Monday, January 28, 2013

Top 10 Tips for Starting an Etsy Business

(from the etsy blog) handmade and vintage goods

Published on Jan 24, 2013 in Seller Handbook


With so much great advice buzzing around the Etsy community, it’s a bit of a challenge to narrow it down to the top 10. How’d I do it? I asked some of Etsy’s most active sellers and Admin to nominate their favorite words of wisdom.

1. Be Patient

Hands-down, the most popular piece of advice for new Etsy sellers is realizing that success doesn’t happen overnight.

Jodi Lynn Burton of Jodi Lynn’s Emporium of Doodles didn’t get her first order until four months after she started her shop in 2011. “I listed a couple of original drawings, and a couple people favorited them, but I wasn’t getting much traffic,” she says. “After reading advice in The Seller Handbook, I added a couple new items and tags, and then I got my first sale.”

Moral of the story: Keep making improvements to your shop and view your Shop Stats to study what works for attracting traffic. “Iterate and improve. Practice and repeat,” says Etsy Admin Cheyne Little.

Read Etsy Success: Shop Stats Insights.

2. Create High-Quality Photography

The age-old expression “first impressions are everything” holds true on Etsy. Because Etsy is an image-driven site, shoppers make quick visual decisions based on needs, personal taste, and the quality of your shop’s images.

Luckily, you don’t necessarily need an expensive camera to capture beautiful product images. “I used a point-and-shoot camera on a tripod that captured natural lighting for my first three years of selling on Etsy and had great success,” says Jenny Nemlekar of jennyndesign. “I’m also an avid Etsy shopper, and I enjoy perusing shops with clean, clear, clutter-free product photography because it allows for a ‘shoppable’ environment without distractions.”

Read more tips about producing great product photography.

3. Price It Right

There’s definitely an art to pricing your items, and it’s a process that you’ll likely alter over time. Paying yourself first — and fairly — should be top priority. “You deserve a living wage,” says Etsy Admin Morgan Evans. “Calculate your costs accurately and don’t undercharge for your items or the time you spend on them.”

Here’s a tried-and-tested pricing formula that a number of Etsy sellers use: Materials + Labor + Expenses + Profit = Wholesale x 2 = Retail. Read more about this formula in “A Simple Formula for Pricing Your Work”.

Read more advice about pricing in The Seller Handbook.

4. Provide Excellent Customer Service

What exactly is good customer service? Some of the key elements include answering Convos in a timely fashion and providing clear information in your Shop Policies and Message to Buyers. Be direct about shipping turnaround time, whether you offer refunds or exchanges, how you handle customs and duty fees, and the types of payments you accept.

The ultimate payoff of providing good customer service is repeat customers and word-of-mouth referrals. “The busier we get, the harder good customer service becomes, but remember that without customers, we wouldn’t have a business — we’d just have a hobby,” says Heather Kent. “Make every customer feel like they’re your favorite one.”

Read Your Customer Service Guide.

5. Organize Your Finances

Even if your business is a small, one-person operation, Morgan Evans says it’s important to set up good bookkeeping and organization systems from the get-go and keep straightforward sales and expenses records. “You’ll establish an organized, logical foundation to build upon when it’s time to do taxes, hire an accountant, or take your business to the next level.”

Read Getting Started With Income and Expense Tracking. Read tips about finances and taxes.

6. Think Like a Customer

One of the best ways to cater to your customers and help customers find you is to think like them as you’re developing your shop’s brand. As you’re creating products, marketing materials, and listing your items, put yourself in the “mental shoes” of your hopeful buyer. What keywords will they use to search for your products? How will they use your items? Include this information in your 13 tags, item titles, and descriptions.

Get more tips about search here.

7. Join a Team

If you’re optimistic about your future on Etsy but are feeling a bit overwhelmed, you’re not alone. Heather Kent felt exactly the same way. “Once I joined a team, I felt such a sense of community, and I learned so much from my teammates,” she says. “My photos improved, my shop started looking more professional, and sales increased.”

Whether you’re seeking help from sellers making similar items or want to meet people who live near you, there are thousands of teams to choose from. Join a team.

8. Do Your Research

You’ll be surprised how much you can learn about growing your Etsy shop just by asking yourself questions and then diving into searching for the answer. For example, to learn about your (friendly) competition and how to cater to your ideal customers, starting searching on Etsy and the Internet.

“There’s no shortage of resources on Etsy, the web, in books, and by communicating with other sellers,” says Sara Gilmore of I Felt Fuzzy. On forums, other sellers will be more likely to help you if it appears you’ve done your homework and have specific questions.”

9. Network and Promote Yourself

Let’s say you’ve researched your target market, rocked your item listings, and now you’re ready for action. Now what? It’s time to spread the word about your brand-new business. But how? One of the least expensive promotion tools is good-old fashioned networking.

“I learned that you can’t just list a couple items and expect sales — unless you’re really lucky!” says JodiLynn. The captain of Metro Detroit Etsy Team suggests making treasuries, following community members, commenting on blog posts, and keeping up with your activity feed.

As for promoting your shop outside of Etsyland, Sara Gilmore recommends blogging and social media for building your web presence. Read more tips about social media.

10. Take Advantage of Etsy’s Free Resources

You don’t need an MBA to become a top seller. Etsy is an equal-opportunity marketplace, and everyone is poised for success.

