Why Every Designer Should Have an Etsy Shop


As a designer I’ve always been asked how I make money with passive income and one big way I and many designers make money online is by selling our artwork, this is an easy way because you can do this in-between projects and it will not take a ton of your time. So I decided to write this blog post on how I do it and why you should do it. Important Tip: A great way to sell is for you to extract parts of a project and repackage or make minor tweaks and sell it. You’re welcome :)

I personally have a minor success on selling on Etsy so I wanted to focus on this famous platform and why we designers should look into putting our designs (especially the rejects) on it and sell them.

What you can learn from this post

  1. Things you should know before you start an Etsy shop
  2. Pros & Cons of Etsy
  3. Do and don’ts on Etsy
  4. Tricks and tips on how to maintain a shop on Etsy

So let's jump into it!

Things you should know before you start an Etsy shop

There are a lot of things I figured out in the process of setting up an Etsy shop and over time, the hard way with trails and errors. I have listed the top three things to consider before you make your shop go LIVE.

ONE: Research

Whether you are selling digital products or physical products, research is super important. One thing I’ve learned in my entrepreneurial journey is “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Have a strategy, do your research on google images, Pinterest, google web, Esty and other online stores.

Ask yourself the following questions when you research.

  • Is my product in demand?
  • are there are similar items as mine?
  • if yes, who is selling them and are they successful in doing it?
  • if no, research on how they are marketing it and do it differently.
  • if you don't see anything like your item, think why is that like that?
  • Will your product meet a need if they are up for sale?
  • Will your potential customers be able to visualise the item before they buy it?
  • Do you know your product at the back of your hand? like do you know the investment you need to have in making the product and how much time would it take to make the product and how much will you be able to charge the product to make a profit.
  • Will someone be able to buy it if I put it at that price?

The answers to the above questions will determine if you should go ahead with your product idea on etsy.

TWO: Finding your Niche

All business on planet earth are targeted to a specific audience. You should have a clear idea of who your audience are and you should always keep them in mind when you make your products. By identifying your niche, it helps you determine the direction your business is going to take.

Ask yourself or think about this

  • who is your target audience? What will their age and sex be? What is their occupation?
  • why would they purchase from you?
  • What sets you apart from other people they follow?
  • How will your target audience find you? What are the social media platforms they go to? are they on Etsy?
  • How will you spread the word to your target audience? Referrals or word of mouth?


This is super important to consider when you start a shop.

How much time are you willing to devote to your shop? If you do not have enough time to spend on your shop to maintain it and to create new products, trust me you will fail to succeed in it.

Successful Etsy shops are regularly maintained, whatever the sales are and new products keep being added to the shop.

You may ask what does that mean, arpi?

That means that you will require your time and effort to create and click quality images to showcase your products that are to be sold. A successful etsy shop owner has a shop that is well maintained and has up-to-date announcements and welcome notes and  they reply to messages from customers promptly.

You need to have a well-crafted description of each product and strategically choose the right keywords or tags for each of your products. You will know that a lot of thought has gone into writing those descriptions, policies, guidelines and about me pages.

Well, if you think this is it.

Think again.

After you create a shop, you will have to run the shop. That means checking in on the shop regularly and answering to conversations and making changes in listings and being involved in forums, checking shop stats and to see if people are actually visiting your shop.

  • You will have to regularly view shop stats and ask yourself
  • What are the keywords that your audience typed and landed on your page?
  • What are they clicking after they come to your shop?
  • are people going around in the shop?
  • What do you notice about your traffic?
  • Is there outside traffic coming into your shop?

Other things to consider/do:

Test Drive Your Product: You do not want a new customer to look at a poorly designed product or something that is difficult  to use. Researching and developing the product with detail is key. Homework: If you have some products that are ready to be sold. Test them out with your friends and family and ask them for feedback. Tell them that you need honest feedback and be prepared for the critics.

Branding Yourself: Take some time off or hire a designer to make good-looking high quality banners for your shop. Your potential customer’s first impression goes a long way. Let your branding speak you! Let your message be clear and clean and be at point on that. Homework: Make a banner with colors and just use two fonts. Put in your shop name and a tagline (only if you have one). I used canva to do my shop banner. Canva is good to begin with!

Time Management and Scheduling: There is a lot that goes into creating a shop online. Some of the activities take longer than expected. You need to have the right photographs, edit them, have some FAQs ready, and write product listings. Homework: Try to set a schedule for your business and include some extra time for all the unexpected time-consuming activities that just pop up from nowhere. and plan it properly and don’t stress out

Custom Orders: Consider creating custom orders since you are a designer, it should be easy for you. Again if you are thinking of this, consider how much time you will be taking and how much extra you will charge the customer (It is completely fair for you to charge a little extra). Homework: Try one listing for custom orders and see how it works around your schedule. if it works out well add more listings and if not, well, at least you tried.

Now lets see the ups and downs of having an etsy shop.

PROS & CONS of having an etsy shop


Good Reputation: Even if you are not a part of any craft or art community/business you will have heard of etsy in some way. be it through blogs, TV or magazines. This means you will have a ton of traffic already ready for you to buy your products.

User-Friendly: Listing an item in your shop is like a breeze. Choose your title, price, add in the description upload the pictures and add in a keyword and you are pretty much done.

