How to open an Etsy shop


Whether you want to sell your artwork online or produce a craft or even supply something Opening an Etsy shop is where you may want to start.

In this post we will cover how to Open an Etsy shop the right way.

Pink rose photo with text of how to open your etsy shop

Starting to sell on Etsy is relatively simple and easy to do. I’m going to walk you through how to open an Etsy shop in these simple steps.

What this post will not help you with

In this post, you will learn how to open an Etsy shop and list your first item using keywords and polishing your description.

*This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission. It will not cost you a penny more) Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

If you already have an Etsy shop – you can learn how to improve your shop and get ahead by using Pinterest to promote your Etsy shop.

Start collecting emails on Etsy for free using Flodesk.

Find out why some people will always fail on Etsy

Why sell on Etsy?

Well, Etsy has a lot of business, which requires a lot of customers – and they do it well. They may have the odd lousy press catch-all written about them. They may change things up often, so you are pulling your hair from your head.

But lots of companies do this to keep their shareholders happy, and this is no great shakes as they are ultimately helping you.

Etsy’s annual revenue rose to just over 600million – or 39 million buyers. So they know a thing or two.

What that means for a shop owner is the buyers are already browsing and buying from Etsy. Which means you don’t have to go out and find buyers. They are already walking down the Etsy high street.


Getting started on Etsy

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more) Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

How to get started on Etsy

Create a free account on Etsy

Firstly begin by opening a free account on Etsy.

Once you are logged into Etsy and have the main screen – in the top right corner there is an icon for opening your shop called sell on Etsy.

Get 40 FREE listings on Etsy

Get free listings on Etsy and open your shop with this link

If you would like 40 free listings, when you open your Etsy shop please follow this link to Etsy– note I also receive 40 free listings. A great start right?

image showing snapshot from etsy showing links to support and opening an etsy shop

You now need to tell Etsy a little more information about your shop. Your shop’s language, shop country and currency.

Select your Etsy shop language

I have used English.

Select your Shop country.

This is important if you plan on shipping items either within your own country or abroad. As I’m selling digital – I’ve selected the country where I currently live. Hong Kong.

If you are selling digital items – your shop country shouldn’t matter as there is nothing to place in the post.

If you are selling something which you need to post to the customer – this will mean you will show up on the local search. Read more about Etsy local search.

Select your currency

I select US dollars for my shop – even though I live in Hong Kong. I know most of my customers are in the US and I don’t want any confusion. If this is you – Etsy will also charge you a currency conversion fee before they place the money into your bank account.

Note : You may move to another country as an Etsy seller. (Yes, the world is a small place), but you may not change the country of your Bank Account.

See Getting paid on Etsy

Etsy shop name

Shop names can be a little bit tricker. You want something which means something to you – of course, but it also had to be memorable.

Etsy buyers might see your shop name and if it is ‘sticky’ (by this I mean memorable) then when they see it again – they will be drawn more to you.

Buyers need to see the same thing an average of seven times before deciding to purchase.

You can find further help on finding a good Etsy shop name

Unfortunately, once you have gone past this screen and opened your Etsy shop – you may only change your shop name once more. If you need to change it once again after this – you need to apply to Etsy. The reason for this is once a name has been used once – it can not be used again by anyone.

If you still need to change your Etsy shop name – you can apply to Etsy

So – do you have a great name before we go through how to open an Etsy shop?


Is it available? – Yes. Perfect. Let’s move on.

If not – revisit our help on Etsy names

What’s next?

If for any reason you accidentally accept the wrong name – you can either try to hit the back button (which probably won’t work) or start again with a new email address.

The easiest way would be to open your shop with the name you don’t like and just get on with the rest of the instructions below.

Once you are ready you can then change your shop name once yourself – the second time you will need to request the name change through Etsy and ask them to approve it.

Adding items to your Etsy shop

So even though you want to open an Etsy shop – you now need a least one item to get started. Etsy would like you to add ten items, to begin with – but one is ok for now.