Etsy Admin and leaders in the community aim to be as transparent as possible about how seller tools work, and there’s so much information just waiting to be devoured. For example, you can read about how full-time Etsy sellers have grown their shops in Quit Your Day Job features, biweekly tips in the Etsy Success Newsletter, FAQs, and The Seller Handbook.

Those are just 10 tips for new sellers. What are your top tips for starting an Etsy business? Share your advice in the comments.

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Latte Love Cross-Stitch Pattern

How many cross-stitchers do we have out there? Well, you won't want to miss out on these adorable patterns, submitted to us by Michelle with Hi Mamma Designs. I mean, how many coffee and tea lovers do you know? Even if you don't cross-stitch, it is an insanely easy craft to get started on. Let us know if you try it out and take pictures! We'd love to see what you create :)

"A Latte Love" finished project by Hi Mamma Designs

Michelle and her family live in Carmel, Indiana. Each day her daughters and her try to do one thing creative towards working on a handmade project. It can be trying a new type of art medium or embarking on a different learning activity, the main thing is that we are always creating...learning and sharing. What could be better?

Do you have a pattern or tutorial you'd like to share with us? Send us an email! We'd love to share it with the team!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Featured Etsy Seller - Wirequeen Jewelry


This month’s featured Etsy seller is the creative artist behind Wirequeen Jewelry ( Read all about her here then visit her Etsy shop to view all of her wonderful wire-wrapped creations.

Tell us a little about yourself

I'm am older Mom having my daughters by natural childbirth age ages 34 and 42. I've been an international trader for many years. I imported beads and began making beaded jewelry. I later picked up some silver wire and I've been in love with wire wrapping every since. My jewelry can be found in the collections of fashionistas from around the world.

What do you create/offer in your Etsy shop?

I create wire wrapped and beaded jewelry. I also feature my daughter's artwork.



How did you get started in your line of business?

I did import/export for many years. I imported beads, jewelry clothing, fabric and wood crafts from Africa (Ghana). In my downtime I started playing around with the beads. I them began creating my own custom line.

Describe your creative process.

I am self taught. My drawing consists of stick figures (Smile) so I lay the beads out until like the design

Where do you find your inspiration?

The world around me and Ancient history. In high school I wanted to be an archeologist. I have several pieces that were inspired by the Queens jewelry collection from the Royal House of Ur.

What is your favorite item in your shop at the moment?

My Wire Queen I and II


How do you promote your work?

I have a blog, pinterest, twitter, and facebook. I'm no longer able to physically do shows so I like to do ladies who lunch events. Those are my best events. I am still photography challenged. (Smile).

What is one of your most important lessons you've learned since starting your business?

Be consistent and over deliver.

What advice would you give someone just starting out?

1. Learn as much as you can about learning how to run a business.
2. Start building your email list as soon as possible. Your list is gold.
3. Keep your accountant or attorney on speed dial..
4. Believe you can succeed and keep people around you who WANT you to succeed. (Only positive people, can't stress this enough).

What are your other sites (facebook, twitter, blog, etc.)?

In order of importance to me.
Email List:




I was also recently selected as a mentor for the (Sir Richard) Branson Centre. I'm currently awaiting my first mentee.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ready for 2013 Blog Hop - time to start hopping!

It's time to start hopping...

How does it work? Super easy - all you need to do is visit the blogs listed at the end of this post sometime throughout the week. Show your support for these hard working bloggin' mommas by leaving them a comment after you've visited - and if you enjoyed their post, be sure to let them know as well. Why not "follow" their blog, subscribe to it or even link it up to your own blog if you have one? This is an awesome opportunity to learn some great stuff plus network with fellow team members. I know I read a lot of blogs and I can't tell you how many have helped me not only in my personal business but in my home life as well. The EtsyMom Team Leaders will also be commenting and following along to show our support as well. I'm excited to get started!

First up, we have a great post from Michelle over at Hi Mamma Designs about launching a new Kids Cooking Club section on her blog.

Next up is Tricia from Handmade Whimzy - she brings us an informative and helpful post about tips for packaging and shipping sold items. Check it out here:

Jenn from Lavender Avenue has a great post about things she's learned over the years to help simplify your life:

Kimberly from My Polka Dotted Bliss is sharing her brand new blog with us and reflects on what some life changing experiences from the past year have taught her:

Check back here throughout the week to see what our other bloggers have in store for 2013. Be sure to visit, leave a comment and/or follow along before the blog hop ends on January 19. Thanks everyone and enjoy!

Ready for 2013 Blog Hop - Almost Time....

Our Ready for 2013 Blog Hop starts tomorrow night!

You'll have a chance to visit some of our team members blogs to get to know them a little better and find out what they've got in store for the new year ~ you don't want to miss it ~ There's sure to be some great ideas and information for moms just like us - working hard to balance running a successful Etsy business as well keeping our households running. See you on here tomorrow!


Thursday, January 3, 2013

It's time for our EtsyMom Team "Ready for 2013" Blog Hop!

It's time for our EtsyMom Team "Ready for 2013" Blog Hop!
Get your personal or business blog signed up today and share some tips/tricks/ideas/recipes for the new year. We're looking for some great business related ideas, goals, new product ideas, organization, resolutions - anything you think would help out fellow moms and business owners as we bring in the new year. To get your blog signed up, hop on over to this form:

For those of us who don't have a blog, this is a fun little way to get to know fellow team member, follow their blogs and learn some helpful info along the way - maybe even inspire us to start our own blog. Plan on hopping through some blogs the week of January 14-19. We'll post more details about how the "hop" will work as the date approaches. If you have any questions, please let us know. Thank you!