Category Archives: Crafting item descriptions

Crafting detailed listing titles, tags and descriptions to help your Etsy vintage item stand out from the crowd

It’s been four months since I opened my Etsy vintage shop, and I’m getting better at crafting titles, creating more specific listing “tags”, and writing descriptions for my items.

This post is about my efforts to make my Etsy vintage items stand out from the mass of products available from web-based stores.

Based on my experience, this article covers:

  • Why it’s important to use all 13 tags within the Etsy listing system
  • How a little research can help a seemingly generic item stand out from the others
  • How including  the size of an item in my listing title may have led to selling it
  • And an example of finding a niche in a product category with 74 pages of listings!

Listing Tags and Titles

Using tags — words or short phrases — to describe your item listing on Etsy helps potential buyers find your item by matching your tags with a shopper’s search term.

Etsy allows you to use 13 tags for each listing.  Each tag can contain up to 20 characters.

At first, 13 seemed like a lot of tags — do I really need to use all of the tags?

I’m finding that the answer is YES, I do!

The tags help potential buyers find a listing in my store among the hundreds — or sometimes thousands — of similar products for sale on Etsy, EBay and the myriad of on-line shops.

Example 1: The Asian Fan with Red-Crowned Cranes

If you are looking for a traditional folding Asian Fan, and type in “Asian Fan” in Ebay’s search box, you will get thousands of results.

In fact, as of today, November 6, 2015, there are 12,406 “Asian Fans” listed on EBay.  Yikes!

Asian Fan in EBay November 2015

It was less overwhelming on Etsy, with just hundreds of fans in the different categories.

Still, there were a total of 2,069 items listed for “Asian Fans”.

Etsy Asian Fan Listings

So when I listed this fancy, gold-painted, traditional, folding “Asian Fan” on my store, I thought it would take a very LONG time to sell…


The folding fan was an interesting vintage object, but what I really liked about it was the theme, and the painting of the two birds on the gold background.

I took a guess that these birds were a type of crane, since I knew a little about the importance of cranes in Asian cultures.

More specifically, they had a red crown… so I researched “Red-Crowned Cranes”, and learned more about these birds.

I decided to focus the listing on the birds, and used the words “Red-Crowned Cranes” in the title.  and included the string of words as one of my 13 tags for the listing.

Red Crown Crane Fan Listing

I also included a bit of what I learned, for the item’s description section.  Excerpt below…

Red Crown Crane item description

On Tuesday, the words “red crown crane” were among the search terms someone used to find their way to my vintage shop.

Here’s a screen shot of Page 3 of  the top keywords that day…

Red Crown Crane keywordsAnd yesterday…. despite this listing being less than a week old, the fan sold!

It was surprising to me because this item had zero views and zero favorites, prior to the sale.

Also, there was no search term that day for “Asian Fan” (or even Chinese or Japan fans, the other tags I also used for the listing.)

Perhaps someone was looking for something with a red-crown crane as a gift.  And though they may not have thought about an “Asian Fan”, the item became a gift option.

For this listing, I think the focus on the Red-Crowned Crane helped sell the fan.

Example 2: The Long Wood Box

If you type “Wood Box” within Etsy’s search box, here is what you will get (as of November 4, 2015):

Listings for Wood Box on Etsy Nov 2015

A whole lot of boxes —- 69,363 to be exact.

How on earth can you make your particular box stand out, like this wood box I listed among 69,363 wood boxes?


Well, it’s a wood box with a specific shape (LONG)  and size (over 11 inches long ), information which I included in the listing and the tags.

Long Wood Box Item Listing

And also on Tuesday,  guess what words — actually, NUMBERS — showed up on my top keyword terms?

2by11 box Top KeywordsThe box size, or at least close to it — 2×11.

This box also sold that same day!

So, despite the 69,363 wood boxes on the Etsy website, this buyer found this specific box, because of the size, and this size number included on the listing title, item details and item tags.

Finding a Niche:  The Wood Magazine Holder Example

Here is how the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines “niche”:

Niche Definition

My last example for this post is a wood magazine holder, listed on my shop pages in August.


