Etsy Life: Juggling Vacations and Your Shop

We just got back the other night from a 5 day trip to Colorado and I thought I’d share how I handle vacations with respect to my Etsy Shop.

Before we get into my method I want to talk real briefly about Etsy’s Vacation Mode. When I first started, this did not exist (a lot of nice little features did not exist, I love that they are constantly trying to make improvements). To read Etsy’s info about the vacation mode check out this and this help page. When you put your shop in vacation mode it allows you to add a special shop announcement as well as a conversation auto-reply message. If someone visits your shop while it’s in vacation mode they will not see any items, just your shop announcement and a form that they can check if they want to be notified when you return. If someone has a direct link to your item (like from their favorites, blog posts, treasury, bookmark, etc.) they will be able to see the listing but the “add to cart” button will be grayed out so nothing can be purchased.

I don’t use Vacation mode because I don’t want people to come to an empty shop. And I don’t want to completely kill the momentum of my sales. On Etsy, each sale and relisting gives you more exposure and I don’t want to miss out on that just because I’m out of town for a few days. I know I’ve come across a few empty shops that were in vacation mode that I might have favorited but didn’t because I couldn’t see if the one item that pulled me into that shop (from an external link) was the norm or not.

For all my Vacations

Here’s what I do instead of just using vacation mode. I edit my shop announcement to say something about when I’ll be gone and if any shipping orders will be impacted. This really is mostly so if I’m slow responding to messages they’ll know why. Since my normal turnaround time is 2-3 weeks before shipping a shorter 5 day trip makes no difference as long as I’m on top of things before I leave. A longer trip on the other hand may impact my turnaround time. When I went to Florida since it was a longer trip I added a note that said all orders from this date to this date may be delayed an additional week.

I also edit the message that is sent out in the transaction email that goes out with each order. Yes many people don’t even bother to open these but they really should. There have been more than a few times that I have found very important info in these kind of emails and if they start wondering hopefully they will go back and look at the transaction email.

That’s what I did for this past trip and it was fine. Nothing weird it was great.

For Longer Trips

When I think there will be a chance that orders may be delayed I like to do a few extra things. In addition to saying as much in the shop announcement and email, I like to have way more warning. I change my banner and avatar to say something about being on vacation and before I leave I like to warn my customers in my shop announcement, blog, facebook, etc. to get in their orders by a certain date to avoid a delay.

Something I discovered last year that was super helpful was Etsy On Sale. This site is set up so that people can put their whole site on sale without editing each listing. I have over 150 listings in my shop so editing each one to say I’m on vacation would take many hours. When I went to Florida I put everything on sale for 1 cent off and added the text “ON VACATION PLEASE READ SHOP ANNOUNCEMENT” to the front of each listing. This is good because not everyone that buys something from your shop will ever go to your home page.

That worked out fine…except that I came back and immediately got really sick so even though I gave myself a week long buffer that wasn’t enough. So depending on the volume of your shop I would double how much time you think you’ll need to catch up just in case.

The other thing was that I did not relist much while I was gone on my trip. As I said many times before sales create momentum so not relisting will cause a natural slow.

Obviously this method requires more work and does have risks so I would only do this if you have internet access while you’re gone that way you can quickly use vacation mode if you need to. When I got back from my Florida trip sick that’s what I should have done, it would have been fine if I had thought to do that. This method also means that you can’t just go on vacation and not check in. You’ll need to check into your shop here and there which depending on your personality might not fit into your ideal vacation. For me it’s worth it to do a tiny bit of work while I’m away rather than missing out on the sales and having to do all the hard work of building back  up my shop momentum when I return. Obviously it’s not for everyone but it’s worked for me. Keep in mind that my 2-3 week before shipping turnaround time gives me a lot of wiggle room so you need to consider the norms of your shop when you decide how you want to manage your own time off. I hope some of this was helpful.

What do you other shop owners do to handle vacations? If you’ve used Etsy’s vacation mode, how did you like it? And always if you have any questions about this or any other etsy life types of things feel free to ask either in the comments section or by emailing me.


  1. Some useful information there thamks I’m fairly new to Etsy and was wondering how to handle my vacations.

  2. These are great tips and I really appreciate them more than you know! Thanks so much for linking up to The Cure for the Common Monday, xoxo

  3. I never new how they did the sale thing on shop items and have always wanted to. Thanks for the info. I am going to San Francisco next week and staying for a week, I am going to run a sale, with a note that orders will be delayed a week. I usually do what you do, and change my shop announcement and transaction email. I have never tried vacation mode because I don’t like the idea of folks wanting to shop and not being able to.

  4. Thanks for sharing your tips. I don’t have an etsy shop as yet, but I have been considering starting one.

  5. I am overly paranoid and am afraid to tell the world that I am out of town. I just increase my shipping times.

  6. Great tips Marissa!!!

    Thanks for sharing at The DIY Dreamer… From Dream To Reality!

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