Do you ETSY? And if not why not?! There’s a whole world of new shopping opportunities that await! Packed with independent designers and businesses from all over the world selling unique products not readily available on the high street, Etsy bargains include fashion, jewellery and accessories, interiors, stationery, baby and kids clothing, vintage… and the list goes on!
OK, so it can be a little bit overwhelming BUT here’s Sassy’s one-stop Etsy Shopping Guide – our top tips to find what you’re looking for without drowning in product and a few of our fave vendors.
SASSY’S ETSY HOW-TO GUIDE
First things first, sign up for an account – you can either use your Facebook login or just create a new account from scratch.
From there, it’s actually pretty simple – my top tip is SEARCH. It’s all about the search terms you use. A great way to search is to input the name of a famous designer or brand similar to the style that you have in mind in the main search box at the top of the page. For example, phrases like “J Crew statement necklace”, “Lulu Frost earrings”, “Anthropologie bracelet” and “Kate Spade necklace” will yield lots of highly covetable goodies that are a similar style to those much pricier designer pieces!
For search terms in fashion and other sections, I would narrow it down by the style you’re after and think about any special features you’re looking for that might help reduce the number of results returned e.g. “neon shift dress” or “maxi dress chevron”. You can further narrow your search by only looking in a particular section e.g. just the handmade or vintage section; a search phrase like “maxi dress chevron in handmade women” will neatly cut out the kidswear results.
If this is too simplistic for you… click here for some more search tips from Etsy.
SET YOUR REGION in your account settings to Hong Kong as you don’t want to waste precious time searching only to find out that your chosen seller don’t ship to the 852! Go to Your Account > Settings > Preferences; alternatively, click the country listed at the bottom of any Etsy page.
FAVOURITES is another essential tool for bookmarking what you like. I love favourites as they are a snapshot of your tastes and tell a story of what you like at a certain point in time; for example, if you’re planning on getting married, your favourites will most likely include all kinds of gorgeous wedding inspiration that you’ve found on Etsy. You can also follow your friends (see more on this below) and see what they are adding to their favourites, giving you an insight into their taste, passions, life events at that particular time (and a sneaky heads up when it comes to picking perfect gifts!).
When you’ve found a product that you like, simply click on the heart at the top right of the product description to make it a favourite. You can also add the shop selling your product to your favourites, by clicking the shop name in the item description, then clicking the heart. When you’ve successfully made a product or a shop a favourite, the heart will become red. To access your favourites, just click on the heart in the main toolbar at the very top of the Etsy page. For more information on FAVOURITES, click here.
FOLLOWERS are a great way to get inspired. If you like a particular shop, you can see how many other people on Etsy are following that shop and in turn, see their favourites and who they are following… which will lead you to other shops that might be right up your street! When you click on a product that you like, look for the “followers” link in the shop owner’s description on the right hand side and click away! You’ll also see a link to the shop owner’s “favourites”, where you can see their favourite products and shops to get even more ideas!
FIND YOUR FRIENDS TOOL – use this tool to see what and who your friends are following and pimp their style… I’m sure they won’t mind! To do this, access your profile by clicking on your username (at the top right of any Etsy page) and click on the “Find your Friends” link at the top of the page.
MESSAGING SELLERS is useful if you want to find out more about a product, message the seller. Look for the “Contact” button in the product description. Sellers on ETSY are normally incredibly friendly and helpful; sometimes, if they don’t usually ship to Hong Kong, they may be willing to arrange special shipping options if you ask them nicely!
PAYMENT depends on the seller, but most major credit cards or Paypal, which is great for peace of mind as they offer a certain amount of anti-fraud protection (similar to eBay).
SHIPPING rates are included at the bottom of the product description. Beware of any mention of China Post, as it’s notoriously slow and unreliable! Sellers in China will often be willing to use a courier service instead to Hong Kong – for a price, of course, but normally it’s not too expensive and you’ll receive your product in a matter of days rather than weeks (as is the case with China Post!). SF Express is a good courier service available from China to Hong Kong.
For the more advanced Etsy shopper, you can also make your own TREASURIES – a list of 16 items that you’re lusting after. The list can be themed or just a random collection of what you like – it’s up to you. For more information about Treasuries, see what Etsy has to say here.
I also LOVE the Etsy apps for the iPhone and iPad. They’re easy to use and you can sync the different apps to keep your favourites up-to-date on the go.
So you’re all set on ‘how’, let’s take a look at the ‘where’! Here are some of my favourite shops to tantalise those shopping buds and get you started!
JEWELLERY & ACCESSORIES
I am an absolute jewel junkie and I LOVE the cool jewels available on Etsy. Two of my current favourites are Emily Gao Jewelry and ECMTRADE. You may have to message ECM Trade to arrange Hong Kong shipping as, even though they’re actually based here, sometimes they don’t specifically state that they ship to Hong Kong in their listings. Another Hong Kong favourite is Baylia who handcrafts show-stopping necklaces – prepare to stare!
Clockwise, left to right: Aphrodite necklace by Baylia, $2388; GOLD RUSH foldover clutch purse, $716; Oval vintage rhinestone cuff bracelet by MStreetStudio, $1595; Gold leather studs rock studs rivet cuff bracelet $120
If fashion is your thing, you’ll love what you can find on Etsy. Clothes here are often very affordable, plus there are sellers who also create made-to-measure designs. Etsy also has a fab plus size section if you’re fed up of scouring the shops here for the very rare XL size.
Clockwise, left to right: Set of 3 natural finish floating honeycomb shelves by HandmadeRiot, $755; Lampshade made of wood with cutouts by Minjonshop, $2995; Big Screenprint poster by Marta, $270; Botanical damask decorative pillow by WillaSkyeHome, $195
Fancy updating your home décor? Moving home and need some interior design ideas? Etsy has an extensive homeware section packed with interior design goodies, which are great for getting a unique look at a fraction of the price you’ll pay in the shops here in Hong Kong.
If it’s design inspiration or the finishing touches to a littlie’s bedroom that you’re after, Etsy is packed with cool stuff for kids, again at the fraction of the prices you’d pay in physical stores – and let’s face it, this stuff is cute enough for us big kids too!
Clockwise, left to right: Dining table playhouse by Tableforts, $710; Wooden toy red yellow Sausage Dog pull toy by FriendlyToys, $267; Make your own sock monkey instant download by SquigglyMonkey, $30; Personalised wooden toy bowling set by hcwoodcraft, $280
At its heart, Etsy is really all about craft and you can find some wonderful handmade toys on here. The wooden toys in particular are often really unique and very well made. You’ll also find lots of other stuff to keep kids amused – I’m loving the playhouse idea above, which turns any dining room table into a playhouse; there are different designs that simply fit over the top of the table where kids can crawl in underneath… and hey presto, let the fun and adventures begin!
Top image from Bayila