I recently reached 1,000 sales in my Etsy shop. That's easy to do because of my digital items, but I want to celebrate anyway! From now through August 4th, customers will receive 20% off their purchase of $25 or more (before shipping), with code 2025SALE. Click the image below to be taken to the shop.
While we're discussing the shop, several customers and friends have asked why my shop is not set up to ship to more countries. It's a complicated answer, but I'll attempt to explain.
International shipping rates have gotten excessively restrictive in the U.S. The smallest parcel costs about $13.80 USD to ship, and it quickly goes up to almost $30 with the slightest amount of weight. That is not impossible to overcome, when a customer is willing to pay shipping on an item that he / she cannot obtain locally.
However, once the package arrives at its destination, many customers have to pay customs fees on top of having already paid for the item itself and shipping. A friend recently sold a doll for $400, and the customer had to pay $200 in customs fees. Some customers have chosen to work around this by requesting that the seller declare the package to be worth a considerable amount less than its actual value. So if the buyer purchases $80 worth of merchandise, he / she might request that the buyer declare the value as $10.
Under declaring merchandise value on the customs declaration can be problematic. If a seller declares the value as $10, and the package is lost, guess how much the insurance will cover? Ten dollars. That means that the actual value of the merchandise has been lost. Many sellers will not declare a false value for this reason, and many will also not declarre false values due to the dishonesty of the practice.
I've read the testimonies of several experienced sellers who have chosen to not sell internationally because of the frustration and added work. All of them have also reported that the buyers, after paying customs, tend to be irritated and are more likely to leave the seller a bad review.
So what is my personal policy? I have shipping internationally turned off in my shop, except for a few items that I've opened up to Canada to see how it goes. However, if customers reach out to me and begin a conversation with me in Etsy (through my shop), requesting certain products, I am willing to work with them after we have a dialog about the complexities of the shipping issue. If they are still willing to proceed, once they see the shipping rates and understand the customs fees their country will charge, we might be able to set up a purchase arrangement.