How to Become a Successful Etsy Seller
Etsy is a beautiful playground of handmade accessories, jewelry, tools and vintage goods. Many makers have found incredible success selling their wares there. But creating, curating, customizing and maintaining a successful shop is an art all its own.
We wanted to know what it takes to rise above the rest. So we chatted with featured artists Anastasia Gerali, owner of shop Love from Cyprus, Kayla Jurgens of Fox and the Fawn, and Marissa Mele of Maroozi to tell us how they have managed to succeeded.
When you’re ready to start your shop, just go for it.
Start making products and getting them ready to sell. If you get hung up on the little things like a logo, business cards, etc., you’ll miss the point of starting your shop which is to earn money by selling products you make. I’ve seen a lot of businesses think that they need to have every little business thing ready for launch, and they forget that in order to stay in business you need to make sales. With time the other things will fall in place and hopefully you’ll have some capital to spend on all the business things you need. – Marissa, Maroozi
Focus on photography
When you’re ready to put your products up online, make sure that you have the best pictures possible. People make their decisions on the quality of your product photos, so you might want to invest in a good camera or do some photo editing to get high quality photos. Take photos of your product from different angles, do a closeup shot, include a photo of your product packaging. Each Etsy listing can have five photos included, so use all of them. I’d also recommend targeting keywords in your Etsy listing title, description and tags. Use Google’s Keyword Planner Tool to research keywords related to your product. I’d also use Etsy’s search bar to see what word people are using to search for products like yours. The Etsy Help page has a lot of great resources for how to write your products’ copy as well as marketing tips and tricks for their platform. – Marissa, Maroozi
Photography is key when you are selling products online. The less photoshopping you can do, the better. You want to be true to your customer about what they are purchasing, and the picture is just as important as an accurate description. For styling your photo, choose a style which is easy for you to maintain when photographing new products. Use natural lighting wherever possible, and use a style or ‘visual language’ that represents your brand and product. If you are a goth brand, don’t photograph your leather studded belts on a girl wearing a pink lace dress walking a poodle. Your brand language has to be consistent in all you images. – Anastasia, Love from Cyprus
Create something beautiful for your fans and
constantly improve based on feeback
I try my best to create a product that is really beautiful, and am constantly improving my quality based on my buyers feedback. Most of my sales are repeat buyers, and as you know, it’s easier to sell a new product to an existing customer, than trying to get new customers constantly. My aim is to create a long term relationship with my lovers (thats what I call my customers / followers) and keep creating things that I love to share. I am a real person, and not a cog in a big-brand machine. I am one woman running my business, designing, posting, replying to emails. I don’t hide this from my lovers and I think a lot of them are young women that identify with me and my style. – Anastasia, Love from Cyprus
Get pricing right from the start.
Really do your research, know how much your product costs you, and price it right, after researching the market too. I unfortunately did not know much about pricing, and was also insecure to price my products fairly. This left me in debt, and also left my early customers upset when I raised my prices. Be clear about your goals. Do you want to make a living, or just something on the side. Consider if you will be wholesaling your products too, as this will also affect your pricing. – Anastasia, Love from Cyprus
Don’t take things too personally.
Sometimes you may get an angry email from a customer, but you need to understand that online shoppers sometimes forget that designer/makers are normally one person multi tasking all the different roles of a small business. – Anastasia, Love from Cyprus
Don’t be too over protective of your work.
In every industry there will be people that copy you, hopefully badly. The challenge is to stay ahead, make sure you are offering more value and stay true to your vision. By default, nothing we do or see is ever a first any more. For everything you’ve done, or created, there is someone else in the world who may have thought of or made the same thing. It’s a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg? Keep creating, keep evolving and time will weed out the weaker links. – Anastasia, Love from Cyprus
Make use of social media and
I don’t pay for advertising because I simply don’t have a big enough budget to compete with larger retailers and brands. I use social media to promote my brand. It also gives my lovers the opportunity to interact with me and tell me what they like (and don’t like). I use Instagram, but this is not to say it’s ideal for everyone. Do your research and use the channels that your target market are using. Maybe LinkedIn or Twitter is better for you if your target is business professional, or Snapchat if they are teens. – Anastasia, Love from Cyprus
Flea Markets and Craft Fairs are a great way to get your name out there in your local community. Social media platforms are another great place to market your business. I use Instagram and Pinterest for my business marketing, but I’m not afraid to use my own personal platforms to get the word out about my business and products. I would choose your social media platforms wisely. A big mistake I see people make is that they try to be on every platform and that just isn’t sustainable. You’ll end up doing an ok job on many platforms instead of a great job on just one or two. My Instagram is my main platform where I’m actively posting and Pinterest is my secondary platform. If you check out my Instagram, you’ll see that it isn’t just photos about my products. I am my business. It’s just me running it and most likely when you start out, it will just be you too. Because of that, I have chosen to use my business page to post not only about what I’m making, but also about me. I’m a yogi so I connect with my tribe on Instagram. I’ve found that I don’t have to actively sell on my Instagram in order to get sales. People will buy from you because they know you and like you. Don’t be afraid to let people see the person behind the business. Especially in the handmade market, people want to connect with the person who made the product, so show people who you are. – Marissa, Maroozi
Add that personal touch.
It is all about the perceived value of your product. If I just shipped my product with no insert and no gift bag, it’s just a product in an envelope. The person won’t be excited when they open their package. As you can see in the picture below, receiving a package like this is much nicer and prettier. The little touches make all the difference. I also include handwritten thank you notes to thank my customers for choosing my Etsy Shop, I also include a coupon code for them to use on any future orders and a gentle request to write a review if they feel so inclined. – Marissa, Maroozi
Lay out your policies so there is no confusion.
Make sure that your Shop Policies are completely filled out and that you explain everything fully. Each of your Etsy listings will also have a section to put in your processing times for fulfilling your orders. Make sure to be as accurate as possible. I ship my items out between 1-3 business days, but if for some reason I’m out-of-town or it’s a custom or bulk order and I need more time to complete the order, I make sure to notify the buyer immediately and let them know when I will be shipping out their items. Communication is key when you’re selling online. The moment I get an order from Etsy (which if you get the Etsy Sellers app on your phone, you will hear a little cash register “cha-ching” sound), I send the customer a message letting them know that I got their order and that I have begun working on it. I also let them know to keep a lookout for a shipping confirmation email which will let them track their package. You can buy and print your shipping labels right through Etsy and this will automatically trigger a shipping email to your customer with their tracking number. Respond as quickly as you can to a customer and thank them for their order. Unfortunately, once you put that package in the mail, it’s out of your hands. Generally, you won’t have any issues or hiccups but from time-to-time you will. I actively watch the package as it is on its way to my customer. If I see that it might be delayed, I message the customer and let them know that I have my eye on their package and if need be I will contact USPS to see what the status is. Etsy also allows you to offer shipping upgrades like Priority and Express which buyers can choose for an added fee in the checkout process. This is a nice option for customers who need their items quickly. – Marissa, Maroozi
Stay true to who you were when you started your company.
I think a key to success is to stay true. Stay true to yourself, your style, and your business model you wanted from the start. – Kayla, Fox and the Fawn
Don’t compare yourself to others.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Build yourself and your brand based off *you*. Don’t compare numbers, stats, followers, likes, and all that noise. Produce what you love & “hustle” and the rest will follow. – Kayla, Fox and the Fawn
More about Anastasia, Kayla and Marissa