Right, so let’s add that first listing.

Adding photos to your first listing

The first thing we need to do is add some images to your listing.

screen shot image from etsy showing where to place listing photos

Don’t worry about being perfect if this too much right now – yes, images are crucial for your shop and making sales. But for now – you need to get started.

Because Done is better than perfect right now.

You can come back later and refine your style and imagery. (and I promise you will, we all play with our photos a lot)

What should the first image look like on your Etsy listing?

The first listing image is the one which will show up in the preview on search – so this one has to be top quality.

  • landscape – ideally the first image only, the others can be any orientation at least 2000px wide
  • the product is in the centre of the image as Etsy crops from the centre of the image.
  • at least five images for each listing
  • check the thumbnail image is correctly placed to show your item off to its best

We have all seen beautiful, inspiring photos on Etsy – and we have seen a fair amount of dark, poorly lit and fuzzy photos as well.

Tips to improve your Etsy photos

  • Light and bright
  • Clear with details
  • light backgrounds do best, but not always
  • images taken from many angles
  • focused images on the best parts

Etsy does try to help you with this by giving you ideas on their image previews.

If you would like to read what I use in my images – I explained in detail ways to make the most of your Etsy images

Below – you can see I have chosen to use a stock photo for my Wedding Invites. I wish the background was a little brighter. I purchased this stock photo on Etsy

Don’t worry if your images look fuzzy on the preview – this often happens. Just ensure you upload the correct size in Pixels. 2000px wide at least.

image of wedding invite on white background with white pencil and ribbon

Once you are happy with your listing photos – then save and move to the next part of the listing.

Listing details

Now you will need to decide on your title. Using keywords here is imperative to be found in the Etsy search. This line can make or break your listings ability to be found within Etsy – Getting your Etsy title right is a skill you can learn.

So how do you write a listing title?

In basic terms, you are describing your item in such a way that a buyer knows what it is. Your title should be written in a natural langue but contain keywords about your product and shops items.

The main thing to do is –

Place your priority keywords at the beginning. So if you are selling hat pins, this should be at the front of the title and not the end. I see lots of titles with only two or three words in them.

Fine if your shop is well established and you have hundreds of items. But we are new, so ensure you use all of your titles and make it readable and natural – with your best keywords at the beginning.

ok – easier said than done right?

I know.

Look at your item and start brainstorming keywords before you open your Etsy shop

  • what it is for
  • who is if for
  • how will you use it
  • what exactly is it
  • what colour is it
  • how big is it
  • how will the buyer receive it
  • what can the buyer do with it

If you are starting keep a notebook or a document where you can keep all of your keywords together and highlight which ones you are using and which do well.

When I first started, I copied my titles onto all of my listings, the same title over and over again.


Curious what else I also did incorrectly when I opened my first Etsy shop

Where to find more keywords to use on Etsy?

The menu on Etsy is the best place to find keywords.

Using the drop-down function in search – you can see other ideas of what buyers search for to find your item.

image of menu in etsy showing wedding invitation and previews menu links

This is a quick and simple way to come up with the best keywords for your items. Make a few notes and try to avoid using the same long-tail keyword over and over again.

Mix it up. You can change the title of your items any time after they are on sale. So don’t stress about this too much for now.

Where can I find keywords outside of Etsy?

Marmalead – gives great keyword ideas for anyone. It is known well throughout the Etsy community as the place to go.

Erank – also gives great keyword ideas – but also provides more stats than Marmalead – and is slightly cheaper.

Many sellers use both in tandem

Where can I find Etsy Keywords for free?

If you have a Pinterest account – there is a way to also search for potential keywords on there. It doesn’t work for every item, but it can be a good place for ideas.

Go to Pinterest and search for an item which you are selling. Let’s say you are selling jeans on Etsy which you have upgraded to make your own.

Find out how Etsy shop owners use Pinterest to market their Etsy shop

Search for jeans DIY. Click on an image which speaks to you. Now scroll down the feed of jeans. Pinterest has kindly introduced a nifty way to select more ideas under Ideas you might also love – Guess what they also suggest.

