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How to Sell on Etsy – Set Up a Shop Selling Jewelry, Crafts, Baby Items, Art & More

By Heather Levin

handmade jewelryIf you’re an artist, jeweler, soap maker, knitter, baker, or you simply have a house full of vintage items, then you might be in a perfect position to start your own business on Etsy.

If you’ve never heard of Etsy, you’re in for a treat. Etsy is a lovely online marketplace designed exclusively for people selling handmade and vintage items. The site allows people from all over the world to sell their homemade goods, and anyone, from stay at home moms to well-respected gallery artists, can create an account to sell their work.

Currently, Etsy has over 400,000 sellers, 7.7 million listed items for sale, and over 7 million customers. In 2010, the site sold more than $300 million worth of goods. Yowza.

I’ve long been in love with this site. I do well managing and budgeting my money, and I have zero interest in going to shopping malls. But Etsy? It’s my one serious weakness. I have over 500 items saved in my Favorites folder, and I even give myself a small Etsy budget every month just for splurging on handmade goods.

etsy screenshot

I’ve been buying quality clothing, jewelry, and contemporary fine art and paintings from the site for years. But I’ve recently started thinking about becoming an Etsy seller. I make homemade gourmet jam (one of my favorite home canning recipes), and I’d love to try selling it on the site come spring and summer.

If you make any kind of craft yourself, you might be interested in making extra mone on Etsy as well. So, let’s take a look together to see how to get started!

What You Can Sell on Etsy

The cool thing about Etsy is there are a ton of handmade things you can sell. Here are some examples:

  • Crocheted items
  • Soap, lotions and candles
  • Handmade clothing
  • Jewelry
  • Paintings, drawings, sculpture
  • Handmade furniture
  • Books and magazines
  • Vintage items 20 years or older
  • Quilts
  • Bags and purses
  • Baked goods such as cookies, cupcakes, bread, jam, etc.
  • Yarn and other supplies catering to the handmade/crafting crowd
  • Blown glass
  • Handmade paper items
  • Unique plants

As you can see, this covers a pretty wide range of items. The only thing you really can’t do on Etsy is sell brand new items, or any item made by someone else.

Sellers have online stores, just like you’ve seen on eBay. They photograph their items, list them on the site, and once an item sells, they ship it out. Shipping costs are always paid by the buyer.

How to Create an Etsy Seller Account

Setting up a Seller Account on Etsy is an easy, two-step process.

First, however, you’ll need to make sure you have a Paypal account, and a valid credit card. To get started, you have to enter your personal info here.

Next you need to enter your billing information. You will need a valid credit card so Etsy can verify your identity. However, once Etsy has done this, you’re good to go! You’re now an official Etsy seller.

Setting up your shop is going to take more time. You can create a customer banner for your Etsy store, and you’ll want to upload a picture or logo so customers can put a face or image with your shop.

You’ll also need to photograph all your items, and create a listing for each one. You’ll also need to insert “tags” (i.e. keywords), that will help customers find your items.

For instance, imagine you’ve just listed a turquoise necklace. You would use tags such as “necklace”, “turquoise necklace”, and “blue”, all which will help your item get noticed when customers search for those specifics.

You can find detailed instructions for setting up your Etsy shop here.

How Much Does It Cost?

Compared to online selling sites like eBay, the cost of selling on Etsy is very low.

For instance, Etsy charges just 20 cents for every item you list on their site and takes 3.5% of every sale. You’re billed at the end of each month for all of these fees. You can either pay with the credit card you used to sign up for your account, or through Paypal.

Support

One of the most amazing aspects of Etsy is the amount of support and the sense of community you get through the site. Etsy has a lot of helpful tutorials to help sellers get more exposure and earn more money. The forums are extensive and Etsy’s thousands of sellers will help answer any question you have about setting up your shop.

All in all, I feel it’s a wonderful way to earn extra money, especially if you have the time to invest in the initial shop set up (which will likely take a few hours). After that, however, your store works for you 24/7!

Final Word

Do any of you have an Etsy store? If so, what has been your experience with the site? Do you have any tips or suggestions to offer people who are thinking of selling on the site?

(photo credit: Shutterstock)

Heather Levin
Heather Levin is a freelance writer based in Detroit, MI. She's passionately committed to living green, saving money, and helping others do the same in their life.

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  • http://www.kennedyhandmade.com Ian Kennedy

    I have been selling Vintage Items and Handmade Silver Jewelry on Etsy for the last year and have been very pleased with my experience.

    I’m considering opening a couple specialized shops but the Google Shopping syndication for Etsy is still not 100% so I’m hesitant.

    Please check out my shop for quality Vintage Southwestern Decor, Art, Jewelry and toys:

    www.kennedyhandmade.com or kennedyhandmade.etsy.com

  • RB Boren

    I’ve known about Etsy for a few years, but it was only a couple weeks ago that I learned they had expanded beyond homemade crafts to include vintage stuff. I’ve been looking for more places to sell, and Etsy looks promising. There are very few Etsy sellers with what I have, and so far nobody is selling more than one or two here and there.

    So if you have vintage niche goods that Etsy isn’t offering, there is an opportunity for you.

  • Heather Levin

    @Ian, that’s great you’ve had success on Etsy! I checked out your shop and it’s awesome! Best of luck for your continued success. :)

    @RB, I know, I was really excited to see their vintage expansion as well. I have some really cool items that I’ve been thinking about selling on the site (mostly from the late ’70s, early ’80s). I love shopping at flea markets and think it’d be a fun way to earn some side income. Good luck!

  • pearl

    I’m a stay at home mom and recently opened an Etsy shop too. I have a long ways to go and alot to learn still. Wish me luck and don’t feel free to visit my shop at [email protected]

  • http://howtosellhandmadecrafts.com/ ItsHandmade

    Definitely learn as much as you can about using good keywords in your titles and tags. People need to be able to find you when they search.

  • http://www.moonfiller.com/ Taran

    I’m a stay at home mom and recently opened an Etsy shop too. I have a long ways to go and a lot to learn still.

  • http://www.moonfiller.com/ Taran

    I’m a stay at home mom and recently opened an Etsy shop too. I have a long ways to go and a lot to learn still.

  • Ashutosh

    problem is i m 15 years and i do not have an credit card

    • swizzmizz

      then you’re fucked. use your parent’s credit card, any decent mommy or daddy will support a creative business.

  • Sis

    im 14 years old, i live in mexico and i don’t have a credit card. Im interested in selling handmade hair bows, handmade jewelry and knitted hats and scarfs. Any help or ideas?

  • Ariel

    I’m a stay at home mom and I just opened my shop on etsy selling sugar scrubs and earrings. So far its been really slow but I’m hoping I’ll get the hang of it soon.

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