Etsy began in 2005, during a time when EBay and main stream retail stores dominated the internet. Amazon was on the rise, but E-commerce wasn't completely trusted by the public yet. It was still somewhat new and in it's infancy.
Etsy came to carve out a space for the makers to have in the new online environment. Since then Etsy has grown to over 1.7 million sellers, 32 million active buyers and over 45 million in products. It is safe to say that Etsy is now a MAJOR player in the E-commerce world and one that isn't showing signs of slowing or stopping. If you make something and want to sell it, Etsy is THE place to start. It is a way for you to quickly build sales, customers and feedback to grow your new online craft business.
So that sounds great, but where do you start? There are a few things you will need to gather and a few decisions you will have to make to get the ball rolling. Assuming you already know what you make and what you will offer you will want to start asking yourself who is your target audience.
Step One: Define your Target Market
Determine who will be your audience/customers for your new business. Ask yourself who would buy what you make and why? Think about what these people might like and not like. Later on you will learn how to create a persona of this audience, for now just have a general idea so that you can move forward with the next steps.
Step Two: Pick a Business Name
Choose a name for your new business. Try to shy away from "insert your name here designs" or "your name creations" as those are very generic and don't speak to any particular audience. You want to choose a name that will attractive your target audience but also something that speaks to your products and offerings. This name will follow you across platforms, social media sites, in marketing materials etc, so this isn't a step you should quickly move through. Take some time and think it through. Rebranding can be done if needed down the line but why go through that headache later if you can choose wisely now.
Step Three: Grab Your Etsy Shop name and Web URL
Check to see if the shop name you chose is available on Etsy. When you go to create an Etsy shop they will ask you for a name, it is possible your name is already taken (even if you don't see a shop using it, it could be from a past business or from a new one that hasn't yet opened) be sure the name is available on Etsy. If it isn't you will need to adjust the name you came up with. Sometimes adding a suffix to the name like shop, studios, and co, etc can help you keep the business name you picked out.
Check to also see if your name is available for a domain. If it is, I recommend purchasing the domain, even if you aren't ready to build a website, domains are usually less than $20 and it is something you want to hold onto until you are ready to build your own site. Even if you think you will never build your own site, you don't want a future competitor snagging your name, so just do yourself a favor and grab it before you even get started.
Step Four: Create Your Shop & Banking Preferences
When creating a new Etsy shop, besides creating a name you will need to give Etsy some other information to get started. Your shop preferences (country, language, currency), enough information to create one product listing and your bank information to be able to set up payment options.
Step Five: Brand Your Shop
Once your shop is created you will need to add a few things in to brand it, and make it enjoyable to shop from. This is where you will add in your logos, branded fonts and designs etc. This makes the Etsy shop now your brands space to sell from. It also will build brand recognition and consistency for viewers and shoppers in your store. The 3 main areas you can use to brand your shop are the Cover Photo area (banner), Shop Icon & Profile Picture.
- Cover photo – The Large Banner that spans the width of your shop at the very top. This is a space where you want to list your Logo, Shop Name and Tagline. Think of this space as the sign above your door if you were in a physical shop. You want your visitors to know where they are and what they can expect to find in your shop.
- Shop icon – This is the square space to the left of your shop just under the Cover Photo. This can be your logo or graphic from your banner, it can be a symbol or initials of your shop name, or maybe you have a mascot. As long as it is consistent with your brand image (same color, fonts, graphics images) then it will work!
- Profile Pic – The square to the right of your shop under the cover photo. This should be a headshot of you! It will be listed right over your name and I recommend a close up shot of your face with a smile! Think of this as you welcoming your customers into your shop.
You may not have these designed yet. If you are pretty decent with design work you can design it yourself, or hire a graphic designer to build a brand for you. I like to leave that part to the professionals, as your brand has a significant impact on your businesses success. If you aren't at a place to hire a graphic designer yet, you can design one for yourself on Canva.com using their pre-made templates which are already sized appropriately for an Etsy Shop.
Step Six: Craft an About Page
There is an about section in your shop, you will want to fill this with your story. It doesn't need to be a novel, but a short and sweet description about who you are as a maker, why you do what you do, what got you started, what inspires you etc....you will share this information in the form of text, AND photos. There is a photo slide show where you can upload 5 pics or 4 pics and a video....do this!!!
This is a space for you to showcase yourself and your product as a maker and a handmade business. Show photos of the tools and materials you use, your crafting space, and even photos of your family. This adds value to the products you sell, it further enhances the handmade charm and encourages shoppers to turn into buyers.
Step Seven: Connect your other webpages and links
Lastly there is a space to add in any links where your new business is represented. Add all social media pages you are represented on like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter etc . This is the only section within your Etsy shop where these links are clickable and is a great way to get your customers to follow you on your other online platforms. This is also the perfect spot for you to add in links to your blog or website.
Following these steps will get the structure of your new Etsy Shop started, you still have many other areas within the shop to add to and tweak but this will get your store built and ready for you to add products into. Then you will need to set a launch date and hold a grand opening for your new handmade e-commerce business!