真を使わせていただいた陶芸家のhinomaruさんも英語版のGoogleで検索するとトップページにちゃんとEtsyのお店が出てきます。日本語を知らない方もProfileに「こういう意味の名前だ」と説明が書いてあれば、覚えやすくなるはずです。
Using a favorite word or phrase can work for you if you can think of a very clever one, but may work against you if it’s boring and hard to remember. It’s also possible that someone else has already chosen a very similar username, too. You can, however, use the language difference to your advantage and choose a Japanese word to help you stand out from the rest. If you search for hinomaru, who created the amazing ceramic pieces I’m showing this week, on Google, his Etsy shop shows up on the top page. If you are worried about users who don’t know Japanese, you can help them remember by explaining your name in your profile.

Finally, please remember that longer names will be harder to read since you can’t use spaces or symbols in your username. You should combine upper-case and lower-case letters creatively to accentuate each word.

I hope these tips will help you find the perfect username for you. Etsy also has an article on choosing usernames here, so be sure to check it out.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Etsyのお店を開く前に Before You Open Your Etsy Shop

さて皆様はEtsyでどんなお店を開きたいと思っていらっしゃいますか? やはり自分の力や興味を生かした作品を出品したいですよね。でもキレイな物や可愛い物が作れるというだけで、他のことを何も考えずにお店を開いてもなかなかうまくいかないものです。個人で売るのも商売は商売。しっかり勉強してから開店したほうが後からジタバタせずにすみます。
What kind of store are you planning to open on Etsy? You, of course, want to sell items that take advantage of your skills and interests, right? But just because you can make things that are pretty and cute, doesn’t mean that you’ll soon have a successful store, if you open it without much thought. Even though you’ll be operating it by yourself, a business is a business. If you do your homework before you open your shop, you’ll be able to avoid the hassle later.

そこでまず競争相手がどんなものを売っているのか検索してみてください。似たものを売っている方はどのくらいいますか? どんな値段で売っていますか? 送料はどのくらいですか? 競争相手が多ければ多いほど売るのは難しくなりますし、海外からだと送料も国内の方の倍以上かかったりします。おまけに他の国に比べると作品を作るための材料の値段がもともと少し高いので、作品の値段が高めになってしまうのもやむを得ないと思います。それでも自分の作品は売れる、と言う自信はありますか?
So, let’s begin by searching what your competitors are selling on Etsy. How many sellers are carrying items that are similar to yours? At what price? How much are they charging for shipping? More competition means your customers will have a harder time finding you. As an overseas seller, your shipping charge will be double that of a domestic seller. In addition to that, in Japan, the cost of materials is a little higher than many other countries to start with, so it’s probably inevitable that the price of your items will be a little higher too. Do you feel confident that your items will sell, even with those conditions?

Before you decide on the price of your items, you’ll also have to calculate a few other costs besides materials and shipping. Because you’ll be shipping abroad, you’ll need some durable shipping supplies. Also, you’ll have to pay 20 cents to Etsy each time you list an item and 3.5% of the selling price when an item sells. Don’t forget, you’ll have to pay Paypal fees, too, since most customers will make the payment through them. At this time, international sales incur 30 cents plus 3.9% of the total money coming in. 20 cents might not seem like much if you list a $50 item, but it hurts a little if your item is $2, and they still take the same 20 cents. It is true that cheaper items sell better, but it doesn’t make much business sense to sell items that are too cheap.

Having too many other sellers selling very similar items can be a problem too. The Jewelry and the Art categories, especially, are brimming with competition, and it’s quite hard to have even one of your items be found by the right customer. I didn’t know this either when I first started Etsy, and have had to make some adjustments. Now, I list jewelry made with white beads in the Weddings category, and have increased the number of items that can be listed in the Chainmaille category, as the competition is a little less fierce there.

Painters and photographers can reach customers from different demographics by offering not only originals and prints, but everyday goods with their art printed on them. Dosankodebbie from Sapporo, who graciously allowed me to use her images today, offers postcards and magnets along with her very interesting “Etegami” or illustrated mail. Items such as tote bags, pendants, and stickers with your images printed by a third party are also allowed in the handmade section if, and ONLY if, you are the creator of the image.

