Have a quirkly scarf you like to crochet or images you enjoy painting and desire to sell some? Creating an Etsy online shop might be just what you need! Etsy.com lets you create a shop and list your items for minimal fees, so if you are a tiny business wanting to see if there is a market for your items or an established business desiring to connect with customers all over the world, start an Etsy shop!
Last winter while I mopped the animal hospital where I work part-time, I received inspiration to give some of the profits of my shop to non-profit organizations that help people transition well through life.
In March of 2015 Trees of Transition Art and Design launched into the world market with a couple of paintings, some pressed flower note cards and wall art, and a few other greeting cards. Now my site has grown to include bright nature photography on greeting cards and framed from places like Costa Rica, Michigan, and many other places all over the United States.
Several friends have asked me about how I’ve started this little shop, and now I’ll tell you more…
How do you start a shop on Etsy?
Think about a brand name, your shop name, and your policies. A brand name sets you apart, makes people remember you and your shop! A brand means a name, a logo, and sometimes a saying.
Your brand and your shop name can be the same, and make it reflect you, your shop’s values and mission. Why are you selling this?
Etsy has useful articles to help you think about your policies. Scout out other seller’s Etsy shops to see what their policies are like. Are you going to make the items beforehand or as the sales come in?
Next, research your market by creating an Etsy account even before you launch the shop, and explore the shops out there. Start following other people and shops you enjoy and might buy products from. Think about the questions:
Are your products already out there?
What makes you different?
Then come up with your slant, your passion, your shop!
My shop name sprung out of my blog’s name: Trees of Transition became Trees of Transition Art and Design. I desire to further my brand and have the blog and shop work together.
What do I need to start an Etsy shop?
A camera to photograph your items
A computer or access to one to manage your shop
A credit or debit card–starting a business banking account will keep your money more streamlined, but it’s your choice.
An Etsy account
A PayPal account (this is optional, but it opens you up to more business from around the world).
Connections! Make connections through business cards, talking about your items, giving some away, having social media devoted to your shop, and making positive impressions with your product.
Is it expensive?
No, you just need a credit or debit card to link the account to, and the only upfront fee is to list an item for $0.20 to be on your site until it sells or for up to four months
Then once you sell something, if you use Etey’s Secure Checkout, then you pay them 3.25 percent of the sales, or if your customer used PayPal to pay, then PayPal takes about 3.25 percent. So it’s not much.
Is an Etsy site hard to maintain?
It took me some time to write my policies and put those up, but it does not take much time now that it is up and running. I add new products as I develop them.
It’s helpful to look at and be active on Etsy by looking at other people’s sites, liking things, buying things, and favoriting shops to get learn more about the other great artists out here (i.e. competition 🙂 ) and get more traffic on your site, but that is optional.
Can I get help?
Yes! Talk to others who are on Etsy or who are starting a shop there. I randomly found an “Etsy buddy” who met up with me a few times a month last spring. We would drink tea and talk, then work on our projects for a couple hours. It helped me to know I had work on my shop which motivated me to work harder. I enjoyed sharing the new cards I was developing and the new stories of selling cards to my Etsy buddy. I moved away from that friend, but we still touch base once in a while. Having her around to encourage me and connect me with one of her Etsy friends helped me launch and grow my shop.
How has your business grown?
Well, it is growing slowly, but steadily. I started with about 20 items on my shop, and now I’m up to over 60. I’ve increased my items by adding framed prints and decorated 3-ring binders. First I thought I would sell dozens of pressed flower cards, but I’ve sold dozens of photograph cards instead and a couple of pressed flower cards! So be open to changing and going with the market that is there; adjustments are fine. I’ve sold to many friends, some family, and a few strangers.
Building community and connections, like on social media, adds to an Etsy shop. I’m still figuring out the balance between promoting and being annoying…it’s a fine balance, and I’m leaning toward mentioning it a bit and letting those who are interested come and those who are not to pass by.
The Practical Steps of How to start an Etsy shop:
-Brainstorm–Brand, name, policies, products, ways to advertise
-Research your market, competition, and other shops
-Photograph items–use bright light, place items near other things to show their scale, have fun!
-Explore Etsy for ideas to present your items and ways to tag items.
-Start a shop on Etsy–just follow their instructions.
-List your items, and then start advertising through email, social media, talk to people about it, and give products away.
This Etsy shop has helped me get back into giving donations again to causes I care about. I started with giving 10 percent of my quarterly profits, and now I’m up to 20 percent; I plan to keep on growing the giving along with the sales!
If you want to go look around my shop, check out https://www.etsy.com/shop/TreesofTransitionArt .
If you would like to start your OWN Etsy shop, please use this code to get 40 free listings to start a shop of your own (and I’ll get 40 listings too! So thank you. ). The code is: http://etsy.me/1RixVuO
If you have more questions, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I wish you the best as you embark on your journey into small-businesshood! After I excitedly told about how I love creating new cards, my Dad said about me tonight, “She’s definitely a small shop owner! And you come from a great-grandfather, a grandfather, and a father who did it before you.”
The future beckons with more photographs to be shot, cards to make, products to dream up…
Blessings on your journey!