How To Get Your Etsy Shop Off To A Great Start


When I started selling on Etsy, I had no idea what I was doing. I’d been selling on eBay for over 10 years and was used to their format, the slightly warped logic of their best match search, and their ever-changing buyer standards rules.

Etsy was a whole different ball game.

It’s now been a few years and nearly 2500 items sold so I’m reasonably confident I now know (mostly) what I’m doing. My store is also ranked #2 in its category in Australia and is listed in the top 100 for the category, worldwide. So, what I’m sharing has been gained by experience.

If you’re a crafter or designer or like me, sell a product that’s not hand-made, read on to learn – the easy way – what I learned through experience. How to start your Etsy shop and set yourself, and your business up for success.

The internet provides a wealth of opportunities and access to potential buyers from all over the world. Start tapping into that opportunity and start sharing your talents with a worldwide audience. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Research
  • Etsy Seller Policy
  • Branding
  • Product Photography
  • Product Pricing
  • Stock your Etsy shop’s virtual shelves
  • Keyword Research
  • Write an awesome product title and description
  • Organize your shipping system
  • Promote your Etsy Shop

1. Research

Obviously, if you’re reading this, you have an idea of what you’d like to sell in your Etsy shop. Even if you don’t know the specific item, you’ll know the category. For example, you might know you want to sell party supplies or maybe digital prints but not necessarily the specific products.

Once you know the category, jump onto eRank.

eRank showcases the top Etsy shops based on category or country. Select the appropriate category and check out the Etsy shops belonging to each of the top sellers. While you’re looking, keep the following questions in mind:

  • What do they sell?
  • What do their shops look like?
  • How do they lay out their product descriptions?
  • What product ‘tags’ do they use?
  • Can you pick the keywords they’re targeting?
  • Do their shop names reflect the items they sell, or maybe the category?
  • What’s their location? Is that a key factor in their success?

The answers to these questions will help you refine your vision for your Etsy store.

Just remember, imitation might be the sincerest form of flattery but it can also be seen as theft of intellectual property, so make sure your Etsy store is a reflection of your own style.

2. Etsy Seller Policy

Every marketplace has its rules. Etsy is no different. Before you create your store and start loading products, be sure to familiarise yourself with Etsy’s Seller Policy and then adhere to it.

You want to be sure, right from the beginning, that you’re doing everything right, including selling appropriate goods.

Get your Etsy shop off to a great with this step by step guide from the owner of a top of category Esty store. Pin

3. Branding

One thing you would have noticed when you were checking out the top Etsy sellers is that they each have a signature look; a brand.

It doesn’t matter if you’re starting your Etsy shop as a side hustle or as a fully fledged work from home business, you need to put some thought and effort into creating your brand.

If you’re serious about building a business, you could hire a professional to create a brand for you or, in true DIY fashion, create your own.

You don’t even need expensive graphics software to create your artwork, there are a few really good free image editing sites available like Canva and PicMonkey.

PicMonkey is my favorite and you can either use it for free or subscribe for a small monthly fee to gain access to more features, including a wider range of fonts.

The branding images you’ll need are:

  • Etsy shop icon (500px x 500px)
  • Esty shop banner (760px x 100px)
  • Shop logo for your product images

Create some mock-ups and enlist your family and friends to vote for the look they like best – and promptly ignore their choice if you disagree! :-) .

4. Product photography

I need to preface this step by admitting that I’m not a photographer and that I only used a ‘point and shoot’ camera for my product shots, most of which were taken a long time ago.

The approach to your product images will vary depending on the type of product you’re selling. For instance, some items sell best when they include some context, like a digital image shown in a frame. While others look better in isolation. I chose the latter for my products and used good old Microsoft Paint to ‘whiteout’ the background of my images.

The basics are the same regardless of the product:

  • Use natural light wherever possible
  • Make sure the product is in focus
  • Expect to take the shot multiple times.

