Want to sell on Etsy, but not sure where to start?

how to sell on etsy

Etsy Hero in the House! 

I shouldn’t say this, but what the hell…. Making is easy, selling – now that’s bloody tough! But thankfully we were blessed to have the incredible Adrinna Hardy of Plum and Posey as a student recently.  Not only is this chic a total Rockstar, but she really is nailing both Etsy (www.etsy.com/shop/PlumAndPoseyInc) where she has to this day 14,090 sales and her private website (www.plumandposey.com) where she has so many thousands she doesn’t even know!

Adrinna creates jewellery with a STORY (I put that in capitals because it’s super freekin important) using the lost wax casting technique to craft antique wax seal jewellery.  She’s a total history geek and proud of it, but most importantly Adrinna loves what she creates and is passionate about her workmanship, and equally passionate about the story behind it.

We of course fell in love with this passion (the few beers we shared together helped!) and literally begged Adrinna to answer a few questions for our blog in the hope that she’ll be able to guide others struggling to sell online through Etsy.  And so, waffle aside, lets get to the good stuff!


Over to you Adrinna


1.  Do most of your sales come through Etsy or your website?  What is the rough percentage?

If someone is just starting out, I would suggest starting with an Etsy shop, but strongly suggest also putting up a website, even if it is just one page and only has a few photos. Don’t forget your contact info, and social media accounts.   But, remember customers are unlikely to just stumble across your site from a random google search.  You really have to work at funnelling traffic to a stand-alone website, it doesn’t just magically get traffic if you put a site up! Whereas Etsy has built in traffic already, and wonder of wonders they are there looking specifically for handmade items. Win Win!    


2.  Do you have a team helping you, or do you do all the making, photography, listings and maintenance yourself? 

This is mostly done by me, though I have hired a photographer a few times for some professional shots. But it is pretty pricey to do so, hence I do most of my photos. Listings are all me (Typos, grammatical errors and all!)


3. How do you get noticed on a marketplace with so many other jewellers?

There are over 7.5 billion people on this earth.  All those other jewellers cannot possibly sell to everyone on this planet, and neither can you.  First thing to do is to stop thinking about them.   Your customers will notice you if you work at it. But I warn you, you have to actually work.  You can’t throw shit at the wall without thought and expect it to stick.   You need a nice product – be critical of your work *But NOT TOO critical – we are our own worst critics after all.  If you hadn’t made it, would you buy it? 

My top tips to get noticed

1. Good photos (I am always renewing my photos, if a listing isn’t doing well the first thing I look at are my photos. 

2. Decent listings that answer customers questions, and are accurate.   *Check your spelling and grammar. Mine can be pretty bad, and I always find mistakes. I have customers who periodically contact me with my mistakes. Lol

3. Use a spell checker, copy your text into word to have the computer check the grammar.

4. Tags - use them all.

5. Materials - Even though in the Etsy tags there is a section for materials etc. I still put this info in my listing.

6. Sizes – This is IMPORTANT info! What is the ring size? What is the band width? How big is that stone?  
What length is that chain?  This goes back to #2 answering questions before they are asked.

7. While on the subject of sizing, there are two types of people in the world.  Those who use the Metric system (every country, but 3) and those 3 countries that don’t.  If you want international customers, use both units of measurement in your listing.  List in millimetres and inches. (It’s easy to convert one to the other using google – always put ‘Approximately’ in front to cover slight errors in conversion)

8. I also pay attention to my most frequently asked questions, compiled them and made 2 photos in Canva (Check Canva out, it’s great!)   where I answered these questions for customers. They are now the 3rd & 4th photos of every listing.  The more things your customers have to contact you about to clear up their confusions, the less likely they are to buy.    You want to make it easy for them.

4.  For those just starting out, do you have any specific marketing tips?

Always send a thank you card to your customers with a handwritten note (I use a post card printed with a photo of my jewellery and all my info).  Customers feel more connected to you, they appreciate you took a moment of time in your day to personally write Thank you. Which helps them become repeat customers. And it just feels nice.

Use all your tags.

