How to Be Successful on Etsy

by Kat O'Brien

March 18, 2016

The Internet allows home business owners to expand their market in huge ways. With online marketplaces like Etsy, you can sell your products to customers who otherwise may have never had access. Etsy is a site that sells handmade goods, vintage items and craft supplies. What makes this website so special is that it is composed of “Etsy stores”. These stores are run by individuals who put their products up for sale on Etsy. Buyers can then find and purchase these products from the site.

Why Etsy?

Etsy provides broad exposure and access to its sellers. Last year, the site boasted 22 million buyers, who spent a total of $1.9 billion dollars. Etsy has become exceptionally popular over the past few years. Ninety-five percent of Etsy sellers operate their business from home, and many operate their business alone. Etsy provides these home businesses with access to people all around the world, likely granting them more exposure than if they were to simply sell via their own website.

How Shopping on Etsy Works

Customers can search or browse for items they are interested in purchasing. Their search can be as broad as “scarves” or as specific as “star wars earrings”. Etsy will show the customer what “stores” have matched their search. When the customer purchases an item, they do so at the price the seller has set. Each Etsy store lists their own items and sets their own prices, which gives a home business a great deal of autonomy.

How to Sell on Etsy

Etsy requires sellers to pay a fee of 20 cents when they list an item. When the item is purchased, Etsy requires a transaction fee of 3.5 percent of the item’s cost as well as an additional 3 percent plus 25 cents to process the payment. For instance, if you list a homemade bath bomb on your Etsy store at a price of $10, then your takeaway after Etsy’s fees will be $8.90. This would be something to consider when deciding how to price your items. Once the item is purchased, the store owner is responsible for getting the item to the buyer. However, Etsy allows sellers to print shipping labels accessed via Etsy’s onsite postage tool. Postage in the onsite postage tool is available at discounted rates helping you save on the cost of mail and shipping.
Etsy also has a feature where you can message and be messaged by buyers. This provides each party in the transaction a direct line of communication if either party has questions or comments. You can let your buyer know you received their order, that you’re working on their purchase and when it has been shipped. Likewise buyers can ask specific questions about an item or your policies, as well as provide feedback after the sale.

Where to Go if You Have Questions?

As you set up your Etsy store and begin listing and selling items, many questions and concerns can arise. How exactly do I get paid on Etsy? Can I track my sales? What currency does Etsy accept? Etsy offers several outlets for support so that they can answer these questions. One resource Etsy provides is a support center. Simply provide your email address and the topic of your question or concern and you will be contacted by a member of the support staff to guide you. Etsy also has a Seller Handbook on their site that is comprehensive and delineates many aspects of a sale through Etsy. There are also forums where you can interact with other sellers about pretty much anything concerning you and your store.

Etsy also addresses how you can be protected as a seller if a dispute with a customer arises or if you are concerned about payment fraud. Liability is something to consider about having larger audience and exposure through Etsy. Protecting yourself through a home business insurance policy may be something to consider as your audience expands.

With more and more people turning to online shopping, Etsy may be the gateway to new customers and connections, and an invaluable selling resource for home businesses.


  1. Sell on Etsy
  2. What Can be Sold on Etsy

DISCLAIMER: This post provides general information related to selling on Etsy. Lindbergh is not a law firm. This information is not intended as a substitute for, and should not be relied upon as, legal advice. It is provided for general educational and informational purposes only. Although Lindbergh strives to ensure that its content is accurate, it makes no guarantees. All legal inquiries should be directed to intellectual property counsel in your State or jurisdiction. Lindbergh is not responsible for any errors or omissions in the content of this post or damages arising from the use of this information under any circumstances.

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