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How to Start an #Etsy Shop | Get the step-by-step guide on how to launch an online shop on Etsy. Including free guide and 40 free listings!

How to Start an Etsy Shop: The Ultimate 2017 Guide

I have been a creative, crafty person ever since I was little. Doing arts and crafts was my jam, and I used to churn out rainbow drawings like it was my JOB.

I was in my 20’s, working at a non-profit from 9-5, when I heard about Etsy for the first time. An online marketplace for craft sellers. Sounded amazing. I spent hours browsing all the fun products that were for sale, and then totally on a whim opened up my own shop.

I didn’t even know what I was going to sell.

Since I had recently taken up knitting, I figured I would throw a few baby booties up there. Sell a few of those. Man, was that ever a lame idea. It took me FOREVER to make those booties and I think I came away making like less than $5 a pair. But… I was hooked.

I moved onto selling some original art.

Then, after my husband Dan was like “Gemma, make these into prints and then you don’t have to do a whole new painting each time”, and I was all “duh!!”, I moved into art prints. For quite a long time I did mostly custom prints where I would be adding on names or wedding dates to prints of my watercolour map paintings. They sold, but just like a slow and steady stream. Nothing crazy.

I learned and refined what I was doing. My style evolved and I started to work with manufacturers. I now sell mugs, tote bags, pouches, pillows, and art prints (none of those watercolour maps anymore, though!). I sell regular retail but also on the wholesale side to boutiques, which has doubled my revenue. This is my shop.

I took that first 20 cent listing fee and have turned it into a lucrative revenue stream for myself. It’s part of how I have been able to take my blogging business full-time.

Are you interested in doing the same?

I know lots of people who say they want to sell on Etsy, but keep putting it off because they think it’s going to be complicated or because they need to have everything “just so” before they launch. I say to just jump in. Done is better than perfect and it’s always best just to get started and improve as you go.

I’m a perfect example of that.

 

Free Quick Start Guide

Before we dive into the 8 steps, make sure you grab my quick start guide. You can follow it through step-by-step to get your shop up and running!

Sell on Etsy: Quick Start Guide

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Set up your Etsy shop without all the guesswork. Grab your Quick Start guide for the step-by-step instructions on launching your shop!

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Drop Shipping Manufacturers List

You might also be interested in snagging my list of drop-shipping manufacturers. If you want to start an Etsy shop and are thinking of getting some of your items produced FOR you, this is a great way to go. I lay out the manufacturers I have personally worked with, and why you might want to go this route!

Get the List of Dropshipping Manufacturers!

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I'll send you my private list of dropshipping manufacturers straight to your email inbox. The perfect way to get starting with your new online shop!

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How to Start an Etsy Shop

Alright, let’s jump in….

 

Getting Started: Sign up for an Etsy Account

You may already have an Etsy account, but if you don’t have one yet head on over to Etsy.com and create one.

Click “Sign In” then “Register” to create your username and password. Do it through my link and you’ll get 40 free listings (disclosure: I get 40 free too)!

Step 1: Name Your Shop

Once you have your account setup, you will need a name for your shop in order to open it.

This is often where people get stuck. Naming can be HARD.

Do a brainstorming session, write out as many ideas as you can, and let them sit with you a day or two. Ask your family and friends for their opinion. Do some searching online to make sure no one else has that name already.

I don’t want you to get stuck on this step, but I also don’t want you to take it too lightly either. Etsy gives you one chance to change your shop name should you want to, but getting it right the first time means that you won’t have to go through that headache. And you want to just start building your brand from the beginning – changing names midway through is not only a pain, but not great for brand recognition and credibility.

So once you’ve landed on a few good options, head on back to your Etsy account and see if the name is available. If it isn’t, can you add “boutique” or “shop” or “company” to the end of it?

Done? Congratulations. You officially have an online shop!

 

Step 2: Choose Brand Colours

This is a step that a lot of people don’t think about, but at this point I want you to consider your overall brand’s look. Having a shop hosted on Etsy means that you can’t do a ton of branding in terms of fonts and design (you just have to inherit the overall Etsy look), but you can have a colour palette to create an overall aesthetic.

