If you’re a crafty individual who has thought about selling your homemade goods online, at some point you have probably considered using Etsy if you’re not already. This isn’t surprising considering that Etsy is one of the best websites to sell crafts with more than 4.3 million active sellers.
But, what happens after you’ve started making money on the platform? You may soon find yourself searching for information on scaling up an Etsy business. If this sounds like you, you’re in the right place!
How to scale up your Etsy business
The first step in scaling up is to open your store if you haven’t already done so. Once you’ve opened for business, now the goal is to start marketing it and getting as many eyeballs as possible onto your store’s page. To help with that, I went to the boots on the ground — real Etsy shop owners who are doing exactly what you hope to do.
Without further ado, let’s dive into their best tips for how to grow your Etsy Shop!
How to grow an Etsy shop and scale-up
Looking to grow your Etsy shop, but not sure how? Check out these eight tips to scale up.
- Have stock ready for shipping.
- Pin everything on Pinterest.
- Engage with your listings and leverage Etsy tools.
- Get comfortable with SEO.
- Create what buyers want.
- Be patient and find your niche.
- Identify gaps in the market.
- Expand beyond Etsy!
Let's get started!
1. Have stock ready for shipping
Annie Tang is the Etsy seller behind terraedimus, which she describes as a “small Canadian family business focusing on eco-friendly everyday products.” She saw demand for her products grow during the pandemic, especially handmade items.
“My number one tip to scaling and growing in sales is to [always] have ready-to-ship stock available for quick processing times,” she said. “During the era of Amazon, more and more buyers are expecting quick shipments. Most Etsy sellers are small family businesses, and we rely on third-party couriers. Therefore, we can't control shipping times. But, we can control processing times. Our tiny business has increased tenfold in three months, and grown from one person to a three-person operation in four months.”
2. Pin everything on Pinterest
Wendy Conklin wants you to have a seat — in her whimsical chairs, that is. She runs the Etsy shop Chair Whimsy, has scaled up to a content-rich website for her buyers, and her business has earned multiple six figures in less than three years.
“Besides the obvious having good keywords on Etsy,” she said, “my number one tip is to pin every picture from each listing to Pinterest. That way you have the amazing search engine of Etsy working right alongside the search engine of Pinterest. Pinterest drives half of my traffic to my Etsy shop!”
3. Engage with your listings and leverage Etsy tools
Kelly Anne Johns launched her custom embroidery company in January 2020 specializing in personalized Greek Letters. She managed to make over $80K in her first year alone through her Etsy shop Letters From Kelly Anne (now known as KellyAnneEmbroidery).
“My number one tip for anyone looking to grow their business on Etsy is to engage with your listings and leverage the tools Etsy offers sellers,” she said. “You can throw up a listing, but if you don’t engage with the listing, and just let it sit there, no one will find your shop.”
“Use the ads Etsy offers in the platform, continue to add new listings and edit listings, and use the social media tools in the Etsy platform to share and tag products to direct traffic to your shop. Once I started to engage and interact with the site more as a seller, I noticed a huge boost in my traffic and orders.”
4. Get comfortable with SEO
She said: “You must get comfortable with SEO and fully optimize your best sellers. You want the items most likely to convert to be easily found by customers. SEO is the best way to make that happen in their crowded marketplace.
“I've been an active Etsy seller since 2008. My Etsy has 6,800 sales and a 3.2% conversion rate achieved just through SEO (no ad spend). I scaled my business from Etsy to open a brick + mortar storefront with a separately branded website in 2014. It is my full-time job to this day.”
5. Create what buyers want
Sadie Teper is the face behind Twentysome Design. She sells her hand-lettered stickers and stationery, and in 2020 her revenue was $21,000. She’s on track to increase that number for 2021.
She recently scaled up her Etsy shop into a wholesale line, selling her products in around 20 independent retail stores, with more being added every week. Her business also has its own retail website.
“If you want to scale up an Etsy business, create items that buyers want and resonate with them. Find your brand focus, and lean in hard. It seems obvious, but I see so many Etsy sellers selling products that are meaningful to them but do not resonate with buyers. Additionally, many sellers have such a hodgepodge of items that do not create a strong brand and product identity.”
