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How to Sell Handmade Jewelry on Etsy

Updated on January 5, 2014
randomcreative profile image

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

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Etsy is by far the largest and most well known site for selling handmade products online. Even though jewelry is one of the most competitive categories there, if you're interested in selling your crafts online, it is well worth considering selling on Etsy. The site is becoming well known in the mainstream culture, and it's easy for both sellers and buyers to use. However, as it is such a competitive marketplace, it's important to take all of the steps that you can to build a stellar shop.

I've broken this article down into the following sections:

  • Getting Started. Get all of your ducks in a row before you open your Etsy shop.
  • Listing Considerations. Your listing photos and descriptions can make or break sales.
  • Other Considerations. There are some additional options on Etsy that you can consider.

I don't recommend opening a shop if you only have a few pieces of jewelry ready.  Build your inventory first.
I don't recommend opening a shop if you only have a few pieces of jewelry ready. Build your inventory first. | Source
  • Learn your craft. Make the best jewelry that you can. The bottom line is that no one wants to purchase inferior products. The best Etsy shop in the world will not survive without quality products.
  • Continue to learn new techniques. Even if you have successful product lines, it's still important to keep expanding your repertoire and your personal skill set. Take opportunities to extend your skills and challenge yourself.
  • Review the basics of Etsy. There are lots of great resources on the site that explain Etsy fees, different shop aspects, etc. Take the time to learn this information so you don't have any unexpected surprises.
  • Develop a pricing formula. I wrote an entire article about this topic, but I will briefly recap here. In addition to creating your own formula, it's important to compare your price points to prices on Etsy for similar products. Keep in mind that you don't want to undercut sellers unless you can justify charging less (i.e. by purchasing wholesale materials). If you do have higher end pieces, make sure to articulate what makes them more expensive (i.e. using sterling silver instead of silver plated materials).
  • Build your inventory before opening a shop. There is no magic number for this, but I recommend having at least 50 pieces ready to list when you open. There is also no magic number for how often you should continue to list new pieces, but I like to list at least one new piece per week.
  • Get the non-jewelry aspects of your shop ready. This includes a shop banner, avatar, shop description, policies (shipping, returns, etc.), and personal profile. You can make revisions later, but it's important to have as many aspects of your shop ready to go right from the start.
  • Set up a PayPal account if you don't have one already. I highly recommend creating a separate bank account for PayPal transfers as well as Direct Checkout transfers on Etsy if you choose to offer that. If your PayPal account gets hacked, you don't want to put a large amount of your savings in jeopardy.
  • Purchase shipping supplies. Consider what will be the safest and most cost effective options for your jewelry.

Selling Tips: Starting a Craft Business

Online Selling Platforms: Etsy vs. Ecommerce

Your listing photos should show off all of the details of your item.
Your listing photos should show off all of the details of your item. | Source
  • Take the best photos that you can and then edit them. I feel like a broken record typing this statement yet again, but I really can't stress it enough. Good photos will make all the difference with keeping your shop competitive. I have included some product photography resources on the right.
  • Do your keyword research. What search terms are customers using? Structure your titles and keyword order accordingly.
  • Keep descriptions concise but informative. Give customers the information that they need and nothing else.
  • Always include measurements. Provide basic measurement information about your piece. I highly recommend including both imperial and metric measurements.
  • Consider at least one photo with a model. Including a photo with a model or mannequin displaying your piece will be a valuable resource for customers.

I highly recommend making a light box for your product photography.

Currently this is my most successful pattern.
Currently this is my most successful pattern. | Source
  • Join at least one team. Look for teams that relate specifically to your jewelry niche, such as the Etsy Beadweavers team, that have active challenges and/or promotions. These teams can be a great way to push your artistic abilities to a new level and to promote your shop. Keep in mind that what you put into teams is what you will get out of them.
  • Consider selling patterns. If you enjoy creating original designs, consider writing patterns on your designs that you can sell. Patterns are popular on Etsy and can be sold over and over again.
  • Continually search for new ways to brand yourself/stand out from the crowd. Anything that you can do to establish your unique brand will be an asset on Etsy, as it will enable people to easily recognize your work.

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    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Simone! I agree.

    • Simone Smith profile image

      Simone Haruko Smith 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Lots of useful tips here- especially about building up an inventory! I'm far less likely to buy from Etsy sellers who seem to always be running out of things or who don't appear to be listing many products for sale.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thank you!

    • myownlife profile image

      myownlife 

      6 years ago from london

      greatest ideas of selling/marketing

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks, K! A light box will be such a great asset for you.