Pick 2-4 colours that you will stick to in your logo and look. By favourite way of doing this is to head on over to Coolors.com and create a palette. Use those exact colour HEX codes anytime you are creating a logo, graphic, or anything else for your shop. It will become like your shop’s “style guide”.

Step 3: Create your Logo and Header

Using those colours you came up with above, and your shop name, it’s time to put together a logo and header for your shop.

If that feels overwhelming to you, don’t worry, there is a super easy way of doing it.

Go to Canva.com

Click on the “more” button to see all of their templates.

Then check it out… one for Etsy shop logos and Etsy shop cover photos!!!! They are perfectly sized already and have a bunch of templates to choose from.

Jackpot, right?

I would start with your logo, and just have a browse through all of the different template options. There will be tons that are free, and others that might cost $1. Go with the one you love. Even if it’s $1, think of what you saved by not having to hire a graphic designer!

Play around with the logos, insert your own shop name and text, and switch the colours to the ones you landed on when doing your branding.

Once you have your logo, go ahead and make a cover photo that matches. Have a look through other Etsy shops to see what they put in their cover photos. Some put some text indicating what items they sell, or coupon codes, etc. You can even change your Etsy shop cover photo seasonally, if you like.

OR you don’t even need a cover photo at all! I personally find that they take up a lot of room and I prefer to have my products right up high when someone lands on my shop. That’s why I skipped the cover photo altogether.

 

Step 4: Get your Photos

Product photography. I would argue that this is the MOST crucial element of setting up your Etsy shop.

If you have lacklustre photos, you are not going to make sales. When was the last time you bought a product online where the listing had crappy photos? Probably never.

So, you have a few options:

#1 – Learn.

Take a course. Play around with your camera. Create backdrops, shoot near a window with lots of natural light, get familiar with editing tools.

If you are going to go this route, then I would start out by keeping it really simple and using a plain white backdrop (you can use white foam board from the dollar store) for your items. Get fancier with your shoots as your photography skills improve.

 

#2 – Use a Mock Up.

If you are selling a product like art prints or 11 ounce white mugs, there are tons of mock up images out there that you can purchase, digitally add your design on to, and then use it as your product photo. The beauty about this is that you can use the same mock up photo over and over again for the various designs you might be selling.

My fave sources for mock ups?

  1. Creative Market – search for just about anything in here.
  2. Etsy – yep, Etsy itself has a bunch of sellers who are selling mock up photos.

Can’t find a mock up you like, or can’t find your product? Get in touch with one of the mock up photographers whose shop you like and see if they do custom work. You could send them your blank product and have them take mock ups just for you.

 

#3 – Hire a photographer.

This option is obviously the most expensive of the bunch, but if you are going to invest in anything for your shop, this should be it. Getting professional quality photos of your products is going to be what makes your shop stand over the rest. If you sell one of a kind items, then this is going to get insanely expensive if you have to professional shoot each individual product for only 1 sale. However, if you make something that you are going to sell again and again, but can just shoot it once, then the return on investment will be worth it.

 

Step 5: Land on a Price

Pricing. Don’t just pull a number out of thin air. You should be pricing your product according to a formula.

Step 1. Calculate your total cost for the product.

Step 2. Add in an hourly wage for the time it takes you to make each product.

Step 3. Add up your total cost and hourly wage, so you know exactly how much each product costs you to sell.

Step 4. Do some market research on price to see how your competition stacks up.

Step 5. Land on your price. Don’t price too low – always aim to be in the mid to higher end. Low price just makes your item appear low value to buyers, and it will take you many more sales to make the same amount of profit.

If you want to sell your items wholesale, make sure you have a big enough margin to do so. Wholesale buyers will generally expect to buy your product from you for half of what you retail it for (so that they can double the cost and re-sell to their customers). This means that your margin needs to be big enough to support that, and still make money.

 

Step 6: Brainstorm your Keywords

Etsy Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a whole art of its own. There are different rules to play by then what you might be used to with optimizing for Google, so do some reading on how to optimize your listings on Etsy.

