July 06, 2020 4 min read
You’ve got the free listings, now what? Here’s a quick checklist of what to do when starting your first Etsy shop and my best tips for success.
To help you get started, I’ve outlined my top 5 tips for starting your first Etsy shop. I started an Etsy shop in late 2016 and have since grown it to over 45,000 sales, 6,000+ 5-star averaging reviews, and 7 figures in revenue. You can do it too, and these are a few things you can do to start seeing success immediately!
Instead of referring to your Etsy Shop as a “Etsy Shop” or to yourself as an “Etsy Seller”, create a strong brand around your new business. Call your Etsy Shop by your business name. For example, my shop is “SimpleSentimental” but our brand name is “Simple & Sentimental” because Etsy doesn’t allow ampersands. I still refer to the business as Simple & Sentimental on Etsy because my business is more than just an Etsy shop. You need to create a brand to see repeat customers and draw new people in to purchase your products.
To create a brand for your Etsy shop, open social media accounts, create a logo, order business cards, and develop a mission statement to keep yourself on track.
When you run your Etsy shop like a business (because it IS a business), you will also consider your product prices, the cost it takes you to make products and do business and your profit margins. Before pricing your products, calculate how much money it takes you to create your product including shipping, materials and time. This way you can ensure your prices reflect the cost and time it takes you to make a product. Your products should be sold for at least twice the cost it took you to make them.
Remember, a hobby costs you money and a business makes you money.
You may have a lot of different directions that you can go with the products you sell. It’s tempting to try to create many unique products so that your shop could appeal to anyone, but the best strategy is to get specific with what your Etsy shop sells.
To narrow down your product offering, think about your target customer. What is the main demographic you are trying to sell to? For example, a business that sells gym equipment could consider “Men ages 30-55 living in the United States with household income of $50,000+” their target customer. It really depends on what customers you are creating products for.
This may seem obvious, but it can be easy to get so wrapped up in creating products that you forget about the person buying them. Think about the customer first in every aspect of your shop. When you develop processing times for products, protocols for handling customer concerns, listing descriptions, and even listing layouts, think about what would most benefit your customer. How can you best serve them through your Etsy shop?
This may mean it takes more work to get the perfect listing photo or you may have to work harder to have a shorter processing time. Meeting customer expectations is vital, especially with so much competition on Etsy. “Build it and they will come” is not the right mentality here.
Dedicate time to researching different aspects of owning an Etsy shop. Chances are, you aren’t well versed in each area. There are many free resources online on customer service, saving money on shipping (and how to ship things), taking great product photos, and other business advice.
Learning these things up front will help you when you face unexpected scenarios and help you to set your shop up to avoid some issues from happening in the first place.
I write blog posts with free business tips and resources very often. You can read them on the Taylor Walden Blog.
Copying another Etsy shop is easy. Rewriting their listing descriptions, shop policies, and recreating their products to mimic their success may seem smart, but in reality it will hurt you more than it will help you.
First, it’s someone else’s hard work that you are stealing. This is not a case where “imitation is the best form of flattery”. People have done this to my shop countless times. It isn’t flattering, it’s rude.
I used to get upset when other people would copy my products or my shop, fearing that I would lose business as a result. But I quickly learned that those businesses had little to no impact on my sales. It still gets on my nerves of course, but if you copy another business you are setting yourself up for failure from the start.
Why? Because the product already exists in the market place. Making an exact copy does not serve a new need because that need is already being met. The business selling that product has a reputation and is known for that product, that design, that idea already.
The better thing to do is to come up with your own idea, or take an existing idea and put your own spin on it. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Find an idea or a product that isn’t sold on Etsy, or find one that could be done better. And by better I mean in a completely different way.
Make your own mark. Come up with your own unique spin with your Etsy shop, your customer service, the products you sell, and how you do business. It will serve you well and take you much further than copying something that already exists.
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