I have a successful Etsy store called Leeleeknits, where I sell my knitting and crochet patterns. I know many of my readers are also interested in selling their own knit and crochet creations. I wrote this checklist to help you get started (or improve on your existing shop). I hope it helps take the mystery out of what you need to do to be successful on Etsy.
1. Create Beautiful Products
This may seam obvious, but in today’s world of online selling, your competition is the entire world. You need to differentiate yourself from every other person out there who is selling a similar product. If you go onto Etsy and search for knit scarves for example, you will find so many results that it will overwhelm you.
One simple way to make your product stand out is quality. Use quality yarn, quality needles and other materials in your design. It may seem more costly but it will pay off. The quality will not show in the photo, but when someone purchases your product and loves it, they will leave an excellent review and possibly purchase again. Other people will see them wearing your product and ask where they got it. Word of mouth is an incredible source for future business, and there is no better way to get positive reviews and future purchases than producing a product of the best quality possible.
Another tip in creating beautiful products is to use colour to your advantage. With knitting and crochet, you will see a lot of greys and neutrals. Not that there is anything wrong with greys and neutrals, but using beautiful colours will make your designs stand out from the crowd.
Search on Pinterest, Instagram, and Etsy for similar items to what you want to sell in your store. Look at the products that stand out to you and think about what it is that you like about them. That is what you want to incorporate into your designs. If it appeals to you as a buyer, it will appeal to other buyers as well.
2. Take Beautiful Photos
If you have a beautiful product, you must show it off with gorgeous photos. You don’t have to be a professional photographer to do this. With todays’ technology, you can create beautiful photos with your smart phone.
When taking photos its important to make the item you are selling stand out. Keep the background neutral so that it does not distract from your beautiful creation. With knit and crochet, I love to take photos outdoors. The natural light is soft and easy to work with, and if its a cold day, it will bring out the coziness of the product (eg, knit scarf, mittens, hat).
If you are using a model, have them wear clothing that coordinates with and highlights your merchandise. For example, you wouldn’t have the model wearing a t-shirt with images on it that would distract from the actual item that is being sold.
Once you take your photos, there are online tools that are so easy to use for touch ups and other effects. But please don’t go overboard, it will look tacky. I like to use PicMonkey for quick edits and adding text and graphics for my photos. Its awesome for creating collages as well.
Make sure that you have at least 2 or 3 photos of each item that you plan to post in your store. Customers will want to see it from different angles to be confident that they are buying what they need. You may also want to watermark your photos (by writing your store name on the photo) to protect you from having others use your photos as their own. PicMonkey is great for adding text to your photo.
3. Set up an Etsy Store
Its surprisingly simple to set up an Etsy store so I am not going to go into the details for how to open your store. This article on Etsy will walk you through the process.
The most important thing you can do to make your store stand out is to fill out all sections of your store bio and about page. Include a photo of you, write about yourself and what you are selling. Include a description of what makes your creations different from every other similar product out there. Create a gorgeous store banner to make your store look professional. There is nothing wrong with looking at the profiles of other successful Etsy stores for ideas (obviously don’t copy them outright as you want your store to be original to you and your designs).
Before you create your store, its a good idea to have at least 15-20 products ready to sell with professional looking photos. If you went into a store that only had a couple of items, it would not be very appealing. You want your customers to be confident that you are serious about selling and have a variety of products to choose from. It will also help with the number of views you get. If a customer clicks on one item, they will look at your store and see everything else you have to offer too!
4. Set the Price
Before you post your items, look up similar products and see where they are priced so that you have a relative idea for how to price your products. Also consider the time and cost of materials so that you make a decent profit. It is okay to price your items high if you used quality materials.
It may seem counterintuitive, but high priced items are not a bad thing. People associate high prices with high quality, and low prices with low quality. If you are going to price on the higher end, be sure to include in your product description the quality materials used to make your item (for example, if you are selling a cashmere scarf, describe it the scarf as made with luxurious, soft, cashmere yarn). That way the buyer will know that they are getting what they pay for.
5. Keywords are Key
Do your keyword research before you post to your store. Search for similar products that rank high in Etsy and look at what keywords are used in the titles and descriptions. I cannot stress how important this is. In order to sell, your creations must be found. You need to use phrases that people will actually type in. I like to brainstorm what words or phrases I would use and then type them into the search bar on Etsy. If they show up automatically, then its a strong keyword or phrase that gets searched for a lot, and I know to incorporate it into my title or description.
6. Excellent Customer Support
Last, but definitely not least, customer support is crucial. If someone is unhappy with the item, try your very best to make them happy. Even if it costs you. The worst thing for your reputation is to have an unhappy customer.
If you get a bad review, do not be defensive and write back in the review section (this looks very unprofessional). Privately contact the customer and ask if there is a way that you can resolve the issue and if they would be willing to change their review to something more positive.