How To Sell On Etsy: Beginner’s Guide To Etsy Setup & Success

Placeholder How To Sell On Etsy: Beginner’s Guide To Etsy Setup & Success

Hey, creative and artistic souls. If you are here, it means that you’ve already heard a thing or two about Etsy, a place where 33,6 mln shoppers and sellers come together to exchange homemade items and craft supplies not available anywhere else.

There are your potential customers, too. But… where are you, then? On eBay or Amazon? You need to consider selling your handmade items on Etsy as well.

And if you still need a little push, here it is — my ultimate guide to selling on Etsy. It will equip you with all the fundamental marketing tools and teach you how to be successful on Etsy without much of investment. You’ll also learn how to set up your first Etsy store, create product listings, establish a personal connection with customers and start earning extra money from home.

To push you forward, let me point out a few business owners who already sell successfully on Etsy:

  • TheCoffeeMonsterzCO. Helen is a 16-year-old high-school student from Canada, who loves painting, blogging, youtubing, and everything else in between. She created an Etsy account more than a year ago, on March 5, 2016, and since then she has managed to make 133,993 online sales. Considering that the price of her crafts varies from $2.40 to $17.75, she could potentially earn $1,349,979 within just a year and ten months. How do you like it, hm?
  • ShortsandLemons. Paige Langley is a mom-of-four from the US. She is passionate about graphic design. And she has more than a thousand items in her Etsy shop. Since May 29, 2016, she managed to sell 66,449 items, which brought her $547,872 on average.

Already thinking about setting up an Etsy account? Hold your horses.

Getting started selling your products on Etsy might seem somewhat confusing. Read this beginners guide to selling on Etsy first. I’ve tried to make it as comprehensible as possible to help you find success selling on Etsy as easily as taking candy from a baby.

If this information is not enough for you, welcome to check out Etsy’s seller handbook with over 600 inspirational articles for successfully running your Etsy shop. Inside this seller handbook, you will discover advice and recommendations about growth hacking, productivity, seasonal tips for successful selling on Etsy and a lot more. All hand-written by Etsy team.

But before we get into the details, let’s check if Etsy is the right platform for your eCommerce website.

Is Etsy the right platform for your eCommerce business?

Let’s face it. Not all products are suited for this platform. Etsy is not a run-of-the-mill marketplace, like eBay, where all types of goods can be sold, mass-produced or handmade. And it is not even close to Amazon, where your ranks and sales are dependent on the efficiency of buyer-seller communication

It has a unique ‘style’, exclusively created for artists and crafters to sell their handmade and vintage items online.

So before investing your time and energy in creating your Etsy shop, you need to make sure your potential customers might look for your products on Etsy.

If you discover that Etsy is not the right place for you, do not stress out, there is a bevy of other amazing places for artists and crafters.

Pros of selling on Etsy:

1. It’s easy to start selling on Etsy

There’s no need to rack your brains choosing an eCommerce platform or migrating to a better one, designing an attractive template for your online store and then customizing it to get the look you need.

You don’t even have to worry about security and all that ‘bad’ stuff that can happen when you set up an eCommerce website from scratch.

You can do it all with Etsy in minutes, without any technical knowledge. Just fill out a few forms and you are ready to go.

2. Whomping customer base

Though Amazon has recently launched their own handmade community, thus allowing thousands of artisans to sell their handcrafted goods online, Etsy is still the first thing people think of when they want to buy something handmade.

At the time this was written, there were 1.9 mln sellers and 31.7 mln of active shoppers on Etsy. In December, 224 mln of users landed on Etsy to purchase craft supplies and handmade jewelry.

Placeholder Etsy statistics

Some of these users started selling on Etsy, others — converted to active buyers.

3. Friendly community

Etsy community is loyal. More than 40% of first-time buyers become repeat customers, coming back to Etsy over and over again. Also, there are a few useful resources where business owners can exchange their experience with their peers:

  • forum, where they can interact with other members of the Etsy community;
  • teams to share and get tips about running an eCommerce business in their area;
  • blog adapted for different countries;
  • and online labs — videos, in which Etsy staffers and members share some vital info.

4. A greater chance to be discovered

Handmade items, listed on Etsy (or on any other trendy marketplace like eBay or Amazon) have a bigger chance to attract potential customers. Especially if you are new to Etsy.

5. Shipping overseas made easy

Even if you are new to Etsy, you can ship internationally. Once an order is placed, you can purchase and print shipping label from the site. This is especially handy when shipping to international customers.

