Did you know that the Etsy marketplace has been growing exponentially over the last few years?
As an experienced graphic designer with a long history and presence on Etsy and on my own 2 other sites, I have noticed that with growth comes some unexpected and particularly unwelcome changes at times.
Every day literally hundreds of new CHEAP "invitation" shops open on Etsy. That may not be such a great thing. Here are a few reasons why.
• LACK OF GRAPHIC DESIGN EXPERIENCE
Many of these shop vendors have NO graphic design experience
• INAPPROPRIATE DESIGN SOFTWARE
Some are using unprofessional software - such as web-based applications or even Microsoft Publisher
(these will never create a high quality graphic design product)
• DO NOT INCLUDE BLEED MARGINS
Many do NOT have any idea about working with "bleed margins". If your invitation design file does NOT include a professional bleed margin, you will be in for a big disappointment when you print the invitations - there is an unavoidable automatic thin crop which takes place at print time. If the file does not have the bleed margin, critical parts of the design and/or words/text may be cropped off at print time.
• LOW RESOLUTION Print Files = Blurry / Pixelated / Fuzzy Invitations
Because of inexperience of just lack of graphic design training, you may receive a file in low resolution which may look great on your computer screen or smart phone (all computer images are low resolution so they load fast) - but will NOT print out crisp and clear and may not even print at the correct size.
Tips for Avoiding Disappointments
Unfortunately, many customers want something at a very low price but the ages old saying still remains true - you usually get what you pay for. If a vendor is selling a design for $10 or less be sure to look at the following factors shown below - usually newer inexperienced shops desperate for sales will "give away" their designs and work by selling at an unbelievably low price.
1 - Look at the Date the Shop Opened (how long has the shop been in business on Etsy)
(verify the years)
2 - Look at the number of Sales they have had
(the more sales they have had over the course of multiple years - chances are you are in good hands)
3 - Look at the Shop Reviews
(while every vendor is entitled to have some negative reviews just because of the fact that not every customer can be pleased, look at the overall average number of Stars
Anything 4 to 5 Stars - Probability is that you will be in good hands
Anything below 4 Stars - Keep shopping - you will be better off in the long run
The BEST picture of a shop owner's reputation is created by looking at all 3 Combined.
The Shop Owners who have been Multiple Years on Etsy - especially over 3 years PLUS significant number of Sales PLUS a Great Feedback Average - You should feel comfortable doing business with them.
This is all PUBLIC information posted on the home page of every Etsy shop.
Finally, What About Printed Invitations?
If you order printed invitations from an Etsy vendor - be sure to review all of the above BEFORE placing an order. Many unreputable invitation vendors on Etsy will print on cheap card stock at home using their home printer which can never be compared to Professionally Printed Invitations. I do not sacrifice quality and so I personally, would never sell my customers invitations printed at home.