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How Etsy Sellers have Made Their Business Successful

Female etsy seller packing an order into a brown postal box

There’s no doubt Etsy is a brilliant way for small businesses to grow their brand. Whether you’re starting an entirely new business on Etsy or you’re using it as a platform to expand, there’s a few key factors you should consider before you start selling. Here are a few words some of Etsy’s best seller accounts have to say about making your business successful on Etsy.

Alicia Shaffer went from being a mum of three who ran a small women’s clothing boutique in California to one of Etsy’s top sellers. Originally creating some hair pieces to sell in her shop, they became so popular that she decided to expand and open up an Etsy store. Fast forward 12 years and Alicia now sells 3,000 items a day, earns more than $65,000 dollars a month and has sold more than 86,000 items.

Her Three Bird Nest shop is now so successful that her husband has given up his job to help her run it and Alicia gave up her bricks and mortar store to concentrate on just online sales. Finding a gap in the market was key to Alicia’s success. She expanded her product range to include scarves and leg warmers and is constantly designing new items to keep her audience interested.

In an interview, Alicia explained how she believes she’s achieved such success by promoting the business organically. Alicia stated, “we ask our customers to recommend us, we offer amazing quality photos and amazing quality pictures that deliver our brand image. This has been the number one thing that has helped us in promoting our products. Having a loyal fan base which share the items on social media has also helped drive the business, as we have an email customer database which is also marketed to.”

The top seller has a simple mantra which drives her business – “work hard and never give up.”

While having the level of success that Alicia has achieved may be out of the realm of possibility for many sellers, it highlights that making your shop stand out from the crowd is vital if you want to grow your customer base.

Niche Down for Success

In the UK alone there are around 960,000 Etsy sellers, so there’s undeniably stiff competition – but if you’re a creator of something original, handcrafted or even offering supplies of some nature, it can be the road to success.

One of the top UK Etsy sellers is Nicole de Bruin, who runs a charm shop and has made a staggering 832,275 sales*. She decided to expand her card business by attaching a small charm and from that developed a whole range of different products which has helped her become incredibly successful.

While all the top sellers – both in the UK and across Etsy internationally – vary in the items they sell, there are similarities in the reasons why they have managed to rise above in an overcrowded marketplace. It’s not an easy job – there’s around 7.5m active sellers at any one time – but for those who preserve and commit, rewards can be within your grasp.

Etsy seller and business coach, Kate Hayes

Etsy seller and business coach, Kate Hayes, advises that one of the first steps for new sellers is to niche down. “Niching down will help with your conversion rates,” she said. “It’s about deciding what product category route you are going to go down and not sell lots of different things. People assume the quality of products from a shop which offers one category of items is going to be much better quality than someone who offers everything. The phrase ‘if you’re pleasing everyone, you’re pleasing no one’ can also be applied to sales and is particularly relevant if you sell on Etsy.”

Kate also said that it’s important to appear professional. “Etsy has changed since it launched and was about hobbyists running a small business,” she said. “It’s still a place to do what we love but it’s much more about professionalism and quality. If you don’t look professional, you won’t sell.” The listing photo is “the main deciding factor on whether someone will visit your shop or just pass it by” Kate adds.

Kierra Butcher aka @thefasttrackgirl

The importance of Etsy SEO

Kierra Butcher aka @thefasttrackgirl also learned by her mistakes when setting up on Etsy. She makes about $4,000-$5,000 a month via the site and has given out some top tips for would-be sellers.

“When I started, I used super saturated tags and it tanked my sales,” she said. “I didn’t use Pinterest until much later on, so I missed out on sales and I didn’t utilise my section tiles, announcing bar and subtitles which affected my SEO.”

Etsy seller and blogger Liz Marie also echoes the importance of Etsy SEO which helps drives traffic to individual shops. “You want to do your best to show up on the first beginning pages of those page results,” she said. “It is all about keywords and the order of those words. They are the words that simply describe your item in the best way possible. Your title needs to describe the item that’s for sale.”

Liz Marie also advises against using descriptions that may seem clever “but would be meaningless” to customers. Include variations which can be broad and popular but also more specific – “having both can help,” she said.

One of the recurring points made by successful Etsy sellers is the importance of good quality photography. Your photos are your virtual shop window for customers – if the items don’t look appealing or the images look unprofessional, then the chances are perspective buyers will think the products are unprofessional too and just scroll on by.

Former Etsy seller Victoria Dove says there are a number of easy ways to increase your chances of a sale. “Add your shop name to each listing title,” she advises. “You see this so often, someone starts an Etsy shop, you search for them by shop name – and nothing comes up. Adding your shop name to each of your listing titles means that anyone searching for you can find you easily. These are also your easiest sales to convert.”

One of the best ways to get inspiration on how to build a successful Etsy account is to go to Etsy’s bestsellers page and see what these business owners are doing right. Here you’ll find great imagery, understandable descriptions and five-star reviews – use this as a template for building your business and success could be close at hand.

*Correct as of 24th Jan 2023


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