10 Etsy Sellers Share the Secrets to Building a Successful Online Store

We spoke to 10 strong Etsy sellers for their advice on how to build a successful online store. Take a look at what they had to say below and get ready to embrace your entrepreneurial side.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably binge watched Girlboss on Netflix by now. And if you haven’t, you totally should. The show is based on the rise of Nasty Gal founder Sophia Amoruso, who went from dumpster diver to eBay extraordinaire to owner of the fastest growing company in 2012. While Nasty Gal hit a rough patch late last year, they’ve since been acquired and will continue to outfit cool girls for time to come.

Amoruso’s story is just one of many that retailers can relate to. The industry has its ups and downs, but one of the biggest challenges, by far, is just getting a business off the ground. While Amoruso favoured eBay, many makers today turn to Etsy, a marketplace where shoppers can support global and local entrepreneurs, finding whatever their heart desires.

To create an e-comm store is simple, but to make it stand out in an oversaturated online world is a totally different story. We spoke to 10 strong Etsy sellers for their advice on how to build a successful online store. Take a look at what they had to say below and get ready to embrace your entrepreneurial side.

On SEO and making your shop stand out…

 

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Name: Allie Croza
Specialty: Concrete home decor
Etsy store: Your Pal, Al 

“It’s really important that you use as many tags (key words when someone is searching for a product) as you can when creating a new Etsy listing. Always include what material your product is, and your business name, plus anything from the colour, the technique or the style.  This will allow your product to be seen by more people.

You also want your Etsy page to look clean and visually appealing.  When a customer clicks on your shop, you really only have a few seconds to catch their attention.  It’s like when someone walks into a brick and mortar store, this is your (online) store.”[/column]

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[column size=one_half position=last]Name: Anna Eidt
Specialty: Turning dusty old china into wall decor with sass
Etsy Store: Lou Brown Vintage 

“Spend some time every month reviewing your stats. See which tags/listings are searched out most frequently and use that to guide your future listing descriptions and tags. You also want customers who click on one of your items to visit your entire shop and get lost there for awhile. To achieve this, try to establish a unified look. If someone clicks on your shop because they loved your ‘boho lace shawl,’ only to find a bunch of mid century modern lamps, they’ll be confused. Stick to a theme. Curate a cohesive collection.” [/column]

 

 

On pricing…

 

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Name: Lisa M. Terry
Specialty: Exotic wood home décor and macramé
Etsy store: Lisa Terry

“Setting cost is a tricky one! I did find a great tool on launchgrowjoy.com that calculates your time/labour and materials, and gives you an idea of what your wholesale and retail costs should be.” [/column]

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Name: Jordan de Ruiter
Specialty: H
andmade dresses and lingerie
Etsy Store: Jordan de Ruiter 

“Underpricing your products can be as detrimental as over pricing them. Your pricing should reflect the work and value of what you’re selling. If you price your items too low it may actual turn off potential buyers because they wonder what’s ‘wrong’ with your item. Don’t just ballpark your pricing! Do the math. I have an excel spreadsheet that I can just plug numbers into (labour costs, material costs, etc) and easily and quickly get my wholesale and retail pricing.”[/column]

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[column size=one_half position=last]Name: Paweena Amarin
Specialty: Modern leather and canvas wallets, passport holders, and pouches
Etsy Store: Amarin Collection 

“Market research is a crucial factor in determining good target pricing. Research will allow you to adjust the price accordingly to be more competitive with similar products. I also found it important to keep my pricing consistent throughout various platforms (online, direct market sales and retailers), so customers never felt discouraged about my pricing wherever they found my handmade items on sale.” [/column]

On photography…

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Names: Claire and Mike Clarke
Speciality: Timeless woodwork and home decor
Etsy Store: Hook & Stem Co. 

“Photography is the single most important part of any online business, It’s the only visual representation of what you’re selling. Customers have no way of seeing your product in person before buying, so the photos have to be extremely well presented. Bright, clean, clutter-free photos will help your business tremendously. We try to have one or two photos of the product by itself as well as a few lifestyle photos to show how the product is used in daily life. This lifestyle photo allows your audience to see how the product looks in a home or work setting that they can relate to.”[/column]

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Name: Jolynn Vandam
Speciality: Handmade fibre art and macramé (see top featured image) 
Etsy Store: Saige and Skye 

“Good natural lighting is everything. You don’t need fancy equipment either. I personally use my iPhone for everything. A quick edit always helps but don’t over edit!” [/column]

On promotion…

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Name: Lichia Liu
Specialty: Sweet cards and prints, punny Asian food illustrations

Etsy Store: Gotamago 

“Every time that you sell and ship a product is an opportunity to promote your shop! When we package an order, we always include a hand-written thank-you note and a little bonus gift, so that the experience of receiving the package becomes special in itself. It’s easier to get a past customer to make a second purchase than to acquire a new customer, and making a great first impression with your packaging is a smart (not to mention economical) way to convince your customer to return.” [/column]

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Name: Anita Bezanson
Specialty: Quirky cute cards and pins
Etsy Shop: Rhubarb Paper Co. 

“It goes without saying that social media is one of the best tools small business owners have. You don’t have to be good at every social media platform, but do pick one that you feel has your target customer base & you’re the most comfortable using. Keep your social media offerings consistent with how you edit your photos & the content you post. Get to know your followers, be genuinely interested in their lives & foster connections & friendships that go beyond your business!”[/column]

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Name: Malika Pannek
Specialty: Playful hand-painted stationery & gifts
Etsy Shop: Made in Brockton Village 

“Cross-promote your shop: When you do shows in the real world, let people know about your shop and before the shows, list them on your Etsy shop.

Share your work and your world on social media: People like to get an insight into how things are made and learn about the maker, so sharing work in progress, inspirations and interesting details about your work, workspace and yourself can help build your following.”[/column]

Do you have any tips for building a successful online store? Share them with us in the comment section.

Featured Image: Instagram/@saigeandskye

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