You’re imaginative. And you adore to craft!
Not to mention, you’ve become pretty darn skilled at it.
Or, you possess an incredible eye for vintage discoveries, but your closets are overflowing.
“You should initiate an Etsy shop!” your friends say. And you’ve secretly shared that very same idea.
Etsy is a thriving online marketplace replete with incredible handmade items and vintage commodities. The platform fetched earnings of $2.47 billion, an 11.07% increase year-over-year. Who wouldn’t desire to be a part of such a prosperous endeavor?
Here are the crucial figures you should acquaint yourself with in relation to Etsy shops:
- More than 2.1 million vendors offer upwards of 60 million items on Etsy.
- 86% of Etsy vendors are women, and almost 95% of Etsy vendors operate their shops from their residences
- There are 40 Etsy product categories on the platform.
But you haven’t initiated that Etsy shop as of yet. And I’m discerning it’s because starting can seem so overwhelming.
Folks often query:
- How much does it cost to establish an Etsy shop?
- Do you necessitate a business license to vend on Etsy?
- How do I sell victoriously on Etsy?
- Is it worthwhile to sell on Etsy?
Don’t fret – you’ve got this! And we’re here to assist.
Over the past fifteen years, crowdspring has supported innumerable Etsy enterprises in getting underway. We’ve accumulated numerous insights and pointers on starting and conducting an Etsy enterprise. And I possess multiple years of expertise devising and initiating attire and decor items while instructing individuals on how to fabricate crafts that can be sold on Etsy.
We’ve curated an all-embracing guide to aid in removing the mysteries and anxieties associated with commencing an Etsy shop.
In the segments below, we’ll explore the fundamentals of branding, crafting listings, ascertaining product pricing, delving into financial and legal intricacies – even marketing and long-range strategy – all the necessary knowledge to flourish as an Etsy entrepreneur.
Okay, let’s inhale deeply and delve right into it.
We’re heading straight to Etsy and inaugurating that shop. But there’s no call for alarm.
Creating the shop is extremely straightforward. And once you surmount this mental obstacle, you’ll be at liberty to construct your Etsy enterprise.
So, shall we?
The very first step is to enroll your account.
Once you’re enrolled, you can begin arranging your store. You’ll be requested to specify a few basic preferences – like language and currency.
See? I told you this was easy.
Then they’ll request you to do the most frightening step of setting up your shop – selecting a name.
But I’m here to tell you – don’t worry about your shop name just yet.
You’re correct that you should take some time to think of a fantastic name (more on that in the next section – Section 2: Brand Your Etsy Shop). But the name you enter here can be changed until you begin your shop. So, don’t let having the perfect shop name hinder you from completing the remainder of the process.
You can even alter your shop name once after opening. So… breathe. You’re okay.
Once you’ve entered a name, you can stock your shop and set up payment and billing. Etsy does an outstanding job of guiding you through the process – simply follow along, and you’ll be fine.
While Etsy guides you through the mechanics of posting a listing, we’ll cover how to create amazing listings that sell in Section 4: Create Your Product Listings.
Before opening your shop, fill in your bio and add a personal photo. Writing your bio is an excellent way to start considering who you are, why you’re opening a shop, and what you’re devoted to. All of these things will be incredibly beneficial to remember when you start thinking about the next step – branding.
We suggest you read Section 2: Brand Your Etsy Shop and ponder your branding before deciding on your final shop name. So, without any more delay – let’s talk about branding…
Also, keep in mind that most states require you to enroll your business if the trade name under which you operate your business is different from your business’s legal name.
For example, if your registered company as an LLC and is named Three Brothers, LLC, you cannot lawfully operate that business in most states if you’re selling products under the trade name Three Tigers. That’s because the registered name, and your trade name, are different.
Fortunately, this is not a challenging problem to overcome. You can simply enroll your actual trade name with your state (and or local government) by filing a “doing business as” (DBA) certificate. DBAs are also usually called “assumed name,” “fictitious business name,” or “trade name.” Here’s a fantastic resource that explains what a DBA is, the DBA state requirements, and how to file a DBA for your business in all 50 states and U.S. territories.
2. Establish your brand on Etsy
Your Etsy shop will be one-of-a-kind.
