Want to get a shop started on Etsy? Don’t know where to start? This guide will help you find the help you need to get your shop up and running!
What to Sell
First things first: you need items to sell! Make sure your items follow the Do’s and Don’ts on what can be sold on Etsy before you get started. Need some inspiration? Littleputbooks (one of our top sellers) has a great blog post about Making a Great Product.
Coming up with a Name
Piddix has a great blog post on Picking Your Etsy Name. And our own MaryMary has a great article on deciding on a shop name here. I have one more tip for you: Make sure it’s “Google-able!” Sure the name “FriedChicken” might be memorable, but if you go to Google and search “Fried Chicken,” your shop will be a needle in a greasy (yet delicious) haystack!
Banner and Avatar
Your banner and avatar can help you brand your shop, so try to make them beautiful! Here’s a how-to on Making A Banner that I wrote a while back. If you are just getting started with photo editing you might want to try our magical Bannerator! Or search “banner” on Etsy to find a talented seller to make you a banner!
Your avatar should be eye-catching and clear. (This is sometimes difficult because of the size of an avatar, so keep it simple!) Try showcasing your most beautifully photographed product!
Buyers on Etsy want to know about who they are buying from. Make sure you tell them a bit about yourself in your profile, as connecting this way with a buyer will encourage them to support you and your craft, so don’t be shy! SarasTextureCrafts has a detailed article on Crafting Your Profile Page, so read up! The profile is also a great place to share your shop policies (soon Etsy will have a separate spot for your policies). The EtsyWiki has a whole section devoted to shop policies.
Listing Your First Item
Listing an item is an easy four step process. This help guide will take you through each one. Here are some articles that can also help you with this process:
- Making the Most of Your Descriptions
- Guidelines & Tips: Tagging on Etsy
- Writing for an Online Audience: How-To
- The Art of Pricing
- Budgeting Advice for New Craft Businesses
- Shipping Pointers
Photography is the most important part of your shop (in my opinion!). If you don’t have crisp, clear and eye-catching photos, your sales will reflect this. The more professional and cohesive your photos look, the more confidence buyers will have in your shop. You may think you need a super-duper-top-of-the-line camera, but believe me, you don’t. Images on the internet must be 72dpi (i.e. not top printable quality!), so even a $150 digital camera will be just perfect! Photography takes a lot of practice, time and research, but once you get it right you will see your shop really blossom! Here are some articles to get you started:
- Staying Sharp: Achieving Clarity and Crispness in Your Photos
- Give Props: How to Style Your Photos
- Shop Makeover: Makeover Your Listings with Color
- Shop Makeover: Photographing for Success
- Your Shop 101: Photograph Your Way to The Top!
- On The Level: Make Your Photos Pop with Histograms and Levels
- Bright Light, Big Color: Using EV and White Balance to Make Your Photos True to Life
Your First Sale
Now what? First things first, celebrate. The first sale is so exciting! Now once you have calmed down, check out the transaction page and make sure your buyer has paid. Package up your item and get it ready to ship (a hand written thank you note is always good customer service!). Send your buyer a quick little convo (or conversation) thanking them for their purchase and letting them know when you are going to ship. Ship your item, tick off the checkbox by your sold item, leave your buyer feedback and you’re done!
Promoting Your Shop
Once you have your shop set up with at least a page of items, now is the time to promote! Here’s great article to start with: Pimp Your Shop for 2008. Don’t forget to try some offline promotions, too! Here are some more links to help you get started:
- Trends: Promoting through the Sampler
- DIY PR: Local Press
- How-to Network Offline: Increase Online Sales in Five Easy Steps
- Dispatches from B-School: Marketing Communications, Part 1
- Dispatches from B-School: Marketing Communications, Part 2
- Don’t Order Another 1,000 Business Cards
- The Art of the Press Release
Need More Help?
You’re not exhausted yet? Well, OK! Here are some more great resources from the forums:
- The Ultimate Newbie Guide – 1 year anniversary edition
- NEWBIES ~ Here’s a few Etsy tips for you
- Newbies – Etsy Tips For You
- Tips for New Sellers…
In addition, the Etsy Success Stories are always filled with inspirational tales and tips galore from prosperous sellers.
I hope this guide helps you get started! If you have questions or want advice make sure you join our Newbie Chats in the Online Labs (usually Thursdays at 5 pm EDT).
Experience sellers, leave our newbies some more words of wisdom in the comments below! What’s your most important piece of advice?