For specific directions about each step of your shop set-up, a good resource is “Starting an Etsy Business for Dummies.” It is available on Amazon.com at the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Starting-Etsy-Business-For-Dummies/dp/0470930675. It is also available on Kindle and Nook.
Setting Up Shop:
1. Go to www.etsy.com. If you already have a membership as a buyer, this account will serve as your account for selling too. You can skip to step #2. If not, you’ll need to create an account.
Click on the link to Etsy. Once you arrive at the main page, you will see a menu bar above the picture with categories, “Art, Home & Living, . . . More.” Hover over the word “More.” A drop down menu will appear after a second or two. Click on the words, “Sell on Etsy.” Click on the blue button to open your shop. A sign-in box will appear. Click the tab which says, “Register.” You will be asked several questions for your personal information. Some people use their real name, others use a nickname. Then click the blue button register.
2. If you are already a member as a buyer: First sign into your account. In the top left hand corner of any page will always have the Etsy menu bar. Click on the tab that says “selling”. Then it will give you the option to start a shop.
3. You will then be taken to your shop set up page. Nothing is set in stone. You can always edit you shop name later, change your banner picture, etc. Everything is flexible.
4. About Page: Write a sort introduction about who you are and how you got started. You can write as much or as little as you want. However, as of the end of January, Etsy requires all shop owners to give some kind of information for customers to read. Many times, customers connect with you or your shop from what they read on your profile. Whenever I find a shop I like, I always read the profile information before making a purchase. Why? Because I am nosey. LOL
5. Greeting: You can add a welcome message, announce sales, announce coupon codes, or tell your customers what will be happening in the near future.
6. Banner: I began with a simple picture I found on the internet. Think of it as the wallpaper on your shop walls. No wallpaper equals white, boring, paint. Put something that expresses a connection to your shop.
You can also search for other shop owners who create pre-made banners for as little as $8-$12. I purchased my banner kit through a shop owner and friend who also has Fibromyalgia. Robyn is a graphic designer and creates wonderful items for scrapbooking as well. Her website is www.etsy.com/shop/RobynGoughDesigns. You will get any files purchased from her in an instant down loadable PDF. You simply follow the instructions to download the file and then add the banner pic to the banner box from your file as you would any other picture.
7. Move to the top right hand corner of the page. Hover over the words, “Your Account.” After the drop down menu appears, click the word public profile. This is the first page that you should concentrate on completing.
8. To choose the settings for your shop, go back to the upper right hand corner and hover over the words, “Your Account.” Click on the word “Settings” in the drop down box. Enter the information in each tab. Remember, to select the notification alerts which go to your email. If you don’t want to be flooded with alerts each time someone likes an item or begins following you, change those settings.
9. Shop Appearance: To go back to your shop page, go to the upper right hand corner of the page. Click on the words, “Your Shop.” This is where you add a shop picture, the shop, name, a description of what you sell, and a welcome message. You can edit each of these items by clicking on the word, “edit.”
Remember to tie your theme back to your products. Using your name or a play on words is often a way to help customers remember your shop name.
10. Listings: Click on the box which says, “List an Item.” This first listing can be a template for the rest of your listings. If you list another item which is similiar, it is often easier to Copy the listing and modifying the listing rather than starting from scratch. Listings can always be edited. Don’t worry if you made a mistake.
Each listing costs $.20 and remains active for 3 months. Some sites charge monthly maintenance fees. Etsy does not. When a sale is made, etsy does take a small percentage of the sale, but it is very little overhead compared to the service provided. Writing listing descriptions and shop policies will take the most time. Whatever you want to sell, look at your competitors. Read their descriptions of similar items.
Give as much information as possible. Describe your items by explaining the type of materials you use, the color, size, weight. Suggest uses for your listing. Give as much information as possible. Use descriptive words.
11. Photos: One photo per item is the minimum. However, people like lots of pictures. You can post 5 pics max. Photograph in natural light. Electric lighting sometimes turns photo yellow. If necessary, photograph outside. If you need to use a photo editing program, pixlr.com is free.
You may want to invest in a higher quality camera if you do not have one. I started out using my camera on my cell phone. I soon realized that the pictures did not show the detail of my soaps well. For a $100 investment, I was able to purchase a decent camera from http://www.walmart.com. Remember, a camera is part of your equipment for your shop. It is a tax deductible expense. Alternatively, you could also ask a friend to help you. You could exchange goods or services in exchange for their time and expertise.
Show your items from as many angles as possible. Using a white background often helps your items be seen more clearly. Here is a short video to help you build a light box. The creator of the video shows simple materials and steps to create a better setting for photographing your products.
12. Shop policies: Again, look at your competitors. I was at a complete loss how to start. Find several examples from very successful shops for policies and listings. This should give you a basis to start writing your policies. Think about every eventuality. What will you do if a person is not happy with a product? Under what circumstances will you issue a refund?
13. Tags & Materials: You are allowed 13 tags and 13 materials. Use them wisely. Tags should include words which help customers find your shop both on Etsy and when they do a search the internet. This is sometimes referred to as search engine optimization (SEO). Find a few listings of succesful shop owner. Scroll down to the very bottom of the page. A few words are listed across the bottom in boxes. Write these words down and use them as a starting point for your tags.
14. Payment and Shipping: I accept both Paypal and direct checkout (major credit cards). Etsy acts as the platform for clearing the transactions. I never see the customers payment details and refunds are literally a click of a button. I find more people use direct check out than Paypal, but I keep both options open. I never accept checks. There are too many ways to go wrong with check fraud. Never ship an item until the payment has cleared.
Shipping can be tricky. However, you can go to usps.com and use the shipping calculator to estimate shipping costs and buy shipping labels on-line. I use flat rate shipping as much possible since Etsy has a feature where you can print and pay for shipping labels from home. It is convenient, but sometimes the postage for non flat rate shipping is sometimes wrong. My husband takes those directly to the post office.
I do participate with international shipping. Etsy promotes shops who have both domestic and international shipping options available.
16. Bill Pay: Most shops start with a $50 bill payment limit. You can make a manual payment with your registered card. I feel more comfortable paying $10-15 at a time rather than having $50 taken out of my account on the 1st of the month and sometimes forgetting about it.
At the end of every month, Etsy provides a shop activity statement. You do not need to be concerned about writing down every transaction. Just print off the statement and keep it for tax purposes.
Once you have several items listed, you are ready to open your shop.
You are welcome to check out my shop at https://www.etsy.com/shop/JuliesSugarSoaps to view my shop policies, listing descriptions, and pictures. I welcome any questions you may have.