That’s because no other store has you at the helm and sells your particular line of goods.
Your brand and visual brand identity should also be distinctive.
You may think, “I’m just opening an Etsy store. It’s a side gig. I don’t need to worry about branding!”
But your brand identity is how your customers and potential customers perceive your store. That means you have a brand whether you choose to or not. And you’ll be better served by making conscious branding choices instead of leaving it to chance.
The importance of your brand identity cannot be underestimated – especially in the authenticity-driven world of Etsy.
Shoppers seek out Etsy for the personal connection they can establish with the store owners there. Consumers can buy most necessities at Target, Amazon, or their local grocery store. But Etsy is known for its special, one-of-a-kind goods with authentic backstories.
So, if you want to make sales, you must create a brand identity that communicates the essence of what your store is about and builds confidence in your visitors.
So, before you post your first listing, ask yourself these important questions:
- What makes my merchandise unique?
- Who will want to purchase my products?
- What can customers obtain from my Etsy store that they can’t get anywhere else?
- What are my brand principles?
- What is the most crucial part of my customer’s experience?
- What identity/personality do I want my Etsy store to project?
Your answers to these questions (and others like them) will form the core of your store’s brand. Your business name, your company logo, your store banner or cover photo, and the items you list should all be influenced by these core brand ideas.
Etsy Branding BasicsYour store has three major branded elements that you should be aware of:
- your store name
- your avatar (usually a logo)
- the store banner or cover photo
These are the primary tools you can use to communicate your brand in your Etsy store. So, you’ll want to give them some genuine thought.
All business names should be brand-specific, memorable, and unique – this helps to set you apart from your competitors. But Etsy adds a few additional requirements for store names. Store names can’t include spaces, punctuation, or more than 20 characters. And each store must have a unique name.
Luckily, these requirements will work for you! They’ll force you to think of a short, interesting name.
Those tend to be the simplest to recall.
The shop symbol is where your emblem should go (your personal picture should already be featured under your shop owner profile).
Similar to your shop name, your emblem should be directly influenced by your business brand.
Whether your brand is upscale or informal will decide your choice of visuals and fonts. If your hand-crafted items are intricate, consider a detailed emblem. Similarly, if your style is basic and understated, a simple and minimalist emblem would be the better choice. You understand the concept.
In addition to ensuring your emblem represents your brand, remember that Etsy provides a square area for your symbol. So, avoid lengthy horizontal designs and select a emblem that will fit nicely inside a square.
For an excellent illustration, take a look at ClaraLoo’s emblem above. It has a simplistic, child-like, quaint allure that flawlessly reflects her playful, cozy nursery decor. Additionally, it is perfectly proportioned to fit in the square symbol area.
Require assistance in creating your finest emblem? Let crowdspring help! Our innovative professionals are ready to design a distinctive and memorable, custom-branded emblem for your Etsy shop.
Shop Banner or Cover Photo:
The upper part of your Etsy shop is valuable estate. This is where your banner or cover picture will go. This area sets the visual tone for your shop. And when utilized effectively, it will distinctively differentiate your shop from your competitors.
Etsy allows you to choose a small banner (760px X 100px) or a larger cover picture (3360px X 840px) to fill that space.
Functionally, a cover picture has a distinct advantage over a small banner. Cover pictures (as shown above) are visible when your shop is viewed on computers and smartphones. Small banners only appear when your shop is viewed on a computer. For that reason, we recommend choosing a cover picture over a banner.
Having a well-designed banner or cover picture is important. It enhances the attractiveness of your shop, yes. However, more importantly, it creates a professional impression and makes your shop appear trustworthy and credible.
Top Etsy shop ModParty utilizes its cover image to promote its shop name and showcase some truly impressive product photos.
A final word on branding… Your shop name, avatar, and banner or cover image serve as specific branding tools. However, branding does not end there in your Etsy shop.
Kevin Jones of Debt Free Happens (an Etsy entrepreneur, personal finance expert, and blogger) elucidates:
If you vend adorable stickers, it may not be logical to also vend customized beer mugs in the same shop. Both products are exceptional, but the objective is to establish an environment in which the buyer feels comfortable.
