How to start an Etsy business: A step-by-step guide


Has it ever crossed your mind that you can turn your hobbies or passion projects into a business? If it has, and you’re thinking of a platform where you can sell your products online, you may want to check out Etsy.

Collectors and supporters of small local creators are more likely familiar with the platform, but for first-timers who have only encountered the term on the web or not at all, this may be something new. For the latter, here’s a quick 101 before you set up shop.

What is Etsy?

Founded in 2005, Etsy is an e-commerce platform featuring vintage items, handmade goods, and craft supplies. Think of Etsy as a Sunday market or a hidden side street in the city where the stalls and shops are filled with custom, handmade products made with love. However, unlike these physical places, Etsy gathers creators from all over the world online.

Things to think about before starting an Etsy shop

Are you dreaming of becoming an Etsy seller? You need to come up with a solid plan to hit the ground running. Check out this list of things to consider before opening an Etsy shop.

Products to sell on Etsy

Although the sky’s the limit with the types of products you can offer, it’s best to consider what sells best on Etsy. Your safest bets are products that fall under the following categories: handmade, vintage, or crafty.

1. Handmade

These go beyond crocheted tops or pottery. Any item you create with your hands can fall under this category. You can even produce handmade products on Canva like printed t-shirts, hoodies, canvas, and mugs.

Tip: To have designs created on Canva printed without the extra hassle, avail of Canva Print. We’ll have your work produced in bulk and delivered right to your doorstep.

2. Vintage

Got something that’s two or more decades old? That’s considered vintage. So, if you have boxes of antiques at home or a collection of trinkets you found at a closing shop that you think deserve a home, consider selling them on Etsy.

3. Crafty

If you don’t have artistic skills but have good taste, you can opt to sell supplies that’ll aid in others’ crafts. Examples are DIY sewing kits, party supplies, and even beads and buttons.

Brand name

Picking the right name is crucial. It can make or break your business because it’ll determine how searchable and relevant you will be to potential customers. Keep in mind what you’re going to sell, how unique you are from your competitors, and how easy your name will be to remember. In this case, name generators can be an excellent help for inspiration. Ensure that you’re top of mind when customers look for a gift for themselves or others.

Assets needed to build your brand

Once you have your name, the next step is to create branding essentials such as icons, cover photos, stickers, and labels. If you need ideas on how to make assets, head on to Canva to explore thousands of templates you can freely customize.

1. Shop icons

Icons are Etsy’s version of brand profile pictures. For your Etsy shop icon, remember to include your logo and, if possible, brand name.

2. Cover photos

Your Etsy cover photo is the elaborated version of your icon where you can write down your complete brand name, tagline, and photos of your products.

3. Stickers

Make adding your logo and brand name to your products more efficient and effortless by creating and utilizing stickers. These can be part of your Etsy packaging or given as handouts or freebies that come with your item.

4. Labels

Labels are a bigger version of stickers where you can include details like social media pages and a shipping address. If you’re in the US, Canada, Australia, or the UK, you may opt to print shipping labels on the Etsy platform for a certain fee. If you’re outside these areas, it’s best to create shipping labels beyond Etsy.

Tip: Create your online and offline assets on Canva to achieve brand consistency.

How to start an Etsy shop: A beginner's guide

Once you’re ready, it’s time to open your shop, starting by creating an account. Here’s a rundown of the steps on how to set up an Etsy shop:

1. Sign up and create your account.

Create an account by entering your email, name, and password. You may also opt to sign up using your existing Google, Facebook, or Apple account.

2. Choose your shop preferences.

In the “Shop preferences” section, set your default language, country of origin, and currency. You also need to indicate whether you’re planning to sell on Etsy full-time or part-time.

3. Input the name of your shop.

Type the name you want for your shop. If it’s already in use, Etsy will offer suggestions of similar shop names you may want to consider.

4. Create a listing.

You’re one step closer to selling on Etsy! Once you’ve named your shop, you can start listing your items. You can create listings for all your products in one go, or you may also opt to add just one product and then continue with the rest once you’ve done setting up your shop.

Tip: Want to touch up your photos or edit your videos? Canva has a built-in photo and video editor where you can brighten, clean up, sharpen your images, and add music or animations to your videos.

Fill in details such as the product name, categories, the material, theme, type, description, tags, pricing, and more.

Tip: Create variations of your products if you want them to pop up on both general and specific searches.

5. Fill out shipping details.

Add your preferred shipping settings, including the shipping methods you want to use, costs, country of origin, processing time, and more.

6. Finalize payment and billing options.

The last step involves selecting your payment preferences. Indicate your type of business entity and choose how you want to receive payments for your sales. Payment options on Etsy include checks, money orders, or PayPal. You can also pick Etsy Payments, a simplified payment process that accepts credit cards, debit cards, Apple Pay, Google Pay, and more.

How to market your Etsy shop: Tips and tricks

Finished preparing your products and setting up your account? Great! Now that you know how to open an Etsy shop, all that's left is ensuring your listings reach more customers by promoting them on platforms outside Etsy. Read on for tips and reminders that'll aid you in marketing your products.

1. Fill out possible spaces on the listing page.

Don't forget to include terms relevant to your merchandise that are helpful to customers when it comes to the nitty-gritty of choosing which to buy. Being specific will help make your product more search-friendly and more likely to appear on someone’s search results.

2. Take advantage of social media.

Post videos showcasing your products, photos of people using your merchandise, or announcements of your current and upcoming sales. Feel free to create social media marketing materials such as Facebook posts and Instagram reels using templates from Canva.

3. Re-post your listings often.

Etsy considers the date of posting in its search results. This means that new products get more visibility, and it’s why you must repost your listings on a regular basis. Maximize the benefits of Etsy’s Auto-Renewal tool. For only $0.20 per product or item, it bumps up your listing and gets it to rank on the top of a search page.

From coming up with goods and knowing how to sell on Etsy to promoting your brand, you've got all the tools and information you need to start an Etsy business. From us at Canva, we wish you all the luck on your venture and are cheering you on as you build your e-commerce empire!

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