How to start your own Etsy Shop

How to Start your own Etsy Shop. 10 Steps to turning your hobby into a business.

When I started my Etsy shop, I had a million and one questions about how to take this passion of mine, and turn it into a successful business. Almost two years and 2,000 sales later, I still don’t have all the answers, but I have definitely have learned a thing or two that I would love to pass on to anyone who is considering opening a shop of their own.

I first want to start with some words of encouragement. If you are an artist, a crafter, a DIYer, a designer or anyone who has ever used their creative talents to make something special, I believe that you should be sharing your work with others. Erase the phrase “starving artist” from your vocabulary. The internet has made it possible for creatives to not only sell our work but to create thriving businesses.

If you’ve got a passion for creating, a desire to make money and 20 cents, you have everything you need to open your own shop. Let’s get going!

Step 1: Research
Before you open your business, it’s a great idea to get inspired by other shops— particularly the successful ones. Start to do some Etsy searches for the types of products you will be selling and see what comes up in the results. Click on the listings that stand out to you, and take a look in the shop’s sidebar to see how many sales they’ve made since they have opened. Pay attention to how many items they have listed. Look at the keywords they have used to describe their items, which can be found at the bottom of each listing.

There’s a great site called Craftcount that showcases the top Etsy shops, broken down by category so you can really be inspired by the most prosperous sellers. The goal here isn’t to completely copy another shop, but to identify the ingredients that are bringing them success. The future of your shop depends on you putting forth a product and brand that is unique, special, and has your own personal touch!

Step 2: Learn the rules
Etsy is a fantastic marketplace, but it’s important to remember that we are guests in a space where they call the shots. There are certain guidelines that we, as sellers, need to adhere to (most of which are for our own protection). I encourage you to read through these guidelines before launching your shop. I’ve heard cautionary tales of Etsy sellers who have had their shops shut down as a result of breaking a rule they didn’t even know existed, so take the time to learn em’ and stick to em’!

Step 3: Brand yourself
As soon as you open your shop for business, you are officially a professional— so make sure that you look the part. If you are just starting out, you don’t need to spend tons of money on hiring a designer to create business cards, banners, tags, etc. Other than your listing images, the only piece of artwork needed for your storefront is a simple banner that’s 760 x 100 px, which can be designed by you and created for free, using a program like PicMonkey.

Step 4: Stock your shop
If you don’t already have your products created, now is the time to get started. The minimum number of items you need for your shop to go live is one, but I definitely suggest showcasing more than that. This is just my personal recommendation, but I think 12-28 is a good number to start with. I have noticed that more items usually leads to more sales. If you don’t have quite enough items to fill 12 spots, consider creating a few listings for custom, made-to-order items that can be created after your customer has purchased it, or a special deal like “Buy 2, Get 2 Free!”

How to Start your own Etsy Shop. 10 Steps to turning your hobby into a business.

Step 5: Take high quality photos
This is the step that is probably making a few of you cringe, but it’s really important. You’ve spent lots of time and energy creating your product, so make sure to take the same care in presenting it in a clear and professional manner. Use natural light when taking your photos and take your shots from different angles, close up and far away. Avoid using that flash whenever you can. You may consider styling or showing your items in use. For example, if you are selling a scarf, showcase a photo of somebody wearing it. Smart phones take great photos, but if you want to kick it up a notch, a high quality DSLR camera will definitely give you the best results.

If you are selling digital products like I do, you can get away with avoiding picture taking all together by displaying your items using stock photos and photo mockups. These have been a huge blessing and time saver for me!

Step 6: Write a killer description
The counterpart to your photos, this is the place where you provide your customers with everything they need to know about the product they are about to purchase. In addition to the description of your item, you will also want to include relevant information like the size, color, and materials used to create your product. It’s important to include your turnaround time, shipping time, a return policy and special instructions if you are selling something custom. A great strategy that a lot of Etsy sellers use is to promote your own products within your listing. For example, at the bottom of your description, you may want to include a note that says “If you are looking for a handpainted vase to match your new plate, you can find our entire collection here <insert link>.”

Step 7: Price your products
Before you go looking at what other people are charging, make note of the money you have spent to create your item, what it is going to cost for you to package it, ship it, and then add .20 (the cost to list an item on Etsy). This may be a no brainer but make sure the amount you are going to charge is more than what you’ve spent to make it. Factor in the time you’ve put into creating your item, or the time you will be spending if you are offering custom-made products. THEN do some research and see what other shops in your niche are charging. Keep in mind that pricing yourself below everyone else is not a great strategy, even if you are just starting out— you don’t want to give the impression that your items are worth less (unless they legitimately are).

How to Start your own Etsy Shop. 10 Steps to turning your hobby into a business.

Step 8: Do keyword research
This is when you need to think like a buyer. Imagine you were shopping for your item. What would you type into that Etsy search bar? Although Etsy limits the amount of characters we can use for our keywords, it’s great to use phrases rather than words, when we can get them to fit. For example, instead of using the keyword “blue”, “vintage blue teacup” would be a lot more effective in helping a buyer find your item. Keep in mind what I mentioned in Step 1— take note of what those all-star sellers are using for their keywords!