6. Etsy can help grow your existing business

There are lots of advertising options on Etsy, like promoted listings, which can help you highlight your products in Etsy’s search results and make them more visible to your target audience.

Placeholder Promoted items on Etsy

Also, there’s an Etsy Wholesale program, that connects sellers to larger companies.

And the recently launched Etsy Manufacturing service that can help sellers find local production partners.

7. Etsy puts a premium on machine learning, if you know what it means

Etsy team have done much to build effective search experience for their users.

In July 2015, they launched the so-called exploratory search, a feature that created a more visual search experience, especially on mobile devices. This technology increased click rates by 10%.

A year later, in September 2016, Etsy team acquired Blackbird Technologies to make Etsy’s search engine wheels turn a little better with machine learning and artificial intelligence.

8. A mobile app

There’s a mobile app for iPhone, iPad, iPod, Apple Watch (requires iOS 9.3 or later) and all Android devices (requires Android 4.1 and up).

There are actually two apps — the first one is for sellers, the other is for shoppers. Considering that 65% of Etsy visits come from mobile, this is a good tool.

‘Sell on Etsy’ app makes it easy to manage your Etsy listings and orders on the go and stay notified, when someone purchases your product or adds it to ‘Favorites’.

Etsy app for buyers creates seamless experience for online shopping from mobile devices — notifies your users when their item is shipped, accepts payments, displays shops nearby and more, and more.

What to watch out for on Etsy:

1. Fees

Listing your items on Etsy is not free. You should make a couple of payments to start selling on Etsy from scratch.

For example, $0,20 for each listing. Plus, 3.5% transaction fee. And other fees. We’ll talk about your possible expenses in the last chapter.

2. Little to no options for personalization

If we compare a fully functional eCommerce website and an Etsy shop, the first one wins without question.

Why? Because all Etsy seller pages look pretty much the same.

The only thing you can do to make your brand stand out is to take killer pics and spice up your item descriptions and bio with a powerful copy.

However, there is one more option. Etsy allows you to launch a separate website. With the help of ‘Pattern by Etsy’, you can quickly register a domain, personalize your template to match your brand, add a blog and start sending email marketing campaigns to your users.

But it will cost you a penny.

3. The fast and furious competition that is not always easy to overcome

Etsy was founded in 2005, and since then almost 2 million sellers have started selling their handmade stuff there.

Are you ready to fight with this crowd? Well, you can at least try.

But if you are not listing a new product every single day, promoting your products and refreshing them now and then, you are doomed to failure. You are likely to find your ads rolled out at the bottom of Etsy search results.

4. Your Etsy account can be banned completely out of the blue

Please, read Etsy seller policy carefully before you set up your store and place your first listing.

Did you know that it IS allowed to sell such human remains, like teeth or hair?

Have a look at this lovely jewelry:

Placeholder Human teeth on Etsy

But if you make up your mind to sell ivory or bones from ivory-producing animals (tusks, for instance), you will be punished by Etsy mods.

Here’s a prohibited items policy, which demonstrates (with colorful pics and examples!) what items can or cannot be sold on Etsy.

Indeed, selling products similar to the ones included in the list of prohibited items is punished severely. Just google for ‘etsy shut down my shop’. You’ll discover lots of horror stories about Etsy shutting down shops after years of selling.

5. It’s going to require lots of work

Experienced eCommerce business owners know that adding an additional sales channel will take a time investment to be successful, and it’s difficult to juggle multiple storefronts and omni-channel marketing as a startup.

Our advice to getting started? Take one step at a time. Or, at least, find an eCommerce agency and ask them for assistance. Our parent company, Seller Labs, offers Amazon selling services and is ready to help optimize your Amazon marketplace for as little as $39/mo so you can make a splash there before branching out. You’ll be free to enjoy four amazing tools as part of a single Seller Labs Pro subscription:

6. If you are not selling handmade items, this platform is not for you


How to create and manage your shop on Etsy

Starting an Etsy business requires more than just uploading your handmade items on Etsy and then crossing your fingers in the hope that something will come out of it.

It doesn’t work like that.

Selling products successfully on Etsy is about creating an emotional connection with your buyers through such things as great copy, stunning pictures, competitive pricing and… a few little tricks. And you are happy to be in the right place at the right time to get some of these tricks.

But. Prepare to work your socks (as well as boots, sneakers, and slippers) off to get visible results.

