Avoiding Business Failures: Lessons from an Etsy Shop Nightmare

Avoiding Business Failures: Lessons from an Etsy Shop Nightmare

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. The Dream of Becoming a Perfume Entrepreneur
  3. Challenges of Selling on Etsy
    • Dry Periods in Sales
    • Competition and Market Saturation
    • Pricing and Shipping Costs
  4. The Reality of Making Perfumes and Beauty Products
    • High-Quality Materials and Expenses
    • Customers' Price Expectations
    • The Importance of Marketing and Social Media
  5. Lessons Learned and Moving Forward
    • Giving Away Products as Gifts
    • Reconsidering Selling Antiques
    • Reevaluating Business Strategies
  6. Conclusion



Making a successful business venture can be a challenging endeavor, and sometimes even the most promising ideas can fall short of expectations. In this article, we will dive into the story of someone who had grand dreams of becoming a perfume entrepreneur but faced numerous obstacles along the way.

The Dream of Becoming a Perfume Entrepreneur

The allure of creating unique perfumes and beauty products can be a tantalizing proposition for many. Our protagonist had high hopes of building an empire and becoming a multi-millionaire by crafting exceptional fragrances, lotions, and soaps. With the rise of success stories from platforms like Etsy, where individuals have sold thousands of items and garnered rave reviews, the aspiration seemed within reach.

Challenges of Selling on Etsy

However, the journey to entrepreneurial success wasn't as smooth as anticipated. The seller had already been successfully selling antiques on Etsy for eight years, but the experience didn't prepare them for the challenges of the beauty product market. Dry periods in sales, fierce competition, pricing and shipping costs, and marketing difficulties quickly became their new reality.

Dry Periods in Sales

Selling on platforms like Etsy or eBay can result in unpredictable sales patterns. While there might be periods of high demand and multiple sales, there are also dry spells lasting for months. This inconsistency can lead to financial uncertainty and further complicate the already tumultuous journey of a budding entrepreneur.

Competition and Market Saturation

The beauty product market is highly saturated, with thousands of sellers offering a plethora of options. Standing out from the crowd becomes a monumental task, especially for those lacking social media influence or marketing prowess. Our seller, experiencing social anxiety and phobia, struggled to connect with potential customers and promote their products effectively.

Pricing and Shipping Costs

One of the fundamental dilemmas faced by our protagonist was pricing. The materials required to create high-quality perfumes and beauty products can be expensive, driving up the production costs. However, customers on platforms like Etsy often prefer to spend no more than five or ten dollars on such items. This creates a conundrum where the seller must compromise between profitability and market demand. Additionally, the expectation of free shipping, akin to the convenience offered by e-commerce giants like Amazon, added to the financial strain.

The Reality of Making Perfumes and Beauty Products

Crafting perfumes, lotions, and soaps is not a simple endeavor. It requires an understanding of fragrance composition, access to high-quality ingredients, and artistic flair. The seller invested their time, effort, and funds into creating a wide range of captivating products, like spring clothesline body and hand lotion, fresh lavender fields hand soap and body wash, and an enticing perfume aptly named "the bomb." These products were meticulously designed, featuring dried herbs and even crystals, to evoke a multisensory experience.

High-Quality Materials and Expenses

Creating luxury products necessitates the use of top-notch materials. Our seller procured expensive glass vials and bottles, costing anywhere from one to three dollars per product. Additionally, the essential oils used to impart captivating scents added to the overall expenses. However, the investment failed to translate into profit due to customers' unwillingness to pay higher prices.

Customers' Price Expectations

Despite the quality and craftsmanship evident in each product, customers on platforms like Etsy had a different perspective. Their price expectations were considerably lower than the production costs. Our seller was faced with the dilemma of reducing prices significantly or failing to make sales. Unfortunately, this left them financially burdened and questioning the viability of their business venture.

The Importance of Marketing and Social Media

In the rapidly evolving world of e-commerce, social media presence and marketing acumen play crucial roles in business success. Unfortunately, our seller struggled with social anxiety and phobia, which hindered their ability to engage with customers and promote their products effectively. Without the necessary marketing prowess and social media influence, gaining visibility in a competitive market became an uphill battle.

Lessons Learned and Moving Forward

Entrepreneurial journeys are often marked by valuable lessons learned from both successes and failures. Our protagonist's experience with selling perfumes and beauty products on Etsy taught them several important lessons.

Giving Away Products as Gifts

Rather than letting their unsold products gather dust, our seller found solace in gifting their creations to others. Their dog groomer, mailman, and even the old crabby cat lady on the block received samples of the beautiful products. Additionally, showing gratitude to those who offered kindness by gifting them free products brought a sense of fulfillment amidst the financial setback.

Reconsidering Selling Antiques

Reflecting on past successes, our seller contemplated returning to selling antiques. While the beauty product market proved to be a formidable challenge, the sale of higher-priced antique items allowed for greater profitability and required less effort. However, this decision came with the realization that future endeavors should be approached more cautiously and with a greater understanding of market dynamics.

Reevaluating Business Strategies

The failed venture into the perfume and beauty product market prompted our seller to reevaluate their business strategies. They recognized the need for a solid marketing plan, either by acquiring new skills or seeking assistance from professionals. The importance of building a social media presence and influencer network became evident, and strategies were devised to overcome social anxiety obstacles.


The journey of entrepreneurship is filled with twists and turns, successes and failures. Our protagonist's dream of creating a successful business in the realm of perfumes and beauty products ended with valuable lessons learned and a need for reassessment. The challenges of pricing, shipping costs, market saturation, and marketing difficulties presented significant obstacles that, for the time being, surpassed their capacity to overcome. However, with newfound wisdom, resilient spirits, and a reconsideration of their approach, they set forth on a new path, ready to embark on the next chapter of their entrepreneurial journey.

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