Business Small Business

9 Essential Tips You Need to Know Before Opening your Etsy Shop

Etsy is an online platform that caters to those who sell handmade goods

Etsy is an established global online marketplace that allows makers and artists to sell their handmade and unique products. If you are a crafter and wish to sell your products, this is the site for you. It is super easy to set up but be wary, there is a lot of effort and time you have to invest if you want to take your business to the next level.

The most common questions that I come across from Etsy sellers are:

a. Why aren’t I getting any sales?

b. How can I increase my sales?

c. How can I get more traffic to my shop? 

Do you see a trend here?

All three questions are related to attracting potential customers to their shop. With over 1.9 million global sellers and 31.7 million active buyers, competition is fierce. To get a head start from the beginning, here are 9 essential tips you need to know before opening your Etsy shop.

Tips to know before opening your Etsy shop

1. Refine your product

So you have decided to start a business on Etsy. Congratulations on taking the first big step towards entrepreneurship! By now, you should have a product in mind that you want to sell. Have you perfected your craft? You should not sell a product that is not good quality or else you are setting yourself up for dissatisfied customers and bad reviews, or even zero sales. Not to fret though. Before launching your products on the Etsy marketplace, be sure that you are 100% satisfied with your handcrafted product. If you like it, others will too.

Think about other product lines you may want to add in your shop in the near future. Does the product(s) complement each other? For example, if you are a shop selling shirts for men and suddenly, you launch a line of craft supplies, they don’t coexist together. However, if you launch a line of bow ties for men, that is something a potential male customer can add in their cart. It is very unlikely that they will add a ball of yarn with their shirt order.

2. Do your market research

(This is an important step so do not miss this!)

Market research allows you to:

  • Determine your competitors, both domestic and international
  • Analyse the marketing tactics of your competitors to see what works and what doesn’t
  • Define your target audience and their profile (i.e. what they like, what they dislike, age range, geographic location etc.)
  • Competitively price your products

This will allow you to better understand the market of your product to effectively determine pricing and marketing strategies.

3. Define your brand

What is your brand? Are you budget friendly, luxury or somewhere in between? What makes your brand unique? Is it your outstanding packaging or your one of a kind product? What’s your biggest selling point? Is it your personalised service or is there an emotional need that will be specifically met by your product?

Let’s take my business, Healthy Nibbles, as an example. The image below is my stop front which is the first thing that buyers see when they click on my site. It is bright and pastel with two bunnies wearing the accessories I sell. You can already tell that my business is sells pet treats, accessories and gifts, and that my target market are pet owners. The pastel colours evoke a fun and happy vibe which is how pet owners and their pets should interact.

Healthy Nibbles and Gifts Etsy shopNow, what makes my brand unique? There are two main aspects of my brand that makes it unique. Number one is my unique products. Who makes little hats, sweaters and bow ties for bunnies? I do. When I established my business back in 2015, there was not a single pet business that sells bunny accessories so I filled the market gap with my unique products. Number two is my personalised service. I am able to customise my products for my customers depending on their needs and I also offer custom orders where they can contact me for a special project that I can do for them.

My biggest selling point? I already touched based on it previously but it is my personalised service. You can’t get a custom pet accessory when you go to the pet store, but in my business, the accessories are made to fit the pet.

4. Create an amazing and personal ‘About’ section

In your ‘About’ section, tell people how your business began because everyone loves a good ol’ personal story behind a business. It creates a more humanistic touch. There is a photo section that allows you to add photos to your ‘About’ section. Types of photos to include are work in progress shots, studio shots, your products in action, and anything to add some oomph to your business story.

5. Have great product photography

On Etsy and any other online marketplace, photography is everything. Because buyers can’t physically touch your product, your photos must be top notch to entice them to buy it. Now you don’t need to invest in an expensive DSLR. Nowadays, smartphones have amazing camera features that allow you to take high quality photos. If you choose to purchase a DSLR later down the track, do it! I purchased my DSLR earlier this year and it is amazing at photography but sometimes I lean towards my Google Pixel 2. Purely because it is in my hands 24/7 and has an amazing camera so win-win! To help with my product photography, I use a light photo box which is super duper helpful when there is very little natural light and you want a consistent background.

There are 3 main characteristics your product photos should have:

  1. Bright lighting – no dull lighting wanted
  2. A clear, uncluttered background
  3. A shot of your product at every angle and while in use

6. Provide stellar customer service

Customer service is what drives repeat buyers. If a buyer loves your service, they will keep coming back for more. From the get-go, practice great customer service by answering conversations promptly to shipping on time to having lovely packaging. It all counts towards the customer experience and you want that to be a positive for them to (hopefully) give you a 5 star review!

7. Don’t list all your items at once, spread them out!

When you set up your shop, aim to list at least 10 products before you open. After that, instead of listing them all at once, spread the listings out. When you list your products all at once, you are actively listing for one day only and the rest of the week, you are not listing anything. However, if you list one or two products a day for the week, you are actively listing products and according to the mysterious Etsy algorithm, you are boosted to the top of the search.

