As I am sure you already know, ETSY is a great place to look at and buy fashion, costume, vintage, antique and fine jewellery.
When ETSY started, anyone could sign on and start selling stuff and you never really knew the quality of the product, until you got to hold it in your hand. Focussing on jewellery today, there are millions of jewellery items for sale on ETSY… literally, millions. Sure, there is cheap and crappy stuff, in addition to really good stuff. You have to do your due diligence here. Keep looking, and looking and looking. If it is treasure you are after, you really have to wade through it to get to the treasures, and it will be worth it when you find it.
My best advice is to always use keywords to narrow down the search when you are looking for something. Be really specific, it really helps your chances of getting to the prize sooner. For example, sterling silver sapphire box chain bracelet is a better start than just typing in silver chain bracelet. Instead of just gold necklace, type18k yellow gold curb chain pearl necklace. See what I mean? The more keywords you can use, the merrier your search will be!
If you are just browsing and you see something you like, add the store or the item to your favourites. Many times, (and this has happened to me, too) it can be hard to find the same store twice if you forget the name. Also, there is the possibility that a seller who posts one item you like, will post other items you’ll like.
If something is lacking in pictures or information, don’t be shy, ask the seller questions. Very few sellers will ignore a potential sale via the conversation option, so be conversational and ask. Good communication is key. That said, don’t expect an immediate answer - do be mindful that the seller may be in a different time zone.
Seller reviews should be read. However, being a person who has been happily and successfully online shopping for the past twenty years or more, I would suggest you only read the negative reviews and decide for yourself. That’s what I always do. Why, you ask? Because, it is the negative reviews that will be properly define the situation for you. Not everyone has less than five star reviews because of stuff they have done badly. Obviously, it’s a no-brainer that buyers will gush about a good sale. That doesn’t tell you much, except that they are happy with their purchase.
It’s the negative feedback that holds the truth in an honest review. Like, for example, something like, “… loved the product, perfect communication, awesome shop… had to pay $xx and wait ages for my parcel to arrive…” Everything was perfect except that it took ages to get here. That is not the fault of the seller. A five star review should be all about the first three options. Deducting stars for something occurring outside the control of the seller is just not a nice thing to do! Postage costs and postal delivery times are out of the control of the seller and have zero to do with the seller’s professionalism and dedication to giving the buyer a first class online shopping experience. Some years ago, I had sold a sapphire necklace that was intended as a Christmas gift to the buyer’s beloved. Everything went well, he had thoughtfully made the purchase several weeks before Christmas and the package was despatched with an anticipated delivery date well before Christmas Eve. There was nothing to worry about, right? Wrong. A hurricane struck and East Coast postal deliveries were delayed indefinitely in the ensuing chaos. Needless to say, the delivery took several weeks and the beloved didn’t see her sapphire necklace until late January. My buyer was dismayed, to say the least. For my part, I kept in close communication with this buyer and did all I could my end to keep his spirits high about the whole situation. Despite the tribulations, the review he left was nothing short of glowing. If you do buy things, leave honest feedback about the product.
I once bought something through ETSY that arrived in a damaged and torn box, the item (a beige vintage felt hat) was damp and ultimately, unwearable. I did not jump straight into feedback on the seller’s page, instead I photographed the box and the item and sent the images to her, with a note explaining that this is how it arrived. She instantly contacted me to apologise, advised I toss it in the trash and refunded my money. She was as shocked as I was at the condition of my purchase and its container. Again, communication saved the day. What a great seller.
Many Etsy sellers accept returns, but not all. Never count on being able to return something unless it specifically says that you can. Even then, you’ll be responsible for return shipping, which is not entirely unreasonable.
The only thing more annoying than buying shoddy goods is buying something beautiful and anticipated, but you cannot wear it. Check your measurements before committing to a purchase and if in any doubt at all, communicate with the seller to sort this out. No sense in going without something you really love and must have, right?