Tips for an Etsy shop!

In response to my Quit your Day Job Interview... I have brought together 10 of my top tips for running a successful etsy shop.

1. Invest in a banner that represents your company!  Don't start off your ventures with a frugal mind set on something as important as your banner. Even though etsy will offer you a free banner.. {don't use it } Remember your banner is essentially your store front. It should draw people in and invite them into your shop. When I see a shop that has an etsy banner.. I have to admit.. I think they must be a "hobby mom" not a real professional company. Unless you are a photo shop whiz... I say let the professionals do it, for about $25/30 You can have one made that looks professional. Here are a few of my favorites.

2. Post Items! - This might sound obvious... but you would be amazed by how many people have 5-10 items in their shop and wonder why they are not making sales. When people look at your shop, they are not only looking at the one item in particular that interests them.. but the entire line. Remember they can not touch and see your product in person... so the more samples you show them of what you are capable of, the better to build shopper confidence. Also... with the more listings you have, the more opportunity for exposure. Id say anywhere from 30 or more items is a good goal. I like to keep over one hundred... sometimes I get down to 80.... but I try not to let it stay there for very long. So keep posting!

3. Let People Know about your etsy shop!- Don't rely 100% on etsy for your buyers... break out your business cards, share your listings on your face book, twitter  or your blog. Part of having your own business requires creativity and ingenuity...for everyone it may be a little different depending on your target customer. Get acquainted with your target customer and how best to communicate with them.

Marketing/ Advertising: When I started PPP, money was especially tight... so I didn't advertise or market my brand. If I had.. I'm sure PPP would have benefited... but if the budget doesn't allow it.. there are other FREE ways.. that you can spread the word.

* Facebook: Face book brings in 80% of my buyers according to google analytics. That is a crazy chunk.  I load up all my etsy listings onto face book as I post, I announce to people when I will post on my status updates, I will post all my blogs on to face book... and get to interact with customers/friends. Face book is a no brainer for free marketing. 

*Twitter: I am hoping to utilize twitter more in 2012. I have to admit... I am not an awesome tweeter.. but try to post on there occasionally.

*A blog: Blogs are great... for bringing all info into one place... announcing sales... posting pictures and sharing news! Popular blogs are a great place to advertise as well... Sometimes you can even trade product for some advertising.

*Business Cards: okay.. so they really aren't FREE.. but nearly free. You can get super cheap business cards on Vistaprint... and you don't have to be all that tech savvy.  I find however.. that spending a bit more on your business cards does pay off.... currently I do a double sided card with models wearing PPP on each side.... I find that this is money well spent.

4. Good Photography- Okay.. I am going to embarrass myself for the sake of building up confidence in you. Take a look at my sales, scroll back to the very start of my PPP history. My pictures were awful. I would make something, try it on and have my husband snap a photo of me in it while standing in front of my couch. { don't do this } But over time.. I found that the more effort I put into capturing a "moment"... my clothing would really come to life. This is particularly important with clothing. Ask yourself the question... are you more apt to buying something draped on a hanger or a person? Sometimes.. I make items in a size that I have no model for... and I am forced by default to hang it on a hanger. While it will sell eventually... it will sit for a much longer time than the items that are properly modeled. It takes more time to organize a photo shoot and edit pictures, but I can assure you... you will see the difference.  Remember again, the customer can not touch your item, your photo has to sell it.

Another bonus to good photography.. is that your item may be admired enough to be put into a treasury which could land you a spot on the front page. The front page will bring tons of traffic to your shop... so don't bypass an important aspect of online selling.

5. Don't be an island- Find some etsy friends, build relationships, trade if you like someones product... they might become customers if they fall in love with your product. Often times they will help spread the word about your shop. Help other people, spread the word about other artists you admire..  don't just focus on your own success.. but be a part of others success too.

6. Make Quality Products not just quick sales! { this one really hits home with me } - I have bought several things on etsy that have fallen apart to my dismay .... They were poorly made... yet looked fantastic in photographs. The goal isn't just making a sale... by tricking someone with flashy photo skills... you want your item to be durable... and look even better in person. If you are making clothing, don't forget to double stitch edges, pre- wash fabric to avoid bleeding and make sure your fabric choices can be sewn together or have the same washing requirements, etc.  Of course you are human, not a machine.. and there will be mistakes made. A stitch may come un-done or a pin is left in the clothing {eeek. i have done that before, not just once, sorry } but stand behind your product.. and build a reputation for yourself based on integrity.

