Running an Etsy shop is a popular way to sell products and earn income. For talented artists and crafty individuals, selling your goods in a third-party marketplace is a great way to pursue your passion and profit from it.
But before taking the next step, and after reading Etsy's seller handbook, you should familiarize yourself with some tips on opening a shop. Business News Daily asked Etsy shop owners to share their advice for opening a shop the right way. Here are a few things to keep in mind when starting your Etsy business.
Pick the right name
While you may want to use the first shop name that pops into your head, you should give it serious consideration before deciding on a moniker.
"Be careful not to pick a name that limits your shop and what you offer," said Kelly Phillips, owner of Wave of Life. "Avoid using terms in your shop name such as 'jewelry' or 'crochet,' unless you are absolutely certain that is all you ever intend to sell."
Names often exude the first impression to buyers, so you want to ensure yours represents your company efficiently and serves its purpose.
"A more fanciful name that is unique to your brand will allow you to expand and grow as trends change," Phillips said. "Make sure [another] shop is not using a name that is too close to the one you are contemplating, to avoid losing customers to the competition."
Finances are always a major concern when starting a business – including if your new venture is an Etsy shop. Research the costs of your endeavor before embarking to avoid surprises.
"You should have an idea of what your business model will require [concerning] reporting for income taxes, and you should find out what your state requires of businesses with regards to business licenses and sales tax collection," said Cathy Stein, owner of EDCCollective. "Getting these things straight before starting a shop on Etsy can help ensure you will not incur a penalty for failure to collect sales tax, for example."
Additionally, Shelley Burton, owner of Squeaky Sailor Soap, said to calculate how much your product costs to make and how much time it takes to make it.
"The amount everyone else on Etsy is charging for a product similar to yours doesn't matter if you can't turn a profit at that price," she said. "It's really important to know what your profit margins will be, especially if you are approached by a shop that wants to wholesale with you, because standard wholesale purchasing price is 50 percent of retail."
Mapping out your expenses will help prepare you for any issues. Create a budget so you're aware of how much you're earning versus how much you're spending, including processes like production, packaging, shipping and more.
"Make sure you think through the cost of shipping," said Roy Barker, owner of The Clock Monkey. "This includes your time to and from a mail center, the packaging, and the cost of transportation. It is easy to get caught short in shipping."
Get crafty with your packaging
Anyone can pack their products in a cardboard box and ship them to a customer. Stand out from other sellers by creating a unique experience for your buyers.
"Find a way to make your packages fun to receive in a way that reflects your business," said Joanne Halpin, owner, jhcards. "Everyone loves getting a package. Opening it to find an unceremoniously packed item without a personal touch is a bit of a letdown."
Sharpen your photography skills
If you want people to take you and your products seriously, you need to present your content through quality pictures.
"Learn how to take good photos, along with understanding sizing and image editing," said Gari Anne Kosanke, owner, Bead Lovers Korner. "The reason for this is that the image of your product really needs to stand out and compel a customer to click and learn more about your product."
Pay close attention to your image's formatting, coloring and overall presentation on the site.
"If the image is sized incorrectly, it won't show properly in the search view, or if it is dark and blurry, most people will pass right by the photo without looking," Kosanke said. This can harm your company's credibility.
Use technology to your advantage
Utilizing search engine optimization (SEO) is crucial to gaining views among pages of similar products posted on Etsy. Don't post your work and write just anything – research and put some thought into keywords and tags before listing your first item.
"Etsy search works very differently than other search engines," said Amanda Lehto, owner of The Painted Tee. "You need to understand how to optimize in order to be found in the millions of items listed on Etsy. It's best to understand this before listing, so you can do it right from the start, rather having to adjust all of your listings that are done incorrectly."
Social media is another way to attract customers. While you don't need to use every social platform to find success, you should at least focus on one to draw a following.
Jennifer Schmidt, owner of The Cat Ball, said that it's OK to choose your favorite site or to work on the one you're most comfortable with. However, she noted that Pinterest has an advantage: Pins from Etsy are "rich pins" that show your pricing.
"Pins are searchable for a long time and can lead to sales in the future," Schmidt said.
Have products ready
Don't jump ahead of yourself if you haven't put enough time into creating goods to sell in your shop.
"List a variety of items to start with," said Jeanine M. Boiko of Okio B Designs. "Don't open your shop with just a handful of pieces. Buyers aren't typically impressed with two or three items in a shop. Having a larger variety will keep potential buyers browsing in your shop, and you have a better chance of making a sale."
Additional reporting by Brittney Morgan. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.