In August, when I typed “magazine rack” in Etsy’s search box  I got 3,097 results.

Being a fairly new seller, I didn’t even want to imagine where — or at what page (out of 74 pages!) my listing would surface.

Magazine Rack

Using a generic tag to include your item in a broad, general category is a start.  But even better is to use more specific language.

My item was a wood magazine rack.

If one types in “wood magazine rack, the results are less daunting.

Wood Magazine Rack

Now there are just 927 items, and only 23 pages of wood magazine racks.

Looking at my wood magazine rack, the wheel part reminded me of a Western wagon wheel, or a Western style decor.  I added the following words for the tags on this listing:

  • Western Decor
  • Western Style Rack
  • Wagon Wheel

And so now, if someone was looking for a “Western Magazine Rack” there is only 1 page of items, and only 13 results (as of August, 2015).  And Voila — there is my item!

Western style Magazine Holder

The wheel also reminded me of an old-fashioned ship or nautical type wheel, so I added the following terms to my listing tags:

  1. Wheel Decor
  2. Nautical themes

If someone was looking for a magazine rack with a specific wheel or nautical theme, they will have 1 page and 23 items to look through (again, as of August, 2015).

Nautical Magazine Rack

And now my listing is up on the top, in the first (and only) page, just as it was on the “Western Magazine Rack” search.

I barely have the patience to look through 5 pages of magazine racks….let alone, 74!  Being on the first few pages is definitely better.

So while this magazine holder has not yet sold, I feel pretty confident that it will find its way to a new owner, eventually :) .

I’m still learning more about titles and tags…

What I do know is that using more detailed descriptions, and specific words or a string of words for your title and tags is a must, in addition to the generic terms for your listing (like magazine rack, or Asian fan).

When posting a new item, remember:

  • There are 13 tags to use — use ALL OF THEM.
  • Be creative, and think about what a potential customer may call the item or what they can do with it.  Can it be re-purposed into something else?
  • Be sure to use the listing title’s 140 characters to your advantage, and be as detailed as possible with your title.
  •   Include the size of your item — remember that the term “11×2” may be all it took for my long box to find its new owner.
  • Incorporate the words used in your title within your item details and description.  So far, I have not reached a character limit on my item detail description  — there is a lot of room for item details!
  • Have fun, do a bit of research on your objects and when possible, provide what you have learned to help the listing stand out from the masses.

I rarely put up a listing without using ALL of the characters allowed on the listing title. My “short” title means I use 138 characters and not 140.

Are you doing the same thing in terms of refining your tag words and using all the characters available for your listing title?

I hope this post was helpful.

— Jane

By the way, yesterday, the customer who bought the long box left a positive feedback — another 5 star review for the store!

Long Wood Box Review


Market Tales Article – My first listings — and describing my Franciscan Pottery and Heath Ceramics items

Etsy image link How to Get FoundEtsy Article – How to Get Found in Search Getting found in search may seem daunting, but all it takes is a little know-how

Etsy Blog – Seller How To: Tag-o-rama With Descriptive Keywords

Back to Market Tales Home Page, here.

English “Transferware” Cups (and more)

My taste in cups — and most objects — tend to be simple designs using natural materials.  I am not into glitzy things, bling on my clothes or overly ornate objects.

My favorite cup at the moment is this blue-green little stoneware beauty, which came from a thrift store (I do not know the manufacturer, only that it is from Japan).

Current Favorite Cup marked from JapanNow that I have an Etsy store, it is easier to expand my appreciation for more ornate objects, since I am curating these for the store.

And although I am taking the item home, I know that my relationship with the object is short-lived… that is of course, if I am successful in selling the item.

I can love the object and know that eventually, it will go to someone who will love it even more than I do.  And if it is going to a home of an avid collector, then even better as it will have many companions!

Take this cup for instance…


While this cup may not be something I would want to use everyday, looking at the intricate details of the image certainly gave me an appreciation for the artwork.

The image on this cup is applied via a process called  “transferware”.   Transferware also refers to a particular style of pottery and dinnerware ceramics.