Start out by brainstorming all the keywords and phrases that people would use to search for the item you are trying to sell. Check out similar shops and see the keywords and phrases they are using in their listing titles and tags. Keep this in a big excel spreadsheet.

Once you have that list, enter the best keyword phrases into your listing title and tags. You can also get specific in your listing with things like attributes and who the product is for.

Don’t use the same primary keyword phrase for all of your listings, as Etsy will only show you a limited number of times on the first page of search. If all of your listings are trying to “rank” for the same keyword phrase, then you’re just competing against yourself.

Watch how your listings do and edit the keywords every now and again to try to improve how often you are getting found.

 

Step 7: Create your Listing

Now that you have your photos, your price, and your keywords, it’s time to actually create the listing.

In terms of the text in the main body of your listing, what I recommend is looking around on Etsy at other shops. See what other people are writing who sell similar things to do and figure out what you do and don’t like in terms of how the listing is written. Don’t plagiarize anything (obviously!!) but try to take the stuff you like best and incorporate that into your own listing.

It’s better to put too much information than too little. Try to include:

  • A detailed description of what your product is and who it’s for (ex. “A great gift for grads!”)
  • Materials used
  • Size (give dimensions)
  • Any special instructions (possibility of custom work, whether there are printing instructions for digital products, etc)
  • Shipping information
  • Any “as seen on” type of promotion (if the product has been used/featured by a blogger, include a link to the article in your listing!)
  • A small sentence about you, your shop, your values

I also like to include a “back to the shop” link at the bottom of the listing that returns customers to my Etsy shop.

Here is a snapshot from one of my tote bag listings in my shop

In terms of number of listings, generally the more the better.

A shop with 50 listings looks a lot more legit than a shop with only 5. I know this can be difficult depending on the type of product you sell, but I would suggest that you aim to have at least 10 listings to start out with.

 

Step 8: Promote, Test, Tweak, Learn

Once you have your shop up, it’s time to promote it. Reach out on social media, use your email list (or build one if you don’t have one already), pin images of your products on Pinterest, send free products to influencers to see if they will write or post about your product, try to get press features by sending emails to editors. Do everything you can do to create buzz about your shop.

Then monitor what is and isn’t working. Check in on your analytics every week or at least once a month to see what you could be doing better and where the majority of your traffic is coming from. See which listings are doing well and which aren’t. Try to discover why that might be and tweak them to see if things improve.

Don’t get discouraged if it takes a while for your shop to grow. These things can be a “slow burn” and it can take time for it to build up. Just keep working at it and when you find something that works, try to repeat it.

Get on some newsletters by Etsy educators to keep learning. A few I recommend: The Merriweather Council and Makery Space.

And that’s it.

Boom. You’ve just opened up an Etsy shop. 

 

Free Quick Start Guide!

Don’t forget to grab the guide. It’s an 11-page workbook that will take you through every step. Use your guide as you work your way through launching your shop to make it suuuuper easy for you!!

Sell on Etsy: Quick Start Guide

Etsy-quick-start-guide

Set up your Etsy shop without all the guesswork. Grab your Quick Start guide for the step-by-step instructions on launching your shop!

Powered by ConvertKit

 

Don’t forget to Pin it!

How to Start an #Etsy Shop | Get the step-by-step guide on how to launch an online shop on Etsy. Including free guide and 40 free listings!

 

Related Posts:

How to work with a drop-ship manufacturer to create a product line.

6 Reasons To Sell on Etsy 

How to Start a Blog

#Etsy Shop Tips | Thinking about opening up an online shop to sell products? Here are 6 reasons why you should be using the Etsy platform!

6 Reasons Why You Should Be Selling on Etsy

One of the best ways to monetize your blog is to create a product to sell. The key to building up a successful income as a blogger is to diversify, and by selling your own stuff you are not only in total control, but the sky is the limit in terms of income generation.

If you are thinking of creating a product line (physical or digital products), have you thought about selling on Etsy? I don’t want to discourage you from selling your products on your own blog (if you are setup with that functionality, then go for it!), but Etsy might just be the right place for getting your online shop off the ground.