あくまでも他人が撮った写真やよく知られているキャラクターのまねをして描いた絵を使うなど著作権法に反するようなことはやらないでくださいね! 確かにEtsy内でもそういった品を残念ながら見ますが、明らかに規則違反です。お店を開く前に必ずEtsyのTerms of UseDos and Don’tsをしっかり読み、質問があったらsupport@etsy.comに直接メールしてください。
Please respect the copyright law, and refrain from using photographs taken by someone else or copying a well known character! Unfortunately, we do see items like that on Etsy too, but they are clearly against the rules. Before you open your shop, be sure to read the Terms of Use and Dos and Don’ts thoroughly, and if you have any questions, contact the Etsy staff directly at

P.S. If you want to learn more about Japanese culture, I highly recommend that you visit dosankodebbie's blog! You can see many many more of her beautiful work, and even I've learned a few things about Japanese culture.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Etsyとは? What is Etsy?

さて先週の記事でEtsyのことを日本語で書いてみたい、と言いましたが まずEtsyとはどんなサイトなのか、どんな物を売れるのか知らないと話は進みません。
As I said last week, I want to write about Etsy in depth, but before we talk about anything else, you have to understand what Etsy is and what you can sell on Etsy.

Etsyは「手作り」専門のマーケットサイト。個人で物が売れるところはeBayまたはヤフオクに似ていますが、オークションサイトではないので売り手が自分で決めた価格で販売しています。Etsyが公開した「Weather Report」によると今年の2月だけでもサイト内合わせて1,850,525個の品物が売れたそうです。売り上げにするとなんと3440万ドル、1ドル=85円で約29億円ちょっとになります。
Etsy is an online marketplace with a focus on handmade. It is like eBay and Yahoo Japan auctions in that an individual can list items to sell, but Etsy is not an auction site, so the price is fixed according to what the seller finds appropriate. According to their "Weather Report," a total of 1,850,525 items were sold in February of this year alone. They sold for about 34.4 million U.S. dollars total, or about 2.9 billion Yen when calculated at $1=¥85.

Etsy is known for handmade, but not everything sold actually has to be handmade. So, let’s look at what you are allowed to sell on Etsy by category.

まずはこれがなければEtsyは語れないと思うカテゴリー「Handmade」。文字通り手作り、それも自分で作ったものでなければこのカテゴリーには出品してはいけません。いくら手作りでも 他人が作ったものを出品することは禁止されています。自分で作ったものであり、手で触ることができる(tangible)と言う条件を満たせば ボタンのような小物から家具などの大きなものまで何でも売ることができます。福岡からEtsyを使っていらっしゃるfromshinoさんは古い帯や帯締めをつかって上の写真のような素敵なバッグを作っていらっしゃいます。こういう風に古着などをを新しい物にリファッションすることはEtsyではUpcycleと呼ばれ、人気があります。
Etsy is not Etsy without the Handmade category. Everything listed here, obviously, must be handmade and must be made by you. You cannot list something made by someone else even if it is a handmade item. If it is handmade by you, and if it’s tangible, you can sell anything from a tiny button to giant furniture. Fromshino, who uses Etsy from Fukuoka, makes beautiful bags out of vintage obi sashes and obi cords, as seen in the photo above. In the Etsy community, you'll often hear the term "upcycle" in relation to items that have been repurposed like this, and they are rather popular.

Digital files that can be “touched” with a computer mouse are also considered tangible by Etsy. BirdieBrown from Shizuoka sells adorable digital stamps of her own illustration. Other popular digital files include istructional PDFs of your own amigurumi design and custom designed logo and banner services. I’ve even seen paper dolls that can be printed at home by the customer. Digital files are a great no-hassle option for overseas users as they are often affordable and require no shipping charges, since they can be emailed directly.