Not enough time creating listings everyday? Spend a day drafting all your listings for the week and you have them ready to list. No need to think about crafting product descriptions, adding photos and everything that comes with listing a product (it’s hard work!).

8. Be part of the Etsy community

Be an Etsian and join the happy and supportive community. Scour the forums to gain some great advice from existing sellers, help a fellow seller out with their questions, and overall, contribute to the good of the community. You can even reach out to some Etsy sellers and ask for advice. Listen to feedback and show your appreciation because people are taking time to help you out (such lovely souls). There is no harm in asking for help.

9. Be patient

Many creative businesses give up so quickly because they are not seeing instant results. Don’t be that person! Growing a business takes time and patience because success doesn’t happen overnight. In the business world, sales are unpredictable. One month, your sales can be through the roof but during the next month, they might be down 50%. Don’t stress too much about this and stay positive during your slow times. Make improvements to your shop by revamping your listings, taking new product photos, promoting more on social media and creating new products. Your slow times are your chance to sit back and plan your business goals. How can you improve your sales? Can I create a new product line? What are more effective ways to promote on social media? 

Do you have any other tips you would like to share? Comment them below!


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  • Great tips. I’m actually looking into opening an Etsy shop and I think having not great but amazing photography is a must.

    • Stephanie Foo

      How exciting! Opening an Etsy shop is one of my biggest accomplishments. Yes, 100% agree. Photography is everything when selling something online.

  • Amy Teasdale

    These are great tips and i agree that brilliant photos help towards selling your product. Thanks for the information.

    • Stephanie Foo

      You’re welcome, Amy! I’m glad you find these tips helpful.

  • Cristina Criddle

    Great post, I love Etsy!

    • Stephanie Foo

      Thank you! Me too! I love seeing all the unique items that are lovingly made my two hands.

  • Nasia Quinones

    wow definitely wish I new this before opening up a shop with Wix. I will most definitely save this article and use before opening my Etsy shop!!! Thank you so much !

    • Stephanie Foo

      Hi Nasia! I’m so glad you’ve found this article helpful. I am planning more articles in my Etsy series so stay tuned!

  • Sharon Koenig

    My girlfriend is getting ready to open her Etsy store and she is really overwhelmed. These tips will really help here a lot! She hasn’t done anything yest so I am forwarding this article to her so she doesn’t make any mistakes.

    • Stephanie Foo

      Oh congratulations to her on taking this big step! I will be posting an Etsy series filled with useful articles all to do with having an Etsy business. I wish her the best of luck in launching!

  • Rosie Heather Roman

    I don’t have any plans to open my own Etsy shop but it’s great to hear you’ve learnt so much since opening yours! You’ve listed some great tips and I love how people like yourself are creating and selling such lovely products 🙂 Wishing you lots of success with your business!


    • Stephanie Foo

      Thank you so much, Rosie! You have made my day with your kind words 🙂

  • Jhilmil Bhansali

    These are all such important pointers, I feel not just for the Etsy shop but even for any online business you are into. You should have good photography skills, have a great about page , must have thoroughly researched and so on!!

    • Stephanie Foo

      Yes! I definitely agree with you!

  • Aditya Tiwari

    So much great tips, but I dont think I want an etsy shop. But if someone wants, I acn show them this seriously. Really these are great.

    • Stephanie Foo

      Etsy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I am glad you find the tips informative.

  • Vasundhra Singh

    These tips are not just great for those who are planning to open an Etsy shop but other business owners too. It is so important to do a proper research, define your brand and niche before starting a business.

    • Stephanie Foo

      Yes I agree with you! I’ve come across so many business’ struggling because they don’t have a proper foundation.

  • Grace

    Really great tips that could be applied to any type of web shop. Doing research before you start your business is really important and you need to have a good branding strategy. Anybody who wants to start an online business will find your tips very helpful.

    • Stephanie Foo

      Yes definitely! The key is to be prepared and start early, rather than later.

  • Claire Lee

    I think Etsy shop is so trendy these days, handmade products or just selling products, Etsy is perfect for that. I am saving this in case I might need it in the future.

    • Stephanie Foo

      Yes! Everyday loads of new Etsy shops are popping up so it’s amazing to see people create something of their own.

  • These are great tips for any online presence. I’ve always been intrigued by etsy, I may just have to have a closer look. Your photography is very professional looking 🙂

    • Stephanie Foo

      Yes definitely take a look at Etsy! You see all these amazing talents and products you won’t find in stores.Thank you so much! 🙂

  • Louise Smith

    These are all great tips for crafters wanting to start selling on Etsy. I love buying loads of home made gifts on there 🙂

    Louise x

    • Stephanie Foo

      Hi Louise, I’m glad you enjoyed these tips! Me too! I love supporting small businesses 🙂

  • David E

    I think with anything you are stepping out in, you have to be willing to be patient. And yes having great pictures and branding is always important. I know people who use Etsy, and it makes me curious to look at their branding.

    • Stephanie Foo

      Yes definitely! You have to realise that good things will take time and not to give up too early.

  • One of the Jennifers

    So helpful!! Thanks for sharing!! And i love that ur products are for bunnies! 🐰

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  • Regine Karpel