Step 9: Prepare for Shipping
I’ve heard from a few different people that shipping is what is standing in the way of launching their Etsy business. Say it ain’t so! Etsy has made shipping extremely easy for us— once your item has sold, you have the ability to create a shipping label right from your dashboard.

If you are just starting out, you may want to consider selling within your own country only. This narrows your audience but it will also keep your operations manageable while you get the hang of things. If you are within the US, a lot of sellers take advantage of USPS Flat Rate Shipping. As long as you know the size of your item, you know that the cost will be the same, no matter what, and you can easily add insurance to your items (I highly recommend this). Additionally, you can schedule pick up times with the post office so you don’t even need to waste time running out to mail your items. If you are shipping using something other than flat rate shipping, I recommend either investing in a shipping scale, or bringing your core items to the post office, all packaged up, so you know exactly how much to charge your customers.

One more quick note about shipping! Keep that packaging is as high quality as your product. You don’t need to spend an arm and a leg, but make sure your items are packed securely and with a clean presentation. It’s great practice to include a business card for and a small thank you note for  your customers so they know how much you appreciate them.

Step 10: Promote
Once you’ve created, you’ve researched your little heart out and your shop is stocked and ready for business, it’s time to get the word out there! If you already have a Pinterest account set up, this is a great place to start. You can pin images of your products directly from your Etsy page, which will drive your followers right to your awesome shop. Now that you are a shop owner, you are officially a small business! Think about setting up additional social media feeds like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram which is the best way to get the word out there. If you are feeling particularly ambitious, you may even want to think about starting your own blog!

Another great way to get eyes on your products are to create “Treasuries“, which is a collection of Etsy products that you curate based on a certain theme, style or occasion. Other shop owners are notified when their items have been included in a Treasury and it can be a great opportunity for you to connect with them and ask them to share or “like” the Treasury that includes both of your items.

If you have been thinking about opening your own shop and just needed a little kick in the butt to get started, consider yourself kicked. I hope this mini-guide will get you on your way to selling your work and running a business where you are doing what you love. Have more questions for me? Please leave them in the comments and I will do my best to help you out.

If you’ve opened your shop as a result of reading this, I want to promote and support you, so please be sure to leave links to your shop below as well!

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you’ll help support Elegance & Enchantment, and you’ll receive some amazing stuff, too. Whohoo!

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103 Comments

  • Reply Rosy March 4, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Good morning Michelle, Rosy here again, I just woke up this morning and saw your newsletter on my e-mail. I don’t know what to call it, I don’t know if its coincidence, motivation, a or something special because I been thinking of opening an Etsy shop for the longest time, and specially this pass two weeks its been on my mind. But for some reason I am some what scare in doing it. Like I told you before I have a background in building design, and for some many reasons (life) I haven’t been able to put to work my degree. The only creative designs I do are invitations for friends and family, and I love it. But for some reason I do not think my work stands out as to opening a Etsy shop, is not that I compare myself to others, but I just have work a lot to get the degree on design and the doors have not open for me. Do you have any advice of removing this scare feeling and just do it? I want to thank you in advance for all the motivation you give and the patience you have had for me. I am a fan and follower of your blog because you write meaningful articles. Thank you Michelle and I hope you are having a good week.

    Rosy

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment March 6, 2015 at 4:13 pm

      Hi Rosy! You were definitely on my mind as I wrote this article and I’m so glad that it spoke to you. Putting yourself out there can be a scary thing. The fact that the doors haven’t opened for you yet could just mean that they weren’t the right opportunities for you. The most important thing you have going for you right now is that you love to design— you cannot fake passion. My advice would be to harness that passion. Think about what it makes you feel like when you create something, and keep your focus on that. Like I mentioned in the article, the only risk you run by listing items on Etsy is losing the 20 cents that it costs you to list your items. Put yourself out there and see if you get some bites. :) Lastly, have confidence in yourself! I know it’s easier said than done, but remember that the most successful people are the ones who push themselves outside of their comfort zones and work through their fears (something I’m still working on myself… :) ) Please keep me posted if you decide to open your shop! xo

    • Reply Melissa July 31, 2015 at 11:16 am

      Very inspiring article. I recently opened my handmade soap shop on etsy. I now have approximately 40 listings. I just made my first sale last week. It felt amazing! Finally all my hard work was being awarded. I’m proud to say I’m a small business owner.
      I utilized my pinterest and Facebook accounts to advertise just as you recommended. My shop and page views have gone from 6-7 in a month to 250.

      Now that I have two sales, any advice on how to turn them into repeat customers?

      • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment July 31, 2015 at 6:56 pm

        Hi Melissa! Congratulations on your first sale and here’s to many many more. :) Glad those tips worked for you. I would suggest encouraging your buyers to sign up for your email mailing list so you can keep in touch, offer them coupon codes and let them know when you are running sales. I use MailChimp for my mailing list, although there are lots of other great sources out there. Best wishes to you!

    • Reply shannon February 4, 2016 at 1:57 am

      what is the cost to get started ?? like did you need permits ? EIN numbers? Sole proprietorship? sales tax permits ?? things like that ?? Id appreciate your feedback.

      • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment February 16, 2016 at 9:27 pm

        Hi Shannon! Great questions. Those kind of things don’t get talked about much. It all depends on your state and what you are selling. If you are just getting set up and aren’t entirely sure how much money you’ll be generating, I would suggest filing your earnings as a sole proprietor to start. Just make sure you are setting aside about 25% of your income so you’ll have that money come tax time. After a year of business, you can consider setting up an LLC and paying quarterly taxes (you will want to talk to your accountant about that) If you are selling physical products, within your state, you’ll also need to sign up with your state and collect sales tax, and pay that back to your state. Here’s a great article that breaks down the rules by state: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/50-state-guide-internet-sales-tax-laws.html I hope this helps!

  • Reply Pamela March 4, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks for all the helpful info. Michelle. I was wondering, do you suggest getting a business license p, tax ID etc before launching or can you get away with it for awhile?

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment March 6, 2015 at 4:27 pm

      Hi Pamela! Great question. Take this advice with a grain of salt, because I am in no way an expert on this topic, but I believe that if you are just starting out, you can sell as an individual, without a tax ID. Etsy does not ask for any of your tax information— you are responsible for keeping track of your earnings and then paying taxes on them at the end of the year ( listed as additional income). If you are starting to bring in a significant amount, I suggest setting up an LLC and that you start to make quarterly tax payments, so you aren’t hit with a giant tax bill at the end of the year. Lastly, I THINK that every state may have different rules/laws about selling, so do some googling for your specific state to see what the regulations are. I hope this helps!

      • Reply Tana June 29, 2015 at 11:00 pm

        Hi Michelle,

        I’ve had my Etsy shop for nearly 9 yesrs, so I hope you will allow me to share some of what I’ve learned over the years.

        Etsy expects you to follow your own local laws, whatever those may be. States which have a sales tax will likely expect sellers to register for, and then collect and remit, sales tax on purchases sold to customers who live in their state. Your city or county may have business license requirements, so it would be worth checking on this possibility.

        You wrote in your article that Etsy forbids sellers from offering the same item in multiple venues at the same time. This is incorrect. If you have a smartphone or tablet and keep it with you, you should be able to keep tabs on your shop, or all of the venues on which you sell. If something sells on one site, simply deactivate or delete it from the other sites! Etsy is like a shopping mall; they provide the space for the shop to do business but, for the most part, do not tell us *how* to run our business.

        • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment July 1, 2015 at 10:05 pm

          Hi Tana! Thanks so much for your comment, and I really appreciate learning new tips from folks who have been in the game for a long time. You are absolutely correct, and I actually had another reader alert me to that same fact that you ARE indeed allowed to sell on other platforms at the same time. I can’t remember where I had originally read that rule, but I’m very happy that it isn’t true. Please forgive me for neglecting to update my post — but I’m fixing it right after I type this :) Thank you for reminding me!

  • Reply Margie Crabtree March 6, 2015 at 10:18 pm

    Great info! I opened my shop last year, however the information you’ve provided is still so useful!! Even after opening, there are always things to do to improve a shop, and this is a perfect to do list. And to anyone thinking of opening a shop…go for it!! Etsy really offers an easy way to get into the on line world. For me, it’s been a wonderful adventure!

  • Reply Jona Giammalva March 7, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    This is perfect! I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a long time and now I don’t have to! I’m just going to share your link. :) Thanks for putting the hard work into this. It’s thorough and encouraging and I hope folks will take it and run with it.

  • Reply Adri March 13, 2015 at 11:15 am

    What a great article. I have an Etsy shop and I don’t feel that I am a novice but there were so really great tips and resources here. The stock photos and mock up link is PERFECT!!!

    I will reading your blog regularly! Thank you.

  • Reply Lilian April 10, 2015 at 1:33 am

    Thanks for the tips. I’ve had listings in my shop open since January 2014, although according to etsy I’ve been open since 2011. It went crazy from May to Febuary of 15′ (over 430 sales) and now has dead halt. any tips on how to keep your items high on search results when you aren’t selling much? My business is crochet…mainly around holidays and winter are my peak. Check out my store let me know what you think! Madebylilian.etsy.com

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment April 10, 2015 at 10:58 pm

      Hi Lilian! Beautiful shop (and I’m your newest “liker”). My one suggestion would be to update a couple of keywords so that they have more relevance with each season. I know that most of your items are for kiddos, but you may want to consider using keyword phrases like “kids spring booties” or even “baby shower gift”. Try to think about the people that would be looking for your items and the types of words they might be typing into the search field. I hope this helps!

  • Reply Tara April 14, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Hey Michelle! Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post! I opened up my shop last week (mintedmallows.etsy.com) after much encouragement from friends to sell my nursery room letters. Currently I am working towards “stocking my shop” with more listings. Your idea of fluffing with a custom listing is a wonderful idea! Do you have any suggestions for sending out “samples” to targeted bloggers? Thanks again for sharing these pointers and your experiences!

    -Tara

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment April 20, 2015 at 9:57 pm

      Adorable shop, Tara! I’m so glad you took the plunge. I’m your newest shop fan! :) I haven’t done much promoting of my shop to other bloggers, but I’d do a lot of pinning— it’s a great place to gain some traction and to get some eyes on your shop. If you do want to promote using a blogger, you could consider offering one as a free giveaway! Lots of bloggers like to do that sort of thing around holidays and for their blog anniversaries. Best wishes to you!