    • krsharp05 profile image

      Kristi Sharp 

      6 years ago from Born in Missouri. Raised in Minnesota.

      This is great information. I do a lot of photography for small item internet sales. The light box will be a great help. Excellent hub. -K

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      You're very welcome! I'm so glad that it was helpful. I appreciate the votes!

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      6 years ago from Hawaii

      Thank you for all your advice - I really appreciate it! I just voted interesting, useful, and awesome! I'd vote up, too, if I could.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      You're welcome Natasha! I'm glad that the pricing breakdown was helpful. It sounds like you've done your research for pricing and that you're justified in charging less than this seller. That's absolutely fine. There are plenty of people who do overcharge on Etsy. Those who understand the value of your items will appreciate your honest pricing.

    • Natashalh profile image

      Natasha 

      6 years ago from Hawaii

      I've read this and your hub on pricing (thanks for the excellent breakdown of all the fees!), and I am left with a dilemma. Doing some research on etsy, I found one other person making a product similar to something I want to make. You suggest not to undercut other sellers, but I think this item is being way overcharged. I know how much the materials cost and what the required effort is and I just can't personally justify charging as much as he does. In your opinion, is it ok to ask for a little bit less? I don't want to upset or annoy other sellers, but I'm really pretty surprised by this item.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much Vellur! A light box will make such a difference for product photography.

      CASE1WORKER, yes, you should go check out Etsy!

    • CASE1WORKER profile image

      CASE1WORKER 

      6 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

      Really really interesting- I must take a look at Etsy!

    • Vellur profile image

      Nithya Venkat 

      6 years ago from Dubai

      Great advice on how to set up shop at Etsy. Very useful and informative.The light box idea is real good, selling designs is a great idea. Clearly explained and easy to follow. Voted up.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks so much Linda! I agree about Etsy shops. It's always frustrating to find something with a lot of potential but then realize that there's almost no inventory.

    • lindacee profile image

      Linda Chechar 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      I think this is a great resource for anyone interested in setting up shop on Etsy. Your point about building inventory is really critical. I don't know how many times I've seen Etsy items on blogs or in magazine articles or even on flickr photostreams, then go to the person's Etsy shop to find there's little or nothing for sale.

      Hub well done randomcreative!

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      RTalloni, yes, for sure! Many of these tips are applicable to all sorts of Etsy friendly products.

      ktrapp, I'm glad that you also found the light box helpful. Anyone who takes photos of smaller items for web sites, articles, product listings, etc. can benefit from using a light box or light tent.

      Dianna, you are right about the light box, too. Sometimes I use it to photograph things for my blog or or for articles, simply because the lighting is superior.

      nakmeister, I'm glad that you found some of these tips helpful. It is still useful to provide some sort of model or scale for non-wearable items so people can get a sense of the size.

      Om, thanks! Several seasoned sellers have made similar comments about the tips here being applicable to a wide range of sellers. In addition to selling on Etsy, I also enjoy shopping there. The range of creative talent on the site is incredible.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 

      6 years ago

      Nice! I think this is very helpful for both amateur jewelry makers and pros. I have no skills in jewelry making but I do enjoy shopping on Etsy. So much cute stuff on this site! :)

    • nakmeister profile image

      nakmeister 

      6 years ago from Lancaster, UK

      Very helpful, thank you. Pricing formula and photos with a model/ thought provoking photos are not things I've given much though to in the past, but I realise now I should have. I don't make jewellery (my wife does hence initial reading of the article) but I think a lot of your points transfer across to any etsy products such as the notebooks I make. Very thought provoking and great points covered. Thank you!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      6 years ago

      Great ideas here for those interested in selling online. I love the photo box idea, it would work well in highlighting the item at its best.

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 

      6 years ago from Illinois

      You have some really great tips here that actually can be applied to a lot of different types of businesses. Like Kelley, I don't have homemade items to sell, but found the video on making a light box really useful. Nice job as always.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 

      6 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks for another informative hub. Many of these tips will be helpful to anyone wanting to start an Etsy store, not just handmade jewelry.

    • randomcreative profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Clearfield 

      6 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

      Thanks Kelley! I'm so glad that you enjoy Etsy. Making a light box has been one of the best things that I've ever done for my product photography. I encourage everyone to do it, too.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 

      6 years ago

      Randomcreative, you introduced me to Etsy and I really like it! I don't make homemade items but I really enjoyed the video on making a light box for photography! Voted up and useful! Take care, Kelley

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