I first opened up shop on Etsy in 2012. I tried out different things – from knitted baby booties, to paintings, to art prints.

There has been a lot of trial and error, honing in on my niche, and figuring out what works for me. I now sell prints, mugs, pillows, tote bags, and pouches directly on Etsy, wholesale through Etsy, wholesale locally, and sometimes in person at craft shows or pop-up shops. My little experiment selling knitted booties on Etsy totally turned into something way bigger than I imagined, and it has been a significant contributor to my income (you can check out my shop here).

 

Free List of DropShipping Manufacturers:

Before we dive in, grab my free list of drop-shipping manufacturers. This goes over how to partner with a manufacturer to create a product line, and which manufacturers you might want to work with (I have included the ones I have personally used and can recommend!).

Get the List of Dropshipping Manufacturers!

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I'll send you my private list of dropshipping manufacturers straight to your email inbox. The perfect way to get starting with your new online shop!

Powered by ConvertKit

 

Selling on Etsy:

Here are some of the biggest advantages to selling on Etsy and why you might consider starting over there:

 

1 / It’s Easy to Setup

Registering an account on Etsy and then opening up your shop is crazy easy. Of course there is a lot of thought that needs to go into creating an amazing shop: the name, branding, photography, listing descriptions, policies, etc. but the actual nuts and bolts of getting a shop page up is so simple. Here is a link to Etsy’s “Seller’s Handbook” where you can find the answers to just about every question.

If you were to build your own e-commerce site, you would need to buy a domain name, get a website host, design and create an entire website, setup payment methods, etc – a pretty major under-taking, particularly if you are just looking to test the waters with a creative business. Even if you already have your blog all setup, the ability to setup e-commerce on it isn’t always easy or straight-forward if you have an expansive product line. The fact that Etsy has all of that handled and you just need to walk through a few quick steps to get your shop up and running within minutes it’s pretty darn dreamy.

 

2 / The Payment Processing is Organized & Reasonable

Etsy already has payment processing all setup within its’ system. This is gold, since figuring out what payment processor to use and how to implement it properly on your own website can be confusing and more tech-y than most people are comfortable with on their own.

The breakdown of fees with Etsy is this: You pay $0.20USD to list an item and then a 3.5% transaction fee of the item’s cost once it has sold. So if you were selling a $20 item, the 3.5% cost would be 70 cents on top of the 20 cents you’ve already paid to list it — so 90 cents total in fees. You would take home $19.10. Here is the section on the Etsy website where they chat about fees and payment policies.

Those are definitely reasonable rates overall. If you were to be hosting your own e-commerce store, you wouldn’t have the $0.20 listing fee, but you would still need to pay for payment processing, the cost of website hosting, domain name purchase, etc.

 

3 / It Has Built-in Traffic

Although it does have competitors, Etsy has made a name for itself worldwide and subsequently sees huge traffic. According to this website, in December of 2015 Etsy had over 92 million visitors that month alone. Crazytown, right?!

Now, why WOULDN’T you want to be able to tap into that existing traffic base with your own shop?! Yes, it means that it comes with a whole lot of competition (I can guarantee that there is someone selling something similar to you on Etsy), but being able to drum up the visits to your own e-commerce site would be super time and energy intensive.

If you are smart about the look of your shop, how you write up your listings, your keywords, and use SEO (search engine optimization), you’ll be able to be found on Etsy. The more work you put into it, the better you’re going to do… but being able to start somewhere that already has that level of traffic coming through the virtual “door” is such a huge plus.

[this “jeans, tee shirt, top knot” mug is one of my listings on Etsy!]

4 / There is a Level of Trust and Credibility

Because Etsy is such a brand in and of itself, there is a certain level of trust that a potential buyer has when they are shopping on Etsy. If you have your own e-commerce store out there and haven’t built up a reputation yet, you might just look super random and not trustworthy to a possible customer.

Buying through Etsy where there are policies and procedures in place, lets a buyer know that it’s a safe bet and they can trust that the item will actually be delivered to their door (and if it isn’t, there are avenues they can take to make formal complaints).