1. What items you can (and CAN NOT) sell on Etsy

The most challenging thing about launching your Etsy business is choosing products to sell.

Wedding jewelry?

Baby knitted socks?

A dead skull candle holder? Oh my.. There’re lots of weird stuff over there. Want to buy one for $87,36. Now.

If you already have a working eCommerce store or at least an idea of what to sell on Etsy, there’s nothing to worry about, just skip this paragraph. If not, take a look at the list of Etsy’s best sellers:

BEST-SELLER #1. Stickers

Yes, this might be surprising, but those sticky little pics are the most buzzworthy trends of 2018 on Etsy. Stickers sell well because they are pretty cheap.

The more so, there’s a handy Etsy’s integration, called Printful, that helps sell digital goods faster. You create the design; they handle the printing and shipping altogether.

Launched back in 2013, they’ve printed 2,931,184 shirts since then. This is a good strategy for saving money and time, as you do not have to print, pack and send your item to the recipient.

For example, Margaret, the owner of Etsy’s OnceMoreWithLove sticker shop (Vancouver, Canada), has been selling on Etsy successfully since 2015. Just imagine — within just a few years she managed to sell 317K of her lovely pink stickers through her Etsy shop.

BEST-SELLER #2. Unusual charms and other jewelry

Jewelry is one of the hottest-selling categories on Etsy. And no matter what you choose to sell — a crystal keychain or an alexandrite solitaire ring — these are what your potential customers would be there for.

Bohemian Findings (St. Peters Bay, Canada) Etsy’s store, selling unusual charms, buttons, beads and other creative findings, is an excellent example of Etsy’s success.

Placeholder Jewelry on Etsy

Hope and Sparky (chances are Sparky is a dog on the photo) are currently among the top sellers on Etsy. They started an Etsy account eight years ago to make their 17,5K handmade items accessible for craft lovers from all over the world.

Since then these guys from Canada have won 6K followers and made (Holy Jesus!) 1,25 mln sales.

BEST-SELLER #3. Craft supplies and tools

Instead of selling ready-made handcrafted items, some Etsy sellers prefer to list tools and supplies for crafting. And that’s, btw, a good idea.

Considering that Etsy, as well as Pinterest, is the place where crafters land for inspiration, these things can be rather popular.

Well, what can you find in this category? Everything: from white birch logs (great for rustic themed decor) to pressed wildflowers for candle making.

Placeholder Craft tools on Etsy

Now turn your attention to The Velvet Acorn Etsy’s shop (Poulsbo, United States) that distinctly stands out from the crowd. They sell knit & crochet pattern designs for just $5.5 each. But it’s not the price that attracts. These are awesome pics. Have a look at this coquettish blond girl. Every knitted or crocheted piece of clothing looks perfect.

All crafted items, sold in this Etsy store, are designed by Heidi May and inspired by nature.

BEST-SELLER #4. Party deco

Personalisation is what Etsy shoppers are paying attention to when looking for party decorations in Etsy’s search results. And there are plenty of personalized goods available over there.

For example, Hina from ModParty (Tustin, California) offers all sorts of gifts and decorations for birthday parties, weddings, and baby showers. Almost all of these handmade items can be personalized.

Since 2013 she managed to sell almost 212K handcrafted products. And it looks like Etsy visitors love this shop — 58K of them added ModParty to favorites.

BEST-SELLER #5. Items for men selling on Etsy

Yes, men can also found on Etsy. What are they doing over there? Oh, lots of things. They sell wooden door signs, for example.

Placeholder Wooden door signs on Etsy

And if you also think that all that party and crochet-related stuff is for girls only, here is what real men can pick as a business idea for selling on Etsy:

Matt McCoy established his MiniFab store (Dallas, Texas) in 2012 to sell shaving sets, mustache combs, cufflinks, beard balms, straight razors, shaving brushes, and a variety of other specialized men’s items.

Mike Crowdler from MRC wood products (Pittsboro, Indiana) sells on Etsy since 2009. And I should say that he has already got a crowd of competitors — 23K Etsy users have added his Etsy eCommerce store to favorites.

Douglas Donahue got rid of his banking career to start selling yoga clothing on Etsy. He thinks that creating handmade things brings more fun (and obviously more money) than managing the funds of wealthy clients.

But whatever way you go, it’s critical to choose your products carefully to sell successfully on Etsy. Pay particular attention to what you love. Not to what seems like profitable or looks trendy. Otherwise, it will soon bore you to death.

