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Selling avocado jewellery on etsy

Freshly oiled avocado core pendants

I updated the prices at the beginning of December 2020 as I got some orders from the USA which I had accidentally marked as “free delivery”. Now I am not selling anything outside of Europe anymore and only Germany is free.
If anyone outside of Europe really wants a pendant I am sure we can arrange something. 🙂 As Etsy mainly showed my ads to people outside of Europe I had to do something to stop that.
Etsy keeps telling me to put more effort into my shop, my profile, my listings. If it were for Etsy, I would do nothing else than pimping my pictures, texts and create videos.
Understandable because my quality is theirs.
Unfortunately, my profit is theirs too.
I have tried the ads function and the last order I got left me with something like 9€ after paying the listing costs and the ad costs and that was before I bought the stamps for the shipping …

In this post, I’ll examine how and if it would work if I’d make this my main job:
I understand why it’s nice to read something about the stuff you buy, hear about the back story, how it’s done, the values and inspiration of the artist and all of that. But I can’t do this for every post. That’s what this blog is for. If you want to get to know me – this is the place. And if you like my art, my style, please check out the results I sell on Etsy.
Or even better get in touch with me directly so I won’t have to share with Etsy.

Here’s what happens if I sell on Etsy

The process of handmade avocado core jewellery

  • – We buy an avocado or even better collect it in a restaurant because avocados aren’t that sustainable if you eat tons of them to make avocado stone pendants.
  • – We eat the avocado, I take the seed out and clean it.
  • – Then it dries for a few days.
  • – I peel it gently and take the two sides apart. For about a week or two I’ll be working on those parts every few evenings because it will get drier every day and I can carve out more details.
  • – Once it’s fully dry I polish it, sometimes I add some linseed oil, drill the holes, add other bits and pieces, and add the string.
  • – Then I take it to the garden to take a few pictures in the grass.
  • – I put those pictures on the computer (no retouching!) and create a new listing with text and info and sizes and price and a few unique words about that pendant in particular.
  • – Now Etsy wants 0.20$ to put the listing online for 3 months. Let’s say I need to have a listing live for a year until it’s sold. So that’s +0.7€ (0.8$) per pendant per year. I have +50 charms online -> now that’s suddenly 35€/ year – shelf space.
  • – Because Etsy says so… within Europe, the delivery is free which can cost me a whole lot, but I am learning how to make a nice packaging and still not have an expensive package to deliver. Let’s say on average this costs another 4€ – within Germany.
  • – Well and there’s the tools, packaging, the string, the other materials and while I do almost exclusively use recycles stuff it needs to come from somewhere, but let’s pretend this is all free.
  • – So creating the pendant was about 3 – 5 or more hours
  • – Additional work which I have for each item is adding strings, packing, shipping, writing, taking pictures, setting up the listings is another hour.

The fees Etsy takes

  • – Listing Fee ($0.20)
  • – Transaction Fee (5%)
  • – Payment Processing Fee (4% + 0.30 EUR)

Breaking down the price

Three pricing categories

  • Here are my 3 updated price categories (until 25.10.2020 almost everything was 25€, then I added the 3 categories depending on the time I worked on the pendant and then I had to add the shipping fee…):
  • 29,99€ – it took me less than 3 hours to carve
  • – 34,99€ – it took me 3 to 4 hours to carve
  • – 39,99€ – it took me more than 4 hours to carve

Amount Etsy keeps in those three cases

  • – 29.99€ -> 3.70€ (- 0.7€ listing fee, -1.50€ Transaction Fee, -1.5€ Payment Processing Fee)
  • – 34.99€ -> 4.15€ (- 0.7€ listing fee, -1.75€ Transaction Fee, -1.7€ Payment Processing Fee)
  • – 39.99€ -> 4.60€ (- 0.7€ listing fee, -2.00€ Transaction Fee, -1.9€ Payment Processing Fee)

What I get in the end

  • Let’s pretend the avocado, tools, materials, the packaging is free
  • To this I still need to add the average of 4€ shipping which leaves me with:
  • 22.29€ of a 29.99€ pendant: 29.99€ – 7.70€ (3.70€+4€)
  • – 26.84€ of a 34.99€ pendant: 34.99€ – 8.15€ (4.15€+4€)
  • – 31.39€ of a 39.99€ pendant: 39.99€ – 8.60€ (4.60€+4€)

How much I make per hour with the prices categories I am using atm

  • – 22.29€ for 3h carving and 1h additional work: 5.57€ per hour
  • – 26.84€ for 4h carving and 1h additional work: 5.37€ per hour
  • – 31.39€ for 5h carving (or more) and 1h additional work: 5.23€ per hour

Take away: Can one live from selling handmade jewellery on Etsy?

  • Pretending I sell everything I make and I work 40h/ week for 5.57€/ hour. I’d earn 891.2€ a month from which I’d have to pay tax and I need to pay the etsy advertising.
  • UPDATE: I tried Etsy ads and on average it costs me 30% of the price I sell the pendant for… (I’ll redo the calculation adding that another day)
  • The minimum wage here in Germany is 9,35€/h.
  • Do the math…
  • – I have not yet added the time I spend advertising and entertaining on Instagram – where I only get shown to all my followers when I pay for it, which I haven’t done…
  • – I am trying Etsy ads – which is another 1$/ day minimum. But this will only level me with less…
  • – I could make the pendant twice as expensive or half as good…

This will most likely never be more than a hobby, which I am lucky enough to afford! Therefore I am donating the profits of the shop.

As there will most likely then never be more than 100 HerrBerta Avocadoseed pendants it makes them even more special.

Update: I have stopped creating avocado core pendants

Update 19.11.2020 No more avocado pit pendants. I have decided to let this hobby rest for the time being for several reasons. There are 64 pendants available in the herrberta art shop right now and I am about to upload 6 more. So this becomes a limited tread in addition to each one being absolutely unique.

Here are my reasons:

  • As mentioned above, to get to the minimum wage, I need to either make them twice the price or spend half the time making them. Both are unrealistic, so this is not really a sustainable project.
  • I do not need to make a living with this side-hustle, but I want to donate the profits, and therefore I think I invest my time in something that is hopefully more helpful.
  • I have tried Etsy ads, and this makes it even less sustainable. It might work better if I hade more pendants of the same kind and could then optimize for the ones that sell best with the least effort, but that really makes it another job.
  • Avocados do not grow here in Germany. Due to Covid-19, the idea of getting them from Restaurants didn’t really work out so I might maybe consider it again if I get back to Spain – which might never be.
  • Maybe because holiday preparations are on the menu atm I have enough crafty things to do and therefore I am not even that easer to pursue pit carving right now.