Each item you post must reinforce your brand. Customers should perceive that all of your listings belong in your shop. Furthermore, every listing depiction you compose should continue and emphasize that perception. This instills a sense of understanding and familiarity in your customers regarding you and the essence of your shop. Consequently, it feels like a secure and enjoyable place to be.
Your bio and personal snapshot also contribute to your brand. These personal details (and the tone you employ to communicate) establish a deeper connection with your customers.
Consequently, exercise prudence in determining which items to list and which information to incorporate in your bio. Utilize a consistent tone when drafting your listing descriptions and any other customer-oriented textual content, such as your bio and store policies.
For additional insight into establishing and maintaining a consistent brand identity, please consult Grow Your Small Business with Consistent Branding.
3. Calculate the figures
When commencing any new business endeavor, it is crucial to comprehend “the figures.” Typically, this topic is addressed within your business plan.
However, if you are not seeking external funding, a formal business plan is unnecessary. You only need to evaluate which numbers hold significance when embarking on an Etsy business.
Etsy entrepreneurs should monitor sales and profits; simultaneously, it is crucial to track your start-up expenditures. These initial costs should be factored into your pricing to recover your investment over time.
Fortunately, start-up costs for Etsy businesses are minimal compared to almost any other type of enterprise.
Typically, the start-up costs for an Etsy shop encompass the following:
- your brand design (logo and banner/cover image design)
- any licensing or permit fees (consult the SBA)
- basic infrastructure costs like internet service and Etsy listing fees (only $0.20 per listing!)
- any crafting tools you need to acquire in order to create products
- materials for your initial products
Employing astute calculations to determine the actual cost of establishing and operating your shop will enable you to plan effectively and avoid costly surprises.
And think about your total addressable market (TAM) to assist you in comprehending the opportunity in a better way.
Determining the appropriate prices can either make or break your store.
To establish an effective pricing strategy, you must commence by understanding the expenses involved in producing or obtaining your products.
This encompasses the costs of materials and the worth of your time. Additionally, you must factor in the expenses of operating your business (and a bit of profit!) into your prices. Otherwise, it will be challenging to sustain your business in the long run.
Taylor Combs, a writer and editor for Etsy’s Seller Handbook describes:
First and foremost, your pricing should take into account the cost of the materials used in creating the item and the time you put into it. If you’re uncertain, try searching for similar items on Etsy to see the average price range.
Once you’ve done the calculations, it’s time to consider the more intangible aspects – competitor pricing and perceived value.
Your potential customers are not just shopping for your products. They are also exploring options with your competitors.
And they are knowledgeable about the prices of those items. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they gather information about what they believe a product like yours should cost.
This means you also need to be aware of what your competitors are charging.
You may feel that your products are worth more or that you want to charge less than your competitors. And that’s acceptable.
However, if you have no knowledge of your competitors’ prices, you might miss the mark – either losing profit if you charge too little or sales if you charge too much.
Perceived value is the amount that a customer believes a product is worth. And your competitors’ prices contribute to that perception. But it’s not the entire picture.
The appearance of your products also plays a role. A cheaply-made necklace that appears fancy may have a higher perceived value than a beautifully crafted simple necklace. Most customers are unaware of the amount of time, money, or effort invested in creating a specific item.
Your branding can also influence how your product is perceived.
A sophisticated logo and high-end brand positioning will result in a higher perceived value compared to an amateur logo and shop banner.
Therefore, remember to take into account your brand and your competitors’ pricing when developing your pricing strategy.
For more information on pricing, take a look at this guide from the helpful individuals at Etsy.
4. Generate your product listings
Listings and artwork by Antoaneta Ivanova of PebbleArtDream
Your listings are the lifeblood of your Etsy shop.
Creating compelling listings can help your sales skyrocket – while lackluster listings will stagnate.
So, what does a compelling Etsy listing look like?
Well, the best and the worst Etsy listings all include the same three components – product titles, descriptions, and photographs. It’s how you execute them that makes the difference.
Master these three components; you’ll have rock-star listings that leap into shopper’s carts.
Listing titles Your listing titles identify your products to your potential customers.
Etsy’s Taylor Combs advises:
Think like a shopper and use words and phrases that buyers might use when searching for your item.
It helps to be descriptive. You could name a listing “Wool Blanket.” Or you could name that same listing “Hand-Braided 100% Merino Wool Blanket.”
