Overview of How to Start an Etsy Shop: Here’s What You Need to Know

When you’re looking for something unique that’s handmade or vintage, one of the first online sites you may think of is Etsy.com.

Etsy is a pioneer in the handmade e-commerce market and started its global online marketplace concept in 2005.

Buyers can choose among millions of successful Etsy shops to find the unique products they are looking for.

These products are made by a community of individual sellers, manufacturers, and professionals that know how to be successful on Etsy in selling their one-of-a-kind items.

successful Etsy shops

Source: Etsy

Starting an Etsy shop can prove to be a gateway to a steady stream of income. Some of the most popular Etsy shops have even made close to six figures a month in the process.

So are you ready to learn how to open an Etsy shop and how to increase your chances of being one of the many successful Etsy shops?

This article will guide you through the basic steps you need to know, and teach you how to set up an Etsy shop so you can start selling your handmade or vintage goods.

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What People Want to Know about Starting an Etsy Shop

The following list offers insight on some key concerns potential sellers have when inquiring about starting an Etsy shop:

  • What advice is there on how to open an Etsy shop?
  • Where can you learn how to set up an Etsy shop? 
  • How much does starting an Etsy shop cost?
  • What tips can owners of successful Etsy shops share on how to be successful on Etsy?

How to Start an Etsy Shop

Set Up an Account

Starting an Etsy shop for the first time will require an Etsy account. If you ever purchased any items on Etsy.com, then you already have an established account. If this is your first time using Etsy, set up your account by clicking the Register link at the top of the homepage for Esty.com.

After reviewing and agreeing to the Etsy Privacy Policy and Terms of Use, fill out the online account registration form to create an account and set up an Etsy shop. The form will require a valid and unique email address.

You can also provide your first and last name, although these fields are optional. You can choose to add only your first name, initials, or go by a nickname. You can also use your Etsy shop name to represent you. However, successful Etsy shops often provide the owner’s full name to build trust among customers.

Choose a unique username, which is a crucial component of starting an Etsy shop. You cannot change your Etsy username, so make sure it’s one that you will want to use to represent your business when starting an Etsy shop.

Your Etsy username cannot have the word “Etsy” in it, and it must be void of profanity, racial slurs, symbols, or spaces. Your Etsy username is limited to 4 to 20 characters.

After choosing your username, create a password that is unique. Etsy recommends using a password that is longer than eight characters  and has a mixture of lower and uppercase letter, symbols, and numbers.  To reduce the risk of identity theft, choose a password that is different from your social media, banking, and email accounts to reduce the risks of identity theft.

After completing the initial registration for your Etsy account, Etsy will send you an email confirmation. Click on the unique link provided within the email to confirm your account.

Once you click on this link, you will be redirected to Etsy.com. Here you can click the Sell on Etsy link at the top of the page to open your shop, begin your journey, and develop your Etsy shop.

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Open Your Etsy Shop

Click the Sell on Etsy link on the top of the right-hand side of the page. You will have to sign into your account with your password and username if you are logged out. Pick your preferences by selecting the currency, country, and language ideal for your shop.

Pick the name of your shop by choosing a unique name that is 4 to 20 characters long and free of any racial slurs, profanity, special characters or symbols. Successful Etsy shops chose memorable names that correlate with their brand image. Also, you can’t create a name that will encroach on another person or company’s trademark, as not to mimic other successful Etsy shops’ names. Additionally, no other existing Etsy member can have the same name.

Etsy can help you with creating a shop name. The site automatically suggests alternative shop names if the name you choose is already in use by another Etsy user. That way, you don’t have to waste too much time creating a shop name when you can start selling and pursuing the title of a successful Etsy shop. Once you create your shop name, you are officially ready to start listing items for sale on Etsy.

List Items

most popular Etsy shops

Source: Listing

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Stock Your Shop By Listing Items

Now that your shop and account are set up, you are one step closer to having a successful Etsy shop. You can now sell your items by listing them! Both physical and digital items can be listed in your shop. Click the Quick List link under the Your Shop drop-down menu. Select the Add a Listing link on the right-hand side of the Quick Link drop-down menu.

Add Images of Your Items

Having high-quality photos are one of the key features to becoming one of the most popular Etsy shops. Etsy suggests that your image be optimized for web and mobile use, and that the measurements be between 800-1000 pixels wide, as anything over 1000 pixels in width may not upload correctly. The height measurements of images can vary. 

The first picture you upload to your shop will default as the thumbnail for the listing. However, you can change the order of your images by dragging them right or left of one another. High-quality photos are the first impression your potential customers will see of your product, so they are essential if you want to run one of the most successful Etsy shops.

Finish Adding Listing Details

Your product listing now needs a title and other descriptive information, so the next step will be to fill out the listing details. Pick a title that describes your product in 140 characters or less. When filling out the product details section, you must select whether the item you are selling is a craft supply, handmade, or a vintage item. Items that are 20 years and older are considered vintagage, according to Etsy.