Once you’re happy with your product photo, add your Etsy shop logo.

Bestseller No. 2
Amazon Basics Portable Foldable Photo Studio Box with LED Light - 25 x 30 x 25 Inches, 1 Count (Pack of 1)
  • No assembly required with set-up in less than a minute; Collapses into a thin, portable, and durable portfolio case.
  • Measures 25'' x 30'' x 25'' to fit a variety of product sizes; Includes power supply, user manual, and pre-installed removable bright-white backdrop.
  • High output built-in LED lights for handheld photography with a camera or smartphone. Lights are positioned for optimum contrast, and provide 5600k daylight balanced LEDs with high Color Rendering Index (CRI) for consistent color. An extra light provides directional light modelling like in a photo studio, giving better highlights, contrast, and shape to product images.
  • A front 3-door system maximizes image angles while reducing outside reflections, and a top hole enables imaging from above.
  • Compatible with Amazon Seller app; Shoot, edit, and directly upload catalog images to Amazon.
Bestseller No. 3
Glendan Portable Light Box Photography, 16"x12" Professional Dimmable Photo Box with 112 High Color Rendering Index LED Lights & 8 Color PVC Backdrops for Jewelry and Small Item Product Photography
  • Stepless Dimming & High Rendering Index: Light box integrate with 112 high-quality LED light beads and dimmable range from 0 - 100, you can easily adjust the brightness to get the desired lighting effect, high color rendering index (95+) and no strobe, create brighter and softer lights, help eliminate harsh light and shadow to leave your photos looking more natural and great texture.
  • 8 Color PVC Backdrops: Light box photography comes with 4 pcs PVC one site color backdrops (Black, White, Gray, Blue) and 2 pcs double-sided wood marble texture pattern backdrops (Marble White, Marble Black, Dark Wood Grain, Light Wood Grain), which are sturdy enough, no wrinkles and easy to clean. You can easily change background colors and build up various shooting scenes. Great for shooting food, jewelry, cosmetics and small item. It is suitable for bloggers, Ins photographers.
  • Multi-angle Shooting: The photo light box offers 3 openings enable you to choose any photo shooting position for getting more perfect product features and beauty. When you want to shoot smaller items and with high reflecting light products, just stand up the baffle and open the small window. The light source will be more concentrated and the shooting effect will be better.
  • Portable & Quick Installation: The photography box dimension is 12*14 inch. With particular folding design, the whole assembly of portable ring lightbox ONLY needs 10 seconds. No bracket. No screws. No complicated lighting layout. With a durable and waterproof carry bag, it's very compact and convenient to use in many places without taking a lot of space.
  • Advanced Photography: Photo box extra provide the special inner reflection boards and light diffuser, which is the best practice for fixing the problem of products’ highly reflecting light and performing more details of the contours. Not only for junior photographers, but also for advanced photographers and professionals.


5. Product pricing

making a little extra money can result in a lot of peace of mind. Start a side hustle today to help you pay off debt, afford a few luxuries or even retire early. Pin
Want to make extra cash but not ready for your own Etsy shop? Here are 21 painless ways to make some extra money.

There are a number of factors to consider when deciding your product pricing, here are just a few:

  • Cost of materials
  • Cost of labor
  • Packaging; product and shipping
  • Etsy listing and sold item fees

There are other costs that could play a role in your pricing strategy like business overheads, tax, transport costs (if you sell a physical product you’ll need to take your orders to the post office), permits, insurance, etc.

The next step in the pricing process is to see what similar items sell for on Etsy and on the market in general. This will give you an idea of how much customers are willing to pay for an item the same or similar to the one you’re going to sell.

You might also consider the strategy of having a high-end version and an everyday version of your product. It can be a valuable marketing technique.

Don’t fall for the false economy of undercutting the price of your competition, this usually just leads to a price war where nobody wins. Ebay is an excellent example of that strategy…

6. Stock your Etsy shop’s virtual shelves

There’s a theory that states, the more you have to sell, the more you’ll sell. (I have no idea where that piece of wisdom originated but if you do, let us know in the comments).

