Creating your own creations and selling them can be intimidating. Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated, it’s actually really easy! Follow these 10+ steps and use the free guide to finally start an Etsy shop!
I’ve been selling on Etsy for 3 years now and it brought so much more than I could even expect. I have never been this happy to share my passion with so many people from all over the world.
And if you’re here, you want to finally live off your passion, monetize it and finally open an Etsy shop.
That’s why I created this detailed step-by-step guide on how to set up your Etsy shop and start selling your creations RIGHT NOW!
Ready to start this exciting journey? Follow me!
I – Reflective work
This whole journey starts with a very simple question: what do you want to sell? This might be easy for some and not really for others.
If you already know what products you will sell in your shop, well done! You can go to the next step or eventually, read this part if you’re looking for other things to sell in your future Etsy shop.
If you struggle to know what you want to sell on Etsy, no worries, I’m here to help you find this special product you will love to sell.
Do you have a passion you put aside for quite a long time now?
For example, do you like creating handmade things like knitting, drawing or making jewelry?
Now is the time to remind yourself all these things you created for your family and your friends and turn this into your Etsy shop.
II – Research
Now that you have a clearer idea of what items you will sell in your Etsy shop, grab your laptop or your phone and search the internet.
Of course, searching Etsy is a good idea. Write the words that best describe your product in the search box and take a look at what’s sold at the moment. The idea is not to copy what is already sold by your competitors, no, the idea is to have a less broader idea of the style, the colors, the materials, the shapes, … anything that could make your product special and unique.
You can also search Google and more specifically Google Image. By doing this, you will find possibly more products than on Etsy and certainly cheaper version of your items. Why you may ask? Simply because, to sell on Etsy, you need to craft your items yourself. On the other hand, on Google, you may find manufactured items. So this is definitely not for the quality that you’ll search Google Image but much more for inspiration.
Speaking about inspiration, the third and final step is to search the well-known inspiration platform: Pinterest. This platform is amazing! But we have plenty of time to talk about the power of Pinterest in future posts.
For now, search for your products in Pinterest and, pro tip, take a look at what the search engine gives you after your keywords. Let’s say your product niche is women jewelry. Start writing ‘Women Jewelry’ in the search bar and look what comes next. This will give you a very clear idea of what your potential customers are looking for at the moment.
Researching the internet is very beneficial for you and your future shop and I can only recommend you to do it frequently. Doing this will give you ideas you didn’t even think possible!
III – Write your plan
This part is for the serious ones out there. If you want to start an Etsy shop with the idea of making a living of it, it’s important to write down your plan.
I’m not telling you to write a 15 pages Business Plan with revenue forecasts and so on. No. I’m simply telling you to write down on a piece of paper or your favorite notebook what you will sell, how you will sell it and most importantly, why you want to sell.
After failing with my first shop (see: About Page), I can definitely tell you that writing down my objectives and the vision I had made my second shop skyrocket.
How can you succeed in your journey if you don’t have a clear path to follow?
It’s also very useful when you’re in doubt about your shop. You just go back to these words and you know exactly what made you start all this.
IV- Search for a name
This is the very first step to making your new Etsy shop not a shop but a brand. I’m telling you right off the bat, please don’t take too long searching for a name.
Of course, it’s important, it will represent you and your personality. Of course, it needs to be good but it’s not worth spending days on it. On Etsy, your customers will look for your products, not your name.
If you don’t have any idea of how to call your shop, try looking around you. What kind of products are you doing? Do you have a particular style for your items? What atmosphere would you like your brand to have?
For example, let’s stay in the jewelry idea. If your niche is selling earrings and your style is more boheme, why not call your shop MyBohemianEarrings or BohoEarringsCompany.
Answering these questions might give you some keywords. Write them down on a piece of paper and try to combine them.
Of course, there are the usual words you can find in names. These keywords might be a great solution when you want to end your name nicely. Few examples of these are design, creations, studio, …
- – Maximum number of characters: don’t even consider names when they’re longer than 20 characters, you’re going to be really disappointed when Etsy will refuse your name.
- – Think one step ahead: today, you’re thinking of opening your Etsy shop. Tomorrow, you could be thinking of expanding your activities to even larger possibilities by having your own website. So when you find your perfect name, check and see if the .com domain is available to buy. This tool will be useful to do so: https://www.name.com/
VI – Add your first listing
This is probably the biggest part where many potential sellers give up. Not that it’s difficult, it’s simply that it is the final step so it might be scary.
But if you’re reading this, I know that you’re fully ready to jump in and finally open this Etsy shop so let me tell you all my secrets for this very first listing.
1) Take nice photos
Alright so this step is really important. You do need good photos if you want your shop to be successful on Etsy.
Think about it for a second. There are almost 2 million sellers on Etsy at the moment and we’re all competing with each other. When searching for a specific product, what will a buyer will see first? Exactly, your photos.
You can do it yourself. Search for your kind of products on Etsy and pay attention to what your eyes see first. In general, you will prefer photos with a light background, focused on the product and photos that are easy to understand. The product is centered and you can see it entirely at first glance.
