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Opening an Etsy Shop: How I Started My Own Business

Wow I’ve been gone a long time! I bet you’re reading this like..what? She’s a blogger, why is she talking about opening an Etsy shop? My last post was back in March, right when all of the shut downs and pandemic hit. I can’t believe we are in October and we are still battling this. But don’t get me started on that.. Let’s talk about where I’ve been!

As most of you know, I’m a stay at home mom. Blogging and social media, (whether it be sponsored posts or writing for others) were my #1 source of income. When the world went upside down and we were basically in the unknown, so was my paycheck.

Most people couldn’t afford to pay someone else to write at that time- understandably so. And sure, I could still have accepted sponsored post offers that were made but… it felt wrong. I already was very picky about what products I promoted. Anytime you see a sponsored post from me, it’s because I already use the product OR was introduced to it and loved it. I didn’t want to become the person who accepts sponsored posts just because money was tight, ya know?

From the almost 6 months that my my shop has been open, I have learned quite a bit. And I get a lot of people who ask about opening an Etsy shop so I thought I’d share some helpful tips for anyone else who is thinking about doing it. P.s Many of these tips can also be applied to any online platform you plan to sell on!

How to start an online business, opening an Etsy shop

Before opening an Etsy shop, figure out what you want to sell.

I brainstormed many ideas of what I could do, but it all came down to what was most practical for me. My runner up idea was resin crafts- (thanks Tik-Tok) but to be completely honest…I didn’t trust my kids one bit to stay away from the drying projects and not cause chaos. So- shirts it was! Once you figure out what your product is (digital art, stickers, prints, home goods etc) you’re on to the next step.

Research is your best friend

I spent two months researching and coming up with a game plan. We bought all the tools needed (except for a heat press- my dad the MVP bought it for me when I shared my business plan) and opened up an etsy shop! Here are some things you may need to research:

  • What tools/supplies will you need to create your product?
  • Where will you order your supplies from? This one may also require a little trial and error. I’ve used some sites in the beginning of my business journey and now use ones that are more suited to my personal needs.
  • Do you know how to make the product or is it a new skill you’re learning? Research how to videos on YouTube.
  • How to make listings on Etsy- including tags, SEO and variations. The Etsy community is a great resource!
  • Will you be taking your own pictures or making mockups? You may need to research how to shoot a great product flat lay or learn how to edit mockups.

Branding

Branding is very important. It gives your shop a familiar feel so buyers know what to expect from you. You will need to create a profile picture and a cover photo for your shop. You can use any image editor you want, my personal favorite is Canva.

This was my very first shop cover photo..right now it is Halloween themed and I will be changing it when I put up my Christmas/Winter listings.

Also consider making your listing photos “aesthetic”…for my shop, I try to use flat lays that are bright and feminine. I also avoid super bright shirt colors like yellow, hot pink etc.

Shipping/packaging

When I first started, I wrapped every package in white tissue paper and brown baker’s twine, with a handwritten “Made with love, Mama Honey” tag. As cute as it was, it was very time consuming! So time is something you will need to consider to streamline your work process.

What will you ship your product in? A poly mailer, bubble mailer, box? What dimensions will you need and how heavy will your entire package be? A scale is great for calculating at home, instead of going to the post office. You can also print your labels at home too! One of the perks of opening an Etsy Shop is the discounted shipping rates.

What will go in the package? I include a thank you note, a coupon for their next purchase, care instructions and sometimes I will throw in a few, cute stickers to still make opening the package special.

Other tips when opening an Etsy Shop

  • People love free shipping and Etsy favors when shops offer it. When calculating the price of your product, add the shipping cost to the total price and then offer free shipping.
  • Look at what other shops (especially bestseller listings) in your niche are including in their titles- these are keywords that you may find helpful in getting in the search results.
  • Utilize your listing tags! These are also helpful in SEO.
  • Set work hours- just because you’re at home creating, doesn’t mean you need to be working around the clock.
  • Promote to your friends, social media etc- this expands your reach!

There are so many things to learn when opening an Etsy shop, but I hope this post serves as a starting point on your journey to opening your own. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!

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