Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Etsy Shop Basics

It's a big wild world out there and opening up an Etsy shop can be very intimidating.
Start with these basic steps

1. Think carefully about your user name before you create an account on Etsy, search for similar names and see how others have used their names to brand their identity on Etsy. If you first registered as a buyer only and picked something unimagination like ruth123, don't despair! You can create another account, just remember you are supposed to disclose all Etsy shops.

2. Use the Etsy Help section and read read read! There's lots of excellent information out there but if you tackle it a bit at a time it will help you tremendously.

3. Make the best product you know how and keep making it the best. Even the most successful shops continue to improve and evolve their products.

4. Take the best pictures you can. Never ever apologize for your pictures. If you think they could be better, keep working on them! No one cares about your excuses. The internet is full of ideas and tutorials. You don't need a fancy expensive camera or a light box.

5. Write descriptions that tell what the product is in detail. Use white space to keep your information organized and easy to read. Your customer can't pick up the item or try it on. Include measurements and materials used, include process information that helps the buyer understand the product. Avoid craft specific technical jargon that isn't common knowledge or that you can't explain.

6. Ship to the US - that's where most Etsy buyers live. Once you get the hang of that do Europe and Australia. Visit the Canada Post website or go see the friendly gals at a real post office. Don't get your information from a postal contractor! (eg. Shoppers or local grocery store)

7. Write shop policies about shipping, returns and whether you take custom orders and what will happen if the have a problem.

8. Have a banner and an avatar - branding! We'll talk about that another day but for now start there.

9. List your shop location - people like to know where there product is coming from. Be safe and keep it to city, province. Wackadoodle locations like "inside my mind" or "fertile fields" are cute but won't help local buyers find you. And the day/week before an important holiday, believe me, they're searching for local shops.

10. Use all 14 listing tags - it helps people find your item

11. Accept PayPal

12. Keep learning and have fun!

This is my top 12 list, thought of while eating leftover birthday cake on my lunch hour (yes I had carrots too!)
Please comment or add to them - they are just my sugar induced opinion!


  1. Great summary of the basics for starting off, Ruth!

    With Etsy's recent update of their checkout system, I thought I had lost the chance for local buyers to pay cash in person, but still go through Etsy so the item shows up in the "sold" section. Now if you want to do this, you can check "other" as an additional method of payment accepted, and it works!

  2. thanks for the tips. It's good to re-read them and mentally check off which ones I need to continue to refine. Photos is on my to do list.

  3. you are all welcome!
    good tip for local buyers Prairie


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