TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 3 Shop Profiles Bios and Photos

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.  

If you want to open an Etsy shop, just follow this link!

Then, be sure to check out:

TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 1 How to Open an Etsy Shop.
TEST Etsy Newbie Bootcamp: Class 2 Branding & Shop Banners.

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. 

Today we're going to cover something when mentioned in Class 1 which would be good preparation before or soon after opening your Etsy shop: having a Shop Profile photo and bio for your Shop Profile. One of the great things about Etsy is that it allows people to buy from 'real people', people who have made items by hand or carefully selected vintage or supplies (for making items by hand), rather than faceless corporations. So the last thing you want to do is to neglect your profile by appearing faceless.... or that you have the 'default face'. There are no such thing as generic people, so looking like this:

isn't doing anything for you. In fact, it says, "I opened my shop 5 minutes ago" or "I just don't care." Now, if that's what you have in your Etsy shop, don't worry. You have to start somewhere! Today, though, is the day to upgrade your Shop Profile photo to something uniquely you. In Class 2, we covered how much you can communicate with a smallish rectangular image in your Shop Banner. Now, your Shop Profile photo is obviously much smaller. However, it appears in many more places:
  •  on the sidebar of every single page of your shop
  •  on every since convo message (or Etsy's internal email system)
  •  every single time you reply to someone who follows the 'contact shop owner' or 'request custom item' links
  •  every single time you make a comment on the Etsy blog
  •  every single time you make a comment in the Etsy forums or team forums
and what's more, your Shop Profile photo is linked right back to your shop in all of these instances. If there is something intriguing or appealing about your Shop Profile photo and someone chooses to click on it, they'll go right to your Etsy shop. So this is not only a way to help brand your shop, it's a way to quietly advertise and lure people to come check out your awesome wares.

How to Edit Your Profile Picture: nuts and bolts

Sign in to your account. In the top right-hand corner you'll find a link to Your Account with a pull-down menu. Choose Public Profile. You'll want a square image, ideally 75 x 75 pixels in size. You can use Browse or Choose File to navigate to this image and upload it. This image cannot be erased, but you can always replace it.

As with the Shop Banner, image editing software is an advantage here, in order to prepare your 75 x 75 pixels image. See Class 2 for suggestions. Though since your profile picture may simply be a digital photo or scan of you or your products, this may not be necessary. Often cameras or scanners will allow you to crop your image to make it square without doing anything more sophisticated or difficult.

 How to Choose a Great Profile Picture

So, what can you achieve with your Shop Profile photo? You can personalize your shop, you can strengthen your brand, you can intrigue possible customers and get them to have a look. Let's look at Shop Profile photos from Newbie shops which work well. The shops we profiled in Class 2 all had one of two effective strategies:
  • They selected a photo of themselves. This certainly personalizes their shops. It shows the "real person" behind the shop. The photos themselves can tell you something about the owner and let the potential customers feel like they are dealing with you in person. Note: There's another place where you should be uploading a photo of yourself. We'll be covering the About page in a future class. So, this is not your only opportunity to show your customers who you are.
  • They selected an image which was matched to their shop banner. This is a great way to send a strong brand message. These Shop Profile photos included text and the shop names, but it would also be possible to do this without text.

There's a third strategy which can work well. I mentioned that it's the strategy I use in Class 1.
  • Including an image or detail shot of one of your products can also be really effective. What better way to show potential customers what you can do? This can be most effective if you combine the idea of showing your... or at least a face, with showing a product.
Consider these Newbie Shop Profile photos:

Agnes of The Lady Agnes Shoppe is a painter whose shop includes many portraits, with faces, appropriate for her Shop Profile photo. She writes, "The painting "El Sol" came out of a series I did for the Square Foot Show last year. I did a series of 3 women as the sun, moon & stars. El Sol organically ended resembling me so I've used it in my shop for that reason." In a single, small image, she's communicating a little about what she makes, and who is behind the shop. I like how she's selected a circular crop of El Sol which emphasizes the halo and makes her Shop Profile photo unique.

Christine of StoryFolk makes fairytale and classic literature embroidered felt brooches. For her Shop Profile photo she selected a close-up detail of her adorable Little Red Ridding Hood Fairytale Felt Brooch. Not only does her Shop Profile photo show what her shop is all about, Little Red Ridding Hood is so recognizable a character, potential customers might guess what product her Shop Profile photo represents.

KittenAndTheCrow run by Doug and Susan, sells 'Sinister ink works' - Gothic, Goreyesque illustrations in black and white, and products featuring Doug's illustrations. The 'creepy kitten' and 'sinister crow' serve as sort of mascots for the store, allude to the name, star in most of the illustrations (and planned future book project)! The image clearly illustrates their name and brand, as well as the types of products they supply. Since Doug and Susan run the shop together, it also seems appropriate to have two faces, rather than one in their Shop Profile photo.

