What is Etsy?

Perhaps you are already an experienced seller on an online marketplace like eBay and Amazon.  If you are, then you're aware that between these two websites, some items sell better on a particular site.  For instance, food and home goods, the type of stuff you would normally purchase at Wal Mart, should be sold on Amazon.  The used clothing, bundled lots, and things of that nature should be sold on eBay.

Etsy Logo

But now there's a new online marketplace that's taking the world by storm.  It's called Etsy, and it is dedicated to selling unique, crafty, vintage goods.  It is a platform that allows and encourages sellers to add their own personal flair to their items and listings.  Whereas Amazon likes to make everything uniform and the same, Etsy encourages it's sellers to be both creative and differential.

What are the Best Things to Sell on Etsy?

Let's put it this way.  If it has a barcode, don't sell it on Etsy.  If you can find it at Target, don't sell it on Etsy.

This is much more like a flea market type environment.  Antiques and obscure pieces that you don't see every day are going to shine here.  In addition, anything that could be used as a tool for crafts will probably experience some success, such as vintage mason jars.  Your collection of Bruce Willis memorabilia probably isn't going to have as many interested parties.


If there's something homemade and creative that your friends and family have been loving for years, whether it be your drawings, photography, bracelets, jewelry, or other creative decor, this is website that is going to push you to develop your own personal brand.  Have a unique touch, flair, style, whatever you want to call it, and you will be rewarded greatly for your efforts.  Remember as you browse the site, this is one of very few online marketplaces that is relatively untapped by big businesses and corporations.  Most of the successful Etsy shops are really just independent people.  They may have some friends and family helping them out if they are big enough that they're getting tons of sales daily, but we're still talking about independently owned businesses with that personal touch to them.

How Do I Sell Things on Etsy?

First, you need to have a regular account.  You can create a regular account in seconds.  You don't even need your address or much personal information, just an email address and password.  You can also login with your Facebook if you're into that.  With a standard account, you can browse and save your favorite shops, keeping an eye out on your wishlist of items for later.

When you want to start selling, you have to set up a shop.  At this point, you will need to supply your address, phone number, all that good stuff.  You will also need to provide a credit card.  This will be billed when you start listing items (it costs $0.20 to put an item in your Etsy shop.)  You also need to come up with a shop name, separate from your account name.  You are going to want to think of something that helps define you, "GoodProductsDirect" will not help you stand out.

After you have confirmed your seller account you are ready to start listing items.  Listing items is a bit of a different process than eBay.  You will need to specify if you actually hand made the item yourself, or if you are reselling something that a company made.  If it is something vintage or retro, you need to specify when it was made.  If you don't know for sure you can say things like "pre 1990", but this will not help your item sell as well as a specific date.

Learn More

Etsy-preneurship: Everything You Need to Know to Turn Your Handmade Hobby into a Thriving Business
Amazon Price: $19.95 $10.20 Buy Now
(price as of Jun 1, 2015)
If you're serious about turning your Etsy business into a full time income, this book will help you do it.

More Etsy Selling Tips

Here are a few more pieces of advice to help take your Etsy business to the next level:

  1. Pictures are everything on Etsy.  On a site like Amazon, the goal is for everything to be as "stock" and normal as possible.  You don't really need to upload your own pictures.  If you do not do have your own pictures on Etsy, you will never sell anything.  Not only that, but make sure you are actually taking good pictures.  Have good lighting, have a cool backdrop, and make any necessary edits to the picture.  Don't just snap a picture in your dimly lit garage with concrete floors- you aren't selling some tires on Craigslist, you are trying to advertise a unique product.
  2. The more details the better.  As outlined already, you want to make yourself look abnormal and stand out to have more sales.  In order to do this, you want to make your items seem far more interesting.  Don't just type out random crap for the sake of added length to your posting, but definitely mention anything interesting you know about what you are selling, especially if it's a vintage piece.
  3. If you are making homemade items and selling them on Etsy, then try to establish yourself as the best source for a specific niche.  You will have far more success being the #1 go to Etsy shop for a piece of bridal shower handmade jewelry than you will being in the top 50 wedding gift sellers.  It's better to be a really big fish in a small pond than a shark in the ocean.
  4. Send out samples of your item to big players in the industry.  Find some popular blogs about homemade items that are similar to what you are making to sell on Etsy.  Get the contact information of the writers for those blogs and websites, and send them some samples of your item.  If your product is good (which it should be) then some of them will write you a review with a link to your shop.  Not every blogger or website owner will write a review, so it's important to locate several well known and respected people in your niche.  Even if you only get 1 person to write a review out of 10 samples sent out, you may still end up with more orders than you can handle.  Better hurry to try and keep up with sales!
Etsy shop