Providing more information increases the likelihood that your listing will be found. For instance, shoppers searching for “merino wool blankets” and “hand-braided blankets” are both likely to find the second listing.
The more descriptive your listing title is, the more the customer can learn about your product at a glance. You can showcase what makes your product special and why customers can’t live without it before they’ve even clicked through.
Use evocative, descriptive words to highlight your products’ best qualities, and your listing titles will shine.
Product photos Image courtesy of LaurenAstonDesigns
Strong product photography is your best sales tool.
Shopping on the internet involves more uncertainty than shopping in person. In a store, you can handle and examine an item with your own two hands. Customers can’t touch the products they want to purchase on Etsy.
But great product photos help to allay some of that uncertainty. And well-styled photos that showcase the product in a way that resonates with your target audience help shoppers to envision that item in their lives.
Taylor Combs recommends including five photos on every listing. She suggests that you take the following:
- A well lit, clear photo of the item you plan to sell
- A photo that shows alternate angles of the product so shoppers can make an informed purchase
- A photo showing any unique details of the product. Try to answer any questions a shopper might have about texture, color or the techniques used.
- A photo that shows the scale of the item. Styling a photo with other recognizable props or by having volunteer models hold it in their hands can help.
Capture as many photographs as necessary to provide your customers with a comprehensive understanding of the product. And, of course, showcase it to its maximum advantage.
Take photographs using natural lighting (rather than a camera flash) – this makes a difference. Experiment to determine the optimal time of day for the best lighting conditions for you.
And remember that these images must appeal to your target clientele. So, keep those customers in mind and style the photographs accordingly.
But most importantly, ensure that your products are the focal point of the photographs – simplicity is crucial.
For detailed information on how to create the finest product photographs, take a look at Etsy’s “Ultimate Guide to Product Photography.” And consider utilizing product retouching services if your photographs require some professional assistance.
Product description Writing an exceptional product description is the final step in crafting an outstanding listing.
This is your chance to narrate the story of your product. Incorporate all of the unique details that make your item special. If you personally created the product, provide a brief overview of your process.
Help potential customers visualize how the product can fit into and enhance their lives. People often make purchasing decisions based on their emotions rather than logic. Therefore, paint an enticing image, and you’ll attract more favorable outcomes than simply listing features.
Lastly, examine the descriptions written by your top competitors. Never plagiarize their carefully crafted content. However, you may find inspiration regarding what information to include or how to format your description.
For even more valuable tips on writing exceptional product descriptions, click here.
5. Complete the necessary business requirements
Starting an Etsy business is a user-friendly way to launch a venture.
However, it is still a business.
This means you must adhere to the legal requirements imposed by your state, just like any other business.
Firstly, you must select a legal structure for your new Etsy business. We discussed these options in detail in our article “15 Tips for Turning Your Craft Hobby Into a Successful Business”:
A sole proprietorship is the “most basic type of business to establish” according to the SBA (Small Business Administration). As the sole proprietor, you are the sole owner of the business and are solely responsible for the assets and liabilities accumulated by the business. This may be the ideal choice for your brand-new crafting business, as it is also the easiest to set up.
If you have an interest in a little more safeguarding, an LLC (or Limited Liability Company) may be a more suitable option. The LLC business structure offers the restricted liability features you would find in a corporation. The Small Business Administration has all of the particulars about these usual small business structures and others.
To discover more about corporations, partnerships, and other legal blunders individuals frequently make when establishing a small business, have a look at our post and video: 10 Legal Blunders That Can Wreck Your Small Business And How To Avoid Them.
The precise prerequisites for registering a business differ by state. For a swift, cost-effective, and straightforward formation experience, our distinct partnerships with two of the finest in the business guarantee you’re in capable hands. If you purchase through our partners, we may earn a minor commission.
Register any entity with our premier partner Northwest Registered Agent and pay just $39 plus state fees (includes one year of registered agent service, a business address, mail forwarding, privacy, and much more).
Register any entity with our premier partner incfile and pay just $199 plus state fees (includes one year of registered agent service, compliance alerts, EIN business tax number, and much more).
After you choose your business structure, you’ll need to submit any required paperwork. The U.S. Small Business Administration states that a license or permit is necessary for virtually every business type.
