Selling on eBay Vs. Etsy – My Secret Life in PJs!

Steuben lamp globe
Gold, Steuben, Aurene lamp globe, sold on eBay to a happy customer in Florida

I sell antiques and baubles on eBay and Etsy because I have a lot of stuff and it’s a world-wide market, a marketplace a million times greater than the one where I live in Arkansas.

On Etsy, I have two Shops. I sell antiques and vintage at Pazazz and fledgling art projects at SwimYellowDuck.

On eBay,  I’ve sold everything under the sun since 2007. My user name is swimyellowduck, and I became a Power Seller on eBay, grossing over $69,000 in a seven-year period. My husband and I have sold so many antiques and collectibles that I filled a website (estatetrinketsandtreasures.com) with my research and photos to help other sellers research their antiques.

celluloid tape measure in the shape of a cat
Vintage, celluloid, kitty-cat tape measure

Currently, I am a Power-Seller has-been. In order to be an eBay Bronze Power Seller, you must sell 100 items with revenues of $3,000 in a 12-month period, and I am at the midway point with 42 items and $1,800 in sales, having taken a selling hiatus this past year.

Would you like to know a few pros and cons between selling on Etsy and selling on eBay?

On eBay, you can sell anything from a boat to a book on two platforms: (1) selling an item at a flat price (Buy It Now) or (2) selling an item at Auction. EBay is famous for its auction format. Auctions get the blood pumping. (Sometime, I will tell you about some of my famous auction sales).

Huldah Goebel figurine
Huldah figurine by Goebel, 1964

On Etsy, there are no auctions. Etsy is a selling platform for (1) Arts and Crafts and (2) Vintage/Antique.

Etsy is a great arts and crafts community and platform. Sell supplies for arts and crafts or your own art and craft creations or those anyone in your shop has made –paintings, knitting, cupcakes, woodwork, carving, steampunk, jewelry, stitching, and beyond.

To sell or re-sell manufactured goods they need to fall under the Vintage/Antique category of a commercial retail item manufactured or purchased prior to 1999.

A plus in the Etsy column, on Etsy you have an Etsy Shop. When a Buyer views one of your items for sale, they see all of your items for sale in a Shop format. On eBay, you pay an additional fee for a “Shop.” On eBay, after viewing one of  your items, Buyers need to click a link to “See Other Items.”

Not only do you have a Shop on Etsy – free – but Etsy maintains your shop data from day one so that you have a sales record, along with your original ads, including photos, of everything you have ever sold or listed for sale.

On eBay, sales information goes away quickly. As well, your ad and photos go to their companion site, Worthpoint, where they market your sales information.

Both eBay and Etsy, have an international option, and provide great access to international Buyers around the world. Of course, the international market is more vital when the dollar is down – hee, hee.

I have enjoyed a higher percentage of international sales on Etsy in 2014 than on eBay.

International sales on Etsy, 2014: I shipped three Kewpie plaques to the Netherlands; a set of Italian Anri carvings to Israel; two celluloid tape measures to Australia; the Sew Lutterloh System International to France; a glass, paperweight clock to Robin Hood land, Nottinghamshire, England; a mink/fisher collar to Canada; a Napco head vase to Hong Kong; a Bing and Grondahl Mother’s Day plate to Russia; and a Goebel Huldah figurine to Japan.

glass paperweight clock
Glass, paperweight clock, made in U.S.A.

International sales on eBay, 2014: a Seiko Moon Face watch to Saudia Arabia, a Batman Limited Collectors Edition 1970 DC Super Size Comic Book to Germany; a walking toy doll to Canada; and a Japanese Netsuke to Russia.

Ebay and Etsy both offer support. I am one that needs technical support so it is very important to me. Etsy has a dream team working on support. Accessing eBay’s support is a phone call away, but you don’t always have resolution because eBay is complex and sometimes goes beyond the control of the Support staff and can become a game of Ring ‘o Ring Rosie.

Anri, hand-carved, spoon and fork
Collectible, Anri Fork and Spoon, hand carved and painted in Italy

Fees on eBay and Etsy vary, with the more costly fees on eBay, so that fees eat up your profit on lower priced items of $20 or less. For Instance, I recently sold a Westmoreland plate on eBay at $18 with $7 Flat-Fee Shipping (total of $25). Fees extracted by eBay, Shipping, and PayPal totaled $11.58, which left me with a net profit of $13.42 on the item, and that amount does not factor in the real expenses for customer support, shipping supplies, shipping costs (running to the post office),  photography, computer time, and the nerve-wracking packing/shipping process.

All that said, when I balance the business fees to sell on eBay and Etsy with the fact that I have a world-wide market at my doorstep with millions of prospective customers against the costs of a brick & mortar store with costs for real estate, staff, utilities, etc., I think I get the better end of the deal online and recommend selling on both platforms.

After all, I have my dream job, working at the computer in my PJ’s.

More later.

Westmoreland plate
Donkey in relief on this classic, blue opalescent plate by Westmoreland

Published by

Patricia Wiskur

My love for art comes from years in the studio of Wiskur Productions, with my husband, Darrell Wiskur, a designer and photographer. Also, I was an editor and photographer in the real world for 17 years ... all the while, thankful for an artful life and cherished memories. Photos are ©2019 Darrell D. Wiskur