  • denim DIY
  • embroidered jeans
  • upcycle clothes
  • Diy sewing
  • DIY shirt
  • DIY projects

If we click onto embroidered jeans – since this is closest to what you are selling, you can now see the boxes underneath that search. These also give you ideas.

This tactic might not work for everyone, but I have found some good ideas to try out on Etsy with this action.

Filling in the category for your item

image showing categories on etsy for listing descriptions

Use the helpful prompts to decide on your category. I’ve noticed that these can change, so it’s worth revisiting every few months to ensure you are still in the correct one.

You can also fill in the next few prompts appropriately with colour and occasion, holiday etc.

All of my items are set as auto-renew as I’m selling digital – if you are selling physical items, you may only have one of each so set this to manual.

Write a good Etsy item description

image screenshot from etsy showing where to write your items description

This is a whole post in itself – and you might want to look at a few of your competitors to see how they have written it – please only use this as a guide.

Shops owners get cross if you copy their descriptions and it does happen. I don’t recommend this. But research is research.

The first paragraph should be conversational and contain some long-tail keywords throughout. Preferably those you have also used in your title. Sound natural and make it easy to read.

Don’t be tempted to keyword stuff – it looks awful, and Google can read these lines so be mindful of this.

Fill in your description with useful and pertinent information about your item. The size, texture, what will a buyer want to know before they decide to purchase.

You can also add persuasive copy – set the scene and create a need. Mention what problems your item solves, what you can use it for. How will the buyer feel after they have purchased?

Later when you have a few more listing – come back to your descriptions and add a link to other listings right in your description. This will help buyers find more of your items and move around your shop.

For now – you can also add a link to your category or use a keyword – e.g. find other blue items or matching items or even just back to your main shop page.

Adding Etsy tags to your listing

Tags are how you will be found in search and run in conjunction with your title. If the keyword is in the title and the tags, then this is better.

What I do is copy my title into my tags box and press return. The tags will be added where there is a comma in the listing title. This does two things, – it ensures that you have made no spelling mistakes in your tags and also that your tags and title match where possible.

I then change the tags or split them up to fit in the 20 character limit until I have used all 13 tags.

An example of Etsy shop tags

My title might read.

Printable Peony flower poster wall art, Digital dorm decor print, Pink floral gallery wall art.

Then my tags would read

Printable peony, peony flower, flower poster, peony poster, peony wall art, flower wall art, digital print, dorm decor, printable art, pink gallery, wall art, Australian native, Australian art

Finishing your first Etsy listing

So now you can fill in any other information – such as materials.

SKU – I use this for my prints. I write the file name of where the print and the scan of my original work is kept. This way if there is a problem with the print or a mark – I can quickly find it. But you can use this for anything you want. The SKU is never revealed to your buyer, so you can use this any way you wish.

About shop sections

These help the buyer navigate around your shop. You can use these any way you think best benefits the buyer. I sell digital prints and have mine set into categories of botanical, minimalist etc.

You might want to keep your shop sections based on gender, season, or even colour. You can change this later when you have lots of items.

Getting Paid on Etsy

Ok so now you have saved that first listing or others if you have more ready to go. Let’s move on to finally opening the shop on Etsy.

To go further than this you will need your bank card and details ready.

Don’t have them?

Ok, I’ll wait.

screenshot from etsy showing where to fill in your bank details

Fill in your bank details on Etsy.

Remember you may change banks in the future, but you may not change bank country. Let me say that again – if you move to another country your shop’s bank account where you get paid will remain in your original abode.

If you want to get paid in your new country – you will have to delete your shop and start again.

Something to think about.

Verify your identity on Etsy

Etsy will also ask you to verify your identity. Just follow the prompts as they give them to you.

In Hong Kong – I had to photograph my face next to a copy of my Hong Kong Id Card for them to accept me as a seller.

