8 tips for starting an Etsy shop

8 Tips For Starting An Etsy Shop

Are you new to this whole Etsy shop thing? Or maybe you’re still thinking about it? Either way, you’re here now and we’ve got some words of wisdom for you. I assembled our Marmalead team (minus Kevz because he just got married so we’re excited he’s off celebrating!) and had them all come up with a few tips just for you newbies out there! We’re excited you’re here and that you’ve started (or are thinking about starting) your own Etsy shop.

If you’re not new to Etsy and are a seasoned Etsy shop owner, these tips and words of wisdom just may be exactly what you need to take your shop to the next level. They are a great reminder that freshening up your shop is always a great idea. Striving for improvement is consistently going to be the best thing you can do for yourself and your business. So read on, newbie or seasoned seller! We’re stoked you’re here! No matter who you are these tips will help you on your journey to Etsy shop success.

Richie’s Tips : Co-Founder of Marmalead

1.) Focus 

Whenever you’re starting something new, there can be a lot of opportunity for distraction. Plan out the things that are really important to success and put everything else that comes up or gets suggested into a “later” list.

Both new sellers and seasoned sellers can benefit from prioritizing. But when you’re first starting out or beginning to plan for your Etsy shop, it can be easy to become distracted! There are going to be all kinds of things you’ll want to do as well as things that really need to be done. Writing everything down and prioritizing what has to be done now in order to move you towards your business goal is important for staying focused and efficient.

2.) Be the shop YOU want to buy from 

Take a step back and ask yourself…Would I choose products from this shop or another? Do my descriptions inspire me? Am I excited to buy my own products? If I were a new customer, would I completely understand what I’m getting in the package I order? Basically, am I in love with my own shop and inspired to buy the services or products I offer? Is my passion coming through when folks click into my shop? These are all important to considerations! The more you create a shop you’d love to buy from, the more likely your customers are to build a connection to your shop and products. So for newbies and seasoned sellers alike…be the shop you want to buy from! 

Gordon’s Tips : Co-Founder of Marmalead

3.) Learn and know your customers 

If you can research your target market BEFORE starting your Etsy shop it can make the process much smoother. If you’ve already started your shop without really understanding your audience, dive into searching for those answers. Look into the competition’s reviews and look for what their customers are asking for or how they’re describing things. Start your own test group. Have friends and family look at your shop with a critical eye and ask for what words they might use to search for your products or how they would use your items? Then work to include that information when you’re creating your listings.

4.) Choose the advice you take wisely 

Just because Jill said something worked (or didn’t work) in Jack’s shop does not mean the same exact thing will (or won’t) work in your shop. Other people’s shop’s, experiences, and opinions can inform your research process, but remember that you’re serving different customers and building your own unique brand. That means that something that helped Jill sell more bracelets won’t 100% guarantee that you’ll sell more rustic wall sconces. Again, this comes back to researching your audience. If you do that first, you’ll be better equipped to know which advice you can try implementing in your shop, and which you should ignore.

Lisa’s Tips : Marmalead’s Marketing Coordinator

5.) Start at the beginning 

If you’re using Marmalead, do the Success Webinar before deciding “I got this, no assistance needed!”…Etsy SEO is different from other brands of SEO and it’s nice to have someone walk you through what you’re about to tackle before you actually tackle it! Marmalead is a set of tools designed to help you build a successful Etsy SEO strategy. We can’t do the work for you, but we’re here to help you understand Etsy SEO and the pieces that go into creating successful listings and ultimately, successful shops.

6.) Be patient 

Most things that are built well aren’t built overnight. In the beginning, there will be a lot of experimenting and learning what works and what doesn’t. Don’t expect huge success after only a couple of weeks. Remember, slow and steady usually wins the race. As with any business, you have to invest significant time and energy into your products, customers, and business strategies in order to build long-term success. Also, be sure to keep up with your Shop Stats on Etsy to better understand what’s working for you in terms of attracting traffic to your shop. Take time to learn best practices for Etsy SEO (you can use Marmalead to help with this). Learning a dynamic system like Etsy SEO will take time. But keep at it a little every day and before you know it, you’ll be a seasoned seller and Etsy SEO expert!

Jade’s Tips : Graphic Designer/Writer for Marmalead

7.) Your shop aesthetics 

As a graphic designer, I highly recommend taking the time to invest in a great logo for your shop icon as well as a professional picture/design for your Etsy shop banner. Usually, these are the first things a customer will see when they enter your shop. Look at it as the gateway. Is it just thrown up there? Or is it inviting and professional? Whatever you do, do not use a random, blurry image of your pet or of something completely unrelated to your shop! I know, I love my dog too, trust me! But your Etsy shop isn’t where you want to showcase your sweet fur baby (unless you’re selling it). This is your business. Start off with a professional aesthetic and you’ll get much further with your customers.

Another thing to stay on top of is your “About” section. This is your chance to connect with your customers and communicate why your story and products are exactly what they’ve been searching for. Life changes and so should your About section. Staying on top of this communicates that you’re moving and active in your shop. Along these same lines is keeping up with and posting in your shop updates. Shop updates give you another outlet to connect with buyers by allowing them into your world. This also gives you the chance to build trust and become more human, not just a picture.

8.) Boundaries 

This may be one of the most important things to think about and decide when running your own business. What are your boundaries? Whatever they are, stick to them. Deciding whether to close your computer at 6pm or when to shut your office doors is so important. When running your own business having zero boundaries often happens in a shop owner’s life. This is not a healthy way to live or run your business. You must have time to recharge and step back from the temptation of constantly working. Decide when the best time is for you to step back, let go, spend time with your family or pouring into your own life and stick to that. This will help in providing great customer service and will ensure you won’t become burnt out. You must take care of your own mental and physical health BEFORE you can cultivate the health of your business. 

Bonus Tip from the Marmalead Team:

Provide excellent customer service 

What does this look like exactly? For starters make sure the information in your Shop Policies and Message to Buyers is clear and doesn’t leave anyone with more questions than answers.

Also, make sure you answer your Convos in a timely manner and don’t leave them unanswered for days. This will only cause frustration for you and your buyers. If you do get behind and need a little extra time, send a quick message to the buyer whose Convo you haven’t been able to answer and let them know they’re not forgotten and you will get back with them shortly. This acknowledges that you’re aware of them, you’re clearly working in your shop, and will often defuse a situation before it becomes frustrating.

Another policy to have and be consistent with is shipping. Be realistic about your shipping turnaround times. Decide before diving into selling if you will offer refunds and exchanges and how you want to deal with custom orders and customs and duty fees. If you have a clear plan for this before you get too far into selling, it will save you and your customers a lot of back and forth and potential misunderstandings.

Bonus Bonus Tip:

Remember to dream big! There are no limitations to the power that is held within the positivity of your mind.

Happy selling, everyone!

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