This post may include affiliate links. You can view my full disclosure here.
If you love to create handmade items – from soap to crochet hats to enamel pins – then maybe you’ve considered opening an Etsy shop.
Etsy isn’t even just for handmade items though, some people run thrift stores or antique shops on Etsy too.
But whatever the idea behind your Etsy shop is, you haven’t started it for some reason. Maybe you’re scared or you don’t know where to start.
If that sounds familiar, then you’re reading the right post. 🙂 I started an Etsy shop almost a year ago (around October of 2020) after so many years of putting it off.
But, I finally did it and I’m so happy! I thought I’d try to help anyone else who needs the tips or the push to finally start an Etsy shop themselves.
So, here’s how to start an Etsy shop, from the idea phase to promotion (+ 40 free listings for your new shop)!
Before you start:
There are a couple of things to do before you actually start your Etsy shop. You may be able to skip one – or both – of these steps. But here they are, just in case!
What will you sell?
You probably already know what you’re going to sell on Etsy, but maybe you don’t. If you don’t, try to brainstorm.
Is there something you already know how to make? Is there something you could easily learn? Or do you want to start a thrift shop but don’t know what to sell? These are the things you should be thinking about.
Here are some ideas:
- Crochet or knit items
- Vinyl records
- Enamel pins
- Gift baskets
- Craft kits
Come up with a shop name
Now that you know what you’re selling, it’s time to come up with a shop name. You want to make sure that your shop name goes along with what you’re selling, and you want to make sure that it’s something you won’t get tired of.
If you’re really struggling to come up with a name, you can use an Etsy shop name generator like this one!
Setting up an account:
Now that you have ideas in mind, it’s time to move on to the more technical stuff: how to actually set up and start your Etsy shop!
Sign up for Etsy (with 40 free listings)
In case you haven’t already started an Etsy account, now is the time to do it. If you use this link here, you can get 40 free listings! In case you didn’t know, it costs $0.20 to list an item on Etsy. So this will save you from paying for your first 40.
Create a shop
Once you’re logged into your Etsy account, you can start your shop by clicking on “Shop Manager” towards the top right corner.
You’ll choose things like your shop language and your shop name, then you’ll add listings. Your shop won’t actually “open” until you’ve created your first listing.
This brings us to the next step!
Tips for your listing(s):
Now that you have your ideas and your account, it’s time to actually start an Etsy shop by creating your first listing! Here are some tips for doing that. These things are important because they can affect your sales or lack thereof.
I also want to point out that it’s a good idea to have at least around 5-10 listings when you open your shop. This gives you a higher chance of selling something and it gives people a better feel for what your shop is like, which means they might favorite your shop – meaning possible purchases in the future.
Photos are very important on Etsy! You want to make sure that your photos are clear, taken in good lighting, and have a clean background.
I also like adding at least 3 photos per listing. Try taking them from different angles and/or adding a close-up. This way, people see exactly what they’re purchasing.
You can take flat lay photos or photos of your items being used/worn. Just make sure that the item you’re selling is the focus of the image.
Create a title
I’ve heard that titles are the MOST important thing about your listing. Your title is what matters when it comes to Etsy and Google search results.
Make sure that your title uses keywords about your item and is very descriptive. You want to make it super clear what your item is. Try to think of words that people purchasing that item would use to search for it.
Give a description
You want to give a good description of your item because again, you want people to know exactly what they’re getting.
You may want to write down any questions you think people will have about the item, and then answer them with your description.
Think about things like color, size, pattern(s), materials, and things like that. Be very detailed!
Add all of the tags
Tags are another SUPER important part of an Etsy listing. You get to choose up to 13 tags and you want to use all of them!
Just like you did with your title, think about keywords that people would use when searching for the item on Etsy or Google.
Here’s a little hack that I use! I open Etsy in another tab and use their search function to start typing in the item I’m listing, and I add tags that match the auto-results that Etsy gives me. These are the top things that people are searching for.
For example: if I’m selling magnets, I’ll type in “magnets” and then if the top results are “magnets for lockers” and “cute magnets” then I’ll use both of those as tags. Because that means that people are searching for those terms.
Set your prices
Pricing items can be complicated. Many people don’t know where to start when it comes to pricing and they’re constantly wondering if their prices are too high or too low. And your prices play a big part in whether people are willing to buy your items or not. So here are some tips for figuring out your prices:
- Check out other Etsy shops that sell similar items and take note of their prices.