How to Edit your Public Profile Bio: nuts and bolts

Much like editing your Shop Profile photo, you'll need to sign in to your account. In the top right-hand corner you'll find a link to Your Account with a pull-down menu. Choose Public Profile. This time you'll simply need to type in boxes.

You can choose to include your real name, or specify your gender, or reveal your birthday, which may be useful way to connect to possible customers as a "real person" but isn't required.  But your should absolutely set your location! Including your location allows local buyers to find you using 'Shop Local' tools. It lets potential customers from away have more reasonable expectations of shipping times right away, even before they look at your shipping options or shop policies. Also, if you are in Toronto and wish to apply to the Toronto Etsy Street Team, we do require sellers to have their location set.  There are lots of great regional street teams and we'll tell you more about teams in a future class. Setting your location is also a way to network with fellow Etsy sellers in your region.

Your Bio is the place to introduce the seller or sellers behind the store. Tell us who you are, what you make, what your store is all about. You can also include the sort of things you might put on a C.V. - things like education, experience, awards, hobbies or anything else you think might interest your buyers. You Bio can be light and funny or formal and impressive or whatever works best for you and your shop. It should be You. What are you and your store like? You can keep it brief or write something lengthy, but you should absolutely write something.

You probably want to fill in your favorite materials as well, in the appropriate text box.

Be sure to save your work!

Why write a Public Profile Bio as well as an About page?

We're going to be covering the About page soon. Some sellers make the mistake of filling in one and not the other. But really, you are wasting the resources Etsy provides if you only use one of the two. The idea is that your Public Profile is a simple Bio which appears on a page along with thumbnails of your shop and perhaps your other Etsy activity. Whereas, the About page is your opportunity to clearly show your process and what goes into your work, using text and images, including slide shows. But ultimately, there's one simple reason.

Tip: Never make your customers work to find information. People are busy and have other things to do than to hunt around your shop, so you should always try to make things as easy and transparent as possible for them. You don't want them to follow a link to a blank page rather than the information they are seeking.

Note: If you have more than one Etsy shop you are required to disclose all their names in each of your Public Profiles

Other Things You May Include on Your Public Profile

There are checkboxes on  Your Public Profile set-up page which allows you to select whether you also would like to display: Your Shop, Favorite Items, Favorite Shops, Treasury Lists, and Teams. All of these are optional. Let's go over why you may or may not wish to display them. I have selected to display them all in my shop.

  • Your Shop: Yes. Of Course! You always want as many links and ways of being found as possible, especially when just starting. Being found is half the battle.
  • Favorite Items: There are two schools of thought. On the Pro side, showing your favorites reveals your aesthetic taste, is a way of spreading the love and networking with other sellers. Since your taste reveals something about you, it is also gives a sense of your brand. As they say, what comes around goes around (or in more hippie terms, sharing your favorites might just be good karma). If people like what they see in your favorites, they may choose to follow you - which means in their Activity Feed, they will see every time you post a new listing. This can only be a good thing. On the Con side, as soon as you share anything not made by you, you are adding a link away from your shop. Some sellers believe it's best to avoid giving potential customers an unnecessary exit. Also, you may have selected a Favorite Item as a gift idea and have personal reasons for why you might not want to reveal it!
  • Favorite Shops: The Pros and Cons are pretty well identical to Favorite Items, but including Favorite Shops is an even more direct way of networking with your fellow sellers, and less likely to accidentally reveal a secret, planned gift.
  • Treasury Lists: Like favorites, making Treasuries is a way to share your aesthetic, give a sense of you and your brand, share the love and your amazing Etsy finds, and network with your fellow sellers. Etsy does have a culture of mutual support amongst sellers, and many individuals and Teams will go out of their way to include your items in their treasuries particularly if you add their items or Team members' items to your treasuries. Like Favorites, on the con side, these are links out of your shop.
  • Teams: Now, I'm a Team Captain, so maybe I'm biased... but I think you should reveal your teams. Why join if you wouldn't reveal your membership? Revealing your Teams tells something about you, your interests, your brand, and that you're someone community-minded. Only the two teams in which you are most active will be visible, so this will not clutter your Public Profile  even if you belong to several. The Teams which are visible on my Public Profile  relate to my hometown and my art-making methods, so they do relate strongly to me, my shop and brand. On the Con side, these are also links out of your shop... though they will be mostly of interest to sellers and perhaps less likely to lure a buyer out of your shop.
Lastly, if you, your brand and your aesthetic are all about minimalism, you may wish to stick with a simple Bio and Your Shop. But remember: something is better than nothing here! Do include at least a few words about yourself and Your Shop.

The Toronto Etsy Street Team loves Newbie shops! You can find some of our favorite listings from talented Newbie sellers, including those featured in this class in our new TEST ♥ Newbies section. Be sure to stop by often to see what's new in this evolving, curated treasury of amazing Newbie finds!


  1. All very helpful tips! I struggled some with my profile and about pages, so I think I will go back and do a little revising. Thanks!

  2. Thanks very much Melissa! We'll also be covering the About Pages specifically in Class 5.


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