Content Meets Commerce: Top 10 Sellers on Etsy

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Etsy is the home to over 900,000 people selling arts and crafts supplies, vintage goods, and handmade goods. Despite having over 15 million members, the community is fiercely loyal to the company that values "very-very small businesses" and wants to make the word "more fair, more sustainable, and more fun." In April of 2012, Etsy creators sold 2.96 million items valued at $63.6 million, 67% higher than April 2011.

We were curious as to which shops made the most sales (quantity, not dollar value), and with the help of Craft Count, we were able to get a sense of what people love to buy. The categories are broken out into supplies, vintage, and handmade. Since Etsy was originally about handmade goods, we thought that was the best place to look. Our findings? People like handmade soaps, irreverent artwork, and … buttons. And yes, coincidentally, many of these items just happen to be Halloween appropriate.

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The Black Apple – Art, Paper, Dolls & Etceteras

Emily Winfield Martin is the author and illustrator of a paper doll epic called "The Black Apple’s Paper Doll Primer." Her prints mostly include little girls and fairytale creatures with a beautifully haunting feel to them. An original painting can cost $650 while an 8x10 print averages $16.

39937 sales

44708 admirers

Feedback: 22281, 100% positive

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Anderson Soap Company – Artistic Luxury Soap & More

Anderson Soap Company sells a huge variety of natural bath and body products, including olive oil soap, vegan body butter, vegan perfume, and more. The small family business is run by Dennis Anderson, and all of the soaps are made in small batches of 4-24 bars at a time. The family does everything from making the bath products to labeling and shipping and value quality over quantity. Prices range from $3 for a lip balm to $13.55 for body scrub. They also do custom soaps for special occasions like baby and bridal showers.

45049 sales

20316 admirers

Feedback: 35028, 100% positive

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Home Studio – Scrabble Tile Jewelry

Stefani and Mark are a married couple who acquire Scrabble game pieces from secondhand sources and work side by side handcrafting them into pendant charms and necklaces with inspirational quotes and whimsical illustrations. Most of the charms are $9 (chain not included). 29619 sales

11980 admirers

Feedback: 10489, 100% positive

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PurplePossom – Onesie Stickers

Emily is a mom to three children who sells stickers parents can affix to their baby’s onesies. The stickers are temporary and not meant to be worn for long periods of times, so they mostly boast of milestones and custom birth announcements. Custom wall art for the nursery is also available.

30189 sales

3475 admirers

Feedback: 6060, 100% positive

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Collage-O-Rama – Purveyor of the World-Famous Dandy Cat & Other Curious Arts

Matt is a professional graphic artists who boasts he can balance anything on his finger for at least thirty seconds. He also creates conversation-starting prints on the pages of old books that are about to be destroyed. Most of the prints are of animals in unique poses or situations, like a T-Rex with a red balloon or hipster giraffe. The prints are all $7.99.

32131 sales

12836 admirers

Feedback: 8737, 100% positive

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6. Berkely Illustration – Animal Portraits

Ryan and Lucy are a husband and wife team who describe themselves as "adventurers, animal lovers, storytellers, and proponents of the low high-five." Lucy does the behind-the-scenes work while Ryan (a self-taught artist) creates hand-drawn portraits of animals, stories, creatures, and heroes using markers and colored pencils. The portraits range in size from 5x7 to 11x14 with buttons, magnets, and bottle openers also available. A limited edition print will run you $35-$50, while an original can cost up to $300.

33406 sales

22805 admirers

Feedback: 10677, 100% positive

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Savor – San Francisco Soap and Beauty Products

Lisa is a wife and mother who lives in San Francisco and makes a hand-crafted line of soaps, lotions, body mists, and scrubs. Her shop currently has 158 items ranging in price from $3.50 for a Beeswax Lip Butter to $12 for Organic Liquid Soap Shower Gel. The Coconut Mochi Crème Fraiche Whipped Soap ($11) is a customer favorite.

29532 sales

13330 admirers

Feedback: 21620, 100% positive

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Happy Family – Birthday, Dinosaur, and Geek T-Shirts

Lori and Starbuck, the mom and pop behind Happy Family, support themselves and their two sons with their Etsy shop where they sell "fun t-shirts" for the whole family. Though their shop is taking a temporary vacation, it still ranks as one of the most popular.

33694 sales

20871 admirers

Feedback: 12485, 98% positive

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Norajane – Lovely Stamps & Other Things

Mollie Flatley is a self-proclaimed "stamp maker and fabric addict" whose parents started making rubber stamps in 2002. She followed in their footsteps four years later and says she is "happy to say she will never again have a ‘real’ job." Each stamp is handmade from start to finish with themes that include holiday, leafs/trees/flowers, animals, and more. She also sells pillows with bold, graphic prints.

40356 sales

23608 admirers

Feedback: 23456, 100% positive

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Beanforest and the Calamity Collective

The #1 handmade seller on Etsy is a guy named Vincent Forrest from West Michigan who sells buttons for $1.50 a piece. The categories range from "culture at large" to "vice/sex/scandal" with one of his best sellers simply proclaiming "*heavy sigh*". With over 500 designs, it appears as though there’s a button for just about everyone.

66371 sales

20765 admirers

Feedback: 31814, 100% positive

*Stats as of August/September 2012

See also: Storytelling, Authenticity and Other Inspirations of Etsy - and interview with Randy J. Hunt, creative director of Etsy.