When I first started making jewelry in high school I did it as a hobby. I worked mainky with hemo or beaded jewelry and loved the whole "hippie/beach" feel. Several years had passed and right after my oldest daughter was born I decided to make jewelry and sell to friends. In 2012 I opened my Etsy shop but was so confused by everything and very hesitant about it as well. I left it abandoned till 2014 when MY second daughter was born. I decided to move my all over the place hobby from Facebook to a more professional set up on Etsy. I did my research on listings, shipping, wholesale, pictures, etc. Lets just say that it has been a huge learning process and I am still learning new things every week. Here's my key points to opening your first Etsy shop and what I have learned during my time on Etsy.
Before opening your shop you have to think that you are opening a store that people walk into. They want to see variety and a big stock. No one wants to walk into a store and see only 5 or 10 items. Most will just walk right on out. Less if they walk in and see that the only thing they saw was maybe a vanilla candle or the same style picture frame or just rings of the same color and style. Have variety and a good stock. I didn't think this way or even knew what I was doing when I first tried to sell on Etsy. I just opened it back in 2012, had 5 or 6 listings, and gave up. I didn't actually start selling on Etsy and actually doing work with it till the end of 2014. I didn't think it was going to take this much work so if you're willing to spend time on a shop and do everything yourself then go for it but Etsy is not a walk in the park. There's a lot of competition and a lot of other makers trying to do the same thing that you are doing but don't let this disappoint you. With hard work, determination, great quality products and a good stock and SEO you can be very successful.
Another thing to look into before opening shop is shipping costs, prices of your items, how to right your policies, listing descriptions, and SEO. I would take a look at some of the shops on Etsy's Top Picks and check out their shops. I'm not saying mimick another shop but see what different shops do to stay stocked, their policies, shipping charges, etc.
How to calculate your listing prices and shipping charges:
For shipping I usually include the cost of shipping labels, ink, paper, jewelry boxes, envelopes, bubble wrap, or anything else that you may need to properly ship the package and avoid damage to it. The cost of the jewelry boxes or certain things can be added to the item cost instead if you individually wrap each item. I say jewelry cause my shop is of jewelry but if you have a clothing shop you can add it to the shipping cost like clothing will all be mailed together. It just all depends on what works best for your shop.
For your listings I use this formula.
materials + labor + profit = wholesale price
wholesale price x 2 = retail price
I usually make a batch (like 10 necklaces or 20 earrings at one). I time myself and pay myself a certain amount. You charge yourself what you're comfortable with but keep in mind that you are the owner, the advertiser, the creator, and the wonder women/men behind the shop. I'm a one woman crew so I pay myself accordingly. Don't go paying yourself $100 an hour now either. Be reasonable. Do your research. After timing myself I will add up all the materials (boxes, beads, business cards, advertisement, etsy and paypal fees, any little thing that you use to make and prep your items for your customers), the time times the pay per hour and divide it by the number of necklaces I made. I then do a percentage for profit like 30%. I then add that 30% and get my total for wholesale price. Times that total by 2 to get your retail price. If you don't do wholesale feel free to do what's best for you and sell them at a more reasonable price. Also look at your competition. Don't undercharge your items just to get them sold. Most people will invest money on a good quality handmade item and will go for the more expensive item instead of the cheaper one cause they worry that it won't be good quality.
Your shop name. Find a shop name that's unique to your style. Something that has meaning to you or that you feel proud to represent your brand with. This is the name that people will remember you by. I picked Anabella's Jewelry for my shop named after my oldest daughter.
Another thing you may want to do is make an e-mail with your shop name. Make it easy for people to find your shop. I use google mail cause it makes it easier to manage all of my stuff. I use firstname.lastname@example.org for my items. Easy for my customers and followers to remember.
Once you have done your research and have your items it is time to open your shop (Click Here to get started). Once you open your shop make sure to enter all the information possible in your shop such as your "About Me" section, Shop Policies, FAQ, etc. Next step is to start listing. Now posting your items is not as easy as it sounds. I recommend you use all 5 of your photos, all of your tags, and a great title. Now your titles shouldn't be something like, "The Isabelle Necklace" (one of my necklaces is the Isabelle necklace). I always put specific things that a customer would put to find my necklace so I would put something like, "The Isabelle Necklace - Long Suede Necklace - Sea Glass Jewelry - Hawaiian Sea Glass - Aquamarine Beach Glass - Upcycled Jewelery." You can also type in the search bar on Etsy with a few keywords you might use to search for your item and it will show the most common searched terms. You can use those to put in your titles and your tags as well. Like for "sea glass" I can also use seaglass, beach glass, upcycled glass, surf tumbled glass.
Now you have a searchable title but you need some eye catching pictures. I usually use PicMonkey.com, Adobe Lightroom, or PicsArt to edit my pictures. Make sure they're not cluttered but not plain either. Add a touch of life to the picture like a small flower, a pop of color, or anything that looks good with your items. Like I have ocean inspired jewelry I use seashells, coral, driftwood, or any other small things that will bring some beach vibes to my pictures. Always fix your lighting and contrast on your pictures and make sure to always use natural light. Not direct sunlight but natural light. I've seen that natural light works best to get the best quality pictures. Direct sunlight takes away from the beauty of your item. Use all 5 of your pictures. I usually do the main picture of the item, two of the item from different angles, one of the item being worn or compared with a quarter, and one of the packaging but you can do whatever works best for you.
Description for your listings. Now this is describing your item. Tell a story about it, talk about the color and the materials you used. Tell the customer about the size and length of the item and how you package it. Don't put your policies on here or your shipping. Your listings automatically come with a tab for your shipping, policies, and other info. I also tell people to check out my "Shop Announcements" to see if I'm having a sale or a giveaway going on. I also refer them back to view the rest of my shop at the end of my listings. Don't just show them one item but show them all of your items. You can even refer them to your shop and a specific section (ex: Necklace section)
Next is shipping. I always have a saved shipping price so it'll be easy for me like all of my items weigh about the same. You can arrange these shipping rates by weight if it makes it easier for you.
Following your shipping is your tags and materials. I recommend to use all of your tags. I try to do the same thing I do for my title for my tags. I would use tags that describe my item and even try new ones such as beach jewelry, ocean inspired, shops that donate, etc. Play around with these and find what gets you the most views. You can check on your Stats section in your shop to view which tags and keywords people use most to find your shop.
Next is the materials. This is optional but I always use it cause it's easier for your customers to glance at the list then to read through your description to find out what types of materials you use for that specific item. Make your customers experience in your shop easy and relaxed. Always accept custom orders for certain items and messages to answer any questions your customers may ask. If you do receive a message answer professionally, kindly, and promptly. I always have it on my phone so I get a notification when I get a message so I can reply right away. It's best to catch your customers when they're in your shop then after they have left your shop and probably found another shop.
It truly is a learning experience. You will learn so much more as you go. Don't ever stop doing your research and always stay creative and unique to your shop. Find inspiration and play around till you find what works best for your shop. Follow this link to get your own Etsy shop started and get your first 40 listings FREE (click here).
About My Blog
Eco-Friendly travels around the US and the world with our family with hopes to inspire others to unplug and adventure the world.
Supporting brands that give back to our community and our planet Earth.
I'm a crafty explorer who loves the ocean, the great outdoors, animals, planet earth, and creating wearable art out of beach treasures. I love the beach, traveling, and exploring new places around me with my mermaid family. I hope you like my blog.