  • Reply Jessica May 12, 2015 at 6:37 pm

    Great info and post! I wanted to read up more on step 2, but couldn’t find “once you list an item on Etsy, you are unable to sell that same item anywhere else as long as it remains listed on Etsy. This doesn’t mean you can’t have another shop on a different platform, as long as the items in each shop are different.” in the guidelines. Can you help me find it?

    Thanks!

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment May 12, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Hi Jessica! Thanks for your kind words. I’m SO glad you asked this question. I just did some digging and it turns out that this used to be a rule that no longer exists, so we are free to sell our items in multiple places { yeay! }. The only thing that Etsy frowns upon is using their site to direct your buyers to purchase your items elsewhere. In other words, don’t create a listing with a link that redirects a shopper to purchase your item on a different site. This is awesome news. Thank you, thank you for bringing that to my attention!

  • Reply Sarah Leese May 14, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    Hi. Strictly i opened my shop last year however have only been active really since April. Yet to have a sale but working hard at it. These tips are so useful and have opened my mind to new information too so thankyou v v much. Deffinatley going to pin so i can refer back to your great info. Thankyou so much

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment May 17, 2015 at 9:16 pm

      Congratulations, Sarah! I’m glad you found my tips to be helpful. When you’re just starting out, it can be a little slow, but you’ll get there. Keep it up! Your items are so cute!

  • Reply Dinah Ferriera May 15, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    Hi Michelle,
    Came across your site on Pinterest. I just opened my shop on Etsy. HeartandSoulDsigns….feeling a bit overwhelmed, but I’ll get there!!! Was wondering do you make Banners for Etsy?
    Thank you for your time,
    Dinah

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment May 17, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      Hi Dinah! Congratulations! It’s definitely a little overwhelming at first, but once you get the hang of it, and everything set up, it becomes much easier. I don’t create Etsy banners but if you do a little search in Etsy you should be able to find another designer who does! :) Best wishes to you!

  • Reply Aura May 17, 2015 at 12:28 am

    Thank you so much for this info! I am in the process of opening my shop ( making my inventory now) and then I will open my etsy shop! This was very helpful!

    Thank you!

  • Reply Lesley May 17, 2015 at 1:45 am

    Hello Michelle,

    I just ran across your post. This is wonderful! I’ve been wanting to start a business for a while now and have not had the courage. Mostly due to lack of knowledge. I think this will help me get started . I appreciate your help! Thank you ,
    Lesley

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment May 17, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      Hi Lesley! I’m so glad you’re considering starting your own business. It’s been the most rewarding decision of my life, and I feel blessed every day! Hope you will continue to be encouraged to follow your dreams. Please keep me posted so I can come cheer you on!

  • Reply Brenda Jessie May 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    I did it!! I opened an Etsy shop!! It’s at: etsy.com/shop/BrendasBusyWithVinyl. I only have 3 items so far – but hey, ya gotta start somewhere, right? lol! THANK YOU so much for this encouraging and informative post! It was exactly the push I needed to do this!! I started a Facebook page a few months ago, now this…. Now if I could just get up enough nerve to start a blog… ! Thanks again!!

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment May 17, 2015 at 9:05 pm

      I’m so thrilled for you Brenda! Opening my shop/getting sales was a slow climb, but so worth it! Consider me your newest fan. :) Can’t wait to follow along!

  • Reply Savannah May 17, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    Thank you for the great post! I’m just starting out on Etsy myself and this is invaluable information.

  • Reply Michelle James May 30, 2015 at 9:01 am

    Hi Michelle
    Thanks for this post. I sell my items on my blog/website but don’t get very many sales. I also create wedding invitations, announcements, business items and scrapbook products for Project Life type of scrapping. My freebies get downloaded quite a bit but not many of the “for purchase” items. I was wondering if I would have better luck with an Etsy shop since this is a platform where people go specifically to purchase items or search for items.

    What do you think? I have been debating it for a long time. I work full time at my regular job then blog and create in the evenings and on weekends. How much upkeep is the shop once it is up and running? Am I going to ever get sleep again? LOL!

    I would sure love to be selling some items. I love creating them. Any advice you can give would be much appreciated. I love your blog and your Etsy shop. Your work is beautiful!

    Thanks,
    Michelle James

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment May 31, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Hi Michelle! I would highly recommend Etsy as a platform. I can tell you that according to my Etsy stats, most of my sales come directly from Etsy searches. You can even list the items that you give away as freebies on your blog for sale. :)

      The upkeep is as much or as little as you want it to be. You could list instant downloads only, with no customizations offered, and the only thing you would really need to do is be available to address customer service issues. The great thing about digital products is that once the work is done, you can sell lots and lots of them without needing to put in additional time.

      I definitely encourage you to take the leap, Michelle! Your work is great! Best wishes and let me know when your shop opens so I can follow along. :)

      • Reply Michelle James May 31, 2015 at 7:35 pm

        Michelle – Thanks so much for the reply. I thought that the Etsy search would be thing and I believe my work would be found easier on that platform. I appreciate your encouragement as well. I better get started! Thanks again.