The cup is made in England —- the place were transferware originated.

Cup Transferware Image Details

The beautiful image is first engraved by an artist on a copper plate.

Wet ink is then applied on the copper plate and pressed onto very thin, tissue paper.  The tissue paper is then transferred  to the blank cup (or plates and the myriad of tableware items) and then dried in a kiln to permanently set the image.

The story behind how transferware was started is nicely done on Nancy Roberts’ blog Nancy’s Daily Dish.   Here is an excerpt from Nancy’s article:

Although John Brooks, an Irish engraver is credited with having the first patent for the transferware printing technique in 1751, it was John Sadler and Guy Green of Liverpool, who independently discovered  the process, who are credited with perfecting the technique in 1756.

…Like his father, John was a kind man who showed compassion to the less fortunate. He would give extra prints he had to the children living nearby who would in turn go the local potteries and ask for the ‘wasters’ which were broken or un-saleable pots and pottery.

The children would affix the prints to the pottery and use them as decoration in doll houses and play.

When John saw the decoration he wondered, “What if pottery could receive an impression from a wet print, and then be fixed by firing afterwards”.

This thought sparked what would later come to be known as one of the greatest stories of mass production ever.

John, who had apparently developed a close relationship with Guy Green, probably like that of brothers, upon envisioning the idea of a piece of pottery with a print upon it, immediately and confidentially called on Guy Green to explore the possibilities of his new idea… (click here to read the complete article)

Here is my Etsy Store listing for this cup:

Etsy Listing Transferware
You can click on the image to see the listing at the Etsy website.


And actually… I had another transferware item — a plate — that I listed over a month ago (before I learned more about transferware).

P1240068 a
You can click on the image if you want to see the listing on my Etsy Shop

The castle image is what attracted me to this particular piece.

You can click on the image if you want to see the listing on my Etsy Shop

The plate is by Johnson Brothers of England, in the Old Britain Castle Series .

This particular plate is the Blarney Castle 1792, with stamps on back and “Stoke-on-Trent England”.


The city of Stoke-on-Trent is located in the county of Staffordshire, England — and Staffordshire is known as the area where the transferware technique was developed.

Interestingly, the famed English potter Josiah Wedgwood — founder of Wedgwood — was born in this area.

Because the Staffordshire area has an abundance of fine clay, a pottery industry has existed in this region since the 12th century.  Wow!

Though with so much manufacturing going to the Asia region these days, I do wonder if the pottery  industry will continue in this area, in this century.  Will we see less and less “Made in England” pottery?

So at least now, when I see this type of pottery and ceramic images, I will know a bit more about its history.

Back to Market Tales Home Page

Informative Links:

The Transferware Collectors Club is a forum for sharing information and interests between archaeologists, collectors, curators, dealers, historians, scholars,

The Lonborg Denmark cast iron / blue enamel item — a “Brutalist” bowl?

When I purchased these beautiful Dansk 1960’s era casseroles in the Fluted Flamestone line, it came with  bonus piece.

Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 3 quart casserole (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)
Dansk1960’s fluted flamestone 2 quart casserole with a tagine-like dome top (click on photo to see the listing on Etsy)

The bonus piece was a cast iron “bowl”.

The prior owner thought the bowl was a Dansk piece and part of the set.

It was not.P1250659In fact, it wasn’t  a Dansk item at all but it could have possibly been purchased with the casseroles in mind.

The bottom of this lovely cast iron piece had  nice clear stamp — so it was easy enough to get preliminary information.

P1250657Within Etsy’s search box, I found  a listing for the item from  an Etsy seller in the United Kingdom:

UK ListingI do my best to research the objects that I list on my store, so it was interesting to see this listing and the title.

The listing title included the words “Brutalist” and Space Age.

A quick search yielded this Wikipedia article about the term Brutalist — a term not yet familiar to me.

Brutalist architecture is a movement in architecture that flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s, descending from the modernist architectural movement of the early 20th century.

The term originates from the French word for “raw” in the term used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete).

