When browsing listings on Etsy, you’ll have probably come across products with the phrase, OOAK, within the title or description. If you know what this stands for, I’m guessing you had to do a web search the first time you saw it.
OOAK stands for one-of-a-kind, and is used to describe a unique item that has been created solely for an individual buyer and not mass produced. One-of-a-kind creations make gift giving extra special and memorable.
In the social media age where individualism is the currency, buying bespoke or custom made items has never been more popular. Our current consumer culture makes it harder to grab customer’s attention, and requires independent businesses like Etsy sellers, to get extra creative with their products.
These kind of one-off items are so exclusive that people will pay more money to own something that no one else has.
Etsy is the perfect platform to raise awareness of a brand that sells OOAK products, as it champions the beautiful homemade, hand-stitched, and hand-picked. However, this rise in popularity comes with a price, as more people realize the earning potential in these kinds of items, the market has become over-saturated.
When selling or shopping for your next OOAK purchase, you may find it hard to make sense of what’s out there. But do not fear, as we’ve put together a helpful run-down of everything you need to know. We’ll take a deeper look into Etsy’s one-of-a-kind products, and give top tips on how to sell them.
What Items Are Considered OOAK?
OOAK is a phrase often used by sellers in the titles and descriptions of Etsy products. These items are usually crafted by hand and made by the seller themselves, rather than being mass-produced.
However, it’s important to understand that Etsy’s one-of-a-kind items aren’t always made by one person or without an assembly line. This is a common misconception about OOAK items and can lead to disappointment when buyers expect a fully hand-crafted item.
Many individuals using Etsy search for one-of-a-kind gifts when browsing the site for the perfect present. So, if you’re a seller, this is a keyword that may be worth adding to your listings, but only if it’s appropriate to your product.
What Items Are NOT Considered OOAK?
Unfortunately, as with any online store, sellers on Etsy often mislabel their products in the hope of achieving better search engine results on the site. OOAK is one of the ways people do this, as is Etsy vintage. The two are often used interchangeably, but shouldn’t necessarily be used to describe the same item. According to Etsy, vintage describes an item that’s over twenty years in age, but, that doesn’t mean it was a OOAK item at the time.
Another area in which OOAK is often misused is in regards to items that would be considered unique by the receiver. You’ll find items on Etsy labeled unique one-of-a-kind gift when they are just suggesting this gift would be unique to the person you give it to. When you see descriptions like this, check out the number of products available for purchase on the listing, as this is a huge giveaway for whether the item is truly unique or not.
You’ll also find some jewelry and artwork described as OOAK, purely because it uses a pattern or technique that is never repeated. If the item in question was made in bulk, this means it’s not technically one-of-a-kind, even when items may have tiny variations.
Examples of Etsy OOAK Items
One-of-a-kind items on Etsy spread over almost the whole range of Etsy products. Regardless of what you’re selling on the site, you’ll find OOAK items within your niche.
You’ll see products such as Framed Tile Art or a Drinks Cabinet listed as OOAK on Etsy, as it’s the only piece that the artist has created. On the other hand, handmade cards are described as Luxury One-of-a-kind Cards because they are personalized to the person purchasing the item. Also, OOAK dolls and OOAK clothing are very popular.
On Etsy, you’ll find two types of one-of-a-kind items. Some, like the artwork mentioned here, have already been created by the artist, whereas others, like the cards, are personalized after your purchase. While the cards aren’t necessarily completely one-of-a-kind, sellers use this description, as the final personalization makes it a unique item.
Challenges of Selling OOAK Items on Etsy
OOAK is a hot keyword on both Etsy and Google, which can attract visitors to your Etsy listings and increase your profits. However, it needs to be used with care to avoid false advertising. There are certainly some challenges for sellers who have a full OOAK Etsy store, but there are ways to overcome these issues.
One of the biggest complaints from sellers regarding these items, is the time it takes to list these Etsy OOAK items. If your item is truly unique, for each piece you sell, you’ll have to take photos, write descriptions, and add each item to the system. While this may be worth it for higher-priced items, if you are working through a full shop of smaller pieces, this can be a lot of hassle. Another issue is that once your item sells, it will no longer exist, so it can be harder for past buyers to find you and repurchase.
Tips for Selling Etsy OOAK Items
For sellers who are passionate about this kind of work, these challenges can feel like a roadblock, but we want to equip you to continue selling OOAK items on Etsy and make them profitable.
Check out our unmissable tips below:
- Start with pre-made items
- Create a reusable template
- Don’t overuse the term
- Create a system for managing your OOAK shop
Start With Pre-Made Items
One of the easiest ways for sellers to add OOAK Etsy items to their store is to create pre-made items, and then add some level of personalization. This can also help you to avoid wasting materials, as creating an item of clothing in one size will minimize your audience. Personalized items allows you to sell a wide range of products, including t-shirts, bags, stationary, cookware, and the list keeps on going.
Create a Reusable Template
When it comes to the listings, which you’ll know can be time-consuming if you are an Etsy seller, try to reuse the same template each time. Make a note of all the information that you write in all of your Etsy listings, such as details about shipping and returns.
Create a document with all of this standard information so that you can continue to add it to every product description, leaving blank space for the product specific details. By copying over the descriptions and adjusting what you need in the listing, you’ll simply need to add new photos each time you list a one-of-a-kinditem. This will help you to save time and work more efficiently, to make sure most of your time is spent creating.
Don’t Overuse The Term
OOAK items can be a great addition to any Etsy store, but the term should be used with care. You don’t want to mislead customers with OOAK in the title and then receive negative feedback due to an unhappy customer. OOAKitems are ideal for unique gifts and are highly sought after when people are looking for something different for a birthday or Christmas gift.
Increase your credibility and show people your products are genuinely one-of-a-kind by sharing details of how and why the product is unique. People love to know the story behind a product, such as where it has come from or about the person who made it. These details are often the thing that tips a buyer into making a purchase.
By diversifying your language, and not overusing the term OOAK, your customers will see that you’re not simply using keywords to promote your store, but that your product is the real deal.
Create a System for Managing your OOAK Shop
If you are a store owner, try to set up an efficient system that will make listing OOAK items and Etsy vintage items feasible in the long run. Managing a large store with one-of-a-kind items can be a challenge, but with a little planning and organization, you’ll find a process that is sustainable and that works for you.
Perhaps you’re someone who likes to do things little and often, and break tasks into management chunks. Or, maybe you prefer the idea of saving up new tasks and then completing them all in one sitting instead.
Whatever type of Etsy shop you have, it’s key to find your own systems and ways of managing your store. Don’t forget that we’re here to help, so make sure you double check our tips and checklists when listing your items.