  • Reply Lynne Poole June 6, 2015 at 10:28 am

    First thanks for this information, as I am just considering opening a shop and have several product ideas that are quite different from each other. Wondering if one name/shop can offer multiple products that have little or no relationship to each other? I am also a graphic artist by trade and a crafter at heart. Besides the website listed above I also have a site called Encore Blues, about saving, recycling etc. both sites are being updated at this time, so are out of date… seems like a good time to branch out…
    Once the new sites are up I plan on adding this link, since it is So helpful!
    Thanks
    Lynne

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment June 7, 2015 at 9:35 am

      Hi Lynne! Sounds like you are already an pro. :) I do think that one shop can offer multiple products as long as you are able to build a strong brand around something central, which I suggest should be you! Think of it like Oprah’s favorite things. Even though you’re sharing lots of different products, they all relate to what you are passionate about. I think that if you work on establishing a really strong brand, you can market whatever you want. Best wishes to you. :)

  • Reply Lisa June 8, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Hi Michelle! My name is Lisa, and I am only 20 years old but my dream career is to share my creations with the world through an online shop. I recently got super into hand lettering and from the very beginning I knew I wanted to create an Etsy store. I had the same hesitations as other aspiring sellers (such as shipping) but this inspired me to set up a shop! My inventory is a work in progress but I’m (slowly) but surely building it up and hopefully it will become a success! Please check out my shop and let me know what you think! Thank you for these wonderful tips!

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment June 10, 2015 at 11:12 am

      Hi Lisa! Congratulations on taking the leap to open your own shop. Your hand lettering is absolutely gorgeous! You obviously are very talented which is really the biggest hurdle for a lot of people. The rest is just logistics, which anyone is capable of. I’m now following along with your shop and I look forward to following your success. Keep it up— I know you are going places! :)

  • Reply Jenny June 23, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    Hi Michelle. Wonderful How-To guide. I had previously sold some baked goods on etsy to compliment my food blog but it came to be too stressful and I couldn’t get the knack of keeping shipping and supplies within a reasonable cost and keep prices low (I had four sales), but now since I’m no longer a food blogger but I still like to create recipes, I put up recipes for sale on Etsy. So far just in digital pdf form (like most of the other recipe shops on Etsy). But I’d like to expand to printing them on paper and shipping them to customers (since not many do that; trying to corner the market on this one). I also switched my tagline from “Unforgettable Edibles” to “Recipes For Your Recipe Box”. Any advice on digital items? Thanks so much! https://www.etsy.com/shop/TheFinishedPlate

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment July 1, 2015 at 10:22 pm

      Hi Jenny! Thanks so much for your kind words! I know that trying to balance a business and a blog at the same time can be very stressful, and sometimes it makes more sense to take a step back and keep it simple, as you have done. I love your idea of creating printed recipe cards since not many shops offer that option. Way to think smart! I work with an awesome printer that I think would be perfect for what you are looking for and you can check them out here. I’d love to throw out two ideas for you to try! 1 – Perhaps you could try listing a few bundles or “meals”. For example, you could create a listing for “the perfect date night” and include three recipes (an appetizer, main course and dessert) that compliment each other, that you could sell for more money. 2 – You may want to think about including an image of the actual printable you are selling. I know you can’t show a detailed shot because then you’d be giving the recipe away, but maybe there’s a way for you to provide a shot that partially shows exactly what they are ordering. Hope these tips help! I just “hearted” your shop, and look forward to following along. Best wishes to you, Jenny!

      • Reply Jenny July 2, 2015 at 8:34 pm

        Thanks so much for the tips. The bundled idea is great. I did think about doing a screenshot of the recipe itself. Maybe blur it out somehow or create watermarks. I’ll find a way. I “hearted” you back. You make lovely prints. I didn’t think about the letterpress. I always thought I’d print on recipe cards but this idea is way better! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Reply Kim June 24, 2015 at 3:10 am

    Hi, first off I want to thank you for your post! I’ve been doing a few craft shows here and there and been doing pretty good. I’ve been petrified about opening an Etsy shop! You see I’ve been disabled for about 10 years now, and it eats away at your self esteem when you don’t feel productive in society anymore. I’ve been reading alot of different articles on Pinterest about Etsy, but yours is the first one that has really given me hope and the positivity that I can try this and even succeed. So for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart!!! This has given me just the kick in the button that I needed, along with the encouragement. I’ll definitely keep you posted……and I’m sure I’ll probably have a hundred questions for you down the road! Lol again, thank you!!

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment June 24, 2015 at 10:18 pm

      Oh my goodness, Kim! You’re so sweet. Thanks so much for your kind words. What’s funny is, I’m scared of doing craft shows! I think you have the hard part down. I’m very sorry to hear about the struggles you have been faced with for the last 10 years. Absolutely give Etsy a try— I think you will love it. Please keep me posted so I can follow along with your success, and of course please feel free to stop back with any questions you may have.

  • Reply Melissa July 13, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Michelle,

    I am a craft lover. I love designing and creating. I was looking into Etsy and starting a shop however I work full-time, 40 hours a week. So this would be something I’m looking into doing in my free time. Do you think that is manageable? I’m planning on attending my first craft show this December, and thought if I could have my Esty shop up and running by then it would be the perfect opportunity to get my name out there and spread the word about my love for crafting. Right now it is just a hobby of mine, but I’d love to share it with other people. Any advice you have for me would be so so helpful!!