John Wesley said that a few centuries ago, and he was right: ‘Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn.’

Just make sure that nothing you love is on the list of Etsy’s prohibited items.

What you can NOT sell on Etsy

Etsy creators have a clear vision of what should and should NOT be listed on their online craft-supplies marketplace. Some of the items, like animal products or human remains, are definitely “not in the spirit of Etsy”. However, every rule has its exceptions. Here’s an in-depth article from Etsy creators about the way you can dance round the rules. Legally.

How many items can you sell on Etsy?

It stands to reason that you should have a clear business plan before you start selling on Etsy. And the first thing you have to clear up is how many items should be uploaded to your Etsy store.

9? 911? Or 2019?

There is quite a lot of speculation about this on social networking sites. And well… I’ve got bad news for you. There is no definitive answer to this question.

However, after making quick market research and digging dozens of forums, I grasped a few essential facts that should shed light on the number of items sold in your Etsy shop.

Fact 1: A small number of Etsy listings may scare your potential customers away from your Etsy business. No one wants to send money into a sketchy-looking place. So try to add at least 20 items.

Fact 2: Shoppers prefer to order several handmade items at once to save on shipping. An excellent opportunity to get extra sales.

Fact 3: It’s important to keep your Etsy’s store fresh. People love to see updates from time to time. Seasonal items, for example.

Fact 4: You’ve got more opportunities to be found on Etsy’s search engines if you’ve got many products in your Etsy shop.

Some Etsy experts recommend uploading around 150-170 items into your Etsy account. But I consider that won’t work for small eCommerce businesses.

That’s why I suggest that you should limit your collection of vintage items to 100. No more. Otherwise, you risk making your array of products too overwhelming for a regular buyer.

2. How to create irresistible product photos for your Etsy store

If you want to know how to be successful on Etsy, I’ll tell you — have a professional photographer create a few kick-ass photos of your products. Top sellers do that. And you are no exception.

How else will your shoppers get an idea of what you sell?

They cannot touch or fidget your item in their hands. They cannot feel the material your vintage item is made of. They can only watch (and read, but we’ll discuss that in the next paragraph). Let them enjoy the browsing experience.

Have a look at these two handcrafted magazine holders below.

Placeholder Photos on Etsy

Which product do you think has got more chances to be purchased?

AGGGGRH… Of course, the first one. The picture that was apparently made by a professional photographer, looks more seducing. Plus, you can imagine the way this item would look like when you bring it home. And it’s three times as cheap.

The second pic is lame. Dark. Indistinctive. Boring-looking.

One of the main advantages of uploading high-quality product photography to your Etsy profile is that you have a higher chance of having your products discovered by potential customers.

You can find freelance photographers on Fiver. They won’t charge you much, the price for their product photography services starts at only $5.

And if you do not have any resources to hire a photographer or to purchase an expensive photo camera, there are still a couple of options for you. We’ve put together this product photography guide chock-full of tips to help you learn how to take product photos for your Etsy store right way.

3. How to write stellar product descriptions for your Etsy products

Every sales superstar knows that when you meet face-to-face is when BIG sales tend to get made.

Alas, you cannot be in many places at the same time and talk in person to your customers from all over the globe.

Einstein had other ideas, though.

So the only way to achieve visible results is to start communicating through written language. How? Just make your item descriptions as appealing as possible. Yeah, it takes practice to master the creation of strong product descriptions.

Below are a few general tips for successful selling on Etsy with the help of bombastic item descriptions:

1. Try to stick to the point from the very first line.

Forget those rules you learned at school — they no longer work for Etsy and other social media sites. Provide the reader with all the necessary info he might need to make a purchase decision — size, color, materials. Often a single paragraph is quite enough.

2. Do not bore your shoppers with long bookish item descriptions

If you sell a kind of funny handmade item (like the one you can see below), do not waste your chance to add a joke to your product descriptions.

So “put your feet up and let your socks do the talking”.

3. Share your own experience and be personal

People are eager to feel a personal connection with the business owner and know what inspired you to set up your store on Etsy.

Tell them your success story. This should push your potential buyers to choose your products. Using personal pronouns, like ‘I’ and ‘we’, can also help you find success selling on Etsy.

Have a look at this beautiful product description. Nothing is too difficult.

Placeholder Item description on Etsy

4. Use up-selling techniques

I’ve got one more ‘secret weapon’ that should grow your online sales. Think of other items in your Etsy shop that coordinate with the item you describe. This can be an item of similar color, season, pattern and the rest.

