I have been asked a number of times over the past year about how to start an Etsy shop, what have I learned, what tips are helpful, etc. After being asked many times, I decided it was time to do a blog series about starting and running an Etsy shop. I am far from an expert and find that I am still learning all the time. These are just the things I have learned over the past year.
Before you can even open a shop on Etsy, you need to ask yourself some questions. What am I going to sell? How is it different from other options out there? Am I ready to run my own business? Am I ready for the amount of time involved? You aren’t just opening an online shop, you are opening a business.
If you decide you are ready to open up a shop, now you need to do some research. Hop on Etsy and look for things similar to what you would make. Look for successful shops. See how they photography, how they price, how they write their descriptions and tags. Learn from them. Note: I am not saying to copy them, their style, or their work. Just see how a successful shop in your chosen craft operates to help you learn what you need to do.
What’s in a Name?
You also need to come up with a business name! This is a fun but important step. You need to make sure that your name reflects what you do and yourself. Etsy only allows you to change your shop name once. Plus, your shop is a business. If you do business outside of Etsy as well (craft fairs, local selling, etc.) you will want the same name everywhere. For me, I chose Abigail’s Attic Accessories for many reasons.
1- It is named after my daughter, which is the main reason I opened my business.
2- I sell accessories of all kinds, not just women or babies or home, but all of the above.
3- Attic and basement are often associated with the “bargain” part of the store. I offer affordable product for the average shopper.
4- It has a nice sound to it.
Get to Work!
Here is another fun part. Creating stock! Whether you offer made to order, ready to ship, or a mixture of both, you need at least one of each item made so you can take pictures to list. I opened my shop with only 5 items. I don’t recommend that. Some people say you need 25-100 items before you open shop. I think somewhere in the middle is a good goal. You want to have enough items that your shoppers have some choice and that you are found easier (the more items, the easier you are found). But if you don’t start listing your items, you can’t sell them. My personal opinion is no less than 10 items when you open up but be working to more items all the time. My views and sales have gotten a bit steadier since hitting 50 items. Most sellers say the “magic number” to really making it is 100.
Yes, to make money you need to first spend money. You obviously need the materials to make your product but you also have some other things you should consider having on hand. You will need shipping supplies and packaging supplies as well. We will go over shipping and packaging later in the series. You are also going to need a digital camera. It is nice if you have a higher quality one but many sellers take great pictures using a basic camera or even their iPhone. We will also be going over photography later in the series.
As part of the series I am also asking some of my fellow Etsy sellers for some advice to pass on to you all. (Be sure to check out their shops after reading. They are some very talented people!) This week I asked them: “What do you wish you had done before opening shop or what did you do that made the process easier?”
Patricia from Patricia Shea Designs said: “I wish I had worked on getting a more cohesive look or style to my shop – that’s where I am now going in reverse.”
Shawna from JSB Arts said: “Having GOOD QUALITY photographs from the git-go. That has been one of the biggest hurdles to overcome….Little by little, I have been trying to cycle through and edit my pictures; but on top of everything else, it takes a back seat to other things I have going on. You would be surprised how much a good photograph with interesting composition can really help your exposure.”
Marley from Cobalt Sky Studio said: “I wish I had known where my business would evolve to. I would have given it a better name. I was doing photography and paintings, now with the buoy pillows the name sometimes seems silly to me. I wish it was something more “salty”…More nautical sounding.”
link parties I do each week.