    Thanks,
    Melissa :)

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment July 15, 2015 at 10:55 pm

      Hi Melissa! I’m not going to pretend it’s easy to run an Etsy shop while working full time, but I think it can be done if you set yourself up with systems that allow you to run your business smoothly. For example, I keep a stockpile of pre-written responses to frequently asked questions, so I’m not typing the same thing over and over again. It also may be a good idea to take an entire Saturday and create a whole bunch of products so you have them ready to go, instead of dabbling a little bit each evening after work when I’m sure you are exhausted. For more tips for managing the full time work/Etsy balance, I’d suggest visiting the Etsy Forums. I know there are people that are in the same boat!

      I love your idea of spreading the word about your business at a craft show in December! What a perfect time to connect with new customers. Keep plugging away, and maybe one day your hobby will be your new full time career. :)

  • Reply Melanie July 23, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    Had my shop open for a little bit but I needed a refresher for sure. I also have a friend who is very timid about opening up her own shop. She is a brilliant sewer and has so much potential! I sent her this link hoping to motivate her :) thank u for the awesome article!!

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment July 24, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      You’re very welcome, Melanie! I’m so happy that you found it to be helpful. Yes! Please encourage your friend to open up shop. I was timid at first too. :)

  • Reply Diana August 7, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Michelle! My business parter and I are currently in the process of starting our own easy shop and this article defitely helps. You made some really good points and we will make sure we keep all of them in mind. Once are shop is open ill stop by again with our shop name :)

    Thanks for the kick in the butt!!

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment August 12, 2015 at 3:46 pm

      Please do, Diana! Lucky you to have a partner to work with. Should make your launch a little smoother! :) Can’t wait to see what you two have up your sleeves!

  • Reply cathy August 11, 2015 at 10:46 am

    Hi Michelle
    Well I finally took the plunge and opened my shop. It’s called Pretty Little Touches. Maybe you could take a look at my shop and give me some advice…no sales yet. Maybe I need to add more items? I will take a look at Craftcount as you suggested. Great article, thanks Cathy

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment August 12, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Hi Cathy! Congratulations on opening up your shop. It looks awesome and I love your products! :) My one suggestion would be to add some additional key words to your titles. For example, instead of “Napkin Ring (Butterfly)”, I would maximize the amount of letters they allow you to include and try something like “Butterfly Napkin Rings embellished with feathers and sparkles for weddings, parties and special events – customizations available” Let me know if this helps!

  • Reply dede scheff August 19, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    I too want to open a shop. I make jewelry and many friends tell me to get on Etsy. I love making my jewelry so much I call it my therapy……Now I have a huge stock pile and need to make some sales so I can order more jewels. You will hear more from me soon. Thanks for the how to…………..The unknown is so scary and failure is so real……………dd

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment August 23, 2015 at 10:42 pm

      Aw, Dede, you totally need to listen to your friends! You obviously have a great passion for what you do and I know that there will be an audience that will respond greatly to that. Let me know when you are live! :)

  • Reply Banism September 12, 2015 at 9:21 am

    Can you give critique of my etsy?

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment September 14, 2015 at 10:37 pm

      Sharp looking shop! One thing I would definitely suggest adding is a little description underneath your header art so your customers can get to know you a little better. You may also want to set up a FB and Twitter page so they can connect with you there (Etsy allows you to link these and they will show up on your shop page). I also love your tagline, and would try to incorporate that into your header art. Your listing descriptions look great, and are very clear and easy to follow. Bravo and best of luck!

  • Reply Courtney September 17, 2015 at 11:48 pm

    I have looked through this post multiple times in the process of deciding wether to setup a shop and then while gathering info and working on some inventory. Thanks for all of the advice, check out my shop I would value any feedback.

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment September 27, 2015 at 4:49 pm

      I’m so glad you went for it, Courtney! Your work is so fabulous. My only suggestion would be to add a few more listings to your shop. I know it’s a little tougher for you, because I can imagine it takes awhile to create each of your pieces. In the meantime, perhaps you can add a listing or two for “custom pieces”? I’ve favorited your shop so I can follow along with your success. :) Bravo!

  • Reply Trine September 18, 2015 at 5:11 pm

    I am super excited to have opened my first etsy shop today. I sell printables and well I have listed 5 items so far. I will have to get more listings during the next couple of days. I have wanted to open a shop for well probably over a year now and I have pinned this article long ago. Now I have read through it and taken notes, so I am ready to improve my shop tomorrow. Its called Trine Hansen Designs.

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment October 3, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      Congratulations on your shop opening, Trine! It’s looking great! Keep adding those products and you’ll be on your way!

  • Reply Bibi September 30, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Hello Michelle,thanks for the inspiring post ! I just have opened an Etsy shop and waiting for the first customer, I hope it happens soon because it is very discouraging nobody appreciates your work.Please could you give me your opinion and advise about my shop ( https://www.etsy.com/shop/Akcesora) ,it means a lot to me :)
    Thanks again,
    Bibi :)

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment October 3, 2015 at 7:53 pm

      Hi Bibi! Lovely shop and jewelry. Try not to get too discouraged. Sometimes it takes a bit to make your first sale. Etsy has become very oversaturated with shops which is making it harder and harder for everyone to be noticed. My advice would be to inject your story and your brand a little bit more into your page (this is something I need to work on myself). Essentially if people like you, they will like your products. I would also definitely recommend getting as much up on Pinterest as you can (as long as it’s not spammy) and perhaps consider a trial run with Etsy promoted listings. I hope this helps! Best wishes to you and fingers crossed that first sale will come very soon!

