TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop

Welcome to our Etsy Newbie Bootcamp!
If you want to take part in Bootcamp and get one-on-one mentoring, or answers to any of your questions, please drop us a line at TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com.  
Remember: If you already have a shop, or you open one today, please let us know how to find it! We will be featuring some of our favorite newbie items right here.

We're going to start at the very beginning with How to Open an Etsy Shop.

Before lanch into 'how?', a few words on 'why?':

Why Should I Launch an Etsy Shop?

As you probably know, Etsy is a huge, and ever-growing international marketplace for handmade goods, vintage items (over 20 years of age) and art and craft supplies. It is a way for artists, craftspeople and vintage sellers to reach a enormous audience and it is one of the simplest and easiest ways to start a small business and sell on-line. Etsy sellers include everyone from crafty people with full-time jobs in other fields, who need a creative outlet (and don't want their homes to be overflowing with their handmade items) to professional artists looking for another venue to sell their art.

There is no fee to start an Etsy shop. Every time you add an item for sale, you are charge $0.20 USD for a listing fee for three months (or until the item sells). When you do sell an item on Etsy, they take a 3.5% cut of the sale price. So, listing your items on Etsy has very little overhead cost. This is a low risk way of trying to earn some income from your creative endeavours and could turn out to be a very rewarding and possibly lucrative business.

First tip: One of the most important parts of running a successful Etsy shop is simply being found. We'll be talking about 'SEO' or Search Engine Optimization  (in broad terms the degree to which your on-line shop can be found with a search engine) in the near future. There are lots of ways to increase your SEO.... but the first and easiest thing to affect is the time you've been there. That's right! In order to be found in the future, it's more important to open your shop, than to wait until you've got the listing(s) perfected. You can always edit your listing later, but it will help to post your listing ASAP.

So, why not go for it now?

How to Open an Etsy Shop

Preparation: What you'll need to get started

1. A name: You'll need a login name which may or may not be the same as your shop name. You can change your shop name, but login names are forever! So choose carefully.

2. A credit card and PayPal account: To list your first item, you'll need to spend 20 cents. Depending on where you are, you can do this with a credit card or, in some countries, a PayPal account will do. In the US, Etsy has its own 'Direct Checkout' payment system, which allows buyers and sellers to pay directly to and from bank accounts. They hope to extend this service to other countries soon (updated: the Direct Checkout system is now being introduced in 15 more countries including Canada!). In the meanwhile, Canadian sellers require a PayPal account to receive payments on-line (though you may also choose to accept other payments including things like cheques or barter.... but that's a little more unusual).

3. An email account: This is a little redundant, because who doesn't? Also, you need an email account to have a PayPal account... but you'll also need an email account to receive communications from Etsy and for Etsy to uniquely identify you.

4. An item to sell: You'll want to have your first item ready. That means you should have your handmade item, vintage good or supply and at least one photo of it, in order to list it on Etsy. It's even better if you have 5 photos. Every listing has a free slot for 5 photos. Get your 20 cents worth and use all 5! Show different angles, or uses, or dimensions of the item. You can show your process too!

It is possible to register for Etsy without immediately starting to sell - this is the same as registering for Etsy as a buyer. You can begin to set up your shop and leave it in 'Draft mode' until you feel ready. But, if you want to actually open a shop, you need to offer something for sale.

Preparation: Other useful things you might want to gather before, or soon after you open your shop

1. A shop banner: Every shop on Etsy has an image 760 pixels by 100 pixels which runs across the top of their front page as a shop banner. You can find information on how to make and set up a banner here. This is a good way to set the tone for your shop and tell possible buyers who you are. They can be a photo, an illustration or simply your shop name written at an appropriate scale. If you are a visual artist, this might be just your thing and a great way to express yourself. If you aren't comfortable designing your own shop banner, you can find many graphic designers on Etsy who will make you a custom banner for a fee (or even sometimes barter for something you can make them).

2. A profile picture (or shop avatar): You'll want a square image 75 x 75 pixels (or larger) to represent you and your shop pictorially. Some people use a photo of themselves - others use a photo of something they sell. I'm a printmaker and use a detail of one of my prints. This isn't because I want people to think I'm a jellyfish. It's because it's interesting (I think) and if I post something in the forums, the little icon shows up - which also serves as a direct link to my shop. So, it's worth it to put something interesting in your profile picture. It might just tempt possible buyers to come check out your shop.

3. A photo of you and a bio for your About page: One of the great things about Etsy is that you can buy from 'real people' rather than faceless corporations. Buyers want to know the artists/currators/vintage purveyors/art suppliers. It is very useful to upload a picture of yourself, write a snappy bio and show some photos of your process (especially for the handmakers). Let the buyers know what goes into making the things you sell.

Ready?! Ok! Let's do this. Follow this link!

Then press the 'Open an Etsy Shop' button! 
After that, it's just a matter of following the simple instructions.

  1. Register - if you have yet to do so. If you're a registered buyer, you're all set.
  2. Sign up to sell
  3. Set your language and currency (if you have yet to do so).
  4. Go through the 4 tabs: Shop Name. List items. Get Paid. Billing. You can go back and edit any of these
  5. Shop look and branding: This is where you upload the banner (if you have one), enter the shop title, and write a little announcement to tell people what your shop is all about.
  6. LIST SOMETHING! So, go for it! Follow the steps to upload photos, title your listing, add a description, add some tags, set a price and set up your shipping options. Use this handy tool from Canada Post to figure out how much shipping will cost in advance. We'll go over the best practises for making listings in a future Bootcamp class, so you can always come back and edit your listing later. The trick at this stage is to put it out there! We'll tell you more about SEO and why it's true that 'if you built it, they will come' but I'm sure you can see that if you don't list it, you can't sell it... so take the plunge and list your item.
  7. Get Paid: tie your Etsy shop to your PayPal account. You can also enter your mailing address, if you want to accept cheques or money orders or provide banking information to accept payment by bank transfer. And now, Etsy offers DIRECT PAYMENT to your bank account!
  8. Billing: enter your billing address and credit card info. You can later choose to pay your fees via PayPal or by the credit card on record.
OPEN YOUR SHOP FOR BUSINESS! Congratulations! You're an Etsy seller.  Drop us a line to let us know, or leave a comment below!


  1. Wonderful posts! I opened a shop the last year and althought I do not have too much time, I am trying to improve my shop little by little. I ignored the existence -and importance- of photos on About's page. I love Etsy, not because the website itself but because I am always learning new stuff to become better, thank you!


    1. Thanks for your comment! If you would like to be added to our mailing list for the Bootcamp, just email us at TorontoEtsySt@gmail.com

  2. Fabulous idea to set up a newbie bootcamp. I recently opened my shop with Etsy, though I have been trading for 20 years. This is a slow set up as I continue to read all about the different areas within Etsy. For me SEOs are a new concept and I will be continuing with your bootcamp. Thank you.

    1. Thanks very much! If you would like to be added to our emailing list for the Newbie Bootcamp just email TorontoEtsyST@gmail.com

      An experienced seller like you will have a lot of great skills for running an Etsy shop, but we do hope to help with things that are specific to online and Etsy selling too.

  3. I just found your bootcamp and I am going to go through it all. I just opened a shop last week and want to learn how to make it successful! :) https://www.etsy.com/shop/CakesCraftsCreations


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