Setting UpHow to start an Etsy shop

How to start an Etsy shop

Etsy is a vast online marketplace that’s used by creatives around the world to buy and sell homemade or their own designer goods. If you have a creative business, Etsy is a great platform to showcase your products and reach a global audience.

If you have been thinking of starting an Etsy shop, now is the time to make it happen, either as a full-time job or to boost your finances from a side-hustle. Have a look at our guides to alternative platforms such as Amazon Marketplace and setting up your own e-commerce store with Shopify.

Here’s our guide on the practical steps of planning and starting an Etsy shop and becoming a successful Etsy seller.

Plan before opening your Etsy shop

Starting an Etsy shop requires planning and some preparation so it’s a good idea to plan ahead before your open your shop. Here’s our list of some of the main topics you should consider.

What is your target market?

You really need to understand your customers to help you provide the right products and services on your shop. Look at different groups of customer and make sure you’re selling something useful and relevant. For example, if you consider your audience to be young mums who are decorating their house, then you can build a shop with suitable products and use the right images and language to market to this group.

Develop a brand strategy

Creating a brand strategy for your Etsy shop will help you look presentable and stand out from your competitive stores. A good brand strategy includes developing elements such as logo design, colour scheme, likeable website, product descriptions, and more.

Create unique listings

It is essential to create unique product listings that stand out among competitors. Pay attention to detail when taking photos, writing descriptions, and setting prices so your products will draw customers in.

Since Etsy is a visual website, ensuring that you have quality photos and visuals that will help your shop stand out from the competition is essential. Investing in good lighting, backdrops, and props can make your products look more professional.

Prepare your packing materials

Before selling on Etsy, ensure you have the necessary packaging materials, such as boxes, envelopes, tissue paper, and labels. Enough packaging material will ensure that your items are safely shipped to customers.

Running your finances

Keeping on top of your finances is really important for any business – and especially so with an Etsy shop where you might get negative reviews if you are slow or delay payments or refunds.

By properly preparing your Etsy shop before launching it, you can rest assured that your store will be successful. These are just a few things to consider before opening an Etsy shop. Ultimately, you want to ensure your store is appropriately set up and that you are targeting the right people to ensure success.         

Steps to start your shop

When starting a shop on Etsy, you should decide on your product, whether you want to sell some household item or handmade art. Sitting down and researching a unique item may seem like a no-brainer, but it is vitally important. Not only do you need to find unique and handmade products, but you also need to make sure people actually want to purchase them.

No matter how great they may be, there is no point in selling unsellable products, but don’t worry. Multiple resources can help you determine what items are popular on Etsy. Think about what items would stand out from the competition, such as handmade jewellery, home decor, art prints, craft supplies, or vintage clothing. Proper research will help you stock your shop with the items you love creating and people love buying.

Naming your shop

Your shop name should be reflective of the type of products you sell. It should be easy to remember and spell. If you can, include keywords that will help people find your shop in a search. Make sure you check that no other Etsy seller is using your desired shop name.

Avoid using numbers or hyphens in your shop name because it can make it harder for people to find you. You can choose the name or even hire a service from online platforms to get some ideas.

Adding pictures and descriptions

Now, you are ready to open your Etsy shop. The website or a YouTube tutorial will walk you through the process step-by-step. First, choose what type of seller you are, an individual or a business. Secondly, provide some basic information about your business. Lastly, set up payment methods and shipping before officially opening for business.

Etsy offers direct checkout, PayPal, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, etc., for payment methods. Thus, make sure to add as many payment options as possible to offer ease to your customers.

You can use Etsy’s shipping labels or enter your shipping information. Lastly, you will need to decide on pricing. Etsy allows you to set different prices for different countries if you plan on selling internationally.

Promoting your shop on social media

Just because you have opened a shop does not mean that customers know what you did. You need to make some effort to promote your new Etsy shop if you want it to be successful. One way to promote your shop is by using social media. You can create social media accounts and then dedicate them to your Etsy shop. Moreover, post and share relevant content on such platforms often. You must include the links back to your Etsy listing.

You should also participate in relevant online communities and forums (again, include links to your listings). Offline promotion is essential too, and you can hand out business cards and flyers at local events, craft fairs, etc. Anything that will get people interested in checking out your new Etsy shop is worth the hype.

Using community forums

As any business owner knows, customer feedback is essential for understanding what works and doesn’t. It can be difficult to get an honest assessment of your product or service, but that is where community forums come in.