I’m not telling you to buy some expansive camera and professional lighting, definitely not. All you need is a nice background, natural light and your phone.
Keep your background neutral so the focus is on the product. A light wood table or simply a white background would be perfect for example.
If your product is something that can be worn like a skirt or a bracelet, take your photos in context so the buyer can see how big it is or if the color would suit his/her skin tone.
Keep in mind that you have the opportunity to add 10 photos to your listings. Take the advantage of these photos and snap your product in all angles possible. Plus, this is excellent for your SEO but we’ll talk about this in a future posts.
2) Title and Tags
The most important thing to consider when adding your products are the tags. When you look at your product, what are the first few words that comes up to your mind if you were to describe it? These words will be your first keywords.
You’ve got your list of words? Perfect! Now, write these keywords in the search bar of Etsy and see what comes up. Take a look at what other sellers use to describe similar products as your ones.
This will give you a very good idea of what words you will need to use in both your title and your tags.
- Maximum number of characters for your keywords: Etsy won’t allow keywords longer than 20 characters. Try to fill the characters as much as possible by choosing long tail keywords.
This means that if your product is black bohemian earrings for example, don’t use the keyword “black” or your product will be lost among of thousands of other items.
I once read somewhere a saying that is very true, especially on Etsy:
“Take photos as if there were no description and write a description as if there were no photos”
This is so true! Your description should be a transcript of what your photos show.
So in your description, you will need to explain exactly what you’re selling, what it looks like, why it’s different to others and all specifications needed.
Keep in mind that a description is NEVER too long. If you think your buyer will need this specific piece of information on your item, write it down!
- Organize your description in paragraphs and sections. For example, have a title for the “Size specifications”, another for the “Colors available” and another for the “Materials”. This way, it’s easier for your customers to scroll directly to the information they need.
I know most of Etsy sellers struggle to know exactly the value of what they sell. And even worst, they tend to devaluate themselves and their items because they’re not sure anyone would buy from them.
The first thing you should do is calculate the approximate cost needed to create your product. This includes the materials, your time and the packing costs. I know it can be a bit tricky, especially for handmade products that’s why it is an approximate.
Now that you have this approximate, take a look at what other sellers do on their price strategy. This will give you an idea of the margin you can take on your kind of product.
Don’t devaluate your work. I know when you start selling your own products, you’re wondering if anyone would buy from you so you decrease your price. This is not the best strategy. On Etsy like on many other marketplaces, the price is usually the reflection of the product quality. For many buyers, higher prices mean higher quality.
So if you believe your product is worth a bit more than what is done on Etsy, go for it, you’ll be surprised!
Shipping has never been this easy on Etsy. If you’re afraid of this, you’ll be surprise of how simple it is, for real.
When you create your products, you will simply need to give the dimensions and the weight of the item and Etsy will automatically calculate the cost of shipping. Easy I told you!
You can also enter manually your shipping costs. As a result, you could only need 3 different shipping costs: domestic, Europe and the rest of the world for example.
Keep in mind that shipping worldwide is expansive, there isn’t a way around it unfortunately. Set your shipping costs so it covers your fees and don’t lose money on it.
If you’re not sure of all this, why not start with only domestic shipping. There is no pressure, especially when you’re just starting your Etsy shop. You’ll have plenty of time to expand your shipping to other countries when you’ll be more experienced.
Always, ALWAYS use a tracking number. It won’t necessary be more expansive but it will save you a lot of trouble. If the parcel is lost during the shipment, this tracking number is the proof that you sent it. Etsy will then give you your money and refund your customer, no matter what happens to the parcel.
VI – Promote
Now, this is the fun part. You made your product, you added it in your shop, now you want everyone to see it!
There are plenty of options to promote your shop on both Etsy and the rest of internet.
I have three different ways to promote my Etsy shop that I particularly like.
The first one is through Promoted Listings. Etsy gives you the opportunity to be featured at specific places on search pages by paying a little extra fee. This tool is frequently criticized for its costs and complicated metrics. But in reality, it’s probably the easiest tool you can use to promote your products to potential buyers effectively.
I will definitely write an entire post on Promoted Listings so keep your eyes peeled for this! For now, all you need to know is: don’t follow automatic bids. Select the option to choose your bid manually and set your bids to a very low cost and watch the magic happen!
The second option is Pinterest. Create a beautiful account with boards matching the products you sell and add your products by pinning them to your boards. This can be easily done on each individual listing by clicking on the Pinterest button.
You can also join group boards where you will be able to promote your products to thousands of potential sellers.
The final and third platform is Facebook. You don’t even need a Business page or group to advertise your products. You could simply write your niche keywords in the search bar and look for private groups. For example, let’s say you sell wedding related items, search for wedding groups where advertising is allowed and start posting regularly to show your latest products or offers!
And voilà! You’re all set to start the successful shop you’ve always dreamed for! Follow this guide and should be on the right track start an Etsy shop, get your first sale of many more!