- Check out this post from Nancy Badillo for a pricing formula for handmade items.
- Remember that you can always adjust your prices every once in a while to see what seems to work best for you.
Variations and personalization
If you offer different options for your item, such as a different size or color, you can choose that in the variations section.
If you offer custom items, such as including someone’s name or a photo in your product, you can add that in the personalization section.
Choose your shipping option
In the shipping section, you can calculate how much shipping will cost, choose where you’ll ship to, decide how you’ll ship items, and choose whether you want the customer to pay for shipping costs or if you want to offer free shipping.
These choices are really more of a personal preference and depend on what kind of products you’re selling.
Customize your shop:
Yay, you’re officially an Etsy shop owner! Now you can move on to customizing certain things about your shop.
Upload a cover photo and icon
If you go to your shop page and click “Edit shop” on the left-hand side, you can upload your cover photo and icon.
Your cover photo is a large image that shows up at the top of your shop. You can upload an image of your shop name, logo, or maybe even your products.
Along with your cover photo, you can also upload a shop icon. That’s the smaller square image that shows up next to your shop name. This is a good place to put your shop logo.
If you’re not sure what images to use, here’s a tip: you can use Canva to create free graphics for your shop! The ideal size for a cover photo is 3360 x 840 pixels, and the ideal size for a shop icon is 500 x 500 pixels.
Choose a shop title & announcement
In your shop manager, you can go to “Settings” and then “Info & Appearance” to change things like your Shop Title and Shop Announcement.
Your Shop Title is where you can include keywords about your shop. If you sell crochet baby items, include that in your title. Think about the most accurate words people would use to search for your shop.
Your Shop Announcement is just what it sounds like. For now, you could use it to talk more about what you’re selling. But in the future, you could use it to let customers know you have a sale going on, or you’ve created a new line of products, or anything else going on in your shop.
Write a bio for your shop
You can go to “Settings” and “About your shop” to make your shop even more personal.
Here, you can add your name and a photo of yourself. You can also tell a little bit about you, what you do, why you started your shop, or whatever you want to let people know about it.
This helps give your shop a more human feel and allows people to kind of connect with the person behind the shop.
Create shop sections
In your shop manager, you can go to “Listings” to create sections in your shop. This is like creating categories for your items. For example, if you sell crochet items, you can create different sections for hats, scarves, blankets, etc.
Sections help customers navigate through your shop easier, especially when you have a lot of listings. Be as specific as you want with them!
Extra tips for success:
Now that your shop is up and running, you can focus on making sales. Here are some tips for success with your Etsy shop!
Promote your shop
Promoting your Etsy shop can really help you get more sales. Consider starting a Pinterest or Instagram account for your shop. Post photos of your products, share a look behind the scenes, and talk about what’s going on in your shop.
Join Facebook groups for Etsy sellers
Facebook groups are super helpful for Etsy sellers and there are so many of them! These groups are helpful because they allow you to be part of a community, to learn new information and skills, to get feedback on your business, and some of them even allow you to promote your shop! Here are some great groups that you can join:
- Etsy Insiders
- Etsy Sellers Growth and Self-Promotion
- Etsy Promo Love
- Etsy Sellers Support Group
- Etsy Sellers, Makers & More
Remember to use 13 tags for each listing
I’ve already said it in this post, but it’s important so I’m saying it again. 🙂 Remember to use all 13 tags for each of your listings! This is so important when it comes to your listing showing up in search results and getting seen.
Consider running Etsy ads
Etsy Ads allow you to select a dollar amount that you’re willing to spend each day to have Etsy advertise your listings. Your listings will show up at the top of search results, and will also display in Google searches.
If you want to try out Etsy Ads, I would start with a lower dollar amount each day to see how it works for you. Some people are very successful with these ads, but some people report that they didn’t see any change in their shop sales.
More resources for continued success
Books are the most inexpensive way to learn the most in-depth information on any subject. So here are a few of the best and most relevant books on Etsy selling and marketing. These could help you grow your shop into the best it can be!
- Sell Your Crafts Online: The Handmaker’s Guide to Selling from Etsy, Amazon, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Shopify, Influencers and More
- Starting an Etsy Business For Dummies
- Etsy Marketing: How to Promote Your Business, Manage SEO, and Maintain a Lifelong Store: Steps made easy that will help you gain a competitive edge
Do you have an Etsy shop? Do you want to start an Etsy shop? What’s your best tip for success on Etsy? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!