10 Tips for Etsy Sellers - dummies

By Kate Gatski, Kate Shoup

Running an Etsy shop — even if it’s just a hobby — is no small undertaking. Organization is critical, as is offering top-notch customer service. Check out this neat, concise roll call of ten terrific tips for Etsy sellers. Drumroll, please!

[Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Milenko Bokan]
Credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Milenko Bokan

Have a place for everything

Nothing is as frustrating as trying to find just the right bead, button, ribbon, or supply when you have 11 orders breathing down your neck. Do yourself a favor: Get organized! Figure out the best way to store all your supplies, both for your craft and for your business. First, sort all your supplies by type or color. Then stash everything in a place where you can easily find it.

In our experience, clear boxes with labels are the only way to go.

Save time with twosies

Don’t waste too much time looking for the scissors, and then tracking down the tape, and then wondering where the heck that marker went. Save yourself a ton of time and aggravation by buying many, many multiples of oft-used supplies.

Our advice? Head to a discount store and knock yourself out. Get a dozen pairs of scissors, a zillion rolls of tape, and lots of whatever else you need. Live a little!

Organize your paperwork

Even if it’s just a shoe box, have a place to stick all your business-related receipts, whether they’re for crafting tools, packaging supplies, or what have you. Then have another place for your other paperwork — invoices, bank statements, and such. Tax time is tough enough without having to sort through all that stuff at the eleventh hour!

Use what you discover from other Etsy Shops

Before you start selling on Etsy, buy a handful of items from a handful of sellers. Pay attention to the way each seller communicates with you, the packaging he uses, how long it takes for her to ship to you, and so on. What are other sellers doing right? Where can they improve? Then put what you learn to work in your own Etsy shop.

Offer service with a smile

No, your online customers can’t see you. But that doesn’t mean you can cop an attitude with them. In fact, even though you’re “out of sight,” your lousy outlook will ooze into everything you do.

On Etsy, it’s all about customer service! Offering service with a smile is a good way to ensure that you get a smile in return.

Network, network, network

Networking is a wonderful way to grow your Etsy business. Whether you’re interacting with others in the Etsy community or just going about your day, make it a point to connect with people. Ask questions. Coax those you meet to share their stories. Offer to help others. Engage in the kinds of behaviors that let people know who you are; what you’re about; and, eventually, what you do.

Keep a blog

If you’re serious about your Etsy shop, consider starting a blog. A blog can serve as an excellent marketing tool to help you grow your customer base. Blogging is a great way to share tips and ideas, and you can even run contests and giveaways. Plus, a blog is easier to maintain than a newsletter, and you can add to it any time.

Popular blog-hosting sites include Blogger, TypePad, and WordPress.

Learn to say no

As an Etsy seller, you’ll almost certainly be inundated with requests for freebies, donations, and discounts. You know what? It’s perfectly okay to say no to some or even all of these requests. Pick and choose. Say yes to the requests that make you feel good and that are good for your business; to everything else, say no.

Never give in

Take a lesson from the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never.” Although Churchill uttered those words in an attempt to galvanize the British against their foes, they apply equally to Etsy sellers: If you have an idea for a product that you love, never stop pushing yourself. Never stop developing and finessing and improving and learning and changing and working hard.

Have fun!

You’re not out to change the world here, one beaded necklace at a time. Selling your work on Etsy should be fun! Do your best to maintain perspective. Chortle on the inside when a customer requests a gum-wrapper purse made entirely of Clark’s Teaberry wrappers, and enjoy yourself!