How to Sell on Etsy

Follow these simple steps to open your own Etsy shop.

Etsy is a global commerce platform for creative entrepreneurs. Since it was founded in 2005, it has grown to 50 million registered users. The website is an excellent place to sell your crafts for a profit. If you’re interested in starting an Etsy shop, look no further.

To sell your one-of-a-kind products, review what you need to do to learn how to sell on Etsy successfully and get started today. Because Etsy is a marketplace where nearly 30 million buyers shop, it’s a great platform to sell your handmade items whether you have a business already or just want to make money from your hobby.

How to Start an Etsy Shop

Before you get started, make sure you understand how Etsy works and what kind of time commitment it requires to be successful. Here’s what you need to do to start your Etsy store:

1. Understand Seller Fees

One of the best aspects of opening an Etsy shop is its straightforward fee structure. Etsy never charges a monthly fee and provides sellers with secure transactions, fraud detection and the convenience of automatic deposits. Here are the three Etsy fees you’ll have to pay:

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  • 20 cent listing fee: Each listing is good for up to four months.
  • 3.5 percent transaction fee: You won’t be charged unless your item sells.
  • 3 percent plus 25 cent payment processing fee: Etsy charges this fee to process payments for your sales. Etsy payments are processed on a secure, SSL-encrypted payments platform.

2. Set up Your Etsy Account

Setting up an Etsy account is much simpler than trying to create your own website. You don’t need to be tech savvy to sell because Etsy guides you through each step of the process once you sign up, according to Trisha Newton, owner of MumkenGiftShop on Etsy. “One reason many crafters turn to Etsy rather than create their own website is for its ease of use,” said Newton.

To set up your Etsy studio, register with your Google or Facebook account — or create a new username and password — and follow the prompts. Here are the choices you’ll make:

  • Choose shop preferences. Select a default language, what country you live in and what type of currency you’ll use.
  • Name your shop. Choose a catchy name with between four and 20 characters.
  • Add items to you shop. Add some of your merchandise to your shop to get started.
  • Select payment preferences. Choose which payment methods you’re willing to receive from customers.
  • Set up billing. Add a debit or credit card from Visa, MasterCard, Discover, or American Express to your account to pay for fees. Sellers will still be able to pay with PayPal if they prefer, but you must add a credit or debit card for identity purposes.
  • Click on the “Open Your Shop” button. You’re all set to sell now.
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3. Decide What to Sell on Etsy

Etsy has strict rules on what can and cannot be sold on its website. All seller items must be handmade or vintage — or be in the craft supplies arena. Reselling anything other than vintage or craft supplies is not allowed.

Although you might have many talents in the DIY department, it’s best to stick with a niche when you sell, according to Flavia Salvadori, owner of FVAdesign on Etsy. “Take a good hard look at what you are most passionate about and make that the focus of your store,” said Salvadori.

“I decided to sell handmade products because I work full-time as a graphic designer and was searching for a creative outlet that didn’t require staring at a computer screen. I taught myself calligraphy and now specialize in wedding calligraphy, which includes everything from hand-addressed envelopes to place cards, signage and more,” said Salvadori. “Because Etsy is saturated with so many talented artisans, it’s important to zero in on a customer base and tell a clear story with your products.”

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4. Set Your Prices

Etsy lists several important factors that sellers should consider when determining the price for their crafts. These include the cost of the materials you use, any overhead you might have and the time you spent creating the item.  

“I visit at least three different sites to see how similar items are priced and go from there. If I’m selling a unique item, I figure out how much it cost me to make that item and then double the amount to come up with my sale price,” said Newton.

5. Create Your Listings

To attract customers to your store, you need to create an eye-catching listing. Etsy users are allowed to list five images per item and each image should be at least 1,000 pixels wide. Play around with backgrounds and lighting when you take your photos and make them as creative and professional as you can.

Your product description is also important. Start with a title that includes keywords a buyer might search for when he’s looking for that type of item — and make sure your title is no more than 140 characters. The description should include important details like size, what it’s made from and any special features it has.

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Use the word “I” in your description to connect with potential buyers. Also, remember to keep each paragraph short and use bullet points where you can to make the description easily readable.

If you’re going to sell on Etsy, study other successful shops. Whether it’s a competitor or a store offering something entirely different from your product, there is a lot to learn from checking out other stores, according to Salvadori.

“Judge them as a potential customer and try to find common threads along the different shops to see what engages you and keeps you on their page. Keep in mind to only draw inspiration and don’t replicate another shop. Not only is it an ethical mistake, but also serves no benefit to your product or site if it’s merely a duplicate of another,” said Salvadori.

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6. Communicate With Customers

Communicating with customers is key if you want your Etsy business to thrive. “Half of my orders are from customers inquiring about items they’d like to have slightly changed,” said Newton. “Communicating with customers is key to selling more products and receiving five-star ratings.”

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Don’t forget to provide fast shipping options for your customers. Etsy shipping options might include standard shipping times, but shipping your items fast is a great way to impress and secure repeat customers.

7. Commit Time to Grow Your Etsy Business

You need to do something every day toward reaching your selling goals, according to Newton. “I’ll spend one day creating and cutting out patterns, another day taking pictures of my new items, and a third day listing and advertising the pieces. Just keep working the business and before you know it, you’ll have plenty of orders,” she said.

Etsy is as big of a time commitment as you make it. Like any business, however, the more time you’re willing to commit to making smart decisions, increasing production output, promoting items on social media and planning for the future, the more successful you’re likely to be, according to Salvadori. 

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About the Author

Alicia Bodine

Alicia Bodine is a New Jersey-based writer specializing in finance, travel, gardening and education. With more than 13 years of experience, her work has appeared in, Livestrong, eHow, USA TODAY, GlobalPost, and wiseGEEK.

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How to Sell on Etsy
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