How to Get Started Selling on Etsy

Want to start selling on Etsy? Whether you’re selling handmade items, craft supplies, vintage yard sale finds, or something else, this guide will help you get started with your Etsy shop.

The online marketplace Etsy reported $1.9 billion in sales from 22 million buyers in 2014. The site offers sellers the ability to set up their own stores, name their own prices, use the free tools provided to manage their stores, and receive support when needed. Creating your store is fast and easy, but these tips can help you decide whether it is a good fit for your particular business as well as help you understand the different aspects of the site.

Deciding Whether Your Items Are a Good Fit

Unlike many other online marketplaces, your products must fall into one of three categories: handmade items, craft supplies, or vintage items.

Handmade items are designed or made by the seller. If the items are produced with the assistance of another individual, you must describe this person on your “About” page. If you have the item manufactured from your design, you must submit an application for outside manufacturing and choose a manufacturer that complies with the site’s ethical manufacturing policy.

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Craft supplies can be either handmade or commercially produced items. This category includes tools, materials and ingredients that are used to create handmade items.

Vintage items must be a minimum of 20 years old. Commercially produced and handmade items can be sold in this category as long as they meet the minimum age requirement.

Although the site’s policies are liberal, there are some things that you cannot offer for sale:

  • You cannot sell handmade items unless you were directly involved in making or designing them. In other words, you cannot purchase handmade items from another individual or company and then resell them.
  • You cannot sell items that promote violence, illegal activity or hatred.
  • You cannot sell items with mature or pornographic content.
  • You cannot sell hazardous materials or recalled items.
  • You cannot sell weapons, including firearms.
  • You cannot sell drugs or paraphernalia, tobacco, alcohol or items that make medical claims.
  • You cannot sell animals, items incorporating parts of animals defined as endangered, ivory from any source, items made from dogs or cats, or items incorporating human remains with the exception of teeth.
  • You cannot sell a service that does not provide a new, physical item.
  • You cannot sell an item that violates another’s intellectual property rights.

Creating Your Store

To set up your store, you must first register and set up an account. You can register by completing a form or using your Facebook or Google profile. When registering, you will be asked to choose your username; this will become your shop name, so you should pay special attention to this decision.

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You want to choose a creative, original name for your shop. Try to choose a name that can be remembered easily, evokes an image or describes the type of items you sell. Let your shop name reflect your personal style. If you provide a specific type of product, consider incorporating the product in your shop name.

When setting up your store, you will be asked to choose the forms of payment you will accept and the method you will use to pay your fees.

  • Payments accepted by Direct Checkout include PayPal, credit and debit cards, Google Wallet and Apple Pay.
  • Payments are disbursed on a schedule that varies according to the seller’s country. For those in the United States, for example, the normal disbursement occurs every Monday.
  • Payments made through Direct Checkout incur a fee of $0.25 plus 3 percent of the transaction total if you are located in the United States. Processing fees vary by country, however, so be sure to verify the fee for your country when you register.
  • You are not required to use Direct Checkout. You can choose to accept money orders or checks by mail, and certain other options may be available to you depending on your country.
  • If you choose to receive payments through Direct Checkout, you will need to verify your identity and provide a credit card number, bank account information and your residential address.

As a seller, you will be charged two other types of fees. Each listing, which lasts for up to 4 months, costs $0.20, and when you make a sale, you will be charged 3.5 percent of the total as a transaction fee. To pay for your processing, listing and transaction fees, you normally need to provide a debit or credit card, but you may be able to pay for fees through your PayPal account.

You are now ready to list your products, which will require uploading pictures and writing your descriptions. Be sure to use original photographs and describe your items accurately.

You can find more tips, tools and support on the site. By learning all you can before setting up your shop, getting started as a seller is easier and faster.

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