Placeholder Item description on Etsy

This is it. Turn your fantasy on. And go ahead creating compelling copy for your Etsy handmade or vintage items. It’s easier than you think.

4. How to choose keywords to make your items more visible in Etsy searches

Much like when you create a blog post for your eCommerce site you need to make sure that your potential buyers will find your products on Etsy.

And though Etsy’s search engine optimization works a bit different from Google’s, the main principles are the same.

Keywords and tags are very useful for showing your products when customers are looking for them.


Sprinkle your titles and descriptions with your ‘keyword dust’ — this is your chance to help your item show up in search results.

But beware of over-optimising your product listings, like Irina Schroeder did when describing her knitted items.

Pooh! Neither title nor descriptions are in any way readable. But it looks like these keywords brought her items to the top of Etsy’s search results.

Here’s one more example of excessive use of keywords. This Baby sweater Baby cardigan Baby shower Unisex sweater Grey sweater Blue sweater White sweater Girl’s sweater Boy’s sweater Hand knit sweater, created by MagicKnittingNeedle was favorited by 198 people and highly-reviewed, but lots of keywords make the listing unbearable.

Don’t do that. Even if Etsy search engines love it. Your customers won’t.


You have an option to add 13 product tags. So use all possible tags for each item, even with a broad meaning. This is another way to show how creative you are.

Here’s how tags look like:

However, there could be more.

Not sure what keywords and tags you should use for your craft supplies?

Go to Etsy’s home page and find other business owners selling similar items to see which keywords and tags they use in their store names, titles and listings.

And do not be afraid that Etsy’s search system will ignore newbies. It will highlight items that are associated with the keywords or phrases users are looking for, no matter how recently the item was published on Etsy.

In addition to that, shoppers can manually sort their search results by recently added items, by relevance, and by price.

5. How to set up prices

Pricing is the most prominent concern we hear from the majority of Etsy sellers.

No wonder. Creative souls spend months on crafting a unique item and they want to price it appropriately.

There are a few pain points that make selling on Etsy a bit complicated:

  • Etsy’s editors are pushing the lower-priced goods. So if you want to be successful on Etsy, you need to keep your prices low. As low as $20 for an item or even less. That’s probably why $5 stickers are the most popular items on Etsy.
  • You have to compete against other sellers, which means your price shouldn’t be higher. And if it is higher, you should explain why.
  • You have to handle transaction fees, shipping costs, listing commissions and other expenses. If you are not planning to be left high and dry in a few months after setting up your online store on Etsy, you might want to include these spendings in your price.

But don’t let that stop you from selling on Etsy. This marketplace is still a juicy place for small businesses. Calculate the cost of your supplies, your time and fees. Find your competitors to see how they sell Etsy items. The price of your craft supplies should represent the real value of your item. If you value your crafts more than your competitors do, that’s OK.

Let’s say, you are an oil painter and your cherished dream is to start selling your paintings on Etsy. Let’s make quick market research. As I see the price of oil paintings can be as high as $20,000.

Placeholder Setting up prices on Etsy

Wow! It can be even more. For instance, Asimina & Eleni from UberdenTraum store (Pátrai, Greece) want $265,550.06 for their Surreal Oil Painting ‘The Path’. See the first pic below.

So do not be afraid to price your craft the way you consider it appropriate.

By the way, business owners that accept multiple payment options, like VISA, MasterCard, Discover, Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits, usually have nearly 50% higher sales compared to those who do not.

6. How to provide fast, correct order fulfillment & shipping

Yes, it would be quite a challenge to compete with Amazon’s Prime shipping.

Customers from all over the world, feather-bedded by expedient shipping and fulfillment, want to receive their products ‘right here, right now’.

Preferably within two days, as Amazon works. Or better within a couple of hours.

But do not be scared away. Many of the most successful Etsy shops DO ship their items with 24 hours or even faster. And you will if you want to stay ahead of your competition and get more sales and traffic to your eCommerce store.

Let’s pick a few random Etsy ads.

1. Amanda Newman, the owner of MyWoodPhoto store on Etsy, promises to send her pallet sign within 7-10 days and they offer a Rush Option for 1-3 days processing, which is quite fast. All domestic orders are shipped via USPS Priority 2-3 Day Mail or USPS First-Class. International orders are shipped via USPS First-Class International Mail. USPS 6-10 Day Priority Mail International is available for an additional charge.