In my experience, the above sentiment is true but it probably depends a great deal on what you’re selling. Will your customers buy one product or is it likely that they’ll buy multiple products from you at the same time?

If it’s the latter, try to have your full product range available the day you open your Etsy shop’s virtual doors.

7. Keyword research

The key word here is research. Don’t guess the most appropriate keywords for your product, research them to see which ones your potential customers are actually using to find products like yours.

Etsy search can help with this task. For example, if you type ‘party’ into the search field, Etsy shows you a list of popular search phrases. Use these as your starting point. You can also use google or my favorite keyword research tool, Marmalead.

Once you’re clear on your keywords, you can begin the next step.

8. Write an awesome product title and description

How to start your side hustle success story in five simple steps Pin
Read this post to find out why starting a side hustle, like an Etsy shop, is the smart money move of the year.

Your product title is the most important aspect of your Etsy shop’s SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) but it also needs to make sense to your customer. Make sure your product title clearly describes what you’re selling and make sure you include your keywords or keyword phrase.

Your description plays a role in the impact of your SEO but it’s also where you tell your customer about your product. Make sure you include:

  • What it’s made of
  • The colors available
  • How big it is
  • How many are included
  • The type of packing it comes in
  • How it can be used
  • Who will use it?

If you have multiple categories within your shop, include links to them in your descriptions. You’ve got the customer’s attention, now’s the time to make sure they stay browsing in your shop and not head off to see what else there is on Etsy.

Consider also linking to your shipping policies or including them in the description. Customers will generally assume you’re in the same country they are. Make sure they know what to expect from you in the way of shipping times, etc. The last thing you want is a disappointed customer.

9. Organize your shipping system

PinAn investment in your business you’ll never regret is a shipping scale like this one. Every gram (or ounce) counts at the post office. Incorrect estimation of the weight of a parcel can cost you a lot of money, especially if you’re selling overseas. Protect your profit margin and make sure you charge the correct shipping fee for the weight of the parcel. Also, consider including insurance in your shipping price.

Etsy has a straightforward system for calculating postage but it’s a bit of a blunt instrument. Finessing your shipping profiles might take a little time so it’s important to make sure your costs are covered while you figure it out. You can always refund excess postage paid by your customer.

If you are selling your products internationally, be sure to state clearly in your store policy that buyers are liable for any and all customs or import duties in their country.

Finally, make sure your packaging looks professional and is appropriate for the product you’re shipping. If it’s breakable, don’t be stingy with the bubble wrap!

