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There are so many options an artist has to start an online art business. The best place to start is with a platform that has worked well for other artists. Etsy has established an online presence that allows artists like you to sell unique handmade goods. In this article, I will show you how to open an Etsy store step by step so you can start earning some money for your creations.
How To Open an Etsy Store
Opening an Etsy store is a great way for any artist to get started selling their art online. To list a product on Etsy for four months is only $0.20 and a 3.5% transaction fee when an item sells. These prices are from when I wrote this in 2016. Read the terms and conditions for any price changes associated with their fees.
Etsy was launched on June 18, 2005, for artists to sell their original work. They have over 26 million active buyers looking for handcrafted items and original art that they can’t find anywhere else.
With the large following that Etsy has, it is a great opportunity for an artist to start building their brand awareness.
How To Open An Etsy Store Step By Step
- Go to www.etsy.com
- Click on the Sell on Etsy link on the top right.
- Click on the Open your Etsy shop link.
- Fill in all of the fields required on the create an account page.
- You will receive an email from Etsy to confirm your account.
- After you have confirmed, your email account, click on the Your Shop link on the top right.
- You will need to fill out information on five pages. When have finished filling out all of the information on a page click on the save and continue link on the bottom left to continue to the next page.
Shop Preference Page
- Select what language you would like to use for your shop.
- Select the country where you reside.
- Select what currency you will be using for the prices on your listings.
- You will also be asked if you are selling your products for a full-time or part-time job.
Choose Your Shop Name Page
This page is where you will name your shop. Take some time to think of a memorable name that will be easy for your following to remember. The name should reflect your brand.
For more about branding, here is an article I wrote on Nevue Fine Art Marketing, Art Branding Basics for Artists.
Etsy Store Name Requirements:
- No more than 20 characters
- No spaces or special characters
- No profanity
- Unique name not already used by an existing Etsy member.
If a name is already being used, you will be giving suggestions of similar names that are available.
Stock Your Shop Page
Now is the time that you will start adding images of the art that you will be selling.
Click the add a photo icon to add images from your computer.
Image dimension should be between 800-10000 pixels. You can edit the size of your photos using a free online image editing site called PicMonkey.
The first image will be the thumbnail in searches and your shop.
You can change the order of the images by clicking and dragging.
Tips for Photographing your Art
- When you are taking photographs of your art, make sure the lighting is correct. There is nothing that could make a piece of art look flat more than poor lighting.
- If you have a hard time taking your photographs, you might want to hire someone to take the photos for you. If your art sells because of good images that you provided online, it would be a wise investment.
- Ask a friend to help you if they are good at photography. Many people love to take photographs and are as good as, or even better than, someone you would hire.
- Take photos inside and outside. There is nothing better than natural sunlight when it comes to taking pictures.
- Stage your art. Have it hanging on a wall. Customers like when they can see what a piece of art would look like hanging on a wall or sitting on a shelf.
- Add some decor near the art. Stage it just like it would be displayed in a home.
- Take close up pictures of your art. People like to see the texture of the art.
Add Details For Your Listing
Title – Add a title for your listing. Use words that people might use to search for the art you are selling. The searchable terms or keywords should be at the front of the title. There is a 140 character limit.
Here is an example of a title I might use for one of my dog drawings, “Graphite Pencil Dog Drawing Lucy.”
About this Listing – In the first drop-down menu specify if your item is handmade, craft supplies, or vintage.
Category – Specify what category your item belongs in. This will help buyers find your listing.
Price – Enter the price of the item.
Tax – Add tax information if you are charging tax.
Quantity – If you have more than one of the same product you can increase the number that you have on hand.
Renewal option – This allows you to renew a listing if it has not sold in 4 months. You can also set it up so you can restore your listings manually.
Type – This is where you will state if your item is physical or digital.
Description – This is where you add a description of the item you are selling.
How to Write a Great description:
Many artists struggle with writing good titles and stories about their artwork. Creating art becomes is the easy part of the job. Writing a few sentences about what you have created can become very stressful.
Has this happened to you? You sit in front of the computer staring at a blank screen. After a few sips of coffee, you find yourself wasting valuable time on Facebook.
You can write great descriptions and in time they will become easier to write.
Why does it seem like some artists can write great art descriptions? It is because those artists have written many stories about their art. They have learned along the way what works and what doesn’t work. The more you do something, the better you will be at it. Similar to the way your art has evolved. You are quicker and more precise. The same will happen with your writing.
Every time that you write a description, ask yourself these questions:
- How can I make it better?
- How can I write it faster?
- What can I say to have the reader feel connected with my art?
Topic Checkoff List
One way to make your writing process easier is to have a checkoff list of the topics that you would like to cover. When you write your description, it will be easier for you to stay focused on the core elements of the description rather than wandering off.
Here are just a few topic ideas that you might want on your list.
- What style is your art?
- What does the art mean to you?
- What inspired you to create the art?
- What techniques did you use to create the art?
How to Write A Great Story
After you have decided what key topics that you would like to include in your story, sit down and start writing everything that comes to mind. Write a sentence or two about every topic that you would like to cover. Do not worry at this time if it is perfect. This is just a rough draft to get your ideas down on paper.
After you have all of your thoughts down on paper, it is time to clean it up. The story of your art could be a couple of sentences or as long as a couple of paragraphs. Try not to make it too long. Keep it short and to the point.
When you are reading your sentences take out any words that are not needed. Make sure that the sentence is keyword rich and describes your art. If the sentence does not have keywords or does not describe your art, get rid of it.
Every sentence that you write should have the reader feel more connected to you and the art that they are looking at.
Now that you have cleaned up the sentences read what you have. You want your paragraphs to be easy to read and have a flow. Sometimes making a story better is as simple as moving a sentence to a different place.
Read your story out loud. If it is easy to read out loud, you are in good shape. The more that you do this process, the easier writing great art descriptions will become.
The last step is to write the physical details of your artwork. This will tell the customer what they will receive if they purchase your artwork.
Every description should include:
- The size of the art
- The material used to create the art
- The surface that the art was created on
- How you will package your art
- What shipping service you will use to ship the item
- Return policies
Shop Section – This is where you can separate your items into categories so it will be a more enjoyable shopping experience for your collectors.
Select Variations – If you offer custom items this is where you will be able to describe the options that you offer.
Shipping Price – You can create a shipping profile or manually add the shipping costs.
Shipping Origin – Select what country your item will be shipped from.
Processing Time – Describe how long it will take for you to ship the item.
Choose your Search Terms – You are allowed to use 13 tags, and I recommend that you use them all. Think about what words people will use to find your product. Be specific to what you are offering, you want to attract people who will be interested in purchasing your work.
Review and Publish – Before you hit publish, proofread everything to make sure that you did not make any mistakes.
Once you hit publish your item is available for someone to purchase. Etsy will charge your Etsy bill $0.20 for the listing, fee.
Select A Payment Method
You will now select a payment method for your shop. Your options are credit/debit cards, PayPal, Etsy Gift Cards, Apple Pay. Direct checkout is also available in specific countries. Read the policies to see if your country is eligible.
Set Up Billing
Depending on what country you live in you might have to enter a credit or debit card to open your shop. Etsy allows Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, and Carte Bleue. Your card is secure, and you will have the option to pay your Etsy fees via PayPal if you prefer.
Open Your Shop
When you are finished filling out all of the information, click on the Open Your Shop link at the bottom of the last section.
You will have the option to edit your site after it has been open.
Once you have your store stocked with your best art, start sharing it with all of your family and friends. Your friends and family will help you by sharing your Etsy store with their friends who are interested in art.
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