Placeholder Shipping on Etsy

2. Jen and Brynnlee, the creators of PS Weddings and Events eCommerce store (Corona, California), are ready to ship their cupcake topper within 5-7 business days. Better!

Placeholder Shipping on Etsy

3. Tyler Carlin is the fastest! He can send his “Over The Garden Wall” cassette within just 1-3 business days. Not bad for a small Etsy shop with only 101 products inside.

Placeholder Shipping on Etsy

7. How to catch up on your bookkeeping

Taking accounting as an afterthought is the rookie mistake that can doom an eCommerce startup. Attention to the financial details is fundamental if you want to make money from your Etsy store.

You can manage your accounting tasks in several ways:

Simple spreadsheets. The easiest way to get control of your finances and inventory is to use a spreadsheet. I prefer using Google Docs, Sheets and Slides. All services are totally free and are accessible through your browser or an app for your mobile device.

Placeholder Google Spreadsheets for Etsy accounting

Accounting software. If spreadsheets seem too primitive for you, you can turn your attention to accounting software. It will help you keep track of your accounting details and taxes.

Separate financial accounts. I strongly recommend that you keep your personal and business financial details separate. It is safe. To achieve this, you can set up a separate bank account or even register a credit or a debit card for your small eCommerce business.

Hire an accountant. One day, when you finally find success selling on Etsy, you will feel overwhelmed by financial details and sales (something tells me you will). Then, you will probably need a person who will take care of all your financial stuff for you.

All kidding aside when it comes to taxes!

Etsy marketing tips and tricks to drive more traffic to your store

Many of Etsy’s newbies think that building your brand on this platform is as tough as turning up the cold soil with your bare hands. Yes, it is, unless you have a clear marketing plan… and a contingency plan (in case of force-majeure, of course).

Here’re a few tips that should help you boost the power of your listings and prepare for successful selling on Etsy:

1. Follow-up with buyers

Do not forget to keep a personal connection with your customers after they reach the bottom of your sales funnel. Show your shoppers you care about their purchase by asking them:

“Hey, Jim! How do you find my storage basket? DId it fit well into your kitchen interior? Please, share your thoughts. I’m curious to know what you think.”

And, if they are happy about it, ask them for a review. Why not? And then give him a discount on the next purchase.

Placeholder Reviews on Etsy

This may double your sales and improve the credibility of your Etsy store.

2. Tap into the power of social media

There are now over 3 billion social media users posting their pics and updating their status in social networks every day. It’s hard to believe, but that’s almost 40% of the human population, which is currently 7,5 billion people as of December 2017.

Let’s see which of the social media sites are the most popular:

  • More than 2 billion users log in to their Facebook accounts monthly;
  • 1.5 billion users enjoy videos on Youtube — this service is becoming more like TV for Millenials and Gen Xers;
  • Instagram announces 800 million users, with 500 million using it every day;
  • Twitter audience has reached 328 million of monthly active users;
  • The number of Pinterest pinners has increased by another 25 million to 200 millions.

And there are your potential customers, as well. That’s why social selling is something you need to consider if you want to be successful on Etsy.

Connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your Etsy shop, post your news on Instagram and other social media channels. This will make it easy for potential customers to keep in touch and learn about new items.

3. Check your Etsy inbox

Just imagine your next sale is just a single message away. So don’t forget to check your Etsy inbox from time to time. Preferably, every few hours.

Responding quickly to messages will give you an advantage over Etsy sellers who are slower than you.

4. Be polite

On Etsy, like on any other marketplace, you can face misunderstanding. Don’t be offended by people’s demanding tone or rudeness. You never know how much money those ‘angry birds’ can bring you tomorrow.

Be a good guy, anyway.

5. Fill your profile from A to Z

Your personal profile is like your face. It can either help you sell successfully on Etsy or completely ruin your reputation.

Don’t be shy. Tell where you are from and what makes your heart go boom-boom-boom… People love stories.

Your favorite shops and items, Etsy teams you are in, the number of followers — all that is also displayed in your profile, so your potential customers will see it, too. Be careful with your activity on Etsy.

Sao De La Vega, the owner of SaoZenPlush eCommerce store on Etsy, is madly obsessed with making cute plushies and art. She is not afraid of looking weird or silly.

6. Set clear policies

Keep your policies straightforward and true-to-life. Shop policies usually include the things like payment timeframes, shipping information, return and exchange options and general info about the way you conduct your Etsy business.