 Download the Etsy shop app, and use the social media function on it. 

Use social media and have your account(s) mirror your business name so that your customers can find you.   If a customer posts a photo of their new piece from you, ask if you can repost it on your accounts.
Then repost it extensively, and more than once. If they are excellent photos, I may post the photo, then a few months down the road post it again.  Don’t forget to thank your customer each time of course!

Really think through your name, and don’t choose something that will ‘age’ you, peg hole you, or not grow with your business.   For example, my first user name on Etsy was… (this is embarrassing) …. Beadsss though that wasn’t actually my business name at the time, people thought it was.

5.  What kind of pictures do you find work best?

This is a never-ending quest – but my best suggestion is to keep them clean and uncluttered for Etsy and your website.  On social media, customers like to see the pieces being worn by other customers, and that they have been purchased by others. This gives you social proof.


6. What is your least favourite task related to your Etsy store?  

Having to apologize to a customer when something went wrong, and fix the mess up 😉 Especially when it isn’t my fault.


7.  Do you still enjoy what you do?

Yes, most of the time, but I have my days and moments.


8.  What are the pros and cons of running a successful Etsy store?

It can feel like never ending work, and trust me. It takes a LOT of work – you can’t just open a store and expect people will buy. You need to keep working on it all the time.  Always looking critically at your listings, photos etc. If you are getting the same questions over an over, you need to ask yourself why this is happening, and think of a way to fix it.


9.  Is it worth it to pay for marketing through Etsy?  

Honestly, I don’t really know.


10.  How do you find a balance between making what you love, and making what people want to buy? 

I don’t make things to sell exactly, in that I don’t make things specifically to make a buck. I have to love what I am making, and want to own it myself.  I make what I love, and because I love them, I know I will have a market of like-minded customers.


11.  How do you stay organised? 

I crave organisation, and seem to live in chaos.  It’s something I have never been able to pin down, and figure out.  I may have to hire myself a ‘boss’ lol


12.  Do you find using the tags help you get noticed? If so any tips?

Yes definitely. Try to use double barrelled tags. For example ‘Men’s Necklace’  Don’t do it as 2 separate tags “Men’s” and “Necklace”,  You are wasting 2 tags.  Otherwise, especially as if it is in fact a men’s necklace, it will already be in the necklace category anyway.  You want to make the most of your tags. Single tags don’t work so much anymore.   Also once in a while use your business name in a listing tag.  So if a customer is looking for you, but somehow doesn’t find your shop, they will find some of your listings.

13.  When the going got tough, what kept you going?

Sheer pig headedness.  People still ask me when I am going to go back to work at a real job, I like proving people wrong and succeeding in adversity.


14.  How long did it take before you made your first sale?

Sorry I can’t remember!  It was pretty soon after I opened up my Etsy shop, I have been on Etsy since it was about 8-9 months old. 


15.  If you had to start over and choose between selling on Etsy or your own website, which would you choose and why?

I would do it the same, and open both. Stand-alone websites are very hard work. Etsy shops are hard work too, but at least there is traffic built in.  I have to do the same work for just one shop as both (Photos, listings, product, etc), so it makes sense to have both. 

I make sure to put my website all over anything I send to my Etsy customers, and this helps funnel some of them over to my website. For example, I always include a postcard with room on the back for a thank you message.  The reason I include a postcard, is that business cards in my opinion get easily lost, but people keep postcards. On the post card will be my social media, with the call to action asking the customer to post their new piece of jewelry online.  But also my website link, and sometimes I will also include a coupon to the website for a percentage off their next order. With instructions that it is ONLY valid on the website.

16.  Which item sells best for you? Earrings, bracelets, pendants etc?


Thank you very much to Adrinna at Plum and Posy for the invaluable information.  If you’d like to stay up to date with what Adrinna is up to, please feel free to follow her on Instagram (@plumandposey) or Facebook (Plum and Posey) and of course her fabulous Etsy store (www.etsy.com/shop/PlumAndPoseyInc) - I owe you a beer or three lovely lady x

lucy walker