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A Beginner’s Guide to Shopping Consciously Online With Etsy

Shopping on Etsy can be daunting at first glance. A lot of people wonder if it’s even safe to shop on there, fearing they’ll get scammed by a seller and never get their product.

These are all valid concerns. Unlike other online stores, Etsy has a unique business model where consumers are buying directly from individual sellers, rather than Etsy themselves. Luckily, they do a great job managing any issues between sellers and buyers if something were to arise.

Etsy has been one of my favorite sites to shop on for years. I try to be a conscious consumer, so I like that I can support small businesses at the palm of my hand. And I appreciate Etsy’s green initiatives to make online shopping more sustainable by offsetting 100% of their shipping-generated carbon emissions.

From tips and tricks, to how to avoid scams, keep reading for your guide to shopping on Etsy for the first time.

Affiliate links may be included at no cost to you. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. To learn more, see here.

Utilize the Search Filters

Unlike shopping IRL, Etsy lets you to fully customize what you’re looking for. If you saw a vintage dress on Instagram that you’re dying to have, plug some keywords into Etsy to see if it’s available. Etsy also allows you to filter price, shipping times, shop location, and more. Take advantage of these filters because you don’t get this level of customization in regular thrift stores!


Dresses for sale with search filters on Etsy


Look at Shop Policies

If being green is more your thing, make sure to check the item’s description to see if the shop owner mentions how they package their products, the ingredients they use, etc. If you already have something that you want in mind, see if you can find a green alternative.

As an example, if you’re looking to buy a new chapstick check to see if you can buy one with low-waste packaging. I’ve definitely opted out of buying from a certain store if I find a greener option available through someone else.


Related: The Link Between Fast Fashion and Feminism


Watch Out For Sketchy Photos

If a listing only has a couple photos, or the photos are low quality or even look to be stock photos, (yes, that’s a thing), it’s best to move on. If you see something you really like but it doesn’t have a ton of photos, pop over a message to the seller and ask for more details.

You could also check if their shop has social media. Look to see if they posted any extra photos, or look under their tagged photos on Instagram to see if previous buyers tagged them in anything.


Read Through Reviews

Before buying from a store, make sure you throughly read through their reviews. I usually try to buy from stores that have 100’s of reviews already. I have, on occasion, bought from smaller shops and have had no issues. So if you see something you like but it’s from a smaller store, I’d make sure most (if not all) reviews are five stars and that some of them have a written review versus just the star ranking.

Etsy reviews and star rating


Related: Ethical Etsy Holiday Gift Guide

Ask Questions

On Etsy, you can pop over a direct message to any seller on the platform. I’ve had great luck messaging sellers. They have always been very courteous and helpful, and have been quick to respond. So if you have any questions about a product or their store, send them a direct message. If the seller doesn’t respond in a timely matter, or seems hesitant to answer any of your questions, I would move onto another store.


Hopefully, I helped dispel any myths or uncertainties about shopping on Etsy. Etsy is a great tool for anyone interested in supporting small businesses or are looking to shop more consciously. Just keep in mind the tips above, and practice your best judgment. And I’m sure you’ll have a great experience!

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  1. I love shopping on Etsy, though I’ll admit, most of that happens to be digital purchases, because shipping costs to India are usually quite high! 🙁

    1. Etsy is so great! I haven’t bought many digital products, but they’re so handy! Have you tried filtering to only your country? I’m not sure how popular Etsy is over there, but you might be able to find some cool sellers! Thanks for stopping by! (:

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