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Are you interested in starting your own Etsy shop? Established in 2005, Etsy has benefited from an increase in customers who prioritize ethical, sustainable, handmade and local shopping. The global marketplace prides itself on its easy-to-use platform, perfect for shop owners unfamiliar with online sales.
While Etsy is easy for consumers to use, running a successful Etsy shop is more than simply setting it up. Use these eight tips to not only start an Etsy shop, but to run it successfully and profitably.
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1. Iron out the basics.
The first step to start an Etsy shop is to determine the name for your shop! Pro tip: do a quick Internet search to make sure your shop name doesn’t already exist as a business, website or social media page.
2. Create a memorable logo and shop banner.
People recognize logos when they’re shopping. Your logo stays with you for a long time (sometimes forever), so you want yours to be meaningful and something that will represent your Etsy shop for the long run. The best logos are simple and reflect your shop or product.
Remember to keep your logo simple. You can use your own product photos for your shop banner, or you can also use a program such as Canva. Or, better yet, if it works with your budget, hire a local graphic design firm (ahem, like Sass Studios!) and let them do the work!
3. Consider all the nitty-gritty details.
Etsy requires shop descriptions, shipping information and policies in order to sell your products. While you can always edit these later, figuring out the details early on will help bring in sales from the start. Additionally, Etsy requires policies that detail processing time, returns, exchanges and refunds. Etsy’s Seller Handbook has information to help you figure out the details for your policies, and there are plenty of other resources online if you need additional help!
4. Decide how you’ll price your products.
Save yourself time and energy by determining your product pricing before you open your shop. Once those orders start rolling in you won’t have the time to price each item!
5. Photograph your products.
Good product photos are the most important piece of promoting and selling your merchandise. You don’t need a professional camera or equipment to take high-quality photographs of every single product. Find a space with natural lighting and arrange your products so there are no hard shadows in the images. The best photos have clear, bright backgrounds with minimal distractions. For some products, adding small, decorative elements can make the product pop, but be careful not to overdo it. Make sure your product is the main focal point of every photo.
6. Draft a product description template.
Another trick to manage your time, and follow Etsy’s best practices, is to create a general template for your product descriptions. Etsy suggests including standard information like shipping costs and processing time, and always remember to provide a link to your shop or social media pages. Whenever you add a new product, simply copy/paste the general template info right after the specific item description.
7. Learn to work the Etsy algorithm.
The absolute most important part about starting and running an Etsy shop is learning how to attract customers. Most people who don’t succeed on Etsy set up their shop and simply wait for sales to come. Unfortunately, simply starting and setting uyp your shop on Etsy is only the first part of the process. All Etsy sellers should read up on SEO (Search Engine Optimization). One of the easiest things you can do is use keyword tags that will get you found. Etsy allows each product to have 13 tags. The more keyword tags you use, the more likely your product will sell. If most of your products are very similar, create a bank of tags to copy and paste for each listing to save you some time.
8. Stay relevant.
Aside from writing content that will boost your views, one trick to making more sales is to follow Etsy shopping trends. Look out for Etsy’s monthly trend guides and be ready to create items that follow their recommendations. Use Etsy’s popular searches to discover new items to create that are more likely to sell.
More goes into selling on Etsy than people realize. The truth is, it takes a lot of hard work to start and run a successful online Etsy shop, but it’s totally worth it. If you’re willing to put in the work and learn the ins and outs of selling online, then you’re more than capable of running a successful business on Etsy.
This article originally appeared in our Spring 2021 print issue.
Miranda Mossburg runs two businesses; an e-commerce, store, Sweet As Sugarcane, and Frederick Makers, which is a new digital platform dedicated to local, Frederick, Maryland artists and shop owners with an events-based focus. Miranda has lived in Frederick County, Maryland her whole life and loves the small business community in the area.
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