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Etsy 101: How to Start Selling on the Crafting Platform

A woman works on a crafts project.

If you’ve ever been on the hunt for one-of-a-kind, handmade items to adorn your home or to have custom-made prints, you’ve likely stumbled across Etsy.

Etsy is the go-to platform for crafters, artists, and DIY enthusiasts who want to buy or sell handmade creations. And, with over $1.1 billion in goods sold in one quarter alone, the platform isn’t going anywhere.

So, if you’re a crafter looking for a way to make some extra money or to expand your customer base, you’ll want to start selling on Etsy. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry! I’ll show you exactly how to start selling on the crafting platform and to successfully launch an Etsy shop.

Choose your niche

Etsy is home to endless types of craft items. From paintings to woodwork, jewelry, and digital downloads, the options for what you can sell on the platform are endless. As a seller, you can easily become a “Jill of all trades” but master of none. So finding your niche is important.

Simply put, you’ll have to identify one or two categories of items you want to sell in your shop.

The primary factor in deciding this is, first, knowing what you’re actually good at creating. After all, if you can’t create a quality item, it won’t sell.

Secondly, you should consider what actually sells well on Etsy. Some things sell better than others and you’ll want your products to be something that people will buy.

By identifying a niche that can satisfy both of these criteria, you’ll have the foundation for a shop that can become profitable.

Prepare to open your shop

When you create an Etsy account as a seller, you’ll immediately be prompted to begin setting up your shop and listing items. To help make the process as efficient and smooth as possible, there are a few things that you should do to prepare ahead of time.

Choose your shop name: The first thing that you’ll need to have is a shop name. This should be something that will be memorable and easy for customers, yet in line with your brand and products.

If the shop name is unavailable, you will be prompted to create another one. To avoid this, you should do a quick search ahead of time to make sure your shop name isn’t already taken.

Etsy has a few requirements that your name must meet, including:

  • No profanity
  • No spaces or special characters
  • 20-character limit

You can find additional tips for choosing your Etsy shop name here.

Write your shop’s About section: When customers come to your shop, they’ll want to know what makes it unique and why they should shop with you. This is where your shop’s About section comes into play.

Take some time to write out your shop’s origin story, what you sell, and what sets you apart from others selling the same products. You’ll want to captivate potential buyers so that they are inspired to become devoted customers.

Prepare your bio and profile picture: While you are writing your copy for your shop’s About section, take a few moments to put together a quick bio and find a clear, high-quality headshot. This information will be included on your shop’s main page and will be another way for customers to learn more about you and to connect.

Create your shop graphics: There will be several graphics that you’ll need to have handy when you’re setting up your Etsy shop. It’s a good idea to get these created beforehand so that you’re not scrambling to get them together later.

At a minimum, you should create your shop icon and shop banner. Etsy provides a list of size requirements for all images that you’ll add to your shop. Make sure that these graphics are cohesive for branding purposes and that they effectively show what your shop is about.

Create product images & descriptions: Your product images are the most important factors in attracting new customers to your site. The better the images, the more likely someone will be to click on your product and, ultimately, buy it.

You will be allowed up to 10 images per listing. Each image should provide a different angle of the product so that the customer can get a full view of what they’ll be ordering.

You don’t have to hire a professional to take these photos; however, some quick tips for producing great images include:

  • Using natural lighting
  • Using a clean, simple background
  • Showing the item in use
  • Capturing the product at scale

If you’re selling a digital product, such as printables, you will need to create mockups showing what the files will look like printed. This is something that can be created in a graphic design application, such as Canva.

Taking photos will help you prepare your product description, which you’ll need to have when you list your item. This is an opportunity to give more details about what you’re selling to potential customers.

Price your products: Determining the price of the products that you’ll be selling shouldn’t be done haphazardly.

When pricing an item, you’ll want to make sure you’ve considered the cost to produce it and fees that you’ll incur from selling it on Etsy.

Begin with the cost of materials and the value of your time to make it. Once you have those numbers, you’ll want to account for Etsy listing & transaction fees, payment processing fees, possible sales taxes, and shipping expenses (if applicable).

The price of your products should reflect each of these costs if you want to be profitable.

Create an account: To actually sell on Etsy, you’ll need to create a seller’s account. To create an account, follow these steps:

  1. Visit
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and select Sell on Etsy
  3. Click Open your Etsy Shop

You will be prompted to sign in using an existing account or you can register with an email address, Facebook, or Google account. After entering your email address, click Continue. You’ll be guided through additional steps to begin setting up your shop.

Add your first listing: Once you’ve added information about your shop, the next step is to add your first listing. A listing is just the term for a product that you will sell in your shop.

In order to list a product, you’ll need to have your product images ready to upload, along with a product name/title, description, pricing information, and more. Thankfully, you’ve already done most of this work upfront, so it will just be a matter of adding the information in the right place.

Don’t worry about getting confused. Etsy provides additional information and tips for each field that you’ll need to complete.

Once you’re done adding all of your listing details, you can preview it to see what customers will see, make edits, then publish.

Set up payment & billing information: Before your customers will be able to start purchasing, they’ll need a way to pay. The next step will be for you to choose how you will get paid.

Depending on the country that you reside in, you’ll have different options on how you can receive payments. This may include via Etsy’s own payment system, PayPal, or even by check.

You’ll also be prompted to input a payment method for Etsy to bill you for listing and other appropriate fees.

Open your shop, start marketing & selling!

Once you’ve completed all of the above steps, you have officially opened your shop.

Now that your shop is open, it’s time to start marketing, selling, and listing new products. You can begin by sharing your shop on your social media platforms; however, you’ll eventually want to learn about search engine optimization (SEO) so that you can be found organically.

Congrats on becoming an Etsy seller.

–Fo Alexander

SmartCents Mom