Posted by: bkdsignature | January 7, 2010

Found on the Etsy Forums III

I am always jealous of the shops that took off right away.  How did they do it?  I feel like I work my butt off to promote my shop and get it out there in hopes of more sales.  Nada.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong!  Here’s some advice from an Etsyian who has over 500 sales in one year.  Maybe her advice will help…?

One Year Anniversary — 500 sales — Here’s What I Learned

dishyvintage says:
Even though I’d been an Etsy member for awhile, I didn’t open my store until January 2009. Now it’s my 1 year anniversary, and I’ve made over 500 sales. I learned a lot along the way, much of it from generous postings in the forums, so I thought I’d pay it forward and share some of what I learned. I know that all of these things have been said before, but if you’re new to Etsy and just getting started, maybe these tips will save you valuable time!

1. Understand How to Stay Visible in Etsy Search, and Make it Work for You

When I first opened my shop, I put together a few items, listed them all in one day, and then sat back and waited for the magic to begin. I was not new to online selling – I have sold for years on another site – but I was conditioned from the other site to just list and walk away. I sold a few items in the first month, but then nothing. Two and a half months went by with no sales. Frustrated, I started reading business-related posts in the forums. I finally realized that my listings were so old that they were now buried in search, and were virtually invisible. I resolved to try an experiment – for a month, I tried to list new items every day. My sales took off! Since then, I have tried to list new items or renew items each and every day.

2. Brand Your Business

I started out with a standard free Etsy banner. Eventually, I purchased a banner and avatar. I loved that first banner, and it instantly made my shop look more professional. However, I realized over time that the banner, while pretty, didn’t really fit my shop, nor did it (or the avatar) give anyone an idea of what I was selling. So, I purchased a new banner, an avatar that matched and included my shop name, and a matching banner for my blog. Now, I can’t say that these changes made any measurable difference in sales, but I do think they add to a cohesive, professional look for my shop, which in the end can only help with sales.

3. Join a Team

I didn’t know anything about teams, but I was intrigued, so I did some research to find a good fit for my shop. I joined the Cottage Style Street Team, and the benefits were immediate! I was featured in treasuries (and I, in turn, created treasuries featuring team members). Team members hearted my store and followed my blog. I received tips and support from team members. Bottom line: find a team that’s a good fit for you, and go for it. It’s worth it!

4. Make Use of Etsy Hacks

It took me a long time – way too long! – to get onboard with Etsy Hacks. I was reluctant to install a new browsing system (Firefox), and so I just put it off. Finally, I took the plunge. Now I don’t know how I lived without them! There are many useful applications on Etsy Hacks, but the “copy listing” feature alone has saved me hours and hours of time. My sincere advice to you is: just do it. Today.

5. Be Timely and Professional in Your Business Dealings

I send each buyer an email when I am notified of their order, thanking them for the order and telling them when I expect to ship their item. I answer all convos (except for obvious spam) very quickly. Take the time to establish your shop policies, and to put something (however brief) in your shop profile. It took me awhile to do this, but I should’ve done it on day one. Shop policies set the standards for your shop – be sure that they are reasonable and well articulated. Above all, be professional in all of your business communications. If you take the high road, and set a professional tone, it will reflect well on you and your business.

6. Be Willing to be Flexible with Your Business Model

I have a mixture of vintage, supplies, and handmade in my shop. Some of the items that I started with when I opened my store – items that I was really excited about – didn’t sell. On the flip side, items that I listed just to see what would happen flew off the shelves! I had to be willing to jettison the things that weren’t selling (or at least de-emphasize them), and focus more on the items that were selling. My sales really increased as a result. I think this is always a work in progress, but try to be as flexible and as realistic as you can with your inventory.

7. Keep Learning

I don’t post much in the forums, but I do read them almost every day. I’ve picked up so many great tips from other sellers! I think I still have much to learn, and to do, in order to continue to grow my business. I’m always on the look out for a new promotional idea or business opportunity. Be open to possibilities and to learning new things.

8. Stay Positive and Focused

My sales at this point are relatively steady, but still they seem to go in waves. During the slow times, it’s hard not to get discouraged. I try to remember that sales will come, as long as I keep at it.

I hope these tips have been helpful to you. I’d love to know your tips, too! Best wishes to all of you for a happy and successful New Year.



  1. Loved the advice. Great ideas.

  2. Your site was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

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