  • Reply HeartcraftPaper October 4, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I really enjoyed your post. I found it on Pinterest. My husband thankfully helped me brand myself and created several accounts at Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and a Facebook page. These hep me get more viewers into my shop.

    Thanks for the insight. I wil take into account several of your tips.

  • Reply Lori-Ann November 1, 2015 at 2:45 pm

    Hi Michelle. Thank you so much for the inspiring post. After a bit of encouragement I took the plunge and opened up my Etsy Shop http://www.etsy.com/shop/LadyJaneDesign. Still learning the way forward, but I must admit it has been fun. Thanks for the tips, will definitely be keeping them handy ☺

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment November 8, 2015 at 10:44 pm

      Congrats to you, Lori-Ann, on a great looking shop! Really glad to hear you are having fun. It can be a little slow to start, but don’t give up! :)

  • Reply Catherine Mouch November 10, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Thank you for all your helpful tips! I am new to being serious about my etsy shop and I am hoping to grow it into a business I can is to help me pay for grad school!

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment November 16, 2015 at 9:27 pm

      You’re so welcome, Catherine! How awesome of you for finding a creative way to pay for your education. You’re an inspiration. :)

  • Reply Crystal November 12, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Love your article! finally starting my shop! I’m still currently working on getting my other items listed!

  • Reply Waveney November 30, 2015 at 6:32 pm

    Thank you so much for this information Michelle, my best friend and I just opened our etsy shop (twobudsdesigns) yesterday! We are very excited about the potential opportunities that lie ahead of us, and we pray this shop works out for us. The tips you have provided will greatly assist in making this dream turn into a reality!

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment December 1, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that Waveney! I took a look at your shop and absolutely love your designs! Best wishes to you both. :)

  • Reply Jamie January 28, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Hi, I love your blog and shop! I just opened my print shop over on Etsy!! I hope and pray it takes off! These tips are very helpful…as I’m just learning and hoping I’m doing everything right!! Thank you so much! I’m going to stalk the rest of your blog now 😉
    https://www.etsy.com/shop/MyIdealPrints?ref=hdr_shop_menu

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment February 16, 2016 at 9:06 pm

      Congratulations, Jamie! Your shop looks amazing and I see that you’re already making sales! Woot woot! Keep it up, girl! :)

  • Reply Melanie February 3, 2016 at 5:46 pm

    Your post was really great! I opened my shop over a year ago and it kind of sat dormant for awhile. I have been going over my listings trying to improve them and promote the shop through different social media outlets. Your post really helped and it’s starting to work. We are seeing more sales recently. I’m hoping we can continue going in the right direction. Thanks so much for your post and all fo your help. I hope you can check out my shop. http://www.etsy.com/shop/rusticrufflerr

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment February 16, 2016 at 9:22 pm

      Thanks so much for your message, Melanie! I’m so proud of you for going back and optimizing your listings. :) Your shop is beyond adorable— especially those hats! Hoping that success continues into the year!

  • Reply Kamelia February 6, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Hi Michelle,
    thank you for the great article and advice, I just opened an Etsy shop yesterday, selling digital pictures made by my dad.
    Kamie

  • Reply Amanda February 24, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    Hi, Michelle! What a helpful article! After years–literally, like six years–of sitting on about 45 different items I made and intended to sell, I’m finally ready to take the plunge and open my shop. The two most daunting aspects of the process are calculating shipping and collecting sales tax. Regarding shipping, should I roll the cost of packaging into the shipping cost? Also, I read the helpful article you linked to another commenter about sales tax currently applying only in states where the seller has a presence; but holy cow, is it possible that every vendor on Etsy really collects and remits sales tax quarterly? This seems like such a hassle, but neither do I want to get in legal trouble. Recommendations?

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment February 29, 2016 at 9:51 pm

      Hey Amanda! Glad to hear that I’m not the only one to sit on projects for so long before they see the light of day. :) Congratulations and glad you are ready to take the plunge. In regards to shipping and packaging, I promise it’s not too hard! You can either roll your packaging cost into shipping or into the product. I personally keep my shipping charges lower than what I actually pay to USPS or UPS because shipping prices have just gotten so high, and my customer’s don’t like it. You can roll some of those additional costs into your product if you see fit. As far as taxes go, it really depends on your state, but yes, that’s what I know to be true. You can mostly do all of your reporting and payment online now, so the quarterly sales taxes aren’t too bad! Don’t let these two small things stop you from launching. You can do it! :)

  • Reply Heather February 26, 2016 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks for all of the great info. This really did give me the confidence and kick in the butt I needed to open my shop. I have been open almost a month now, and love it! My Etsy shop is BlackSheepHome. Check it out!