6. Be patient and find your niche
Theresa Mach is the face behind Creative Artisan Partners on Etsy. In 2020 she made approximately 400 sales, which is a third of her total sales since she started a few short years ago. Theresa has a plethora of tips for scaling an Etsy business. Here are just a few of them:
- Know that struggling is part of the process. Be patient and things will fall into place. “It took me probably a couple of months before I got my first sale. The first year was very tough since no one knew my shop. Getting buyers to visit was the first step. It was difficult because I had to consistently post on Instagram and Facebook. It made me learn about how to market myself but at the same time I learned skills that I never thought I would need when selling handcrafted art.”
- Don't be afraid to market yourself — everywhere.
- Do your research and find your perfect niche. “My partner and I researched a lot of things to sell online, but it seemed like everyone else was doing the same thing. Then my partner and I talked about laser cutting, which at that time, there weren't a lot of people doing that. We took a risk and bought a decent machine. At first, we didn’t even know what laser cuts would sell, but eventually, it worked out.”
- Love what you do and enjoy the process!
- Always opt for shipping insurance your item for your own protection, and for items over $100, require a signature from the buyer upon receipt.
- Most importantly, every order is an important order. Don’t treat any order as a small order.
7. Identify gaps in the market
Stacy Caprio who runs Her CEO and the Etsy store Stacy's Shirt Shop said her number one tip for scaling up an Etsy business is to identify gaps in the market when creating products to list. “You don't want to simply list the exact same thing as everyone else because then no one will see it. Instead, find something people do want, but there's nothing 'great' for, but it is still selling. Then, create a product in that niche and target it with those keywords, and you'll be much more likely to see a lot of sales. That is how I created my best-selling product with more than 40 sales last month.”
Standing out is important to scaling up an Etsy business.
Finding gaps in the market is an important key to getting featured on Etsy. The platform likes to show off unique crafts rather than the same things over and over. While the stores that are selling the most products are likely going to be featured first, you can get featured too by standing out and offering something different.
8. Expand beyond Etsy!
Pria Maineri who previously ran the Etsy shop 88 Kitty ultimately got so busy she decided to start an online store.
She says, “The key to expanding your business on Etsy is to expand beyond Etsy. Your customers won't remember your store when asked where they got your product. They'll always just say ‘Etsy.’
She moved her business to her own website, redirected her Etsy traffic, and opened a brick-and-mortar store in Los Angeles in late 2020.
“We've held our domain for many years, and went through so many hosting sites that it's in limbo for the moment, so our site is https://88kitty.myshopify.com for now. Despite the aesthetics issues, we've still gone full steam ahead with this Shopify store while we work to reclaim our original one. Even though it's not yet our own domain, a customer can now say ‘I got it from 88kitty!’ instead of ‘I got it from Etsy.’
“When people ask where they can purchase our products online we refer them to our Instagram, where our website is in our bio. We're doing this until we reclaim our domain, then we'll reprint our business cards and hand those out instead!”
Patrick Connely who is the co-founder of Stellar Villa got his start on Etsy and scaled up the business to his own website. He echoes Pria’s sentiment, saying, “We are an ecommerce company specializing in custom pet portraits. We have grown so much over the past year that we launched our own website to continue growing our brand. Our company and work has recently been featured by Forbes, Marie Claire, Martha Stewart among others.
“My number one tip for scaling and growing a handmade crafts business on Etsy is to establish a brand. While Etsy was once a small marketplace, it is now flooded with sellers looking to make a quick buck. Some of these sellers will analyze what is working for others and copy their products. There is always someone willing to sell a similar product at a lower price, so never compete on price alone. By establishing a real brand and growing an audience that loves it, you will be able to compete on a long-term scale and outdo your competition. Focus on product differentiation and know your value proposition. This is the key to long-term success on Etsy.”
Integrate your Etsy store with your website using Websites + Marketing Marketplaces feature
Once you’re ready to scale up beyond Etsy, it’s time to get your own website and build out your online store. GoDaddy makes this process as easy as, well, setting up an Etsy shop! With templates designed to help you sell, and integration with marketplaces including eBay, Walmart, Amazon, and even Etsy, you can create a dynamic website in minutes that gives you the ability to grow and get found even faster. Learn more about Godaddy’s Marketplaces options here.
Conclusions and next steps
We’ve covered a lot here in this post, but I believe if you take these tips from the Etsy sellers featured to heart, you’ll be much closer to scaling up your Etsy business. Remember, even though this platform is hugely popular, it’s not your end game. You have so much more to give, and your customers need the exciting homemade creations you are making. Here’s to your scaled-up success!