18 Selling on Etsy tips


Selling on Etsy tips and tricks: Thinking of selling on Etsy? This handy guide will help you set your store up RIGHT when it comes to Etsy tax, promotion, packaging and more…

Paying tax on Etsy

Under 16? Then you don’t have to pay tax. Over 16, or don’t want to get caught out in a grey area? Check out the HMRC website, particularly their self-employed section.

Setting a price for your products on Etsy

Review other shops that sell items of a similar type, style, complexity and weight to yours. Use their pricing policies to figure out your own. Aim for a price that both you and your customers will be happy with.

Etsy payment process

Etsy take a small percentage of your product’s price as a listing fee. It isn’t much. In America, it’s around 20 cents to place a product on Etsy for about four months, and you can expect to pay about 4% of any sale made on top of that.

You will need both a bank account and a Paypal account to set up an Etsy shop so that you can receive payments and refund customers if necessary. To set up a Paypal account you’ll need a debit or credit card, and you’ll need an address and phone number. Paypal is considered by most to be a trusted resource – there are very few horror stories, and they are mostly to do with unscrupulous sellers (not you, obviously!) rather than the means of payment. When someone buys an item, Etsy redirects the customer to Paypal. The payment will appear in your Paypal balance and once you have over a certain amount you can transfer the funds into your bank account. Do bear in mind that Paypal can sometimes hold funds for a certain number of days, or until the customer says they have recieved the item and left positive feedback. You will receive the full amount + the postage you charge, and every month Etsy will send you a bill for all your listing fees for that month, which you can pay for using Paypal.

Packaging your Etsy products

How you package your Etsy products is really up to you. If your shop item is fragile, it’ll make sense to use bubble wrap so that it arrives at its destination safely. Many Etsy sellers like to draw attention to the handcrafted nature of their wares by taking care with cheap but bespoke packaging. You could include a business card, or write a personalised thank you on a nice but small piece of card, or wrap your items in pink tissue and throw in a bit of confetti… it’s up to you. At the end of the day, the customer just wants to receive their goods safely. Anything that brings a smile to their face when they open the package is a sweet extra.

Shipping, postage and packaging costs on Etsy

We suggest placing a limit on shipping anything heavy out of the country because the cost of shipping and insurance gets expensive very quickly.

Just remember that your Etsy prices need to reflect your postage and packaging. People ordering online expect to pay postage, so don’t cheat yourself by trying to do customers a favour by not requiring them to pay for P&P.

If you’re using recycled packaging, don’t charge more than the postage for the item – customers notice, and feel a little cheated.

Promoting your Etsy shop

Take care with your photographs. Go for good lighting and neutral or artistically thought-out backgrounds. A photograph is an incentive to buy and tells a story, so get a photographer friend to help out if required.

Keep your listings refreshed to get more views. More views equals more sales!

Check out who your competitors are, what they’re selling, what’s popular and how you can stand out.

If someone takes an interest in your work, be nice and polite and establish a working relationship with them.

Most sales on Etsy is self-generated. If you are not promoting yourself via flyers, inexpensive ads, and friends showing off what they bought or got from you (samples can work wonders), then you will not be very busy online.

Back up your Etsy shop with Facebook and Twitter. That way you can keep fans informed of your latest doings. Customers, friends and fans like to feel included as part of a community. A Facebook page can be a handy way to generate interest through competitions – and you can even get customer interest from people asking you for bespoke orders.

Consider hosting competitions. You have to give away product for free, but it needn’t be expensive – one product will do. It doesn’t have to be the highest-priced thing in your shop – it just has to capture the imagination. Ask friendly suitable websites if they will host your competition. Arrange competition questions that either point to your Etsy shop for people to find the answer to a simple question, or require the user to like your Facebook fan page.

The important thing is to realize it can take up to five years to have a steady flow from your art business. It takes time, a lot of promotion by you, and luck in finding people who want you to make stuff for them. There isn’t going to be a sudden overflow of attention, so you have time to work it in, keep it part time, and figure out your own pace.

Can you sell on Etsy if you’re not from the US?

Yes, you can. We’ve heard bad reports and also very good reports from UK sellers on Etsy. If in doubt, research Folksy and Froogle to see if they offer a more suitable alternative for what you want to do.

Etsy Selling Tips and FAQ

If in doubt… read the Etsy FAQ section.