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment February 29, 2016 at 9:53 pm

      Heather! Your stuff is AWESOME! I’m so glad you launched — you are one talented lady, and you can consider me your newest fan. :)

  • Reply Katie Davis February 27, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Michelle,

    Thanks so much for all you do on this blog. Really great information and it’s helping me understand the way Etsy works. The idea of giving stuff away for free at the beginning seems so backwards but it clearly works. Kudos to you for thinking in such a different way. I’m in the process of getting my Etsy shop promoted/exposed right now. I make printable artwork so it’s a crowded market as I’m sure you know. Would love to know if you have any advice about what made your sales kick off in the beginning on Etsy.

    Thanks again!

    My shop’s link is http://www.etsy.com/shop/thedownload

    Best,
    Katie

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment February 29, 2016 at 9:58 pm

      Hi Katie! You’re very welcome! My hubby still loves to tell people how I had to convince him that the best way to get ahead in my business was to start giving things away…and it worked. Your shop looks awesome. I really love your fresh and clean style. My advice is definitely start a blog to support your shop, give away basic designs, offer enhancements, and above all, get a mailing list going. You can offer your free printables on your site to people who want to subscribe— that way you know you can keep in touch with people who are interested in your stuff. I hope this helps and look forward to following along with your success. :)

  • Reply Laura February 29, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    If I have design ideas but don’t want to craft the actual item, for example a mug that I would like to customize, what is the best company to go through to have those made with my design and then sell?

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment February 29, 2016 at 10:07 pm

      Hey Laura! I use StationeryHQ.com to print my mugs and they are awesome! You may also want to check out DiscountMugs.com, Printful.com, or Society 6, who prints, sells and ships for you. :)

  • Reply Erin March 8, 2016 at 8:16 pm

    This was super helpful!!! I’m planning on opening a shop and I had so many questions, but this little walk through answered them all!! Thanks!!

  • Reply Kat R March 14, 2016 at 3:30 am

    This has been the first out of the many articles I’ve read that actually ticks all the boxes of what I was wanting to read regarding Etsy. Informative and inspiring. Thank you!!! X

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment March 21, 2016 at 6:20 pm

      You’re very welcome, Kat! So glad it got you pointed in the right direction. Hope it helps you launch an amazingly successful shop! :)

  • Reply Kayla March 18, 2016 at 10:24 pm

    So glad I stumbled upon your blog, this particular article, and your etsy shop! I just opened my shop last week and was/still am nervous about taking all the right steps. Your article really calmed some anxieties, and was a great reassurance that I am going in the right direction. I have some grand plans, at baby step speed :)
    I look forward to seeing your future products, I already have a few in mind. Just need that perfect place to put them. Hehe.
    If you’re interested I’m a small-timer in the the blogging world: https://littlefamilybigplains.wordpress.com
    And my latest endeavor: https://www.etsy.com/shop/thePrairieThreads
    Thanks again for the great read!
    Kayla

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment March 28, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Thanks so much for your comment, Kayla! Your shop and blog are adorable! Those dolls are just darling! I’m so glad to hear that you are taking baby steps— that’s the best way to not get overwhelmed and burn out early. :) You are off to a great start!

  • Reply Ellie Bedford March 20, 2016 at 10:23 am

    Thank you so much for this article, Michelle!

    I was recently made redundant and was struggling with life in general but I’d always wanted to be an artist full time and not just as my hobby or for a bit of extra cash. In a way it was a blessing in disguise as it gave me the final push I needed but was too scared to give myself.

    Setting up an Etsy store was really daunting and you can feel like you’ve kind of been dropped in the middle of loads of other shops who know what they’re doing! I’ve been open a few weeks now and I’m constantly pushing the shop further and conducting research on how I can make it better.

    I took all your advice on board and spent a lot of time tweaking things (I still am) so, thank you, really! You’re supporting other artists and helping them to progress. I’ve included a link to my shop below so you can see how you’ve helped me!

    Ellie xx

    https://www.etsy.com/shop/EllieIllustratesShop?ref=hdr_shop_menu

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment March 28, 2016 at 10:27 am

      Thanks so much for your message, Ellie! You could have fooled me— I took a look at your shop, and you look like an old pro! I really, really love that you have a very distinct style. This will definitely set you apart from others. Etsy has a learning curve, and the best advice I can give is just keep looking at what others are doing, such as they way they are wording their listings, or displaying their photos, or promoting their work through their blog or social media channels— and follow in suit! Keep it up! :)

  • Reply Linda clark March 29, 2016 at 3:18 am

    My problem is this…I know a little about the computer.but I am not any expert. I have trying to open my shop.but hit stone wall.I have gotten to the point of stocking it but can not get my pictures to my shop. I have read several articles.but cannot find basic language to how to accomplice this now one seems to to address this issue am I the only dumb one in the etsy world ? Can I get a suggestion as to where to go for heip. Thank you for you time

    • Reply Michelle @ Elegance & Enchantment April 4, 2016 at 9:08 pm

      Hi Linda! So sorry that you’ve hit this roadblock— I know that can be so frustrating when you are on a roll! Are you receiving an error when you try to upload your images? It’s possible that perhaps they need to be resized, which is often the culprit. Have you read this article yet? https://www.etsy.com/help/article/203 Please let me know if it helps. And you are not a dummy! There are so many things that could be causing your issue. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of extra detective work. :)

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