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Tips for Selling on Etsy

Updated on October 10, 2013
One of my favorite handmade pieces in my shop.
One of my favorite handmade pieces in my shop. | Source

It is What You Make it

There's no place online quite like Etsy. It's chic, it's modern, and it's beautiful.

But there are millions of listings in this vast wonderscape to wade through. How will you ever stand out in such a large crowd?

Having been a seller on for the last year or so, I have learned a lot about doing business online such as shipping standards and interfacing with the customer electronically. Even if you're a super talented crafter and a saavy business person with a killer idea- you still may run into some dry spells in sales and creative blocks when it comes up to keeping your shop the most fashion forward and trendy.

I can only speak from the jewelry maker and handbag designer's perspective. There's so much that goes into each individual piece: the material, the time and the money it will all cost you in the end- with no guarantee you will make the money back let alone a profit. I find the Etsy staff to be very honest and forthcoming and their policies are fair in my opinion. Read on for some points to consider when opening an Etsy shop.

What to Consider

There are a multitude of things to consider before starting your Etsy. You won't become a millionaire overnight (unless you're super lucky) and it may take a few months for your shop to pick up some speed. Start up capital for the material used to make your products is important to have accounted for, the time and space you need that your crafts might take up in your home or elsewhere and the upkeep of your online shop in general- including customer service.


It may be a few days, weeks, or even months before you make your first sale. The hardest part might be not knowing if you're doing something wrong or if you're just not good at what you're doing. I find it's best to get the honest opinion of your work from your peers and family and work on improving if you can.

Once you've made a few sales you'll begin to see signs that you should either keep going or that perhaps it's not your cup of tea. You'll quickly start to understand how the process works and if it's something you could keep doing for profit or just for fun. For me, I've done very well on Etsy but I haven't quit my day job just yet.

You'll know very quickly if this venture is worth your time, money, and effort.


Make sure you've got great tags for your items. These tags are entered when you're creating each listing. These tags should be relevant, but don't have to be specific. Use keywords you would use if you were look for this item yourself on Etsy.


Using close up, clear, focused, and bright photographs of your items is key to getting a good response from online shoppers. Even if the resolution isn't the best, the customer will feel better about their purchase if they can see clearly what they are buying. Use natural light whenever possible and get as many angles as it takes to best represent the item.


Pricing should be taken very seriously, but you shouldn't gouge your customers for an overpriced item. Pay yourself as much as you feel is fair for the time you spent making it, add the cost of the materials, and about 10% of that total for "Overhead". Overhead could be unexpected fees or costs that you had to pay out of pocket to move the product into the customers hands. Stay ethical, but don't cut yourself short!


Don't ever miss an open opportunity to promote yourself. Etsy has ads built in that you can take advantage of, but I would only test out their sponsored ads until you know for sure they're working or not. Post your shop on Facebook, Twitter and where ever else you can link it to (without being spammy). You never know if that link might lead to a sale!

Be Courteous

Be honest and open about your products, how and where they are made, what they're made out of, and anything else the customer should know about. There's nothing more condemning than a customer receiving an item they didn't know they were buying. This can also be said for your fellow sellers. The forums are a great place to give and share advice, but you must stay classy and cordial.

Etsy Seller Tips

  • Don't be afraid to "craft outside the box." Most buyers on Etsy want something different, that's why they chose to browse there. Take a simple efficient design and flip it into something more dazzling, something one of a kind. Something they can only find in your shop.

  • Don't become discouraged if your items aren't selling right away, or frequently. The more items you have in your shop, the more opportunities you have to be found in searches.

  • It's great to specialize in something, but try to have as many different items as possible, even if it's all the same product.

  • Don't be afraid of international shipping, but be proactive about your orders. Don't let an order sit around for too long after it's been placed. These items will take quite a while to reach your customers and quick shipping is fundamental for good business online.

  • Only do custom orders if you've got the materials in hand or on the way at all times. Nothing hurts you more than being backed up on orders. It cuts into time you could be spending expanding your shop and maintaining your good feedback rating! Custom orders have a great personal appeal to them, but your customers will only appreciate it if it's done right and in a timely manner.

  • Don't forget to participate in the Etsy forums! These forums can prove invaluable to you and the welfare of your shop. You will find great information that isn't available elsewhere and you can make connections and join teams for support when you need it.

It's Up to You!

Etsy is a wonderful community of passionate artists and artisans who want to share their work with the world. I would encourage anyone to try it for themselves to eliminate the "what if's" in your mind if you've always dreamed to be a designer or crafter. It's free to join and costs very little to list your items. Get over there and try it out! You may or may not be sorry, but that's up to you to decide to take that leap of faith. Good luck and have fun!

Please ask any questions you might still have and I'll update with the best answer I can!


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