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Top tips for starting out on Etsy

19 October 2013 2 Comments

Boasting over 400 members, the Brighton Etsy Sellers’ Team is a network of local designers and makers who share their experience through online discussions and monthly Brighton meet-ups. This month the group launched its brand new blog and here team leader Toby Oliver Dean, of Etsy shop I like CATS, offers his top five tips to anyone thinking of opening a shop on the platform.

Perspex dinosaur ring by Brighton Etsy seller

Be unique

Etsy is a huge online market place, constantly growing with literally millions of listings – make sure you’re creating unique, quality items that stand out. Start out with around six to seven items and take time to develop your products to be as good as they can possibly be. It’s great if you can test the things you make with friends and family, but try to push them to give you honest and constructive feedback. Choose realistic prices for the things you make and don’t sell yourself short!

Handmade earrings by Brighton Etsy seller

Build a brand

Create a brand around your products. Choose a shop name that represents not just what you’re selling but who you are as a seller – you don’t have to be too literal, the most important thing is to choose something memorable. When creating a logo and shop banner it’s important that they complement the products in your shop. The Brighton Etsy Team logo (which was created by team leaders helloDODO) is a perfect example of what you should aim for; simple, bright and versatile.

Bird crown ring by Brighton Etsy seller

Keep your products within a theme so that your shop makes sense and try to photograph them in the same way so that your shop front is consistent.

Hone your photography skills

Arguably the most important aspect of your shop is the product photography. Getting it right can take time but the end results are worth it. Good lighting is essential and natural light is best. Show all details of your products including close-ups, and where possible shoe them in use.

Choose props carefully; you want to emphasise your products without overshadowing them. Browse existing products on Etsy for inspiration and to get a feel for what works best.

Wooden dog necklace by Brighton Etsy seller

Make it real

Product descriptions are incredibly important when selling online as the customer isn’t able to physically see and hold your items. Things that may seem obvious may need more explanation, so describe colours, size, weight, materials, textures, scents and any special skills used in the production of the item.

Give scenarios of use; create a story around your products that will make people want to buy them and use descriptive titles using key words that people will search for – no one will buy your work if they can’t find it!

Lion print T-shirt by Brighton Etsy seller

Get social media savvy

Finally be sure to make the most of the benefits of selling online by connecting to your customers and potential customers via social media. With so many different options from Twitter and Facebook to blogs, Pinterest and Instagram you’re sure to find the perfect platform through which to build an audience.

Handmade bird brooch by Brighton Etsy seller

It can take time to gain a following; but if you keep posts interesting and engaging you’ll soon see your numbers (and shop sales!) go up. Joining an Etsy team can be a great start, and the Brighton Seller’s Team is always looking to welcome new locally based members.

Cat brooch by Brighton Etsy seller

All items featured created by members of the Brighton Etsy Sellers’ Team. Find out more at brightonetsyteam.wordpress.com

Start the conversation...


  • Lisa-Marie Nelson said:


    Great post with some useful tips – love the photo of the dog necklace with iced gems in the background, may have to steal this idea.

    I set up my Etsy shop – Make Mme Pretty Shop – just over a week ago and I have been really impressed with all the help listed on the forums from other sellers and team. Gutted I am not local to you guys as you seem really successful and Brighton is one of my fav places.

    I am finding social media is definately the best way to drive traffic to my site at the mo, and I have even started writing a blog – craftyrollsprettyvintage.blogspot.co.uk. Now following you though as I need tips for this area too – exciting times!

    Best wishes,


  • Five ways to make great connections through content - iCrossing said:

    […] and links to Vintage Brighton: The shop directory, markets and events listings and posts offering tips, advice and […]

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