A couple of my friends are currently just opening, or about to open their Etsy shop which has prompted me to round up a few tips and ideas. I thought I’d do it as a blog post so that I can add to it and also keep it all nice and contained in one place rather than scattered through emails.
Often it is tempting to keep waiting until the moment is perfect, until you have all the inventory you want, all other ducks in a row. So my first tip is Just Start. You can register your name and do all kinds of tweaking and learning before you open up to the public.
Of that behind the scenes part there are a few essentials – making a header for example. These are easy to do with even simple photo editing software. But if you are daunted by that there are people who will make one for you. ( or just ask a friend to help you ).
If you do some back ground reading on Etsy or in blogs the one bit of advice that comes back over and over again is to have good product photographs. Your customer can’t pick up and look at your product so the photograph is the only way you have , to communicate how wonderful your creation is.
My photography suggestions are – use daylight ( flash is a no-no ) – I prefer a spot indoors next to a window because outside stuff can blow about. But for clothing or similar that is less of an issue. Use the macro setting on your camera to get good close up details. Show the item from various angles – or show the reverse side. Use all the five shots you have available per listing. Have one of those on a white background as those are often preferred by treasury makers.
At the same time as tweaking your shop have a look round the other parts of Etsy. If you’ve never bought something there then buy something as research ( Nice excuse ! ) to experience the site as a buyer. That will also let you start to get some feedback.
Also investigate the community side. For many sellers this is as much a bonus as having a venue to set up shop and a lot of real friendships have been formed through teams and forums.
It is good to join a couple of teams at the outset as this will give you some support and will help with such things as Treasuries. Look for teams that are quite active and have a reasonable number of members. They can be geographic or by medium or with a particular theme – plenty to choose from to find a good fit. Some have loads of rules about what you must do. I tend to avoid those as I don’t want to commit to making a certain number of treasuries etc.
And treasuries – what are they ? They are little individually curated collections of 16 items. You can create them yourself or your items can be featured in them. One of the benefits of being in a team is that they will often make treasuries using mostly items from their team members. Create them by colour, inspired by a song or a film – whatever you like – but strive to make them look good as a collection. Will doing treasuries help sales ? The jury is out on this , but in terms of getting some visibility as you get started and also to get to know the community I think they have their place. Some of these treasuries are then selected by the Etsy admin to feature on the front page – but this is quite an elusive goal !
The first port of call should be the Etsy Seller’s Handbook which covers pretty well everything you could need to know at the outset. I still regularly pick a topic in it to review and see where I can make an improvement. But just take it at your own pace and choose one thing at a time to master !
Also, last chance to enter my own pendant /ring giveaway – I’ll be picking a winner tonight ! You can enter here.