Huge Community: 25 Million people visit Etsy shop in a month. It is a humongous community, filled with designers, entrepreneurs, creatives and more! There are always people with whom you can relate with and you will have an audience that will listen to you.

It is international!!! The best part. There are people from all over the world who are ready to buy your products.

Interactive: Etsy has integrated social media and favorites feature into their system. This means you will receive feedback from people who don’t even buy your product. This also encourages viewers to stay longer on your page which increases your conversion rate.

Digital Products: As designers, this is a huge advantage for us. Etsy is set above eBay in this aspect. If you created patterns or graphic images, Etsy will allow you to sell it.

Pretty Cheap: Etsy is relatively cheap when compared to other online digital platforms. be it selling or buying. The fee for listing is pretty cheap compared to the ROI you get out of it. and it is even cheaper when compared to getting up your own e-commerce website. But there is a disadvantage to this which we will talk in a while (see cons).


Whether you like it or not, there is no platform that is perfect *sign*. These are a few things you should watch out on Etsy.

It is crowded. It’s popularity can be a downfall for us as sellers because we get lost in the crowd and the market is highly competitive. One of the first things we do as designers are, is to look for other ways to make money by using our skill and I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but there are more sellers than buyers on etsy.

Pricing: This might be the an easy way to set up a business for many but it still costs and you need to know before your get your feet wet. Especially if you are from outside of USA, you can show your own currency in the listing but you will still have to accept payment as USD which PayPal normally charges a conversion fee and on top of that Etsy will charge you a fee of 20 cents for every item and 3.5% of the selling price when an item is sold.

HTML: Etsy does not allow HTML :/ Some may categorize this as a Pro but I’ve put this in the Cons because you cannot do more with your shop, other than a custom banner, which makes your shop look less professional and can be easily forgotten by new visitors in my opinion.

Forums: Sad but true! the forums on Etsy are slowly being filled with ads on their own listings rather than genuine conversations. Self-publicity has become very common these days.



Sign up on Etsy: If you have a shop or not. Do sign up because it has an amazing community and It is one additional place where you can spread the word about your product

Organize items into boards and favorite them: It is similar to Pinterest and it is fun!

Conversations: Start a conversation related to your product or your niche or if you are facing a problem with something, you can ask it in the forum, someone somewhere will have the answer to it.

Subscribe to Etsy Finds: they mail you these amazing emails where you can find inspiration on your products which will help you build a better product.

Sign up for Seller protection program: If you are a seller on Etsy, you should consider this program. Etsy assures that your account will not be affected if a buyer reports any problem in the transaction.

Etsy Gift Cards: You should buy a gift card if you have trouble finding a present for your friends and family, they are more likely to find something they love in the wide range of Etsy products. But, note that if you do not use your card for 30 days, it will be canceled.

Forums: Browse Etsy forums. As designers, there are a lot of ways you can help in terms of designs and ideations. Jump into these forums and make friends.


Buy from shops that have no reviews: Although some shops may be new and need to time to build their audience and have reviews. It is safe to buy from shops with reviews. But, if you really like a product from a shop, start a conversation with that person and take it forward from there. NOTE: You can confirm that they are legit if they respond timely and answer all your questions.

Blurry Images: Blurry images a turn off for many online users. Put the best quality photos because pictures speak a thousand words. and if you are a buyer, you can ask the seller to send some good quality pictures to you.

Etsy username: Do not have your username as Etsy. It will be rejected and usernames once submitted cannot be changed. So be careful when you choose your username. However, you can change your shop name in the future, but it is a tedious process.

Personal Information: If you are a buyer or seller, when having a conversation, you should not share any personal or confidential information. Questions about social security number or credit card or any sensitive info should raise red flags to you.

No response from seller: After you purchased your product and did not receive it or if you have trouble with your item, contact the seller first, and if they don’t respond don't worry or be angry. instead try some other ways like Etsy’s case system or contacting support.

selling or buying offensive items: Whether it is buying or selling, do not do offensive products and products that are racist or gender-discriminating.

Treat everyone with love: Since Etsy is keen in giving everyone a good customer experience and gives a great community. Always be careful of what you say to each other. If there is a discrimination there is always a way to solve the issue. remember a lot of people are reading it and can lead to negative rating on your store.


  1. It is all in the username: Try to keep your username and shop name the same
  2. Branding your shop: When branding your shop, make sure that your logo and color theme for your shop is consistent throughout the shop, like example., let your logo be as a watermark on your product photography.
  3. Pictures: Esty only allows up to 5 pictures per item so make the most of it and add all the 5 pictures to your product description. don’t just put up one picture and wait for sales to happen.
  4. Listing: Don’t put up all the items in one go. Start listing 5 on your first day and everyday you can put up one item at a  time. This way you can appear on your followers news feed everyday
  5. Start building a good relationship with the Etsy Team: Since they talk to a ton of people everyday they might even suggest your products to some of them.
  6. Customer Support: If you want your shop to have a good impression, provide superb customer service to everyone who gets in touch with you.Start off a conversation pleasantly and be willing to do whatever to make the customer happy because they will recommend it to their friends and the power is “word of mouth” marketing is pretty powerful.

What are you waiting for? Go and start your online shop NOW


Thanks so much for taking the time to read this!  If you have any questions or think I’ve left anything off the list, please comment and share your thoughts. I love hearing from you!!