How to Write Great Etsy Listings

People who buy on Etsy aren’t interested in meaningless, mass-produced goods. They want pieces with a past — something that has a story. Etsy allows sellers to enter an item description so they can tell the story behind their product.

Uncover your item’s story

Not sure what your piece’s story is — or whether it even has one? Fear not. Start spinning your yarn by answering a few questions:

  • What inspired you to create the piece? Mentioning your source of inspiration is a great way to get the ball rolling. If you’re a candy-wrapper handbag maker, maybe you got the idea to make candy-wrapper handbags while traveling in Mexico, where artisans craft all manner of items out of candy wrappers, including clutches, totes, and placemats.

  • How was the piece made? Indicating the skills involved in making an item can be an excellent way to forge a connection with buyers. Was it woven? Sewn?

  • Who taught you the skills you use to create your piece? Sharing how you learned the techniques you use to craft your pieces can be a great way to bond with prospective buyers. Maybe your great-grandmother learned the fine art of candy-wrapper handbag making and passed her skills down to you.

How to describe your item

It probably goes without saying that, in addition to including the “story” behind you and your piece, your item description must contain, well, a description of your item. Think about what questions buyers are likely to have about your piece. Then answer all those questions in your item description. Consider the following points:

  • What is your piece? Although it may seem obvious to you that your item is a handbag made of Snickers wrappers, to others, it may be less apparent.

  • What does your piece do? Does your piece have a function? Or is it for decoration only? Be sure to note this info in your item description.

  • Who is your piece for? Dogs? Babies? Men? On the flip side, who is it not for? For example, if it contains pieces on which an infant may choke, you should definitely note that in your item description.

  • How does your piece work? Does it have a clasp? Or buttons? Or a zipper? Do you tie it? Does it need batteries, or do you power it by driving a DeLorean equipped with a lightning rod past the town clock tower during a thunderstorm?

  • What color is your piece? Colors may translate differently on different computer monitors. Including detailed color information in your item description is a good way to bridge that gap.

    Be specific here. Don’t say that your piece is red when it’s actually scarlet, brick, ruby, cherry, crimson, or burgundy.

  • How big is your piece? To save your buyer from experiencing disappointment, include detailed and accurate sizing information about your piece. Avoid vague terms like small or large, and instead opt for precise measurements, especially if you sell clothing.

  • What materials did you use? Do you use organic cotton? Hand-dyed wool? Swarovski crystals? Wrappers from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? Whatever materials you use, they need to appear in your item description.

  • What techniques did you use to construct your piece? Did you knit it? Weave it? Sew it? This info helps tell the story of your piece and reinforces to buyers that you made it by hand. It also helps attract buyers who are partial to a particular crafting technique.

  • What does your piece feel like? Is it soft? Smooth? Slick? Rough? Nubby? Scaly? Prickly? Stubbly? Indicate your item’s tactile qualities in your item description.

  • What does your piece smell like? Does it have a scent, such as lavender or ylang-ylang? If it’s a vintage piece, does it have a musty odor? Does it come from a smoker’s home?

Compose your item description

You have a handle on the story behind your item, and you know what information your item listing needs to contain. Now it’s time to put the proverbial pen to paper and write your item description.

To make your item description as effective as possible, put the most important information about your item first. Putting important items first not only makes it easier for shoppers to quickly get the information they need about your piece, but also enables you to optimize your shop for search.

To keep your prospective buyer reading, use short paragraphs and bullet points. That construction is easier on the eyes than a gigantic block of text. Another way to break things up is to use subtitles. You can set these subtitles apart from regular text by using all caps or boldface font.

Consider this example of an item description that falls short:

Bag made of candy wrappers.

Size: Medium

We don’t know about you, but nothing in this description makes you want to buy the bag. Yes, the seller was brief — score one for her. But this description almost completely lacks any useful information! Worse, it’s as though the seller just can’t be bothered to tell anyone about her item.

Following is an example of a much more effective item description:

Bonkers for bonbons? Then this candy-wrapper handbag is for you. This colorful, eco-friendly handbag, carefully hand-woven using Kit Kat, Nestlé Crunch, and Snickers candy wrappers, is just the right size to carry a phone, wallet, and candy bar (of course).

I crafted this handbag, which can double as a makeup bag, using a technique I learned from my candy-crazy aunt. The handbag, which measures 22 centimeters (8.7 inches) across and 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) high, features a zipper along the top, as well as a color-coordinated wristlet for easy carrying. The use of candy wrappers gives the handbag a slightly shiny, reflective quality and a mild, chocolaty aroma.

This candy-wrapper handbag is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth!

Now, this description makes you want to buy this handbag, pronto.

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