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Your guide to shopping on Etsy is a superb site for tracking down handmade gifts, rare antiques or creative supplies. Finding exactly what you need in an efficient manner isn’t always easy, but with these tips and tricks, you’ll be tracking down great items with ease.

Find what you want on Etsy

Do the taste test

When you create an account on the site, you will be asked to do a “taste test.” In this test, you will be presented with several images of products that can be found on Etsy, such as art, knick-knacks, jewellery, clothing, etc. You click on the image you’re most interested in, and then move on to the next round of images. Once you’re done, the site will have a better sense of what you are looking for, and every time you sign in, your front page will show “items matching your taste.” It’s a great jumping-off point to start looking through the types of stores and products you are after.

Strategize your search

If you’re looking for something in particular, your best option is to perform a narrow search and then widen it if it doesn’t yield any results. Input exactly what you seek (for example, “vintage rectangular green chalkboard”), and then simplify it (“green chalkboard”) if what you need doesn’t pop up.

Use search tools

Etsy provides many efficient search engine tools to help narrow down your search so you aren’t flipping through products you can’t buy. For instance, if you will need the items shipped to Canada, select “ships to Canada” from the bar on the left-hand side. If you would like to reduce your shipping fees and support local entrepreneurs, you can select the “shop location” so your search will yield only shops that run out of your area. And to make sure you aren’t scanning through pages of products that are over your budget, select your price range. Most important, you can narrow your search significantly by selecting whether you want to search in “handmade,” “vintage” or “supplies.”

Create favourites

If you find an item you like but aren’t sure you’re ready to buy it yet, click the heart in the top left corner of the thumbnail photograph (or to the right of its page if you are looking at it full sized) to save it in your favourites. That way you can come back to it with ease!

Search the rest of the shop

Consider the item you come across in your search as window-shopping. Although you might not wind up purchasing that item, it gets you in the door to discover other great products. Once you’ve come across something you really like, take a peek at the rest of the shop. Although the product you found may not be exactly the right shape or colour, there’s a very good chance the shop owner has something similar that will be just what you need.

Contact shop owners

The great thing about Etsy is you’re dealing with independent owners and craftspeople rather than mass corporations. So if you find something you’re interested in but wish it was a slightly different colour or personalized in some way, don’t be afraid to ask. Most shop owners are very willing to accommodate so you can both end up with happy outcomes!

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