Add your Credit card and billing address

On the final page, Etsy will ask you for a credit card and billing address.

You are about to open your Etsy shop

If you are not ready to open your shop – don’t open it. You can log out and come back later – as long as you don’t open your shop – it’s ok to get more items ready first.

There you have it – you now have a full-fledged business on Etsy. Congratulations.

Final thoughts on How to start an Etsy shop

Opening an Etsy shop is Free with this code for 40 FREE LISTINGS on Etsy. You don’t need to have a listing read before you open a shop. Setting up an Etsy shop is very easy – all you need is your ID and back details and something to list. You can find out more about Setting up your Etsy shop or if you are wondering how to market your Etsy shop with emails, please let me know in the comments if you have any questions.

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If you enjoyed this post – please take the time to pin it, as it helps my little blog grow.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions – I’m happy to help.

Before you leave – read about all my Etsy mistakes and what you can do to avoid the same problems.

How to open an Etsy shop
how to open an etsy shop

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  1. Hello Trina,

    Thanks for sharing your experience and its really useful.

    I’m planning to open a shop in Etsy with my bank account in Hong Kong. But Etsy requests to have a “Bank code/Clearing Code” from me instead of “SWIFT code”.

    As per my bank, if you need to make a money transfer to Hong Kong, you will need a SWIFT code to make it happen.

    Could you please let me know if you were provided the “Bank code/Clearing Code” only when you opened your shop in Etsy? And you received the payments to your bank account in Hong Kong with no problem at all?

    Thank you for your advice in advance.

    Best Regards.

    1. Hello KC, I had a lot of trouble opening the account on Etsy within Hong Kong. You are right, they do ask for different details. I took a screen shot to the form they wanted me to fill in on Etsy and then contacted Etsy help directly. I asked them to input my Hong Kong account details for me and try it.
      I hope that helps and thank you so much for your comment and coming to my blog.

      1. Hi Trina,

        Thanks for your kind reply and I’m highly appreciated.

        I do contacted the Etsy help and received following information:
        The bank format for Hong Kong accounts is:
        Bank name
        Full name on account
        Bank code (3-digits – identifies bank – also know as a “Clearing” code)
        Branch code (3-digits – identifies branch)*
        Account number (6-9 digits)

        I can fill-in all above requests with no problem. But based on my bank indication, we have to provide the 3rd party the “SWIFT code” when we make the money transfer from overseas.

        Since you are living in Hong Kong also, I believe you need to have the “SWIFT code” when the third party transfer money to you from overseas, right?

        And, if you already open shops on Etsy and only provided the BANK CODE as requested. And you have found no problem to receive the fund, means SWIFT code for Etsy is not necessary, right?

        I’m still reading your blog as they are very helpful. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

        Have a good night.

        Best Regards,

        1. Hi KC
          Yes – I don’t have my paperwork as I’m on holidays. But I believe if you take the first 3 numbers from your account number – that is your branch code. I searched mine on the net.
          Also – no I’ve never used a Swift code.

          Where abouts are you in HK?
          I’m in DB.

          1. Hi Trina,

            Thanks again for taking time to reply my message.
            I’m in ST but currently I’m living in Italy with my husband.
            Maybe one day in future we can meet each other in person so that we can exchange our experience regarding selling on Etsy! 🙂


          2. Oh yes, perfect.

  2. Hi! so… I was going through the process, but when I was about to choose my country, I couldn’t find it:c doing a bit of research, It says that now new shops need to be included in the etsy payment thing, mine isn’t yet. I was wondering if I could still open a shop, but put in a different country? or is that not an option?

    Probably a dumb question, but I still need to know if there’s a possibility. By the way, my shop was going to sell just digital items.

    1. Hi Wendy
      Yes, I read from April 21, you are unable to open a shop where Etsy payments is not accepted. However I believe this is only a temporary arrangement and hopefully will be resolved soon.
      I am sorry – but unless you have a bank account in another country, then you wouldn’t be able to open a shop there either.

      Hopefully this will change soon

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