The category section will allow you to select subcategories. For example, successful Etsy shops that use the clothing category for their handmade dresses, select women’s clothing and dresses as sub-categories. Etsy also allows you to list items that you have made with the help of an outside manufacturer. However, you must apply for approval before having access to list these items.

Decide and pick the price of your items in your preferred choice of currency. You can also add sales tax and list multiple quantities of your item.

For each item listed, you will be charged a $0.20 (USD) fee, which can be automatically renewed for listing at the same rate if the item does not sell within four months of listing. This price is the same across the board, from someone starting an Etsy shop to someone that has had a successful Etsy shop for years.

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Pick Variations

If your item comes in different varieties, you can select the variations by clicking the Listing Variations link. This is your chance to list items by different colors, sizes, flavors, dimensions, or other differentiating factors. 

You can also skip this step if you don’t have multiple products or an assortment of the same product, but it is best to do this if you can, as most successful Etsy shops do have this option.

Pick Your Shipping Price and Details

You can also create custom shipping options for your products. The site allows you to set up a shipping profile at a later time if you want to save these shipping options. But first, pick your shipping rate. Etsy can calculate shipping if your item is being shipped from and within the United States.

Otherwise, you can manually add your shipping costs. Finally, select your shipping size and weight, any fixed shipping costs (if you’re creating shipping costs manually), the country your item will be shipped from, and the time for processing the order.

Select Your Item’s Search Terms

Selecting the terms buyers will use to search for the item that you are selling is important for optimizing your Etsy shop. Pick tags and titles that are descriptive. Etsy allows you to choose up to 13 tags. You can consider using the materials, size, shape, or how your item is made for your tag selections.

How to Start an Etsy Shop

Image Source: How to Start an Etsy Shop

Think of common keywords that shoppers look for when they are searching for your item. Some of the most successful Etsy shops use search engine optimization or SEO as a tool for making sure their items can be found. For example, you may want to add the category of your product in the product title for improved search optimization.

Publish Your Listed Items

Now that you’ve completed the main listing features and shipping options, you can publish your item. However, make sure you preview the product to ensure it meets top standards by clicking the preview link.

This option provides you with the same view a buyer would get when browsing your listed item.

Publish your listing by clicking the Publish link. Etsy will charge you a fee for the listing when you’re ready to publish, which will appear on your Etsy bill. If you’re not ready to publish your listing, click the Save as Draft link.

There are no limitations on the amount of drafts you can create, and drafts don’t expire.

Make Your Listing Go Live

Once you publish your listing, it will go live, and you have completed the guide on how to open an Etsy shop, and now you can focus on having successful Etsy shops.

However, it can take up to 24 hours before you see the listing in search indexes. The good news is this long time frame is not common, as the normal time frame of live listings is within minutes of publishing your listing.

how to open an Etsy shop

Source: Selling on Etsy

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Keep This in Mind When Starting an Etsy Shop

Set Up Costs

When starting an Etsy shop, you can expect to pay some start up fees. Although Etsy doesn’t charge a fee to register an Etsy account, the company does charge a $0.20 fee (USD) for each item listing. Keep in mind that your fee may be different if you are using a different currency.


Your images are a major selling point on Etsy. Some of the most popular Etsy shops use high-quality pictures in their listings. You want to make sure you style your images so that it is relatable to your audience and relevant for the image of your brand. Not doing so will result in difficulty to becoming one of the most popular Etsy shops.

The more clear your product photo is in depicting the product, the higher chance your product will sell. This will increase your chance and goal to become one of the most popular Etsy shops.

Market! Market! Market!

Just because you build the site, doesn’t mean customers will come or that you will be one of the most successful Etsy shops.

First, customers must know that your shop even exists. Some of the most successful Etsy shops owe their success to marketing. Check out some tips from the most popular Etsy shops:

  • Market your product on social media, via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter to help you draw in customers when starting an Etsy shop.
  • Consider joining an Etsy community or attending a local event to promote your product and brainstorm with other owners of successful Etsy shops, like Nafsika, to gain insight on how to sell your product and optimize your store.
  • Think like a buyer and use keywords they would use to shop for your products.

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Final Thoughts

Starting an Etsy shop doesn’t have to be difficult. If you want to be a part of some of the most successful Etsy shops, it’s critical to make sure you follow best practices.

When you learn how to set up an Etsy shop, you can monetize your hobbies and possibly turn it into a viable full-time business.

However, to be included as one of the most successful Etsy shops, you want to prioritize learning how to start an Etsy shop.

By following this basic tutorial for starting your Etsy shop and by following tips from some owners of some the most popular Etsy shops, you can start successfully selling your craft supplies or handmade or vintage items.

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