Their website has all of the info you need to find out what kind of license or permit you’ll need for your Etsy shop in your state.
For more details about legal considerations for your Etsy shop, read this article from legal compliance experts Wolters Kluwer.
And be sure to become acquainted with Etsy’s legal policy for sellers.
Taking care of these admittedly unexciting but essential chores will ensure you don’t get bitten in the backside later.
6. Create a stocking plan
Beginning a shop is an excellent initial step.
However, if you desire to run a successful business, you must prepare for what comes after the opening.
Maintaining your shop effectively is crucial to your success. And well-supplied shops perform the best.
Therefore, Etsy enthusiasts may get by with stocking their shops as they come across items or when they feel like it, but Etsy entrepreneurs need to be more proactive. Plan in advance to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed later on.
Etsy offers three types of shops: handmade goods, vintage items, and crafting supplies. Each of these three categories will have different requirements for maintaining your stock.
Crafting supplies: Depending on how productive you are as a crafter, you might already have a considerable stock of crafting supplies. If that’s the case – congratulations! You’re set for a while.
If you don’t already have a large quantity of craft supplies that you can sell, you may want to establish purchasing relationships with wholesalers to increase your profit margin on the items you sell.
Alternatively, if you want to sell a mix of your products and third-party products, you have the option to dropship on Etsy.
However, there are a few minor hurdles you’ll need to overcome before you can do so. You’ll need an EIN, a tax license, and a registered business name. Take a look at this article from Chron to learn all the details if wholesale purchasing seems like the right fit for you.
Vintage items: If you’ve decided to sell vintage goods, you probably already have a collection of vintage items waiting to be sold. And that’s fantastic – but what happens after this stock runs out?
That’s correct! You’ll need to go shopping! While that may sound enjoyable now, sourcing stock can be hard work. And it requires upfront cash to invest.
You may benefit from setting a regular shopping schedule to keep yourself on track. You should consistently acquire new items – having an empty shop is bad for business. And finding quality vintage items can be hit or miss. Shopping regularly will ensure that you don’t find yourself in a shortage of merchandise.
Planning a regular shopping schedule also allows you to spread out your purchase expenses over time, making sure you can cover the investment.
Handmade goods: If you plan to create the items you sell, you have a lot to consider.
- Will all of your items be made individually?
- Or will you offer products that you can produce in an assembly-line style?
- Will you sell downloadable digital goods (such as prints or crafting patterns)?
- Or will you handcraft physical items?
- Will you offer personalized items upon request?
Remember that one-of-a-kind handmade items may bring you joy to create, but they will also be the most challenging to keep in stock. Supplement these more time-consuming items with staple products that are quick and easy to make.
You can also expand your shop by creating custom listings made upon request. Custom listings are great because you know you’ll be paid for the item and don’t have to invest time and effort until the order arrives.
Setting production objectives for yourself is a wise notion – such as producing X items per week to ensure that your shop is well-supplied. What is a reasonable production goal for you?
No matter what kind of shop you intend to operate, don’t leave your success up to chance. Planning how you will maintain your stock will increase your chances of success.
7. Prepare for Shipping
Shipping is an integral part of running an Etsy business.
Don’t wait until you’ve made your first sale to figure out how you will fulfill the customer’s order. Customers now expect fast shipping and excellent communication. So make sure to plan out your shipping logistics to avoid keeping customers waiting.
Fortunately, Etsy recognizes the importance of shipping and offers a system to facilitate shipping for their vendors. You can print shipping labels, calculate shipping fees, and track packages directly from your Etsy shop. You can sign up here.
However, you need to think beyond just the logistics. Etsy shoppers seek a personalized shopping experience, and how their item is packaged plays a crucial role in that experience.
Consider including a brief personal note. Reflect on what materials you will use to protect the item during transit and create a delightful unboxing experience.
Will you include coupons or a small present?
Whatever you decide, stay true to yourself and your shop’s brand.
8. Spread the Message
Opening an Etsy shop doesn’t automatically guarantee immediate sales and success. It takes time to establish a presence and build a customer base. But there are specific steps you can take to accelerate the growth of your shop!
As you begin, turn to your friends and family to make your initial sales.
