A beginner’s guide to selling on Etsy

Sell your handmade goods and crafts on Etsy. Find out how to start your own Etsy store

Although not as mainstream as vast, international marketplaces like eBay and Amazon, Etsy is both well established and well known, particularly among the crafting community. Started in the US in 2005, Etsy is best described as a huge craft or farmers’ market. It’s a way of helping small businesses or individuals to gain access to their customers and display their wares, and to sell on Etsy goods need to be handmade, vintage (over 20 years old), or unique.

If you’re a crafter making goods to sell in your spare time, it’s an easy and efficient way of advertising your goods – and you don’t even need to spend your Sundays taking stalls at craft fairs in the rain! The goods on sale range from toys to wedding accessories, and there’s also a thriving section selling craft supplies.

How to set up an Etsy store

Before you start, there are a few things to think about. You’ll need to choose a name for your new virtual shop, and think of a couple of options in case your first choice is already taken. You’ll also need to have at least one item ready to sell, and have a clear photo of it. Think about what keywords you’d use to describe it – for example, if you’re selling bespoke wedding fascinators you might tag your listing with ‘handmade wedding fasinator’, ‘bespoke wedding hat’ and ‘green feather fasinator’ to help people find it.

You’ll also need to know how much it will cost to ship your item, so a quick trip to the post office might be in order first! You’ll need to decide on a price for the item itself, and finally you’ll need your bank details.

Once you’ve got everything assembled, click on the ‘Sell on Etsy‘ link on the top right of the page and and follow the prompts to setting up your shop.

What fees does Etsy charge?

Etsy will charge you £0.14 per listing, and the listings remain active for four months or until your item sells. If it remains unsold after four months, you’ll need to relist it. If your item does sell, you’ll be charged a commission of 3.5%. As Etsy uses its own payment system, you’ll also be charged a transaction fee of 4% plus £0.20.

For example, if the price of your item is £20 and the postage is £3, the total sales price will be £23. You’ll be charged £0.14 to list the item, and then a further commission of 3.5% if it sells. While the sales commission is only calculated on the sale price, the transaction fee is calculated including the postage.

This means that your total costs of selling an item at £20 with £3 postage will be £2.06, calculated as follows:

(£0.14 listing fee) + (sales commission of 3.5% on £23 = £0.80) + (transaction fee of 4% on £23 = £0.92) + (additional £0.20 transaction fee) = £2.06., or roughly 10% in this case.

Tips for successfully selling on Etsy

How to set up and sell handmade goods on Etsy

Like anything, practice makes perfect. When you have a spare few minutes, browse the site and take a look at how other people have presented their shops.

  • Good photos are a must – the better quality your photo, the more attractive your item will look. If you’re planning to sell regularly on Etsy, it might be worth investing in a lightbox. Set up a few lifestyle shots too, to show potential customers how they could use your product. For example, if you’re selling a handmade jug, take shots of it filled with lemonade, wildflowers or mulled wine, both inside the house and on a garden table.
  • When describing your product, use a concise, descriptive title as search engines only tend to pick up the first five words. For example, if you’re listing your wedding fascinator, title the listing ‘Unique handmade feather wedding fascinator’, rather than ‘Really pretty, interesting, unusual headgear for weddings or events’ – the first five words contain neither ‘wedding’ or ‘fascinator’ so won’t perform well in searches.
  • When choosing your keywords, try to think like a customer. If you’re tracking down options for your big wedding day, what are you most likely to search for?
  • Fill in your ‘About’ profile – not only will this help boost your search rankings, but customers like to have some information about who they’re dealing with.
  • Crosslink your Etsy shop to your social media, so that you can talk about launching new products or if you’re running a discount.

Happy selling!



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