by on October 30, 2011

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Choosing a Category when listing an item.

Etsy has hundreds of different categories you can use to identify your shop items.  Usually this is pretty straightforward.  Is your item, for example, a piece of Art, or is it Furniture, or perhaps a piece of Jewelry?

Each selected category then opens up an additional list of choices.  If you are selling a handmade candle, is it beeswax, or pillar, or vegan, or a candle holder?

Then a third set of options appears.  If you have selected candle and holder, then is your item ceramic, mosaic, wire or any of the other options?

My limited edition print - is it Art / Painting / Watercolor or is it Art / Print / Giclee?

As I began to roll out my etsy shop with more items, I ran into a question about posting the giclee prints of my paintings.  Are these watercolors?  Or are they prints? To me, prints means fine art printmaking – works of art like block prints, silkscreen prints, etchings and engravings.  But technically the giclee prints of my watercolors were also prints – limited edition archival inkjet, to be precise.

And did etsy care?  I certainly didn’t want to get into trouble with these folks.  The answer wasn’t clear in any of etsy’s help documents, so I clicked the “Help” link in the top left side of my screen.  On that page was an option for email support, so here’s the note I sent:

“My question is pretty basic, but I can’t find a clear policy for this.  When listing, for example, a product that is a print of a watercolor painting, does one place this in the Art/Painting/Watercolor category (since the work of art is a watercolor) and make sure the item title and description clearly indicate that it is a print?  Or is one required to place prints in the Reproduction category?  Or to place giclee prints in the Art/Print/Giclee category? Or Art/Print/Digital (which is essentially the same as Giclee…)

All very confusing.  I suspect that Etsy leaves it up to the shop owner/artist to choose which category they feel works best?  Especially since over half of the listings in the Art/Painting/Watercolor category are prints of watercolors.

But I wonder if there is an official policy or Etsy guide on this subject? Thanks. Kim”

In about a day I got a reply from the Etsy Support Team:

“Hi Kim, Thanks for emailing us!

You are correct, that this is generally up to the discretion of the seller to determine where to list prints of their items. You can do as you described, and make sure you mention in the listing that the item is a print and not an original. In the future, we hope to have better choices for categories so that this is easier and more clear cut.

Sorry for the confusion about this!  Please let us know if you have any other questions about Etsy. Best, Nicole G
Etsy’s Support Team”

So have at it!  Upload items to your etsy store, select what you feel is the best, most descriptive category, and make sure you present your work as clearly as possible to prospective customers. Transparency and honesty is the goal here – as is adding lots and lots of wonderful products!  Onward!


Illustration  © Kim Solga at BlueOtterArt on Etsy

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen November 5, 2013 at 11:26 pm

Oh – you were right on the verge of answering my question about how tolist my items:

I want to figure out the best / easiest way to list my products so that people can easily understand the things that they can buy.
Basically I have Original art –
from each of those I offer different products:
Mounted Prints, unmounted prints, 2 different sizes of greeting cards, and soon more products (like notebooks, pillows, etc with an image one of the art pieces on it.
So – 5 different products from each image.
One of the considerations is that the shipping is so different on -say – cards vs a mounted print.
Please take a look and let me know if you have a solution for me!


myetsy November 12, 2013 at 4:51 pm

Your work is great, Jennifer. I peeked at “Shipping and Policies” for your items, and it looks like you have set appropriate shipping prices for different things. I also love how you have used Etsy’s “Listing Variations” feature to offer different options for your greeting cards ( Well done!


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