Etsy How-to

Tips For Starting An Etsy Shop

‘You could make some money off this in an Etsy shop’, they said. 

‘You should keep making these and sell them on Etsy!’, they said. 

So you did a little research about selling on Etsy. Now, you’re looking for a few tips for starting an Etsy shop to help make a little extra income. 

Whether you’re selling art, handmade crafts, or vintage items on Etsy, this article will point you in the right direction. It will also help you get more from your Etsy shop and find even more Etsy shop success!

Before we begin

We’ve created a comprehensive Etsy 101 blog series, all about how to start an Etsy shop. If you’re looking to find success on Etsy and want step-by-step directions that are easy to follow, then we suggest you check it out:

Etsy 101: Everything You Need to Know Before You Start an Etsy Shop

Now, back to the article.

It’s important to note that no Etsy store is ever really ‘perfected’. Your store, and all stores, will have to consistently change and test a lot of things to stay competitive.

With that being said, here are some of the best core tips for starting an Etsy shop, no matter your selling experience!

Complete your account

Etsy Shop Setup Screen from
Etsy shop setup steps from

Once you’ve input all the information required to sell on Etsy doesn’t mean that you’re completely set up to sell effectively. 

Adding the most convenient method to be paid isn’t always the best method. If you’ve got a separate bank account for your Etsy activities (and you should), ensure that this bank account is attached. 

Don’t forget:

  • Store announcement
  • Shipping, handling & processing times
  • Return & Refund policies
  • Complete your product descriptions
  • Store Locations
  • Shop policies & processing times
  • Production partners

All these little tidbits combine to complete your store and answer a customer’s question before they have to ask it!

Figure out your keywords

Having a core set of keywords that are relevant to what you’re selling is a simple and effective way to establish yourself on Etsy. When people search for your keywords, it means that your products are more likely to be shown in their search results. 

However, there’s a bit of an art to finding the ideal keywords for a new Etsy store. If there are a lot of people using your keyword (think ‘jewelry’), then it’s going to be very hard for your product to been seen in all the search results. 

Focus Keywords Table showing Keyword analysis in Marmalead
Product Keywords Analyzed in Marmalead

Marmalead simplifies the process of finding keywords that are relevant to your products, and also not too competitive. It not only shows you how many people search for that keyword but also shows you long-tail keywords, seasonality in searches, as well as price breakpoints for your keyword. 

Finding and using relevant keywords in your Etsy listings is called ‘SEO, an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. It can get a little complex at times, but it’s arguably the most effective way to drive more traffic, and ultimately sales from your Etsy store. 

Know your niche

An effective way to start your Etsy store is by ‘niching down’. 

Rather than specializing in ‘knitted goods’, you’ll find more success by specializing in ‘Superhero-themed knitted sweaters for babies’. That’s because there’s arguably a smaller market for them and fewer competitors. 

Tailoring your products to a niche like this does mean fewer people are looking for what you’re selling, but it also means your efforts are more effective in concentrating on a smaller group of people. In time, you can branch out into similar niches (sports-themed/organic/novelty/holiday knitwear) and dominate those niches by leveraging your experience in your initial niche. 

Complete your branding

Etsy provides you with a place to upload a logo, talk a little about your brand, and make a bit of a statement. And it’s suggested that you use these spaces to do exactly that. While it might just be a little fun to sell some stuff on the side, thinking of yourself as a business will help you get in the right mindset to turn first-time buyers into repeat buyers. 

So spend some time creating a memorable logo, a unique color palette, and a specific tone of voice to use in your store. Then, make sure that these motifs are echoed in all parts of your Etsy store. These are the most basic elements of branding a business and are crucial to making your customers say ‘I got this from Jenny’s store’, rather than ‘I got it on Etsy’.

Price effectively, not competitively

One of the biggest challenges about selling on Etsy is effectively pricing your products. Many merchants that sell mass-produced products try and undercut each other on price, as they know that the cheaper price often gets the sale. For you, that often means selling at a loss.

However, it doesn’t have to be like that. 

By positioning your product as one that’s high-quality, you separate yourself from competitors that want to compete on cost. 

Pricing chart for "coffee mug" from Etsy Keyword Search results in Marmalead.
Price spread for “coffee mug” shown from Marmalead Etsy Keyword Search Results

Therefore it makes sense to take the time and establish the cost of producing your item and then putting a 20% profit on top of it. From here, you can adjust your price accordingly, while also ensuring your customers that you’re not out to compete with the low-balling competition. 

Nail your photography

One of the most effective ways to show that you’re selling a high-quality product is to have killer product photography. And yes, that means putting your cell phone away and getting a quality camera out, propping up your product, and taking a wide range of shots with both natural and artificial light. 

Woman taking a photo of a denim jacket.
Invest in your photography with quality equipment and time.

Consider the following:

  • Simple photos that show off just your product
  • The packaged product
  • A few photos of your product being used in real life
  • Colour and size variants of your products

People are visual creatures and we consume a lot with our eyes. A comprehensive range of photos means that your potential customer can learn all they need to know about your product simply through visuals. 

Final thoughts

Some of these Etsy tips are easier to implement than others. But as mentioned earlier, a lot of this is trial and error as well as updating your listings as your brand grows. With that in mind, it’s time to start spending some time optimizing your listings!

Happy selling, everyone!


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