By participating in forums related to your industry, you can connect with potential customers and get valuable feedback. Etsy forums are a great way to get started, as they are full of creative people passionate about handmade goods.

In addition to getting feedback, you can also use the forums to connect with potential customers. You can build relationships by interacting with other community members. Furthermore, connecting with customers can help you emerge as a trustworthy source of information.

How to use SEO with your shop

If you want people to find your online shop, keyword-rich tags will help search engines point them in the right direction. By including relevant keywords in your tags, you can ensure that your shop comes up in search results when potential customers are looking for what you sell.

In addition, using keyword-rich tags can help you to attract more clicks and traffic to your site. The more traffic you have on your shop, the more likely you are to engage an audience and make sales. So, use keyword-rich tags to increase your chances of success as an online retailer.

Promotions and discounts

You can encourage people to buy from you by offering discounts and promotions. Discounts could involve giving a percentage off the total purchase price or providing a gift with the purchase.

By offering such incentives, you can encourage people to buy from you rather than your competitors. Discounts and promotions can also help build customer loyalty, as people are more likely to return to a business that offers them good value. In addition, by running periodic sales, you can clear out old stock and make room for new products.

Deliver great customer service

Excellent customer service is vital for several reasons. It encourages customers to come back. If they have had a good experience, they are more likely to return than if they had a bad experience. Second, it helps create positive reviews, which can attract new customers.

Finally, excellent customer service is simply the right thing to do. Customers deserve to be treated well. Thus, businesses should strive to provide the best possible experience for their customers. Delight customers with your outstanding customer service by responding to inquiries promptly and shipping orders quickly.

Offer good follow-up service after the sale, such as providing instructions on using a product or offering a satisfaction guarantee. By providing excellent customer service, businesses can encourage repeat customers and positive reviews, ultimately leading to growth and success.

Tips for a successful Etsy shop

Etsy is a fantastic platform for handmade and vintage sellers, but it has challenges. Competition is stiff, and standing out in the sea of millions of active shops can be daunting. Add to that the pressure of making sales and running a business.

The good news is that with a little hard work and dedication, success on Etsy is well within reach. Here are four tips to help you get your Etsy shop off the ground and start making sales:

Choose the Right Category for Your Items

If you want your items to show up in search results, you must ensure they are properly categorised. When setting up your listings, take some time to research which category and sub-category will be most relevant for each item. Not only will this help potential buyers find your listings, but it will also help Etsy’s search algorithm surface your products in relevant search results.

Optimise Your Shop Announcement and Policies

Your potential customers’ first impression of your shop will be from your announcement. So, make sure it’s error-free and to the point. In addition, take some time to craft detailed policies around shipping, returns, payment methods, etc.

Be sure to communicate your policies clearly and prominently on your listing pages and shop announcements. Buyers want to know what they are getting into before they purchase from you, so give them all the information they need upfront.

Use High-Quality Photos

Your photos are one of the essential elements of your listings. Thus, ensure that photos are sharp, well-lit, and accurately represent your selling products. If you don’t have access to a quality camera, plenty of excellent photo editing apps can help. Such apps can turn average photos into professional-looking shots. Moreover, if you are serious about taking great product photos, invest in some basic lighting equipment, and you will be glad you did.

Promote Your Listings on Social Media

Social media can be a powerful tool for driving traffic to your Etsy shop, but only if you use it effectively. Don’t just randomly share links to your listings. However, take some time to craft eye-catching posts with helpful descriptions that will pique potential customers’ interest.

Moreover, promote your listings on multiple platforms for maximum exposure. You can use Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, etc., for promotional purposes. Use hashtags per post, and if you have the budget for it, consider running paid ads on social media.


Running an Etsy shop can be rewarding but requires dedication and hard work. It is essential to build a strong foundation by optimising your shop announcement, policies, and photos. Moreover, promote your listings on social media using hashtags and paid ads for maximum exposure.

With the help of these tips, you can have a successful Etsy business that drives long-term growth and success. Finally, always strive to provide excellent customer service, as this will go a long way towards building loyalty with your customers and ultimately ensuring your shop’s success.

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Written by

Mark Hodgson
Mark Hodgson
Mark Hodgson is one of our expert writers. Mark is our lead researcher and editor who writes our main guides and expert topic coverage. He’s passionate about helping entrepreneurs, startups and small businesses with practical advice delivered clearly. Mark’s worked for a number of business magazines and titles and has started two small businesses himself, so has first-hand experience in setting up, managing and growing a small business and shares his expertise with our readers.

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