For example, Crystal Kim that represents family-owned citrus & fruit tree farm (Lawrenceville, Georgia) on Etsy, included additional information about holiday and winter shipping.

It’s crucial because low temperatures can affect plant growth and development. Also, they cannot ship to Alaska or Hawaii for some reason.

Paying attention to this valuable information can save you from lots of misunderstanding.

7. Join teams and chat on forums

Teams are an excellent resource for store owners.

They can come in handy in multiple of ways. You can use them:

  • to improve your skills selling on Etsy. Lots of experienced sellers over there can counsel you;
  • to get traffic to your eCommerce store and build favorites. It was a surprise to me when I got to know about this kind of ‘legal cheating’ on Etsy.
  • to apply for local craft shows and get additional sales;
  • to find like-minded fellows, network with them and get ideas.

The Etsy forum is also a good place to learn how to sell successfully on Etsy. But be warned that admins keep strict watch over the things you write there. Never make comments against Etsy policy. Never use ‘C’(hina) or ‘D’ words. The latter stands for Douglas Erwin, a former Etsy seller who gained a reputation with his Etsy peers as an intelligent and helpful user.

Placeholder Etsy's shops shut down

8. Do custom orders

People love ordering handmade items uniquely customized to their needs.

Say, you are looking for personalized bride and groom coffee mugs as a present for your friend’s marriage. Or you need to create a portrait of your grandma for her B-day party.

Luckily, Etsy allows for these types of products. There’s a very nice option on Etsy that lets sellers offer their services together with the products they sell.

Placeholder Custom orders on Etsy

Some Etsy sellers prefer to charge upfront. That gives a certain guarantee that their time won’t be spent in vain and their buyer won’t change his mind.

Here’s what I found on Etsy:

Placeholder Custom orders on Etsy

But before offering a custom handmade item, remember to give an example of what you can do and what materials you use. Otherwise, your customer will be left paralyzed by too many choices.

9. Take advantage of all advertising options available on Etsy

Officially, advertising on Etsy is done through the so-called Promoted listings which help you attract more traffic to your Etsy store.

The whole process is quite straightforward: you set your daily budget and let Etsy do the job for you.

Bidding is carried out in several ways:

  • Etsy’s algorithm chooses the best bid for each of your listings automatically;
  • You manually set all your bids for all your promoted items.
  • You combine the two ways of bidding.

If you are just starting off, I’d suggest trying the automatic bidding for all your product listings. You will be able to see the results of your advertising campaign and see what works best for your craft supplies.

What is more interesting is that Etsy editors have just finished testing a few new options for advertising:

Highlighting best-selling goods. Popular items are marked with a beautiful ‘Bestseller’ badge. Etsy editors consider this will help new buyers feel more confident purchasing on Etsy.

Telling shoppers that the item is almost out of stock. For listings with an item quantity of three or less, shoppers will see the information ‘Only 3 left,’ ‘Only 2 left,’ or ‘Only 1 left’ as the items sell.

Displaying discounted products. Letting shoppers know that an item can be purchased at a discounted price, encourages impulse buying.

Accepting Etsy gift cards and Etsy credit. Sometimes it is too hard to choose the right gift among 45 million items available for sale on Etsy. That’s why people often choose to give Etsy gift cards as a present.

Unfortunately, not all Etsy stores accept gift cards, but you should.

Accepting gift certificates will move your customers a bit closer to checkout and make it easier for you to stand the tremendous competition on Etsy.

To put it into practice, you should live in one of these countries and accept Etsy’s direct checkout form of payment.

All shops that accept gift cards can also accept credits. Etsy credits are usually given by Etsy to members as part of a special offer, promotion, or as part of a refund or other payment from Etsy.

Giving out coupon codes and free shipping. There are two more ways to offer discounts on Etsy — offering a coupon or shipping your items at zero cost. These offers can be combined with other discounts.

Placeholder Coupon code on Etsy

10. Monitor your statistics

Etsy has a very handy service for business owners — Stats Tools. It provides you with data for all of your channels — Etsy, Pattern (a dedicated eCommerce website on Etsy), Wholesale (a place where independent retailers can discover unique products from vetted artists and designers), and Etsy Studio (a new marketplace for craft supplies).

With the help of this tool, you can see where your traffic is coming from and what are the top keywords you are being searched for. This is how you will get to know exactly where you need to improve and where you are already a winner.