7. Be You! Dont try to be something you are not-   There are lots of popular trends that pass through etsy, you will see them over and over... and its almost as if.. people hop on etsy to find an idea of something they can sell. Wheres the quick buck mentality? I find that shops such as these do well for a short duration and then fizz out with the trend. Before you start a shop, be sure of who you are, what you are good at and what you enjoy making before you set out to make a business out of it. I oooooh and aweeeee over many things I see on pinterest. I have a board of all these "I want to make someday" things. Most of the time... when I attempt to make them, they don't turn out the same, they either fall flat completely or they metamorph into something different.  I have learned that I can only take my craftiness so far. I am not a jack of all trades.. I have to be honest with myself. I focus on what I know my strengths are: sewing and designing clothing.  If you are a jack of all trades... awesome! { im mildly jealous } ... however..if you are not... stay true to you!- being authentic is attractive and your customer will appreciate it.

8. Price your items fairly and realistically- This is a tough one.. and sometimes a hard pill to swallow. lets face it.. as an artist who works with their hands... is there ever really a dollar value that could compensate? Our items are not made in a factory... and there is a lot of energy that goes into making a product. For example... some people might think PPP is hugely successful based on my sales stats or at the rate of which my items sell... but monetarily... this isnt often the case.

You see:  I design lets say an oxy! Here is the process:
* I come up with the design
* I size it out based on inches
* I shop for the tshirts, flannels etc.. that would make cute oxys.. often time this takes several hours... picking through recycled fabrics at thrift stores.
* I wash all my items, cut tags off and get the ready to be sewn
* I sew my item
* I have my item photographed, which includes a few hours with a model at a location.
* I edit the photographs
* I measure the items again before I post.
* I post the item and give a description, enter shipping info,keywords, etc
* I post the item onto facebook, my blog and sometimes twitter
* Once the item sells, I package it up, with my business cards
* I transfer money from my paypal to my bank account
* I print out postage
* I mail my item out
* i file the receipt and do the bookkeeping for this sold item.

at the end of it all- I make $38- minus the cost of the flannel (3-4$) the tag, the business cards, the etsy  fees, the paypal fees.

Just because I did all of the above.. does not mean I should start selling oxys for $90- each. While I could ask that... I wouldn't sell them as quickly or at all. Be fair and realistic. What would you pay for this item as a shopper? You see.. your shopper is less concerned about how long it took you to make this item... they are looking from a buyers standpoint.. " is it worth the cost "? That is also why it is particularly important to enjoy the design process... expect to be underpaid on some level.

9. Keywords! You get 13 keywords to use on etsy to describe your item.. be sure to use them all.  These keywords help buyers find you, remember they have never seen your product before.. so essentially the best way to tag is to put yourself in a shoppers mind set.. what are they typing when they go looking for a dress? { some ideas: halter, sundress, long, maxi } etc.

For example:
These kids bloomers I might keyword: Pink, Ruffles,Boho,Childrens, Girl,OOAK { which means one of a kind}, eco-friendly,upcycled,recycled,sweatpants,bell bottoms,bloomers.... etc.

10. Persevere!- Dont be bummed if your new etsy shop is not an overnight success... it takes time to grow a business... and get your name out there! Stay focused and Do all your work { unto the Lord}... with great integrity and workmanship... and there is no doubt in my mind your efforts will soon pay off!

I hope these tips can help a bit.... if you have any more questions.. feel free to ask!


  1. Thanx for the great tips. I do have a question, which businesses would I hire to do an etsy banner? I don't even know where to start!

  2. These are all great tips! Thanx for sharing!

  3. thank you, thank you, thanks! it seems like every question i may have had has been answered (and with a swift kick in the pants to boot)! i'm ready to move from "hobby mom" to successful small business owner :-)

  4. oh wow.. great info~ much needed.... Ive increased my views and sells from some of your tips aswell as other top sellers thanks so much for continuing the inspiration process of love and encouragement.. it is a true blessing~

  5. Thank you very much, sometimes Etsy is like a huge nightmare in where I don't know how to begin selling,.... I'm also a horrible photographer,... I'll change that!

    Thanks again


  6. i am also curious who you reccommend for the banner info much appreciated...since i have had trouble joining your blog can you email me? my email

  7. thanks guys!

    Some people who do Professional Banners!

    another idea.. if you find a banner you really love .. ask the shop who made it... if you would like yours too look super cool too. usually people are happy to share and pass on business :)

  8. If anyone is interested in trading children's items or photography props for pictures let me know. I have two beautiful girls who are great models, 5 month old and a 17 month old. I offer quick turn around and will give you multiple pictures highlighting your item. If you need a model of a different age just ask.

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. If anyone is interested in trading children's items or photography props for pictures let me know. I have two beautiful girls who are great models, 5 month old and a 17 month old. I offer quick turn around and will give you multiple pictures highlighting your item. If you need a model of a different age just ask.