Another way Etsy helps you build trust around your brand is simply by giving you a legit shop website. If you already sell locally at craft shows or in boutiques, having an Etsy shop can be that extra vehicle to expand your marketing potential. If you want to hand out business cards to potential customers or sell wholesale locally, being able to send them to an actual shop website instead of just having an email address looks way more profesh. It adds a certain level of biz credibility when you have your own website, you know?

 

5 / There is a Community

Sure, Etsy is huge and it means there are a zillion sellers on there, but it also comes with a great community. The Etsy staff are good at providing valuable newsletters and helpful information on the site, and there are seller teams that you can join. Teams may be geographically based or by genre of product, but either way they are a great way of forming a community of like-minded folks. There are also lots of facebook groups out there for Etsy sellers, again helping to form that community.

It’s important as a solopreneur that you have other biz friends to bounce ideas off of, get advice from, share success, and commiserate on frustrations with. Being an Etsy seller is kind of like automatically having an entry ticket to all of those groups out there.

 

6 / A Testing Ground

You might just be playing around with the idea of starting up an online shop, not sure if the product(s) you have in mind would actually sell, or maybe just want to keep it as a very low-cost hobby business. Whatever the case – Etsy is the perfect place to test the waters. The only start up cost is that 20 cent listing fee. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that! For example, listing 20 items would cost you $4 and it would be the perfect opportunity to see what sells.

 

Having said all of that, there are some cons to setting up your shop on Etsy:

 

  • You are limited to Etsy’s overall aesthetic and look. Sure you can brand your shop with your header and photography, but you can’t create a fully customized shop page. In my opinion, this is fine in the beginning and might always be for many sellers, but if you want something really on brand and custom then you will likely want to open your shop’s own website at some point down the road.
  • Etsy has certain policies and procedures set in place that you are bound to. I have never found anything to be much of a barrier, but there might be elements that irk you. You are also always at the mercy of any changes they make.
  • You can’t easily collect email addresses from customers. This drives me crazy. I would love the option of having buyers opt-in to my newsletter upon purchase or have a very obvious “sign up!” button somewhere in my shop, but this isn’t possible with Etsy.
  • There is a lot of competition. It’s hard to stand out in a sea of designers and crafters, so you really need to be on your A-game in terms of marketing your products beautifully, getting your name out there, and understanding how to get your listings high up in the search. You would need to do all of this if you set up your own e-commerce site too, but all that to say that you can’t just throw up a listing and expect it to sell like wildfire without working at it.

Despite those items though, in my opinion Etsy is where it’s at for getting started with an online shop. Especially as a busy blogger who wants to create their own line but doesn’t want the headache of figuring out how to transition their blog into an e-commerce site.

 

Free Etsy Listings:

If you sign up through this link, you can get your 40 first listings FREE! And full disclosure – I get 40 free too. So it’s a win-win all around!

Drop-Ship Manufacturers List:

Don’t miss out on my list of drop-shipping manufacturers. You’ll be surprised how easy it is to design products with the help of a drop-ship manufacturer, and how much time you will save. It’s by far the easiest way to start a shop!!

Get the List of Dropshipping Manufacturers!

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I'll send you my private list of dropshipping manufacturers straight to your email inbox. The perfect way to get starting with your new online shop!

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Don’t forget to Pin it!

#Etsy Shop Tips | Thinking about opening up an online shop to sell products? Here are 6 reasons why you should be using the Etsy platform!

Etsy Shop Tips | Thinking about opening up an Etsy shop? Wondering if you should open up on your own e-commerce website instead? Here are the reasons why starting on Etsy is a great idea, and how launching a product line can be a good avenue for monetizing your blog. Click through for the full post and lots of etsy and blogging tips!

Create a Profitable Blog: FREE eCourse

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Sign up for my FREE 7-day email course to get action-packed lessons on monetizing your blog delivered straight to your inbox. Go from hobby blog to legit biz.

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Related Posts:

-How to Start an Etsy Shop: The Ultimate Guide

-8 Bloggers who are Selling Physical Products

-How to Start a Blog