Art Blog

Get Your Work Out There: How To Sell on Etsy

Do you want to learn how to sell on Etsy, but feel like you need a little guidance and help getting started? You're in the right place.

How to sell on etsy

Curious about selling on Etsy? These tips will help you on your way.

Photos via CakeSpy

If you're a crafter or artist, chances are high that you've at least heard of Etsy. Since its inception in 2005, it has become a highly respected showcase for independent designers. It offers the chance to make your own online storefront, offering a user-friendly interface including templates for showing photos and product highlights. 

Why sell on etsy?

There are many reasons why you might choose to sell on Etsy. For one, it is an easy and inexpensive way to enter into the world of selling handmade goods online; the site charges a mere 20 cents per listing, plus applicable credit card or Paypal fees. The site is also community-based and social; it's easy to become friends with like-minded crafters, and for your fans to follow your work and share them on social media. 

Author's note: I have personally been selling on Etsy since 2007 and have sold over 1000 items. I cannot recommend it more. 

Getting started with selling on Etsy

The intent of this post is to help guide you through the process of getting started selling your work on Etsy. If you have a tip that you think would be helpful to add, please leave a comment!

Step 1: 

Reserve your username. Even if you don't have anything to sell yet, that's ok. Your username and account will be ready when you are. 

Registering with Etsy is easy; there's a link to click right on the top of the home page where you can sign up. You'll be prompted to enter some basic information, including your name, e-mail address, and what you'd like your account name to be. Choose wisely! If your name is not available, you can either choose a different name, or choose an easy to remember variant. You want it to be easy for people to remember and find you by your user name. 

Need help with a name? While this post focuses on naming a baking business, many of the tips are relevant to naming all sorts of craft related businesses. 

Make a user name on etsy

Step 2:

Settle on what you'd like to sell. If you want to sell on Etsy, chances are that you already have an item in mind that you'd like to sell, be it original paintings, knitted scarves, or homemade magnets. Personally, there are some questions I like to ask myself before deciding to sell an item:

  • Is it unique?
  • Will this be interesting or useful for people to buy or give as gifts?
  • Who would be interested in this item? Would that person be willing to spend what I am asking?
  • Can I sell this for a price that I am happy with?
  • Will I be able to make multiples of this item if it is popular? 
  • Is this item well-made enough that it will survive shipping? 

Step 3:

Get some stock ready. Your store won't be all that interesting if you have one or two items listed. So be sure to have a good variety of stock in your store before you promote. While there is no hard or fast rule about this, a variety of 10-12 items should be sufficient if you're just getting started — enough things that people have plenty to look at and consider when they visit the store. 

Step 4:

Start to create some listings! Etsy makes this easy; you start by clicking the "Add Listing" button. There are a few key aspects to this: setting prices, taking product photos and creating descriptions. These are covered just below.

How to Sell on Esty

A: Set prices for your stock and set your shipping rates.

A word of advice: do not price your item too low. Many people think they should basically give away items while they "just get started", but this can actually create an unhealthy environment in your online store. Once people have seen an original painting for $10, it's hard to raise your prices to $50. Also, it may be exhilarating to get that first sale, but keeping up with selling your art at ridiculously low rates will cause you to burn out fast. Choose a price that honors your time and materials. 

Be sure to set your shipping rates at fair rates, too. Consider not only the rates that the USPS or Fedex will charge based on the weight and dimensions of your item, but the cost of shipping supplies too: tape, tissue paper, and boxes can add up. 

See also our helpful tips for pricing your handmade goods for more detailed guidance.

B: Take pictures of your products.

This one is important, since so much of shopping online is eye candy. Take clear, well-lit photos at a variety of angles. You can focus on details, but also be sure to include some photos of the entire item. Make sure that the photos really showcase the selling points of the item. 

Learn all about taking professional-quality product photos at home in the online classes Commercial Photography: Taking Product Photos That Sell and Product Photography at Home.

C: Upload your pictures and write blurbs about the items.

Etsy makes it very easy to do this. By clicking on "Add a listing" a screen will come up that will prompt you through everything that you need to add. Need tips on how to describe your items? Look around and see what types of listings attract you and how the sellers describe them. This can inspire an approach to describing your items — but do not copy and paste someone else's writing. Make it your own!

Item listing on Etsy

Step 5:

Set up all of your profiles on Etsy, including a header logo, messages to send to clients who order, etc. Explore all of the options on your profile and settings pages. 

Step 6: 

Be prepared to ship. This means having mailers, packing tape, tissue paper, etc. Whatever you need to ensure that the item ships safely. Because you might start to get orders right away, and you don't want to be scrambling for supplies every time. 

Step 7: 

Promote! You can promote your etsy shop in a number of ways: via social media, emailing a mailing list, or simply telling your friends and family. You may want to consider making a Facebook page or Twitter or instagram account primarily for your craft business. 

Facebook listing for socks with cupcakes, unicorns and robots

Step 8: 

From there, continue creating and selling! Here are some ways you can take your shop to the next level.

  • Sales: offer a promotion, or do a giveaway of an item you'd like to promote or bring attention to via social media.
  • Make printed cards or postcards with your web address. You can include these with orders or leave them in local stores that offer postcards of businesses and services. 
  • Create a custom domain, and have it forward to your Etsy store.

Have you ever sold on Etsy? Please share your tips in the comments!

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5 Comments

Linda

Is there currently a class to learn how to really start at the beginning to sell on etsy…I’d like to know how to know how to begin on my smartphone etc

Reply
Rosalind Hamilton

Thank you for this information. I already have started a shop on Etsy, but not yet put anything up. Still working on my projects to sell. It take time when your working alone. My hands can only move so fast. LOL. This info is great and I thank you again.
It is good to know I can always refer back to this when I need help.
Ms. Roz.

Reply
Debbie

In California, I believe a tax I’D number is needed, as well as a business license. That’s why I havent started to sell anywhere. I was told by the Franchise Tax Board you had to have these two things. Is there a way around it?

Reply
Ashlie

Hello I’ve been interested in starting a etsy store for a while now, I was wondering do you need a tax ID number and business license in the state of Missouri?

Reply
Cindy

Thank you for the help…this is my 2017 new start!

Reply

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