Etsy is a marketplace website for vending unique, vintage, or handmade items. You can find anything from candles to prints to knitted hats. If you are crafty, starting an Etsy shop is a great side-hustle with potential to grow!
1. Define and Refine your Vision
After studying successful Etsy shops, I found that they all had one clearly defined niche (click photos below for examples). Choose one overall category rather than a hodge-podge of different things – jewelry, paper-crafts, greeting cards, paintings, digital art work, pottery, clothes, etc.
Time to brainstorm and create- start with 10-20 designs/ items. Then, ask yourself: Who are your direct competitors? What are they charging? What makes yours stand out?
After you have this information, create a captivating shop name that highlights your shop – if the name you had your heart set on is taken, try adding shop or boutique.
2. Gather your materials
Start small with your supplies and do your research! As much as we love Michaels and Joann’s, there are cheaper suppliers online: Dick Blick Art Supplies (general art supplier) and Fire Montain Gems (jewelry supplier) are two of my favorites.
Keeping inventory from the start is essential for items that are reproduced – here is a link to an excel inventory template.
3. Selling the product – Photos
Bright, intriguing photos are essential to every successful Etsy shop. There are easy ways to achieve quality photos, even with your smartphone!
For your photos, make sure to use natural daylight and take photos from every angle. Here is a DIY photo box tutorial- simple backgrounds keep the focus on the item.
For clothes, jewelry, and other wearable items, use a model so the customers get an idea of how it looks.
Lastly, download the Etsy seller’s app. It allows you to upload and edit images from your smartphone.
3.5 Product Descriptions
Great photos captivate and prompt, informative descriptions sell.
When writing about your products, always list your materials, lengths, and other important information. Considering keywords is essential too; when shopping on Etsy with specific products in mind, you typically type words and phrases into the search bar. Determine which of these keywords your prospective customers will most likely use and integrate them into the title and description
Telling a brief story about the product makes connections with the audience; try talking about the inspiration behind the piece.
4. Growing Your Customer Base – Social Media is Key
The title explains it all; here is a link to an article on instagram for growing your brand and business. For starters, creating an Instagram and Facebook page. From there like/comment and interact, run coupons, giveaways, and contests; this all will create traction to your shop.
Follow other Etsy shops and artists like yours – see if you can do a shout-out for a shout-out.
Use hashtags that are specific to your creations but also try #etsy #estybusinesses #shopsmall #localartist #smallbusiness #smallartist #artoftheday (I keep a list of these hashtags in my phone notes and just copy and paste for each post!)
5. Set Daily, Attainable Goals
Devote time to your shop every day – start with 30 minutes- 1 hour. It will change as you grow, but start blocking out times for taking photos, writing, social media, revision, research, and creation. I like to sit down at the beginning of the week and write out 7-10 things I can do to further my business and game plan from there.
Here is pre-launch checklist:
- Product photos are clean, simple and from all angles and styles; also, no filters.
- Product descriptions are thorough, yet prompt.
- Mulitple keywords are used in your title and product descriptions—What words might someone use to search for your listings?
- Every material listed in the description
- Measurements are listed
- Weight for your products measured for shipping purposes (you can print shipping labels from home, expediting the process)
Be persistent and keep positive!
Follow-up with monthly and quarterly goals. Remember, seeds take time to grow; be reasonable yet optimistic.