If you’re a craft connoisseur or an artistic genius, selling the fruits of your labour has more than likely crossed your mind at some point. You could do it by word of mouth and local stores, but why limit your audience? Etsy shops and other online marketplaces are thriving with people worldwide looking for unique and handcrafted goods, but before you set up your shop, there are things to consider:
- What is Etsy and how does it work?
- Is your niche competitive?
- Do you have a brand?
- Is there an audience for your product?
- Does the product look professional?
- Is it worth it financially?
Once you’ve assessed all these things, we can get looking into how to set up an Etsy shop, so let’s get going…
1. What is Etsy and how does it work?
Etsy is the home of the crafter and maker online marketplace where creatives can sell their wares to the world wide web. It’s much like eBay and Facebook Marketplace, except it’s generally for handcrafted and vintage items.
It works in the same way too – just create an account, design and open your storefront and then start creating product listings.
There are, sellers’ fees of course, but these are minimal. It’s just 15p per listing in the UK plus 5% of the total sale cost when sold. There may also be payment processing fees if you choose to enroll in Etsy Payments.
No, let’s look at your competition online…
2. Is your niche competitive?
You may already have a selection of crafts you sell at local markets, but the online space is more competitive. It might be worth going on Esty and looking at the other sellers on there who create similar products so see what you should be doing:
- Check our four or five shops who sell the same or similar products
- Look at their ‘Items sold’ numbers and how long they’ve been selling
- Consider their reviews and what kind of branding they have
- Are their socials connected and active?
Doing all this will help you see how you can stand out from the crowd and might help you discover how to find your niche.
3. Do you have a brand?
You may not think this is an essential step right when you’re only beginning, but start as you mean to go on, right?
Deciding on the look and feel of your shop and branding may save you time in the long run when you’re far too busy fulfilling orders to get it sorted.
The basics you need are:
- A logo – go for something simple and two-tone for clarity and memorability.
- A colour scheme – make sure this matches the look and feel you’re after. Don’t go for random colours or something too similar to a competitor.
- Decent packaging and labelling – these can reinforce your brand look and feel. And they can show your care and that personal touch. Why not go for some handmade labels with a custom stamped logo on?
4. Is there an audience for your product?
Take a look at trending products and searches related to your product on Google Trends to see if there is an audience out there specifically looking for something you could create. Keep an eye out for break-out topics or search terms, and anything that has shown an upturn in searches – these are things that people are actively searching for. Maybe your storefront could help? Just don’t go too focused. For example, if you sell little ceramic figurines, don’t limit yourself to ceramic topics and keywords – widen your research by looking for all kinds of figurines – plastic, sculpted, and wood. Find out the popular themes instead, then tap into the market that way.
Top Tip: Make sure to use these topics, search terms and keywords in your product listing for maximum impact.
Next, you could look at Pinterest and the popular pins around your product. Check out where these popular items are up for sale and how many have sold. See if your listing can compete or if you need to break out and find a different niche. This is essentially a great way for you to see what’s popular and to assess how you can stand out.
Don’t take similar products as an indication yours won’t sell, plenty of things influence the buying decision these days, from brand principles to price, packaging to customer service. Just try not to be 100% the same as another storefront.
5. Does the product look professional?
So, you’ve got your brand plan, your logo, your product ideas all confirmed – there are only a few more steps to go before you’re ready to launch. But first, you need to test, test, test. Feedback is key after all.
You think your product, branding and packaging are all amazing, but you may be biased. It never hurts to get outsiders to look and assess what you’re offering, so put together a few products (including packaging) and ask your family and friends for their honest opinions.
- Mail them using different methods to see how the packaging holds up.
- If it’s a digital product, ask them to check they can open it on all kinds of computers, tablets and mobile devices.
- Ask if they think the quality of the product and packaging align.
- Find out what (if anything) they’d change
- Enquire what they’d pay for it
6. Is it worth it financially?
That last question for your family and friends is the big one – what would they pay for it? It’s no use going through all this and finding out you can’t make ends meet as you’ve priced it too low to cover your outgoings.
Consider what you’ll charge based on your feedback, research and your production costs and work out if it’s a viable product and idea.
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how you can start an Etsy shop and the things to think about before you do, including your brand, pricing, packaging and handmade labels. Now you go off and work out how to set up an Etsy shop using all this info as a guide.
Join the discussion!