British architectural critic Reyner Banham adapted the term into “brutalism” (originally “New Brutalism”) to identify the emerging style.

I have seen sculptures described as Brutalist — like this steel and brass piece from the Etsy Store Luola.

Brutalist Sculpture
Vintage mid century free standing brass and Steel Sculpture from the Etsy Store LUOLA (click on image to visit store and listing) PHOTO BY LUOLA and description: A lovely modern / Brutalist interpretation of birds in flight. Carefully crafted from steel and brass. In great vintage condition.


So I suppose the term can also be used to describe objects, like the Lonborg Denmark cast enamel item?

A search on EBay yielded this Lonborg listing and an answer to this item’s original use:

Lonborg piece EBay Listing

Ah… so it’s a piece that was part of a warming trivet pack to keep food warm.  Clever, right?

Before I listed the item on my shop, another Etsy “Lonborg” search yielded this listing:

Buffet Warmer

Wow — it seems like my item would be a great match for this buffet warmer (and Lauride Lonborg) listing .

I’ve added the link to my listing page in case someone needs both in their mid-century modern dining collection.

How awesome would it be to have this vintage set to keep food contained in oven to table casseroles nice and warm for a buffet style party…

Here is my listing (you can click on the image to see the item on my Etsy store):

Lonborg Piece as Listed on Etsy

I’m posting this information so that if someone runs into this particular object in the future, they will at least have this blog post to learn what it was used for / or sold as.

And too… I suppose it is to avoid misnaming items.

Let me know if you have seen or are familiar with this piece.  Have you used one?

Back to Market Tales Home Page

Related: Another item listing with a link to an Etsy Seller – The Meaning of Handgemalt

The meaning of Handgemalt… and when you find something on Etsy that matches your item listing

P1240270Despite the Asian motiff of lovely bamboos on these stoneware teacups, this item is actually made in Germany.

The teacups are marked with the  word “Handgemalt” , a German term.


I found the meaning of the term from another great web resource for Etsy sellers, Porcelain Marks and More.


Handgemalt Definition

The website is privately run and free — and again, a terrific resource for Etsy sellers —- so if you can donate a few bucks to this website please do so through their front page “Donate” button.

As my store grows, I expect that I will run into more German and European pottery and have bookmarked this website for future visits.

So what happens when you find an item listed by another Etsy sellter that is a match or perfect for your item?

You link to it of course!

After all, if someone falls in love with my listing — at least I hope someone falls in love with these beautiful tea cups — then they may want the matching tea pot, right?


German Bamboo Scene Teapot on Etsy Bouchard Sisters Store

And so I have added the photo in the listing gallery and a link to the other Etsy seller (TheBrouchardSisters) on my description page.

Sharing the love… and seeing what happens.

Have you tried to do something similar with your listings?

Back to Market Tales Home Page, here.


  • Instead of “hangemalt” or hand painted ceramics, another method of getting artwork from print to pottery is called “transferware”.  Click here to learn more about transferware (a process that the English developed in the mid 1700s).
  • An item listing with a link to another Etsy Seller- The Lonborg Denmark “Brutalist” bowl

Defining wrought iron vs. cast iron for magazine holder listing

I’ve used the term wrought iron to describe ornate iron gates and detailed iron objects.

wrought iron image
Image of a detailed wrough iron is via Wikipedia commons and is from a portal on the facade of Notre Dame in Paris, France

The definition of “wrought” is something that is shaped by hammering with tools.

Wrought definitionMost items that we refer to as wrought iron today is actually “cast” iron, where the molten iron is poured into molds.

Excerpt from a Wikepedia article:

As iron became more common, it became widely used for cooking utensils, stoves, grates, locks, hardware and other household uses.

From the beginning of the 19th century, wrought iron was being replaced by cast iron due to the latter’s lower cost. However, the English Arts and Crafts movement produced some excellent work in the middle of the 19th century.

Knowing this makes it more interesting to look at this gorgeous iron magazine holder I posted on my Etsy store today:



Cast iron magazine rackYou can click on the image above to see more images of this beautiful magazine rack.

