How to Start an Etsy Shop

Have you ever thought about wanting to make some extra cash or perhaps change up your main income source altogether and forego the typical 9 to 5? Creating your own shop on Etsy just might be the way to go. It can seem daunting at first, but there are some key things to keep in mind when it comes to making your own shop.

I am by no means an expert, but I’ve gathered a lot of information that I would have loved to know when I was first starting my Etsy store, Labrie Designs. Below are some tips and a loose guide to making your own shop and what you will have to consider along the way to make it functional. You can, of course, do things your own way or take a couple ideas and run with them! Do whatever is best for you.

 

1. What are you interested in?

Think about what you are really good at doing. Are you a great painter, baker, or seamstress? Are you just plain crafty? Do you see a void in the market that you would be able to fill? Make a list of possible genres that you think you could enjoy working in. From there, you’ll have to decide what you actually want to make.

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Don’t become discouraged if you can’t think of anything. The best thing I would suggest is searching online. You may be interested in one thing and you’ll find that that search will lead you to another idea, to another idea, and to another. There are endless possibilities when it comes to products. And remember, there are buyers for literally everything you could think of.

Side note: Etsy also allows you to sell “vintage” items over 20 years of age, so maybe you’re great at finding deals at estate sales and think you could profit from selling those found treasures.

2. What can you actually make?

Now you have to narrow things down to what seems realistic. You might want to make all natural body products but decide that maybe you don’t have the means (money) at this time to accomplish that. You can always start out small. No one ever said you had to introduce a whole range at one time. I’m sure you’ve seen other makers’ Instagram or Facebook pages and seen how many products they’re selling and how professional their items seem. Remember, they started in the same place you are.

Also, don’t forget that you have to be able to ship whatever you are making. This can be an obstacle depending on the size of the product, fragility, or composition. Just consider this. There is most likely a way to ship whatever you want to make, but the size might make it more difficult.

Like it or not, you are a beginner. There is so much that comes into making a shop. So many expenses and little things you never even knew you needed. But over time, you will become accomplished. This is not an overnight endeavor.

 

3. Are there any laws?

Remember that you want everything to be legal so that your business doesn’t get shut down and all of your investments don’t turn out to be a complete waste of time. So make sure to check out your state and county laws to figure out if you can indeed sell what you want. It can be a little tricky to read up all of those laws, but searching online for other local makers in your area can help out a great deal. Never underestimate the power of past experience.

 

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4. What will you call your shop?

I wasn’t sure where to place this in the steps, but the name is somewhat easier to figure out after you have determined what kind of products you would like to make. You can make it something a little more generic like I did—a title with your last name included. Or it can be something product related. Or something completely different! Try to make it unique, but memorable. Your buyer has to be able to remember your shop name if they ever wish to purchase more products from you or if they want to refer people to you.

I initially chose my shop name because I had no idea if I would stick to the products I was selling and I didn’t want to have to rebrand if I was going to change things up. I have really moved away from my initial sales of home décor-related products and moved towards body care and candlemaking for now, so overall, it was a wise decision. So that is something for you to consider as well.

After getting either a loose idea of what you would like your shop name to be, start searching online. You want to search on Etsy to see if that shop name already exists. If it does, either start fresh or alter yours to make it sound different from the shop that is already there. You also want to do a Google search to see what comes up. Maybe there’s no Etsy shop with the name you’re thinking of, but there could be other sites with that name. Look on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to see what pops up. Make sure that whatever name you choose, you’ll be able to secure your social media handles in the same name.

You might think that this is a lot to consider. Maybe you don’t want an Instagram or Twitter page. All I know is it’s better to consider all of this now rather than later when you have all of your branding created.

 

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5. Timing

So now you have an idea of what you’re going to make and you have a shop name. It’s time to think about when you will actually open your shop. At this point, if you are like me, you have a lot of excitement and endless ideas in your head. You need to narrow things down and have a little bit more of a set idea in your head of how you will proceed. I would personally recommend that you sign up for your Etsy shop name so no one else takes it before you. I would also secure your social media profile names as well. You don’t need to put any information in any of those platforms yet, but just have them in your possession.

 

6. Time for branding

So now you’ve got your shop name and your social media platforms. Awesome! You’ve taken the first legitimate steps towards forming your shop! This is such an exciting time! Again, there might be a lot of stress associated with these huge life decisions, but don’t worry– just take everything one step at a time.

So branding… branding is very important and draws people in to your shop. You should do your best to make everything look professional. There are many tools that you can utilize to help you brand your shop yourself, but there are also many people offering their services, too. Depending on how computer-savvy you are, you might be overwhelmed by the possibilities surrounding this step in the creation process. Don’t worry, you have all the time in the world to work on your branding.

My first suggestion would be to start looking at Pinterest and Etsy to get your mind going. Pinterest is already an amazing resource that I personally look at every day, but it can be even more beneficial to someone wanting to learn the ins and outs of branding and creating any aspect of their Etsy shop. Check out other Etsy shops selling similar things to you and see what the competition looks like. Now this is very important: DO NOT COPY ANYONE. All this work that you’re putting into your shop? Yeah, they did that, too. So don’t copy them. You want to be original anyway.

When I first started my shop, I didn’t really know what I wanted my logo to look like. It’s an important decision, but like everything else, it’s not unchangeable if you don’t end up liking your logo in the long run. I ended up hiring someone from Etsy to create my logo. After that, they created my business card and I even had my tent banner at markets, created with the same design. So you can see, everything builds on itself. Since that time, I have actually changed my logo to something I created myself, and I will probably change it again as time goes on and I get tired of it. You’re allowed to change things you want whenever you want. That’s the best part—you’re your own boss! The only thing to remember is: everything builds on itself. So if you change your logo, you have to change your shop banner and your business cards and possibly packaging. This isn’t so bad when you learn how to do this yourself, but when you are paying others to create your branding, this will add up quick.

 

7. Ready, set, sell!

So you’re all set for now! You have your shop open, you have a logo and shop banner. You’ve possibly got business cards underway. It’s time to post your listings.

 

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I’ll be making a second post on product listings and much, much more. Leave any post suggestions or questions below and I will get to them as quickly as possible!

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