This is my very own personal journey of opening my first Etsy shop.
I want to pass on to you all the knowledge and information that I have learned over the years about how to open an Etsy store or shop.
Full disclosure… my Etsy shop, Miss Thread, where I made pillows, purses, jewelry and home décor out of recycled denim, did moderately well but I ended up closing the doors on my shop, for personal and business reasons. It was a sad day and I felt as though I failed but I resolved to not to give up.
That being said, I still wanted to share with you all of my successes and failures. Which I have plenty of each.
So here they are…
Starting Your Etsy Shop.
Let me start by saying that it takes a lot of work to start an Etsy Shop. Etsy itself offers so many tools to make it as easy as possible, it is quite simple, in fact, it’s basically pointing and clicking and doesn’t take a lot of money upfront ($0.20 per listing for 4 months) which is nice.
Coming up with all the ideas, descriptions, prices and photographs is the real challenge here but I know you can do it, why? Because I did.
Research and More Research.
Spend some time searching around on Etsy to get an idea for some of the things that stand out to you. Like listings that catch your eye. Colors that you like. Visit those shops that speak to you and check out their sales and how long they have been in business. The idea here is to get inspired and not to copy what they have done, your shop should be uniquely you!
Take a look at this valuable resource Etsy’s Sellers Handbook. It is full of information and the rules that must be followed in order to keep the doors open at your shop.
There are also a lot of helpful articles out there like this one that can give you advice and inspiration.
Getting Ready To Set Up Shop.
Now that you have decided on a great shop name and a great idea about what your shop is going to offer. It is time to put it all together. You need a shop logo or banner, tagline, product info, photos, descriptions, shop info, shop policies, shipping info, returns/exchanges and .20 per item. Sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it.
Well, it does take a lot of work but Etsy will help you out with a lot of the policy and shipping information. They have a general write up ready to go, you can modify it if you like but for the most part, it is ready to go. See, not so bad right?
Hopefully, by this point, you have some products already created. Now technically you only need one item to open shop but I learned you need more than one. I would suggest at least a dozen and then try to add more along the way. I found that adding one item a week was a reasonable goal for me. It allowed me plenty of time to create, photograph and write up a description.
Etsy also makes it easy to copy a product listing and then edit it by changing the image and information as needed and keep the info that stays the same, like colors, sizes, keywords, etc.
Read this to help you get you started Setting up a Shop.
Photography, Photography, Photography!
I cannot stress enough how important this part of the process this is. Your item photos will make or break you, so please take time and be creative with this. I set up a little spot in a well-lit room in my home, natural light works best. Take lots of photos, up close, at different angles, inside and out, use accessories (pens, sunglasses, flowers, toys).
Be creative! I literally took hundreds of pictures. I did white backgrounds with a sheet as a backdrop, then I tried to placing an item on my kitchen counter which is not a natural habitat for a pillow so I had to rethink it. Burlap was my final choice, it was a good contrast to my blue denim items.
Tip: If you can, try to use stock product photos
Read this article 7 Essential Types of Product Photos. It is very helpful!
Here are some of my actual photos from beginning to end.
Keywords and Product Titles.
If you know anything about keywords then that is great news (I didn’t) and if you don’t, please research this! When writing a title for your item be sure to accurately describe it and use keywords in the titles themselves. Etsy provides a place to add 13 keywords for each item which is so important and a really great feature they offer!
This is how people will find you, so search on Etsy itself to get idea’s on keywords that match your products. In Etsy’s search box just start typing and see what comes up. It really is a great way to see what people are searching for.
This article Brainstorming Keywords for Tags and Titles is a good place to start.
Pricing Your Products.
Now, this was hard for me my first go around with Etsy. I had a tendency to underprice my items thinking that I couldn’t compete with my competitors. Wrong! What I ended up doing is working for free. It took me a year before I realized my time was worth something.
If you are making a quality item it will show in your reviews. If there is too much completion in your category you may need to rethink your brand and try and find a niche in the market.
Try to meet the needs of something your market is lacking. I am not going to lie, I found this to be one of the hardest parts of owning my own shop. It was up to me to figure out what that was!
Check out this article How to Price Like a Pro.
Tip: Don’t forget to add the Etsy app to your phone and you can check your shop’s stats just by putting the widget on your phones home page.
Then before you know it you will hear the Cha-Ching notification sound! That means you sold something and you can do the dance of joy, wherever you are!
Packing and Shipping.
Etsy has made this so easy. Once you sell an item you can create and print a shipping label right from the shop. Etsy even calculates the shipping for you! The Buyer enters their zip and boom calculated. Awesome! Thanks, Etsy!
Once you get the hang of it you can even start shipping to other countries, again Etsy has made that easy as well. So don’t worry about that. Focus on other things like creating items!
Again another great article on this is how to Set Shipping Costs.
I knew absolutely nothing about this side of owning a business and I not going to lie, it is tricky. You can get followers from your friends and fellow shop owners on Etsy. I also noticed a lot of Etsy shop owners post their products on the Etsy forums as well.
If you know the in and outs and like social media, then you’ve got this!
Try Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest (my personal favorite). You can pin your products right from your product page! Facebook allows you to make a business page and add items to it.
That along with Etsy’s shop updates right from your shop dashboard you will get the hang of it in no time.
Check out this article 3 Clever Marketing Strategies to Promote Your Business.
I hope this information helps as you begin the process of opening an Etsy Shop.
As I said before I would love to share my success and failures with you and will be elaborating further on my up and downs and hopefully inspire you to try something new and push yourself to do something out of your comfort zone as I did and continue to do.
I wish you much luck!