7 Quick Tips to Start an Etsy Shop

Pile of orange buttons on hessian

I wrote a post last week, 15 Great Reasons to Start an Etsy Shop, and the response was so amazing I had to share more information right away.  There are so many of you out there that are considering starting a shop!  Yay for you!  I want to share a few quick tips to help you as you start your Etsy shop adventure.

These tips are not the kind that tells you how to upload a photo or enter the price.  You can easily follow each step on Etsy to create a shop.  I wanted to share some tips that would help you get your shop off to a great start and avoid some common mistakes along the way.

7 Quick Tips to Start an Etsy Shop

1. Photos sell!  Selling online requires awesome photos that do the work for you as a shop owner.  To keep it simple…use natural light when possible or have proper lighting that will make your item stand out.  Use photo editing to crop, sharpen and brighten your images.  Add photos from different angles and include a close up shot.  Take a look around at the photos from popular shops on Etsy and take note of their photo backgrounds.  Try your best to make your shop images front page ready!  Keep improving!

2. Be Descriptive!  Write a description that tells more than the facts.  Share a story about your inspiration for the item.  Share comments from previous customers.  Take a couple hours and read descriptions of some top sellers and you might gain a new perspective on what an awesome description can do for your item.  Make them want it!

3.  Stock your shop!  A shop with a few items will make it harder for you to be found.  Work you way up to a 100 items and watch your sales soar…trust me.  200 items and you’ll be BUSY!  All those items have tags and help your shop be found from search traffic.  Once they’re at your shop they’ll see all you have to offer and they might buy a dozen different items at once.  A well stock shop rocks!

4. Share it…it’s not all up to Etsy!  Sharing your shop items with Facebook friends, pinning them on Pinterest or tweeting about them on Twitter will help you connect with new customers.  Your friends and past customers will know what’s new in your shop and your sales will reflect your effort.  The more you put into this side of promoting your business, the more you will get out of it.  Being consistent will make all the difference in the world.

5. Price it right!  There are many different opinions on this but I’m just going to share what works for me.  I started my shops with low prices, and as my sales grew I slowly raised my prices up to what works best for me.  It’s the amount of profit that I feel comfortable making while creating an item that gives the customer a value for their money.  I like happy customers that return to buy more.  I feel like it’s alright to make little less at first and grow my customer base, sales and exposure.

6. Shipping…keep it simple.  Shipping can be a challenge for some shops, but I’ve always sold items that are easy to ship.  I ship Priority Mail whenever possible or padded envelopes for small items.  I also use Endicia to print shipping labels at home and save time at the busy post office.  I have set shipping rates for Canada and other countries.  A little research ahead of time will save you headaches on shipping charges.  Some countries are expensive to ship to and you don’t want to lose money by stating an incorrect shipping charge in your listing. {Can you tell I might have learned that the hard way??}

7.  Research constantly!  Always be on the lookout for new product ideas, social media tips, and ways you can order supplies for less.  Think about starting a blog if you’re seriously trying to make your shop a full-time business.  Visit me at Handmade Tickle to get help on growing a blog for your business!

Dream big and keep reaching for your awesome goals…take it step-by-step and you’ll get there!

I thought I’d share a few inspiring comments from the last week’s post.  Hearing why so many of you started your shops was amazing, and I wish I could have coffee with every single one of you to talk about your hopes and dreams!  Selling on Etsy opened a whole new world for me and I’m happy to see that it’s doing the same for some of you.

Cindy from NeatoKeen – I started selling my vintage linens on Etsy in 2009 because I was definitely heading for a feature on the TV show Hoarders. I had closets and drawers full of vintage linens stashed away. I’ve made quite a dent in my collection and have met the most amazing, supportive group of people (both buyers and sellers) that I’ve ever encountered in my life. Plus, I’ve connected with hundreds of people that are equally passionate (OK crazy) about Mid Century linens. I guess I feel validated that my hard work was not all for naught. Selling on Etsy was the best decision I’ve made.

Cherie from Darlin’ Girl Creations – I was reading your list and saw it was almost all the reasons I chose Etsy for my foray into online selling. My shop, Darlin Girl Creations, is on Etsy and I love all you mentioned plus their built in shipping labels and no hassles with a credit merchant set up or anything. It’s so self-contained, it’s terrific! And as you mentioned, it evolves. One of your readers commented on how what she sold on her shop at first isn’t what she sells now, and I’m in such a transition right now myself. I adore Etsy, and it’s the perfect starting point for someone who wants to start selling handmade. In my case, I started last fall to see if this is something I can do to supplement my retirement in a few years, and thanks to Etsy, I am learning that this is definitely a viable option, so I am building my shop business now so it can be my full-time focus when I retire from my day job. I love Etsy!!

