girl in a purple tie dye shirt

How to Start an Etsy Shop & Market It

Do you have a creative idea or a hobby that you want to make money out of? Etsy is a great way to sell your products to a large market and get money sent straight to your bank account! People sell all kinds of handmade and custom products on Etsy, such as jewelry, clothing, shoes, toys, art, craft supplies, etc. I personally sell tie-dye apparel and donate to COVID-19 relief! A great perk from Etsy is that they sell you shipping labels for a cheaper price than if you were to ship items on your own. You can print them straight from the website and put it on your package!

Preparation:

Here are the few things you should do before you set up your first listing on Etsy:

  1. Take quality photos of your product: I suggest using a DSLR camera! But if you don’t have one, use your phone to take some good quality photos of your product from different angles. The photos will be what markets your product when people view your listing. I personally took photos of the product by itself, as well as me modeling it.

2 girls in the tie dye clothes Photo by Andrew Dinh

  1. Come up with a creative shop name: Think of something fun for your shop name that will represent you and your business. A lot of people like to incorporate their names into their shop names or the specific item that they are selling. My shop is called “Tie Dye for Hope” because I have butterflies on my apparel that represent hope for those suffering the most from COVID 19. You can also create a logo for your shop using Canva, which is very easy to use even if you don’t know anything about graphic design.
  2. Set competitive prices: Before you set up your shop, you should find other sellers selling similar products to yours and sell at a competitive advantage. A price set at a competitive advantage is a price that’s better and cheaper than your competitors’. Figure out the price beforehand, and take account of whether or not you want to charge for shipping as well.

Getting Started:

Create an Etsy account and set up a shop under “Shop Manager.” Upload your product photos and fill out all the information and details about your product before you publish it.

Here are a few tips and tricks to consider:

  1. Tags: Take advantage of the tags section. These are the keywords people search up to view your products. You can have up to 13 tags, so use all of them!
  2. Descriptions: Provide a detailed description of your product under this section. The more detailed, the better. For example, for clothing, you can specify the material of the clothing and provide care instructions. You can also add your social media and include it if it is “made to order” and a handmade product.
  3. Spreadsheet: Make a spreadsheet to track your orders and how much revenue you are making. Some things to include are expenses, labor time, and how many sales you have gotten.

Marketing your product:

Once you have published your shop, you are going to have to promote it to drive sales and traffic to your website. Here are some suggestions that have helped me out:

  1. Make an Instagram account: I suggest utilizing social media to promote your product because people are on it all day. I specifically suggest Instagram because it’s the best platform to promote your business using hashtags and connecting with other Etsy sellers. Some ideas for content that you can post are photos of your product, customers wearing/using your product, videos of your product, etc. Again, I suggest using Canva to make compelling posts and use hashtags like #etsyshop, #etsy, #smallbusiness, etc. on your posts. Make sure to put your shop link in your bio so people can have easy access to your shop! My shop’s Instagram handle is @Tiedyeforhope.apparel if you want some inspiration.
  2. TikTok: #smallbusiness has 8.2 billion views on TikTok and #etsyshop has 809.2 million views, making TikTok a valuable platform to market your shop. Make an account for your business, create compelling content, use hashtags and put your shop link in your bio for ease of access. I just made mine and have gotten almost 1K views on my first post on TikTok and Instagram Reels. I also suggest posting your TikTok to Instagram Reels and your Instagram feed to get double the exposure.
  3. School organizations: There are many organizations on campus that are promoting small businesses so look out for those and ask them to promote your products!
  4. Partnerships: Once you get some sales, you can also partner with other Etsy shops, Instagram shops and organizations to do giveaways or help promote each others’ shops.
  5. Analytics and Insights: Keep track of your Instagram insights to see how much traction you are getting weekly through hashtags, etc. I keep track of how many profile visits I get, how many website clicks I get, which types of posts are reaching more people and the number of people that I’m reaching on a weekly basis. This helps me adjust my content according to my insights and analytics! You can also look at the analytics on Etsy and where your buyers are finding your account.
  6. Promotions: If you have a little extra money in your budget, you should utilize the promotions feature on Instagram to reach more people.

If you were thinking about starting an Etsy shop, I hope this advice helped you! Feel free to DM me on my Etsy Instagram account (@Tiedyeforhope.apparel) for more advice and tag @hercampussjsu if you start your own shop! All photos shown in this article are taken by @dinhstant_photo on Instagram.