SaleBestseller No. 1
JADENS Bluetooth Thermal Shipping Label Printer – Wireless 4x6 Shipping Label Printer, Compatible with Android&iPhone and Windows, Widely Used for Ebay, Amazon, Shopify, Etsy, USPS
  • [HIGH TECH LABEL PRINTER] Equipped with a Japanese high tech thermal print head, 203 DPI high printing quality, label holder and extra 50 sheets labels provided. No ink, No toner, Clean with no mess, economical. Works with both fanfold labels and roll labels. Label size: labels width ranges from 1.57" to 4.1"
  • [PRINT WIRELESSLY]The label printer support printing wirelessly. For Windows 8 or later, you can print via Bluetooth. For IOS/Android,you need to download the App 'Shpping Printer' from Google Play or Apple Store . Easy to print and set up.
  • [PRINT VIA USB] USB connection works with both Windows (7 and later), Chrome OS and Mac OS (10.9 and later) devices, Mac OS only works with USB connection, you can not print via Bluetooth.
  • [WIDE USAGE] JADENS thermal label printer is widely used to print labels from various marketplaces and shipping platforms, such as Endicia, Dazzle, ShipStation, Shipping Easy, Shippo, ShipWorks, Ordoro, eBay, Amazon, Easy, and Shopify. Use JADENS thermal label maker machine to print shipping labels, warehouse labels, market labels, helping increase your productivity. Ideal for your online small business for shipping packages.
  • [EASY TO SET UP & RELIABLE AFTER-SALE SERVICE] Set up in one minute. Printer driver, instruction videos and problem shooting videos are provided in U-Disk for better understanding. Offer one year warranty; customer support can be reached out to email, phone, remote control.
SaleBestseller No. 2
iDPRT Thermal Label Printer SP410 Thermal Shipping Label Printer, 4x6 Label Printer, Thermal Label Maker, Compatible with Shopify, Ebay, UPS, USPS, FedEx, Amazon & Etsy, Support Multiple Systems
  • Suitable for Small Business - This thermal label printer can meet needs on various e-commerce and transportation platforms, including eBay, Amazon, Shopify, Esty, UPS, USPS, etc. With this desktop label printer, you can finish your label printing at home without ink or ribbon. It has simplified the process of printing labels, and it can be a useful assistant to help you save time and money. (Not Bluetooth & WiFi; Not for Chromebook)
  • One-click Setup on Multi-systems - SP410 thermal shipping label printer is compatible with Windows (7 & newer/2000/XP/Vista), Mac OS, and Linux. This 4×6shipping label printer is easy to connect and work in several steps. Please download the driver from the iDPRT official website before printing. With the Free iDPRT Label Designer Software provided, you can easily create custom labels for printing.
  • 4.25” Print Width for Thermal Labels - The shipping label printer for small business supports print widths of 2” to 4.25” (50mm-108mm). It can print various types of labels through the thermal labels of any brand. This shipping printer supports fan-fold labels and roll labels, you can print 70+ standard size labels with it. Not just for shipping labels, but also for DIY labels, FBA labels, address labels, reminder tags, etc.
  • High Performance on Speed & Print Quality - Supported by 5.9 IPS (150mm/s) high-speed printing technology, this label printer for shipping packages can print 72 sheets of 4x6 labels per minute, improving your working efficiency considerably. With its high-printing speed, it also provides 203 DPI high-resolution for users, so you don’t have to worry about blurry or pixelated printing.
  • Advanced Auto Label Detection & Portable Design - The shipping label printer can automatically adjust the label position with its intelligent paper return function, confirming that each label is printed correctly. The shipping label maker is so portable that you can lift it with one hand and put it on your desk without taking up too much space. Due to its excellent design and workmanship, our thermal label printer has been highly recommended by 30+ professional media.
Bestseller No. 3
NefLaca Thermal Label Printer,4x6 High Speed USB Shipping Label Printer Commercial Direct Thermal Label Maker One Click Setup Compatible with Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, Shopify and FedEx (Black)
  • High-Speed Printing and Go Green: Our label printer can print up to 60 labels per minute (150mm/s). Print efficiently and conveniently.This thermal label printer uses direct thermal technology so you can skip on purchasing ink, toner, or ribbon. All you need is thermal paper.The shipping label maker helps you run the business effectively.
  • Automatic Label Detection: The thermal printer's printing head is with an automatic detection function, which can adjust the label automatically, and make the printing more precise and smoother.The shipping label printer supports label widths ranging from 2" to 4.65", and makes it ideal for printing shipping and warehouse labels.
  • Compatibility: Works with Windows,Mac and Linux operating systems(Not compatible with Chromebook),the 4x6 thermal printer is compatible with all major shipping and e-commerce platforms inlcuding FedEx, USPS, DHL, Amazon, Etsy, eBay, Shopify, etc.
  • Excellent Design:Compact design, built-in adapter, to save more space; More durable due to the special coating on printer head.
  • What's In The Box: This thermal printer comes with 1 Printer, 100 Thermal Labels, 1 Power Cord, 1Power Adapter,1 USB Cable, 1USB C to USB Adapter,1CD&Quick start guide and 1 U Disk containing the printer driver, installation guide, setup guide, and user manual. Refer to the included tutorials to start printing within minutes.