Chelsea from Twine With a Twist – I opened my Etsy shop in July, started my blog in November and have been consistently improving my forms of social media and marketing ever since. It’s a total learning process and the ability to get creative and test out new products on my shop is why I love it so much. I hope to one day turn this into something more full time as right now I split my hours between a full time career and my shop!

Michelle from Cole & Taffy – I only just started my Etsy shop a month ago. I love to craft and made lots of lovely things as gifts for family and friends. They always said, “You should make these and sell them!” So that’s what I’ve done. I would like to make a little extra money for our family’s expenses.  Anyhoo, no sales yet, but I’ve joined Handmade Tickle in the hopes that I might be able to learn something to help me sell some of my pretty things.

I hope you find some of these Etsy stories as inspiring as I do!  Maybe you can relate?

The tips I’ve shared today are meant to give you an idea of what to focus your time on when you’re starting an Etsy shop.  Of course, there is so much to be said about each tip!  I just tried to touch on the ideas for you, but you can always get more information by reading our Etsy Business posts or joining Handmade Tickle.  It’s a new community we created for makers.  We are all about helping your grow your business through blogging and I’m always up for answering questions about Etsy shops in the forums!  Check it out!

Do you have a quick tip to share that has worked for you?  I’d love to hear it!




  1. says

    i am going to bookmark this list and share it with a few friends that are in the process of starting etsy shops – quick, well made points that i think are super on point. before i share though, it looks like #2 might be missing? thanks!

  2. says

    Love how you put “photos” as #1 as photos continue to haunt me day and night. . .it’s like an obsession to improve, improve, improve.

    You are always super-potivie and upbeat and that’s why we all {heart} you, but I will also add that it is much harder than I thought it would be. Even tho I have been at it for more that a couple years, it never gets any easier and I have still not figured out a “secret” to keeping it going.

  3. Heather says

    I am trying really hard to make my etsy shop better and I am trying to come up with a better name I sell crochet for baby kids and adults and I am working on getting started back up with homemade beauty and I am in love with your blog I hope mine can be as amazing as yours one day. Your tips are so helpful and inspiring thank you.

  4. says

    Thanks for two great articles. I have been thinking about opening a shop for nearly a year but just haven’t taken the plunge yet. Your articles have definitely given me something to think about.

  5. says

    I’m so honored you guys featured me in your comments! I really have just loved the process of starting my own shop. It’s an incredible experience. I also took your advice on getting my own domain this past week and took the plunge with my blog http://www.twinewithatwist.com to more closely correlate with my shop! I can’t wait to see where this takes me. Great follow up article! Xo.

  6. Cheryl says

    Just stumbled across this blog, so glad I did! All very valid points! I, too, have gifted things and heard the “you should sell these! They are beautiful!” Sometimes I gave a specific idea in mind and other times something comes to mind just browsing the local craft/hobby store and seeing a particular vase, basket, metal container or flowers! Just now starting to learn jewelery and am also crocheting again, a few small afghans for now. Nice to have the time to do things with my hands and hope what I do is good enough to sell someday! Would love to be able to supplement our retired lives by doing something I enjoy!

  7. Grace says

    Is there a limit to what you can sell on Etsy? I have a large collection of quilting books that I would like to sell, and I am not sure if I can put that there, or if I should look to put them someplace else.


    At this very moment in time I am getting ready to open my shop on ETSY, hopefully by the end of this week it should be up & running !
    I would like to thank you for informing me with the seven tips & hopefully we will stay in touch through ETSY.
    Kind regards
    Dawn Marie Livett
    Design Director Charismajewellery

  9. says

    Hi Kim – came across some of your posts on Pinterest and have spent my morning reading several. Since I’m just in the process of researching how to set up an Etsy shop, your posts have been very informative and helpful.
    There is one topic I’m not sure if you have addressed it, and if so, where would I find it? I’m struggling with coming up with a name. Wondering if it’s a good idea to use the same name I used for my blog, which is Stamping and Other Stuff. I would primarily sell hand-crafted greeting cards, but don’t want to limit myself as I also have a large book collection that I need to downsize.
    Is it a good idea to combine products in one shop? Or is it better to have two distinct shops?
    Thanks in advance for any insight you are willing to share!

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