Beginner’s Guide to Starting an Etsy Store Business

In today’s economy, many people are struggling to get by. Fortunately, the internet provides several ways to bring in additional income. Etsy is a perfect example. 

Etsy is an e-commerce web site focused on selling crafts, vintage items and craft supplies. Items sold include accessories, décor, clothing, memorabilia, collectibles, toys, tools and more. 

If you are thinking of turning to Etsy to bring in some extra income, this article will provide you with Etsy tips for beginners that will get you off to a great start. 

How to Start an Etsy Shop

If you are thinking of starting an Etsy shop, here are the steps you need to follow.

Figure Out What You are Going to Sell: Etsy sells a wide range of products. Basically, they specialize in handmade or vintage items. If you are crafty, you may be able to create items to sell on Ebay. If you are a collector, you may have items you are looking to list to make extra income. These are both great choices that will get you off on the right foot. 

Make Sure You Have Enough Stock and Shipping Materials: If you are serious about your Etsy store, you will want to keep it active and make sure you have enough stock to fulfil your orders. If you plan to make the items you sell, be sure to have enough on hand. If you are selling collectibles and vintage items, make sure to you have a continuous stream so you don’t end up disappointing your customers. 

You should also make sure you have the shipping items you need such as boxes envelopes, tape, box stuffing and whatever else you require. This way, you will get items out ASAP. If you have to run out to stores to buy shipping supplies it will delay ship times. 

Set Up a Store: Now that you have figured out what you are going to sell, it’s time to set up a store. Here are the steps you will have to take:

  1. Go to and log in. 
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on ‘set up a shop’.
  3. Click on the top of the next page where it says ‘open up an Etsy shop’.
  4. Click on the drop-down menus to select the primary language you use to communicate as well as the type of currency you accept. Then click on ‘yes’.
  5. Next you will come to a box that asks you want you want to accomplish on Etsy. You can choose: Reach Etsy buyers, I already sell full time, Quit my day job and sell full time, Sell in my spare time or Other. Pick the one that best applies to you. 
  6. Once that window closes you will be asked to name your shop in the ‘Set Shop Name’ box. Think of something catchy that describes what you sell to ensure your name is memorable and stands out. 
  7. Next you will have to add listings for your store as well as methods of payment and billing information. Once this is completed, click ‘Open your Shop’ and you will be ready to sell.

Tips for Success

Here are some tips to ensure your Etsy shop is successful. 

Be honest with your customers. Provide customers with clear descriptions of what you are selling including attractive photos. Be up front about your selling policies and provide contact information in case there are any questions or concerns. 

Don’t Cheat: Etsy has certain rules you must follow. These are some examples.

  • You can’t sell from two stores unless you are selling different merchandise in each. 
  • You can’t steal someone else’s merchandise and sell it as your own. 
  • You can’t cheat Etsy out of fees by using their site to direct them to your business web site. 
  • You can’t sell items in the ‘Handmade’ section if they weren’t handmade by you. 
  • You can’t sell stolen or counterfeit items, items made from endangered animals or any kind of hazardous products.

Make sure not to break these rules. If you do, Etsy may take down your shop and ban you from the site permanently. 

Provide Excellent Customer Service: Communication is key in providing excellent customer service. Make your policies clear. If there is an issue with an order and you are unable to provide an item or if shipping is going to be delayed, let the customer know ASAP.

Participate in the Community: There are Etsy forums that you can contribute to, Etsy Events you can attend and Etsy Teams which can be created. Teams are a group of buyers and sellers who like to buy or sell similar items. 

Being active in the Etsy community may help you if your store is in a slump.

How to Make Money on Etsy

Customer service and honesty are essential to an Etsy store’s success, but here are some other things to consider in boosting profitability.

  • Make Sure There is Demand for Your Product: Think about the item you want to sell. Then click through Etsy and similar e-commerce sites to see how well the similar product sell. Make sure there is enough demand for the product so you can determine how profitable your item will be. 
  • Figure out the Cost of Making Each Item: Take labor and materials into consideration when determining the cost of goods sold. 
  • Scope out the competition: Research your competitors to find out how much they are charging for similar items. 
  • Consider Fees: In addition to having to pay Etsy’s fees, you may also have to pay taxes on your income. This will be the case if you bring in more than $1000 a year. 
  • Evaluate the numbers: Now that you have a good idea of what your expenses will be, decide if you can sell at a competitive price and still make a profit. If you don’t think you can, you may want to think about selling a different product or choosing a different venue. 

What are Etsy’s Fees?

Etsy’s fees are pretty straightforward. It is free to open a shop but it costs 20 cents to create a listing on the marketplace. Once an item sells, Etsy takes 5% of the transaction fee. 

Selling on Etsy vs. Opening Your Own Shop

Those interested in e-commerce may be wondering whether it’s best to sell on Etsy as opposed to opening your own shop. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.  

Cost: Etsy requires fees for listings and takes a chunk of your income. However, having your own store has its share of expenses. If your store is online only, you will still have to pay for web hosting as well as transaction fees. If you have a physical store, rent and maintenance are other costs to consider. Situations vary but overall, Etsy may be more cost effective. 

Marketing: When you sell on Etsy, marketing is somewhat built in. When people search for the items you are selling, they are likely to see your page come up in the results. Marketing for your own business takes a lot of time and expense. In this respect, Etsy comes out ahead once again.

Business Potential: If you are really serious about getting your business off the ground, you will eventually want to to launch your own brand full scale. Etsy can be limiting in how far you can take your business and how effectively you can build your brand. There are limited design options to choose from when creating your web page and it can be hard to stand out in a sea of sellers. It is for these reasons that you might consider starting your own web site. 

However, Etsy can also complement your brand. If you run an Etsy store in conjunction with your own e-commerce site, it can help boost sales. And if you sell under the same name on both platforms, it can help you get your brand name out there. 

Etsy Business Ideas

If you are thinking of opening an Etsy shop, here are some ideas for items that tend to sell well. 

  • Spa Items: Soaps, bath bombs, lotions and candles are all things you can create at home that sell well on Etsy
  • Jewelry: Leather bracelets, stamped jewelry, bullet jewelry, wood bead jewelry, polymer clay jewelry and tassel earrings are super trendy and easy to make
  • Clothing: Printed t-shirts, lace bralettes, baby headbands, bow ties, baby onesies, mittens and upcycled totes are stylish and easy to produce.
  • Home Décor: Framed chalkboards, motivational printables, pillow cases, wood pallet signs, table runners, abstract watercolor prints, embroidery hoop art, wine bottle lamps, string art, birdseed ornaments, knit blankets, wood slice art, Christmas ornaments, concrete planters, trinket dishes, mugs, plates, aprons, pin cushions and coasters are all useful items and hot sellers.
  • Pet Items: Hand-stamped Pet ID’s and dog costumes are examples of items that will be great for pet owners. 

Now that you have these useful Etsy tips for beginners, what items will you be selling on the site to bring in extra income?