Online shoppers rely on positive reviews to feel secure when making a purchase. However, your brand-new Etsy shop doesn’t have any reviews yet.
So, reach out to your friends and family – they want to support your venture. Encourage them to make a purchase and leave a positive, sincere review. It also never hurts to ask them to spread the word about your shop to their acquaintances!
Those reviews and sales will help “seed” your shop for future sales.
You might also want to launch a refer-a-friend campaign. Businesses of all kinds strive for effective word-of-mouth marketing. You can encourage this by providing printed discount coupons.
Clearly state on the coupon that it’s for a friend and can only be used for their initial purchase. Then include these coupons in all of the packages you ship. And, to make the offer even more enticing – offer the original customer a discount on their next order if their friend makes a purchase.
SEOSEO stands for search engine optimization. It involves optimizing your shop and listings to make them more discoverable online.
SEO is a vast topic that cannot be fully covered here. However, here are a few tips to help you get started…
- Utilize tags in your Etsy listings. Tags allow you to “tag” a listing with specific keywords to make it easier for shoppers to find.
- Incorporate popular keywords in your listing title and product descriptions.
- Make use of Etsy categories to enhance the discoverability of your items.
And, for plenty more information about Etsy Search and SEO, check out these articles.
Social media As a new, emerging business owner, you’ll also want to take full advantage of the affordable and simple exposure that social media marketing offers you. As we formerly explained,
Social media provides you with the ability to easily keep customers updated on new products, store policies, or sales. It also allows you to establish a social rapport with current customers, while developing low-pressure relationships with future buyers.
Maintaining (at a minimum) a Twitter and Facebook presence will assist you in building an audience of loyal followers.
Make it effortless for visitors to see what your shop is all about by featuring those wonderful photos of your products in a Facebook album.
Social media is also the ideal platform to help potential customers get acquainted with you and your shop.
Customers purchase from Etsy instead of a major retailer because they connect to that business’s story. So, use your Facebook and Twitter to share that story – for free!
9. Establish a web presence outside of Etsy
You have an Etsy shop. So a website would be redundant, right?
While you don’t need a website to open an Etsy shop, it’s an excellent tool for assisting in the growth of your business. Here’s why.
A website provides any business with more credibility. In our digital culture, individuals expect businesses to have a website.
As we explained previously:
A recent study reveals that 97% of consumers research their purchases online before making a purchase.
Now, shoppers aren’t consciously seeking out Etsy vendors with a website. But almost anyone can open an Etsy shop. And if a customer is trying to decide between two similar Etsy shops, and one has a professionally designed website while the other does not…
Well, I know who I’d buy from. And it’s not the shop with no website.
In addition to adding credibility, a stand-alone website is another point of contact for customers to discover your goods. It increases the chances of finding customers who don’t already shop on Etsy – expanding your potential customer base.
A straightforward, well-executed website is sufficient to achieve all of these advantages. You don’t even require e-commerce capabilities on your website – simply direct customers directly to your Etsy shop.
Observe these guidelines to obtain the most from your website:
Initiate by ensuring that your website design is a transparent extension of the brand you have established in your Etsy shop. Visitors should instantly recognize that it’s the same business.
Establish consistency by…
- Emphasizing your Etsy shop logo and name
- Utilizing the same brand hues from your logo and Etsy banner on your website
- Showcasing all of your product images on your website with the same item descriptions
- Match the identical genuine writing tone in the website copy that you employ in your Etsy shop
- Incorporate an “About” section that reveals the tale you’ve shared on Etsy
- Direct customers to your Etsy store to make purchases
Ultimately, a robust website design will contribute credibility and legitimacy to your business. To learn more about exceptional website design, check out Grow Your Small Business With These 7 Website Design Best Practices and 11 biggest web design trends for 2022.
If you have followed all of the guidance in this article, then you are well on your way to a successful Etsy business.
However, you may still have inquiries. You probably do. And that’s fine.
Etsy is one of the most supportive online communities globally. You can seek assistance from your peers on the Etsy Forums. Etsy even has an incredibly informative Seller Handbook with articles covering every subject you might need to know about. So, you’re never alone.
You’ve got this. Keep listing and learning – and before long, your Etsy business will flourish.