I love the design!  I think the lines would fit in a variety of decor, especially in a mission style or for a modern arts and craft style home in need of the perfect magazine holder.

Back to Market Tales Home Page, here.

And read more about ironwork in this comprehensive Wikipedia article  here.

The difference between Corning Ware, Corelle and Pyrex

Are you as perplexed as I am about the difference between Pyrex, Corelle and Corning Ware (now called Corningware)?

I first became familiar with the Corelle brand through my mother, who really liked the dinnerware products because they were light, and for its chip-resistance, and durability.

Over the years, I’ve also purchased Corning Ware casserole dishes in the French White line,  and like many, own several Pyrex products (who doesn’t have a classic Pyrex brand measuring cup, right?)

Now that I am selling some of my pieces on my Etsy Vintage Shop, I am finding that these brands seem to blend into one another.

It was easy enough to post my large Corelle bowls and saucers in the Spring Blossom Green pattern (introduced in 1970), as it was a popular one, and still collectible.

P1210963I found a wonderful website run by a a dedicated collector, called Corelle Corner, which is full of terrific information.

I highly recommend this informative site as a starting point to identify your pieces.  It is an amazing repository of all things Corelle, from an avid fan.

I’ve bookmarked the site and know that I’ll be going back to read more (you can click here to visit site).

But listing my white, vintage Corning Ware casserole dishes is another story…

P1230563It turns out that my old Corning Ware (two words) is now called CorningWare® (one word) and owned by the World Kitchen company.

World Kitchen also owns the Pyrex brand (which turned 100 years old this year!)  and the Corelle brand.

So for the basics, I’m posting a bit of history about these product lines for my 3rd blog post.


The original company that created the Pyrex, Corning Ware and the Corelle brands started out in 1851 as Corning Glass Works in Massachusetts and later moved to New York.

Corning History Photo
Photo of Corning Glass’ optic headlamp via Wikipedia Commons

They  specialized in glass, ceramics and related materials for industrial and scientific uses.

Corning developed one of the first optic headlamps (photo above), the glass for the Palomar Observatory’s telescope, and worked on creating new automobile glass windshields in the 1960s.

An excerpt from a Wikipedia article on Corning (now called Corning, Inc.):

The company was known as Corning Glass Works until 1989, when it changed its name to Corning Incorporated.

In 1998, Corning divested itself of its consumer lines of CorningWare and Corelle tableware and Pyrex cookware selling them to World Kitchen, but still holds an interest of about 8%.

You can read the full article, here.


The Pyrex brand and line of specialty glass for laboratory and kitchen use was introduced by Corning in 1915.

Here is interesting information about the history of Pyrex from the World Kitchen website:

Pyrex History

Corning Ware / CorningWare®

Corning introduced the CorningWare brand in 1958, as cooking ware resistant to heat and shock.

Interestingly, it was a material discovered by accident by a researcher working in Corning’s R&D division.

Excerpt from a Wikipedia article:

In 1953 S. Donald Stookey of the Corning Research and Development Division discovered Pyroceram, a white glass-ceramic material capable of withstanding a thermal shock (sudden temperature change) of up to 450 °C (840 °F), by accident.

He was working with photosensitive glass and placed a piece into a furnace planning on heating it to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

When he checked on his sample the furnace was at 900 degrees and the glass had turned milky white. He reached into the furnace with tongs to discard the sample and it slipped and hit the floor without shattering.

The material was used in the ballistic missile program as a heat-resistant material for nose cones. (More here)


The Corelle brand of tempered glass dishware and glassware was introduced by Corning in 1970.  Made from a material called “Vitrelle”, it consisted of glass laminated into 3 layers.

Again, from the World Kitchen website:

Corelle History

I certainly learned a lot more about the differences between the terms CorningWare, Pyrex and Corelle through writing this blog post.

What can add to the confusion between the product lines is that many of the patterns used for the Corelle brand was also used for the CorningWare brand.

But at least I now know the difference!

Was this blog post helpful to you?  I’d love to know, and would appreciate your input in the comment section.

— Jane

Back to Market Tales Home Page, here.