In the Supplies category, you can sell things such as craft supplies, fabric, stickers, and even kitchenware. Cute knick-knacks from Japan are especially popular, so much so that “Kawaii” has become a well known tag word. Many even purchase craft books written in Japanese if there are lots of pictures to guide them.

Along with Handmade and Supplies, there is one more category for Vintage items. Here, you can list anything that is at least 20-years-old, even if it’s not handmade or related to crafting. In addition to kimonos, pottery, and antiques, I’ve seen nostalgic items such as older Sanrio on Etsy. You might wonder if anyone outside of Japan would know them, but Sanrio and Anime characters are surprisingly well known. The seller of the Tetsuwan Atom badge shown, Sandshoevintage, is actually from Australia.

随分長くなってしまいましたがそれでもほんの少しの例を挙げただけ。とにかくまずEtsyに行ってどんなものが売れているのか自分で見てみてください。Shop Localと言うツールがありますのでそれを使って日本人のお店を見つけることもできますしPounceと言うツールの中でJust Soldを選択すると実際最近何が売れたのか見ることもできます。
This post has gotten rather long, but I still was only able to give you just a few examples. I urge you to go to Etsy and see what kind of items are selling with your own eyes. You can search for other Japanese sellers using the tool called Shop Local, or choose the Just Sold option in the Pounce tool, and see exactly what was purchased on Etsy recently.

Monday, April 4, 2011

2 Years on Etsy!!

It's already been 2 years since I opened my little Etsy shop, and I have to say, I'm so glad that I did! It's so exciting to make something with your own hands, and to be able to sell it to someone who appreciate your efforts is just an icing on the cake!

Thank you to all of my customers and to those of you who have been supportive for the past 2 years!! I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

In the mean time, please enter the promo code "2YEARSALE" during check out to get 15% off of your entire order! This code is good until the end of April.

Friday, April 1, 2011

「手作り」で日本を復興しませんか? Let’s Rebuild Japan with “Handmade”

It’s already been 3 weeks since the massive quake and tsunami struck Eastern Japan. My heart breaks when I think of the challenges and the devastation the survivors are facing. I’m sure many people around the world did the same, but I’ve been trying to figure out if there’s anything I can do for Japan, in addition to making donations.

Well, in the end, my thoughts turned to what I know, and that was Etsy. Currently, Japan’s manufacturing rate is quite diminished due to the earthquake and tsunami damage as well as the rolling blackouts. And unfortunately, the blackouts will probably last well into the summer and beyond. But when you are making things by hand, you can create lots of things without electricity or machines. Even those crafters who need machines, like sewers, can still cut cloth or take photos of products during power outages. And of course, sewing by hand is an option too!

日本人は手先が器用な方が多いです。趣味でやっているだけ、と言いながらとても質の高い作品を作っている方がたくさんいらっしゃいます。日本だけにしか見られない工芸もたくさんあります。震災直後にも竹を割ってお箸やお湯飲みを作っていられる被災者の方々の姿を見ました。そんな日本人にEtsy はぴったりなのです。
There are many crafty people in Japan, and they tend to make high quality items, even those who claim to do it only as a hobby. There are also many traditional handmade crafts that are only found in Japan. Even mere days after the quake, some of the survivors at an evacuation center were splitting bamboo from the neighborhood to make chopsticks and cups. Etsy really is perfect for the Japanese because of their rich tradition in handmade crafts.

Of course, just because you open a store in Etsy doesn’t mean that you immediately start seeing sales. Since most Etsy users are in North America and Europe, the seller must be able to understand English to a certain point and have some knowledge about exporting. Even just the thought of selling online can seem intimidating at first. But even the highest wall can be scaled a little at a time, and I would like to utilize what I’ve learned in the past few years to help anyone who’s interested in joining the Etsy community.

So, in the next few weeks, I’d like to write some Japanese posts that explain Etsy in more depth. While profits from Etsy sales may be too small to make an impact on the economic recovery, I hope that more Japanese people will consider opening an Etsy shop as a way to facilitate cultural recovery of Japan and to keep traditional Japanese crafts from disappearing.