10. Promote your Etsy shop

Unfortunately, your Etsy shop is not the Field of Dreams so building it isn’t enough, you need to tell the world about it, too.

Get your social media accounts set up; Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Some might be more appropriate to your product offering than others. For example, if you’re creating handmade products you could use Instagram to tell the story of how your products are made by sharing images at different stages of production.

Pinterest is my favorite social media so I highly recommend you create a presence as soon as you can. (I’ll be writing more about creating a presence and following on Pinterest soon).

As with every other step of the process, create a strategy for your social media and then implement it.

Repeat custom is worth promoting too so consider including a thank you card with a coupon code for a discount off their next purchase.

Word of mouth promotion is priceless and repeat buyers are your best word of mouth promoters.

Find a great Etsy book to learn more

SaleBestseller No. 1
The Ultimate Guide to Selling on Etsy: How to Turn Your Etsy Shop Side Hustle into a Business
  • Ihli, Noelle (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 278 Pages - 04/14/2021 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 2
Etsy for Beginners: Book 1 in The Ultimate Guide to Selling on Etsy Series
  • Ihli, Noelle (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 138 Pages - 08/11/2022 (Publication Date) - Independently published (Publisher)
Bestseller No. 3
Etsy Empire [Updated 2022]: Proven Tactics for Your Etsy Business Success and Selling Handmade Crafts and Handmade Jewelry on, Including Etsy ... SEO for Etsy (Almost Free Money Book 6)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Michael, Eric (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 162 Pages - 05/30/2014 (Publication Date) - Passive Income Ideas (Publisher)

What’s next?

An Etsy shop is a great way to get started in online retailing but at some point, if you’re serious about creating a business for the long term, you’ll want to stretch your wings and build your own website. There are lots of ways to do this using hosted solutions like BigCommerce or Shopify but the best way is to have a self-hosted site using and the WooCommerce plugin.

It’s not necessarily the easiest option but for the control freaks among us, it’s the option that gives you complete ownership and control.

Think about your “what’s next” as you establish your business on Etsy because an Etsy shop is really just the beginning of your small business journey.

Once you’re off the ground with Etsy check out this post about other places to sell crafts online.

Looking for other side hustle or work from home ideas? Try these posts!

Do you sell on Etsy? What tips do you have to share?

Want to sell on Etsy but not sure where to start? Leave me a question in the comments and I’ll do my best to give you a clear and concise answer.


Note: This post may contain affiliate links.


An Etsy shop can be the beginning of your small business journey. Click here to find out how to get your Etsy shop started and primed for success. Pin
An Etsy shop can be the beginning of your small business journey. Click here to find out how to get your Etsy shop started and primed for success. Pin

Build a Life you Love

The absolute driving force behind my online endeavours is to establish and maintain a life I love. A life that allows me to spend my days the way I want to spend them.

After a short stint back in the corporate world, I’m more committed than ever to spend my days doing things that bring me joy and add real value to others’ lives.

Blogging – Learn how to start your own blog or business web site. Once you get started, there’s almost no limit to what you can achieve for yourself. But, the first step is establishing your foundation and that has to be a self-hosted site. If you’re just testing the waters, I recommend Bluehost as a cost-effective way to get started.

Online Store / eCommerce – Along with this and some of my other blogs, I have another business that includes an Etsy store and a Shopify store. Whether you’re selling stock you’ve purchased, dropshipping or selling your own handmade products, eCommerce is a great way to start an online business in your spare time. Shopify is a great platform to use as it’s intuitive and has lots of help available if you get stuck, and they have a ton of plugins to make it easy to get all of the features you want.

Managing your Money – The framework for everything in life and business is good money management. Keep coming back to our site for more helpful tips, but if you are doing some shopping and want cash back, check out Rakuten (formerly eBates).

Last update on 2023-02-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API