11. Check Etsy seller news now and then

Etsy is growing rapidly, with new cool tools, like a gift or free shipping, showing up every month.

So do not stop learning something new about Etsy. There’s a special section on Etsy where Etsy’s editors post site updates for sellers. It’s created to keep you up to date.


Thank you for this information, I’ve had a Vintage/Antique Jewellery Shop on ETSY for 3 years now and find that there’s always something new to learn and help me be more successful. I really love to help my customers find the perfect Engagement Ring at the right price it’s satisfying. I have a great time adding more and more Beautiful and Unique Jewellery and actually see my shop as an Artistic and Beautiful Pastime.


I am gaining so much helpful and in-depth advice from reading thoroughly through all the Etsy advisers tips, I just opened my shop about a month ago and still have my learners L plates on. Now I feel like I have the right tools at my disposal to refine and polish my shop and start turning it into the successful shop of my handmade soft furnishings I’ve always wanted. So here goes time to get savvy and busy with my marketing and creating, thank you for your help, and don’t forget to visit my new shop at cherteee on Etsy.

crubyclint, the owner of Cherteee store on Etsy

Check the last paragraph of our ‘How to Sell a Product Even If You Don’t Have a Salesman Bone in Your Body’ guide for more tips.

Money, money, money

How much you should pay to sell on Etsy

As previously said, there are several types of fees on Etsy. Don’t be scared. You won’t have to pay all of them at once.

First, Etsy has a listing fee — $0.20 for each product listing, no matter if it brings online sales or not. Every four months your Etsy listing expires. So you’ll have to pay $0.20 once again. Plus, if you want to refresh your listing or add quantity, prepare to put your hand into your pocket over again.

Then, transaction fees. Etsy charges the shop owner 3.5% of the total price every time he makes a sale on Etsy. Thankfully, this fee doesn’t apply to shipping and taxes.

There’s not the half of the story. Other fees include:

  • credit card processing starts at 3% of total sale price + 0.25 USD flat fee per order for the US users using Etsy Payments;
  • wholesale fees — a standard transaction fee of 3.5% of the wholesale price);
  • shipping costs. Usually, it is the buyer who pays for the shipping, so you will only need to purchase a discounted by 30% USPS or FedEx shipping label through Etsy. But if you choose a free shipping option, the cost will depend on the shipping carrier, weight, distance, etc.;
  • setting up a pattern site for your brand costs $15 a month;
  • digital VAT fees — the fees are different for different countries. Here’s how value-added taxes work on Etsy;
  • currency conversion. If you list your items in a currency other than that of your bank account, you will be charged 2.5% over the current market rate to send funds to your bank account;
  • ad promotion fees — the minimum is $1 a day.

How much you can earn selling handmade, vintage or craft supplies

Well.. it depends. It depends on what products you decide to sell on Etsy, what tools you use to promote your items and how much fees you pay.

For example, Rachel Byler is a watercolor artist from Dillsburg, PA, United States. She created The Colorful Cat Studio in 2013 to sell her watercolor fine art prints & originals.

She sells 246 items, and the price starts at $12. The highest price is $850 for an Original Watercolor Painting “Stars Collide.” The average price of Rachel’s items is $431.

Let’s count her expenses if, say, she decides to send her average-priced painting to Berlin:

$0,20 listing fee;
$15 transaction fee;
$12,93 payment processing fee;
$0 wholesale fee;
$12,83 printing labels with USPS First Class International Package service, the shopper will have to pay $21.50 for shipping;
$0 pattern site;
$0 VAT;
$0 currency conversion;
$0 ad promotion fees.

$431 – $0,20 – $15 – $12,93 – $12,83 = $390,04

I may be wrong with the calculations, but, as we see, Rachel can approximately earn $390 for each painting, which costs $431. Since 2013 she has made 7197 sales. And even if all her sales were $12 worth, she could potentially earn $86,364 (minus fees and other expenses).


Most of the people who have huge sales records are all ‘old timers’ (they have been on the site for years, and I know a few of them has their own group of followers/collectors).

Tugis, March 12, 2016 at 9:50 AM

The Bottom Line

Do you sell on Etsy and have a great tip to share? I’m all ears.

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Helen Golubeva
Helen Golubeva
Storyteller at X-Cart

Addicted to yoga, interested in philosophy, and totally mad about copywriting. She loves using the power of words to inspire people and help them grow their eCommerce businesses.

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