A Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Shop on Etsy

Today's guest blog post by Danielle Maveal was first posted on Etsy.com's The Storque: How-To blog. Thanks Danielle for letting us feature this golden nugget of start-up goodness.

Want to get a shop started on Etsy? Don't know where to start? This guide will help you find the help you need to get your shop up and running!

What to Sell
First things first: you need items to sell! Make sure your items follow the Do's and Don'ts on what can be sold on Etsy before you get started. Need some inspiration? Check out this great article on Finding Your Etsy Niche by tortillagirl. Littleputbooks (one of our top sellers) has a great blog post about Making a Great Product.

Coming up with a Name
Piddix has a great blog post on Picking Your Etsy Name. And our own MaryMary has a great Storque article on deciding on a shop name here. I have one more tip for you: Make sure it's "Google-able!"  Sure the name "FriedChicken" might be memorable, but if you go to Google and search "Fried Chicken," your shop will be a needle in a greasy (yet delicious) haystack!

Banner and Avatar
Your banner and avatar can help you brand your shop, so try to make them beautiful! Here's a how-to on Making A Banner that I wrote a while back. If you are just getting started with photo editing you might want to try our magical Bannerator! You can do an Alchemy request for a custom banner. Or search "banner" on Etsy to find a talented seller to make you a banner!

Your avatar should be eye-catching and clear. (This is sometimes difficult because of the size of an avatar, so keep it simple!) Try showcasing your most beautifully photographed product!

Need more help? Try the Help guides here and here.

Your Profile
Buyers on Etsy want to know about who they are buying from. Make sure you tell them a bit about yourself in your profile, as connecting this way with a buyer will encourage them to support you and your craft, so don't be shy! SarasTextureCrafts has a detailed article on Crafting Your Profile Page, so read up! The profile is also a great place to share your shop policies (soon Etsy will have a separate spot for your policies). The EtsyWiki has a whole section devoted to shop policies.

Listing Your First Item
Listing an item is an easy four step process. This help guide will take you through each one. Here are some articles that can also help you with this process:

Photography is the most important part of your shop (in my opinion!). If you don't have crisp, clear and eye-catching photos, your sales will reflect this. The more professional and cohesive your photos look, the more confidence buyers will have in your shop. You may think you need a super-duper-top-of-the-line camera, but believe me, you don't. Images on the internet must be 72dpi (i.e. not top printable quality!), so even a $150 digital camera will be just perfect! Photography takes a lot of practice, time and research, but once you get it right you will see your shop really blossom! Here are some articles to get you started:

Your First Sale
Now what? First things first, celebrate. The first sale is so exciting! Now once you have calmed down, check out the transaction page and make sure your buyer has paid. Package up your item and get it ready to ship (a hand written thank you note is always good customer service!). Send your buyer a quick little convo (or conversation)  thanking them for their purchase and letting them know when you are going to ship. Ship your item, tick off the checkbox by your sold item, leave your buyer feedback and you're done!

Promoting Your Shop
Once you have your shop set up with at least a page of items, now is the time to promote! Here's great article to start with: Pimp Your Shop for 2008. Don't forget to try some offline promotions, too!  Here are some more links to help you get started:

Need More Help?
You're not exhausted yet? Well, OK! Here are some more great resources from the forums:

In addition, the Etsy Success Stories are always filled with inspirational tales and tips galore from prosperous sellers.

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