How to sell on Etsy

Do you have a flair for illustration? Or spend your time knitting mermaid blankets and creating delicate jewellery? Whatever your talent, Etsy is the perfect platform for selling handmade goods. It’s certainly worth setting up shop there, as there’s a potential to reach both local and global markets.

Let’s take a look at how to get started.

What is Etsy?

Rather than a place to sell unwanted or used items, Etsy mainly focuses on selling unique, handmade goods. A marketplace for creative individuals and businesses, Etsy is the website to turn to if you want to market your own creations or sell vintage items or craft supplies.

Differing from eBay, Amazon and Depop, a sense of community and individuality surrounds the marketplace. There are already over 1.5 million sellers online, and over 20 million members worldwide.

The benefits of selling through Etsy

Etsy celebrates creativity and individuality, and you’ll reach a specific kind of audience selling through the website.

People flock to Etsy to buy unique, and sometimes even personalised, goods. It’s the place to find something different that can’t be obtained on the high-street, and the site attracts people who love and appreciate handmade goods. It has a reputation for high-quality, stylish products.

There’s no monthly commitment with Etsy, so as a seller you can add items when you choose. Simply set up shop and pay £0.16 for each listing. Listings stay active for a maximum of four months, only ending when an item is sold.

Thanks to the website’s ‘favourite’ feature, potential customers can add items to saved lists to revisit ata later date. As a seller you can see when users of the site have added your items to a favourites list, which can help you gain insight into which of your items are proving popular. This feature can be extremely useful for predicting what to sell around busy times such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day.

Etsy offers more analytical tools to help you track customer views and orders. You can find out more about this on their website.

How to sell on Etsy?

Setting up your Etsy shop isn’t difficult. To get started, head over to the website and click ‘Sell on Etsy’ in the top right-hand corner.

  • Create an account. Before becoming a seller on Etsy you must create an account. You can sign up with your Google or Facebook profile, or simply enter your details and create a username and password to register.
  • Create your shop. After your profile has been created, it’s time to create your shop. Firstly, you’ll need to select a language, currency and country for where your shop is based.
  • Name your shop. It’s time to name your shop. This is really important as your shop name is the start of your online brand.
  • Add a listing. After you’ve decided on a name, it’s time to add a listing. To do this, click ‘Add Listing’ on the screen and add relevant photos, prices, the quantity of items available and any additional details about your product. It’s also important to add keywords to your listings to make sure your products show up in relevant searches.
  • Automatically renew a listing. You’ll also have to decide if you want to automatically renew a listing if it expires.
  • Shipping options. Next, choose the available shipping options for your listing and decide on shipping costs.
  • Add your products. Continue to add your products as separate listings until you are ready to move on to the next step.
  • Pick a payment option. For the final step, you need to decide how Etsy will pay you. Once you’ve picked an option, either PayPal or directly to your bank, you just need to add your billing details and then your shop is complete.
  • Publish it. Once you’ve filled out all the required information, press ‘publish’ for your shop to go live.

There are certain restrictions when it comes to selling on Etsy. You can find a list of prohibited items here, and it’s also worth reading their ‘house rules’ that have been tailored specifically for sellers.

Is Etsy safe?

Buying and selling on Etsy uses a secure payment system, that allows you to use a wide variety of payment options, just like most popular online selling platforms. As a seller, it’s up to you to manage your payments, but if you do have a problem with a buyer that you can’t resolve yourself, Etsy do offer a Seller Protection scheme.

To use the scheme, your scenario will need to meet certain requirements, but if it does, Etsy will help you to find a solution.

Is Etsy free?

It’s free to join Etsy, but there are fees when you sell your items. There’s a 15p charge for each item you advertise, and you’ll be charged 3.5% of the sale price once your item is sold.

As well as this, if you use Etsy Payments, there’ll be a 4% + 20p processing fee to pay when you make a sale. It’s worth noting that the exact amount you pay in fees might differ according to the exchange rate too, as listing fees are charged at $0.20 USD.

You can find out more about Etsy fees here.

Hints and tips for a successful Etsy shop

Aesthetics mean a lot on Etsy, so make sure your shop front looks great. Spend some time branding your business and create an attractive header and logo to represent your store.

Photography has never been more important, too. You don’t need to invest in a fancy camera, but ensuring your photos are clear and styled well can make such a difference to sales. Think bright lights, attractive backgrounds and focused images. Etsy has compiled an entire handbook for sellers on photography, it’s a vital read if you want to increase your chances of success.

If nobody can find your items on Etsy, you’re going to struggle to sell. Selecting the right search terms can help your sales grow, and you can learn some simple techniques to help potential customers find your products. Etsy have written their own handbook on ‘How to Get Found in Search’, but the basics include using powerful titles, brainstorming keywords to ensure you use the best terms possible and selecting the most appropriate categories for your products.

Find out how to sell on other marketplaces, and take a look at our guides on eBay,, Amazon and Depop.